Bowl Projections 2013: Predicting Likeliest Matchups in BCS Games

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 24, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 23:  Kenyan Drake #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scores a touchdown past Davis Tull #90 of the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The BCS hopes and national title aspirations of many rested on a number of crazy results in November, and it's been a wild month of upsets.

While the title picture and many BCS matchups were solid and etched in stone weeks ago, some unquestionably rare upsets have shaken things up and allowed for unthought of schools to get into the hunt for one of the marquee bowl games of the postseason.

Baylor went from an outside title contender to a school likely to miss out on the BCS party altogether. The same could be said for Oregon, who were rolled by an average Arizona team on the road. 

There are still a couple of weeks and telling games that will decide who goes on, but here are the likeliest outcomes for each of the BCS games after Week 13.

2014 BCS Predictions: Week 14
National ChampionshipAlabama vs. Florida State
Rose BowlStanford vs. Ohio State
Fiesta BowlOklahoma State vs. Fresno State
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. UCF
Orange BowlClemson vs. Michigan State


Notable BCS Projections

National Championship: Alabama vs. Florida State

November has been crazy, and it's opened things up for many schools, but nothing has changed at the top.

Alabama, in search of its third straight national championship, has not been knocked off from the perch of No. 1 all season long by taking care of business in another brutal SEC slate.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 23:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls out to his offense against the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two tough tests lie ahead at No. 4 Auburn and No. 5 Missouri (or South Carolina, potentially) in the conference championship, but it would be a shocker to see the Tide toppled.

Meanwhile, no school has done more throughout the course of the season than Florida State. Led by Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston and elite skill players surrounding him along with a suffocating defense, the 'Noles have beaten two top-seven opponents—including then-No. 3 Clemson on the road. 

Winston and company still have Florida, which looks more like a snoozer than a rivalry game, and Duke (should the Blue Devils beat UNC next weekend) in the ACC Championship. The Seminoles should have no problem cruising to Pasadena.


Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Ohio State

Nov 23, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) is congratulated by tight end Jeff Heuerman (86) in the fourth quarter of the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State Buckeyes beat Indiana Hoosiers
Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

Stanford must be kicking itself after seeing both Baylor and Oregon slip up this weekend. Had the Cardinal not fallen to USC last week, they could be in an outside position for the title game.

Instead, Stanford here is 'settling' for the Rose Bowl with two losses, assuming it is able to sidestep Notre Dame at home this weekend and Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game. A dominating 63-13 win over Cal on Saturday will only add to the Cardinal's ascendance in the late weeks.

Nov 23, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney (25) celebrates with teammates after scoring on a 58 yard run during the third quarter against the California Golden Bears at Stanford Stadium. Stanford won 63-13. Mandatory Cre
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Ohio State need help for a championship bid but due to no fault of its own. The No. 3 Buckeyes are once again undefeated and once again look unbeatable. If Florida State—unlikely—finds a way to lose or Alabama—somewhat less unlikely—does the same, Ohio State will be in position for a title, but a Rose Bowl bid wouldn't be a failure by any means.

Of course, the Buckeyes still have Michigan and Michigan State. But should things play out the way they should, two near-misses for the title game will meet in the Rose Bowl.


Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. UCF

As we've seen in practically every postseason in recent memory, the best SEC team that didn't play in the conference title game will squeak into the BCS picture. This time it's playing out to be Auburn.

The Tigers are ranked No. 4 in the newest AP poll, and they host top-ranked Alabama to close out the regular season. Should they lose that and not get crushed, they shouldn't fall too far in the rankings. Missouri, who will play Alabama in the SEC title game, are likely looking at a Capital One Bowl appearance, assuming they lose. 

On the other end of the bill, Central Florida has blazed through its schedule ever since a three-point loss to South Carolina. With an automatic BCS bid via the AAC in the Knights' sights, they'll just have to cruise to some easy victories to walk into the Sugar Bowl.

A potential matchup between the Tigers and Knights wouldn't jump off the page at first, but could turn into an exciting spectacle. We've seen elite SEC teams come in flat after narrowly missing a national title appearance and get smacked by a smaller school, but also seen the two come together to produce memorable and historic results.