BCS Bowl Projections 2013: Latest Predictions for All 5 Contests

Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 24, 2013

WINSTON SALEM, NC - NOVEMBER 09:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles prepares with teammates before their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field on November 9, 2013 in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Heading into Week 14, there are some fascinating potential matchups brewing for the five BCS bowl games that will conclude the 2013 college football season. 

After this weekend's slate of games, the only thing left to decide is conference championship games, and then the bowl season will commence in full swing. The first games start on Dec. 21, and the festivities will run all the way through the new year, finishing with the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6. 

Nothing is set in stone at this point, but here's a look at the potential matchups for each BCS bowl game, followed by predictions for each one:

Bowl GameTeams
BCS National Championship GameAlabama vs. Florida State
Orange BowlClemson vs. Michigan State
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. UCF Knights
Fiesta BowlOklahoma vs. Fresno State
Rose BowlOhio State vs. Stanford
Author's opinion

 

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Florida State

Alabama appears destined for a three-peat, but Florida State isn't going to be pushed around, should these two powerhouses take the field on Jan. 6 to decide the national championship. 

Led by freshman phenom Jameis Winston, the Seminoles have faced down every challenge this year, and this team is loaded with talent across the board.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 02:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Winston has proved to be unflappable under pressure, and his big-play receivers Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw will be a handful for 'Bama's secondary to corral. 

But the biggest reason to believe FSU has a shot to win this game is the team's defense, which trails only Alabama in points allowed this season (11.4 points per game). 

Projected Score: Florida State wins, 38-28.

 

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Michigan State

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 19:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Talk about a contrast in styles—this game would feature one of the nation's top offensive teams going up against one of its most ferocious defenses.

Clemson, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, hasn't come close to losing a game since Florida State so easily abused it back in mid-October. The Tigers have scored no less than 52 points the past three games, and Boyd has thrown 12 touchdowns in the same period of time. 

Michigan State is incredibly stout on defense, ranking No. 4 in points allowed (12.5), and would provide perhaps the stiffest defensive test for Clemson all year long. 

But Michigan State isn't the only defensive powerhouse in this game. Clemson also features a strong defensive unit, and the Spartans aren't particularly dangerous on offense. 

Projected Score: Clemson wins, 21-13.

 

Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. UCF

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 26:  Jeff Godfrey #2 of the UCF Knights attempts to run past Byron Jones #16 of the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Bright House Networks Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

On paper, this matchup looks like a potential barnyard brawl. 

Central Florida's only loss of the season came against South Carolina—a narrow 28-25 stinger that cost the Knights a chance of pulling off an undefeated season. 

Auburn's only loss came against LSU, which won by two touchdowns early in the season. 

Both teams love to run the ball, but Auburn has been much more successful this season and ranks No. 3 in the nation, averaging 320.3 yards per game. 

When it comes to stopping the run, however, UCF has the clear advantage. The Knights rank No. 21 in the nation, allowing just 123.7 yards per game, while Auburn ranks No. 51, allowing 152.1 yards per game.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 2:  Nick Marshall #14 of the Auburn Tigers looks downfield for a reliever against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 35-17.  (Photo by
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

In the end, this matchup will boil down to quarterback play, and Nick Marshall should outclass Blake Bortles. 

Projected Score: Auburn wins, 28-21.

 

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 23:  Emmanuel Ogbah #38 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates with teammates in the second quarter against the Baylor Bears at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Gett
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After watching Oklahoma State shut down the potent offense of Baylor on Saturday night, it't not hard to imagine this Cowboys team would shut down Derek Carr and Fresno State, should the two teams meet up.

However, Carr is a more polished passer than Bryce Petty, who is more of a dual-threat quarterback in a gimmick system. 

FRESNO, CA - NOVEMBER 23:  Derek Carr #4 of the Fresno State Bulldogs drops back to pass against the New Mexico Lobos during the second quarter at Bulldog Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Fresno, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The senior Bulldogs quarterback leads the nation with 39 touchdown passes this year, and he's the second-leading passer in terms of yards. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in every game this year, and his offense has scored at least 35 points every week. 

Fresno State will score points in this matchup, meaning the Cowboys must be able to answer in kind with offensive production of their own. Thankfully, that shouldn't be a problem, as this team has scored at least 38 points in the past five games.

Projected Score: Oklahoma State wins, 45-41.

 

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Stanford

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Shayne Skov #11 of the Stanford Cardinal tries to get the crowd to make more noise during the fourth quarter of their game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 7, 2013 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It's hard to believe that Ohio State has zero chance to make the BCS National Championship Game without a loss by Alabama or Florida State. All the Buckeyes have done since last year is win 23 straight games.

Led by Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller, Ohio State's offense has been just chewing up opposing defenses and spitting them out to the tune of 48.7 points per game. Making matters worse for their opponents, the Buckeyes have allowed just 18.4 points per game. 

Stanford will provide a bit of a different challenge than any of the teams the Buckeyes have faced this year, though. The Cardinal successfully shut down Oregon's potent offense earlier this year, and they did the same to UCLA.

If Tyler Gaffney can churn out first downs in the running game for Stanford, then the Cardinal will hand Ohio State its first loss in two seasons. 

Projected Score: Stanford wins, 21-20.

 

Updated BCS Standings

BCS Rankings Heading into Week 14
RankTeamBCS Average
1Alabama.9881
2Florida State.9697
3Ohio State.9200
4Auburn.8236
5Missouri.8077
6Clemson.7726
7Oklahoma State.7615
8Stanford.6665
9Baylor.6456
10South Carolina.6101
11Michigan State.5780
12Arizona State.5052
13Oregon.4950
14Northern Illinois.4620
15Wisconsin.4448
16Fresno State.4124
17LSU.3737
18Oklahoma.3380
19UCF.3364
20Louisville.2522
21Texas A&M.2243
22UCLA.1921
23USC.1779
24Duke.0885
25Notre Dame.0674
BCSFootball.org

 

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