Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Matchups for College Football's Biggest Games

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent INovember 18, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 38-17 win over the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With four undefeated teams sitting atop the BCS rankings, the college football playoff appears to be arriving one year too late.  

Alabama and Florida State sit comfortably atop the rankings. If those two can avoid picking up a loss for the remainder of the regular season, they are all but guaranteed to play in the BCS title game; however, with Ohio State and Baylor coming in right behind them, there is potential for two undefeated teams from major conferences to not have a chance at winning the national championship. 

In that event, those two will still be headed to high-profile contests, but that will be little consolation after an undefeated season. 

Although it is unfortunate that we won't be able to watch these four battle in a playoff, there are some entertaining bowl matchups awaiting us. 

Take a look at my projections for the BCS games, the latest BCS rankings and then a closer look at three of the more compelling matchups. 

Langford's BCS Bowl Projections
BCS GameDateLocationMatchupPrediction
Rose BowlJan. 1Pasadena, Calif.Big Ten/BCS vs. Pac-12/BCSOhio State vs. Oregon
Fiesta BowlJan. 1Glendale, Ariz.Big 12/BCS vs. BCSBaylor vs. Fresno State
Sugar BowlJan. 2New Orleans, La.SEC/BCS vs. BCSAuburn vs. UCF
Orange BowlJan. 3Miami, Fla.ACC/BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Wisconsin
BCS Title GameJan. 6Pasadena, Calif.BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2Alabama vs. Florida State
Week 13 BCS Standings
RankTeamBCS Average
2Florida State.9661
3Ohio State.8869
10Oklahoma State.5890
11South Carolina.5883
12Texas A&M.5394
13Michigan State.4646
15Fresno State.4134
16Northern Illinois.3729
17Arizona State.3414
Source: BCS

BCS Title Game

Alabama vs. Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Chris Casher #21 of the Florida State Seminoles and teammates celebrate a touchdown during the Second half at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles beat the Orange 59-3.(Photo by J
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

The Seminoles are going to have to really lay an egg to not have a chance to play for the national title. 

Florida State will take on a wildly-outmatched Idaho team in their next game. That will be followed by a game against Florida. The Gators may provide the Seminoles with a tougher matchup than Idaho, but that is debatable. 

Florida has lost five straight games and hasn't displayed the offensive prowess to keep up with Florida State. 

Meanwhile, a surging Duke team is lined up to take on Florida State in the ACC Championship game, but the unranked Blue Devils have a long way to go before they can think of knocking off Florida State. 

Meanwhile, Alabama has a much more difficult path. The Crimson Tide gets what will amount to an extra week of practice this week with a game against Chattanooga. After that, however, is the Iron Bowl. 

Although Auburn has looked fantastic, I can't see their one-dimensional offensive attack toppling Alabama. 

That leaves the Crimson Tide with the conference championship game, which will be against Missouri as things stand now. Again, the possibility of 'Bama picking up a loss is very real; however, they are the No. 1 team for a reason, and it is tough to see them being denied a chance at playing for a third straight championship. 

Orange Bowl

Clemson vs. Wisconsin

Nov 16, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger leads the team onto the field prior to the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin's projection into the Orange Bowl raises to the forefront a big drawback about conference championship games. 

While the championship game allows teams one last chance to impress voters and computers with a big victory, it also hurts the otherwise quality resume of the team that loses. 

The Spartans are 9-1 on the season and boast of a fierce defense; however, I project them falling to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. 

This will open the door for Wisconsin to slide in the BCS.

The Badgers are 19th in this week's rankings but have a game coming against No. 25 Minnesota this week. If the Badgers win, it will give them a climb in the rankings to get inside the top 14, which is required for them to grab an at-large bid. 

Meanwhile, Clemson (9-1) has been cruising along since getting blown out by Florida State on Oct. 19 and has a game with Citadel this week. 

Nov 14, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Clemson won 55-31. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kel
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers face a tough road contest against No. 11 South Carolina to close out the season, though. There is a chance that Clemson could survive a loss to the Gamecocks with their BCS bowl game hopes in tact, but they would be well advised to not have that come into play. 

Sugar Bowl

Auburn vs. UCF

Nov 16, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) runs the ball during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 43-38. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sport
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn's resurgent season has seen the Tigers win seven in a row, with nothing but a game date against Alabama remaining on schedule. This almost guarantees them a spot in a BCS bowl. 

As long as the Tigers don't embarrass themselves in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers will not fall far in the rankings with a loss. 

I do worry that the lure of Johnny Manziel and No. 12 Texas A&M will grab attention of the selection committee; however, the Tigers did beat the Aggies in College Station earlier in the season. I have to believe Auburn will get the nod. 

As for Central Florida, these cardiac kids are the only undefeated team in AAC play. The Knights have a one-game lead over both Louisville and Cincinnati. They already beat Louisville this season and do not play Cincinnati. They also don't have an overly daunting game remaining on their schedule. 

Nov 16, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; UCF Knights players lift kicker Shawn Moffitt (83)  in the air after he kicked the game winning field goal as time expired during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. UCF defeated Temp
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the Knights have a penchant for turning every game into a thriller. They've won three of their last four by five or less. 


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