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

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Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Matchups for College Football's Biggest Games
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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 Game Date Location Matchup Prediction
Rose Bowl Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Big Ten/BCS vs. Pac-12/BCS Ohio State vs. Oregon
Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. Big 12/BCS vs. BCS Baylor vs. Fresno State
Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 New Orleans, La. SEC/BCS vs. BCS Auburn vs. UCF
Orange Bowl Jan. 3 Miami, Fla. ACC/BCS vs. BCS Clemson vs. Wisconsin
BCS Title Game Jan. 6 Pasadena, Calif. BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2 Alabama vs. Florida State

 

Week 13 BCS Standings
Rank Team BCS Average
1 Alabama .9914
2 Florida State .9661
3 Ohio State .8869
4 Baylor .8856
5 Oregon .7917
6 Auburn .7860
7 Clemson .7681
8 Missouri .7231
9 Stanford .6238
10 Oklahoma State .5890
11 South Carolina .5883
12 Texas A&M .5394
13 Michigan State .4646
14 UCLA .4615
15 Fresno State .4134
16 Northern Illinois .3729
17 Arizona State .3414
18 UCF .3033
19 Wisconsin .2907
20 Oklahoma .2760
21 Louisville .2664
22 LSU .2645
23 USC .1070

Source: BCS

BCS Title Game

Alabama vs. Florida State

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. 

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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

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. 

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

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. 

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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