Bowl Projections 2013: Breaking Down Likely BCS Matchups

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 23: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles signs autographs after ther game against of the Idaho Vandals at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles beat the Vandals 80-14. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

Even this late into the season, the BCS bowl picture remains somewhat muddy.

There are a multitude of possibilities still out there that give four teams a realistic shot at the national championship. Then you've got all of the automatic bids for the conference winners and at-large teams.

Just imagine what would happen if one or more of Alabama, Florida State or Ohio State lost in their conference championship games. Of course, the Crimson Tide still need to get past Auburn this weekend.

When looking at the newest BCS rankings, you can at least get a good idea of how the bowl season will shake out if everything remains relatively the same.

Week 14 BCS Rankings
RankTeamBCS Avg.
1 Alabama (11-0) .988
2 Florida State (11-0) .970
3 Ohio State (11-0) .920
4 Auburn (10-1) .824
5 Missouri (10-1) .808
6 Clemson (10-1) .773
7 Oklahoma State (10-1) .762
8 Stanford (9-2) .667
9 Baylor (9-1) .646
10 South Carolina (9-2) .610
11 Michigan State (10-1) .578
12 Airzona State (9-2) .505
13 Oregon (9-2) .495
14 Northern Illinois (11-0) .462
15 Wisconsin (9-2) .445
16 Fresno State (10-0) .412
17 LSU (8-3) .374
18 Oklahoma (9-2) .338
19 UCF (9-1) .336
20 Louisville (10-1) .252
21 Texas A&M (8-3) .224
22 UCLA (8-3) .192
23 USC (9-3) .178
24 Duke (9-2) .089
25 Notre Dame (8-3) .067


BCS National Championship

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida State Seminoles

You can debate the merits of Florida State getting into the national title game all you want, but it's hard to argue that this wouldn't be a great matchup. Alabama and FSU have the two best defenses in the country, in terms of yards allowed per game. The Crimson Tide are first (250), while the Seminoles are right behind them (254.1).

Although FSU's offense is putting up 55 points a game, it isn't the kind of quick-strike, spread offense that has hampered Oregon and Baylor when they face good defenses. The Seminoles run a more balanced attack that just so happens to put a ton of points on the board.

That's what makes this game so interesting, should it happen. Are the Seminoles another case of a solid offense looking good against weaker opposition, or can they solve that Crimson Tide defense?


Orange Bowl

Clemson Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Nov 23, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back James White (20) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

For those arguing that the Wisconsin Badgers don't deserve a BCS place, just remember that one of their two losses was in controversial fashion to Arizona State, and the other was to unbeaten Ohio State. If you're gonna have two losses, you might as well get them those two ways.

The Clemson Tigers rank just 53rd against the run. That could be a problem against an offense that averages 297.8 yards a game on the ground.

Melvin Gordon and James White have combined to run for 2,656 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Together they make a great combination. White is more of the inside runner who can hit the gaps fast but doesn't have the speed in the open field. Gordon is the home run back who can take it to the house anytime he touches the ball.

They could have a big game against that Tigers defense.


Sugar Bowl

Auburn Tigers. vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

Contrary to what others might say, it's always enjoyable to see the BCS busters. Without them, we wouldn't have one of the most memorable games in recent memory—Boise State vs. Oklahoma at the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Don't count on seeing a close game here, should it happen.

Auburn has one of the best rushing offenses in the country. The Tigers don't run a ton of offensive plays, but what they do run, they run very well.

And no offense to Northern Illinois, but the Huskies haven't had the most daunting of schedules this season. Playing in the Mid-American Conference isn't the best preparation for one of the best teams in the SEC.

The Tigers would be able to get out to an early lead and kill the game off with Nick Marshall and Tre Mason on the ground.


Rose Bowl

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Stanford Cardinal

Nov 23, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer listens to a call on the sideline of the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

Hey, the Rose Bowl isn't that bad of a consolation prize.

Should Ohio State remain third in the BCS standings, it will be headed to Pasadena, likely taking on Stanford.

It's easy to forget that the Buckeyes are on a 23-game winning streak. Those who argue that past success shouldn't be taken into account better look at Alabama the same way.

OSU has such a great offense, with Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde providing the balance. Because Ohio State hasn't been tested too much, Miller hasn't had a chance to have any Heisman moments where he puts the team on his back.

That doesn't mean he still isn't an immensely talented quarterback.

The Cardinal's offense has also adapted to fit whatever style the game dictates. If it becomes a shootout, Kevin Hogan can take the game over. If it's a back-and-forth defensive affair, Tyler Gaffney can pound the rock.

In the end, the talent on OSU's offense should be the difference. The Buckeyes would also have the added motivation of being spurned by the BCS.


Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. UCF Knights

Nov 23, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA; Multiple Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate after Cowboys cornerback Tyler Patmon (26) ran a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Baylor Bears at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Spor
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

That win over Baylor demonstrated just how much of an improvement Oklahoma State has made this season, and how good the Cowboys defense is. The Bears had been averaging over 60 points a game before Saturday, but they were held to 17 in Stillwater.

In addition, the Oklahoma State offense was a well-oiled machine. Quarterback Clint Chelf was a monster, hitting any pass he wanted on the Baylor defense.

It's difficult seeing how UCF would present a tough matchup. The Knights are a talented team, but they lack the top-to-bottom talent that the Cowboys possess.


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