Bowl Projections 2013: How Movement in Polls Shakes Up Potential BCS Matchups

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Bowl Projections 2013: How Movement in Polls Shakes Up Potential BCS Matchups
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The latest edition of the 2013 BCS rankings have been released. There were changes throughout the Top 10, and the potential January bowl games were altered in a dramatic manner.

The question is, how has the movement in the polls shaken up potential BCS matchups?

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

http://www.bcsfootball.org/

 

BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Florida State

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For all that's changed throughout the BCS rankings, the top two teams remain the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 2 Florida State Seminoles. AJ McCarron and Jameis Winston are emerging as the top two Heisman Trophy candidates, and both Alabama and Florida State are blowing out opponents.

With all of this in mind, the only remaining option is for the Crimson Tide to take on the Seminoles in the BCS National Championship Game.

Which team would win?

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Alabama has a very tough task remaining with a Nov. 30 road game against the No. 4 Auburn Tigers. A loss would put the SEC's dreams of reaching the national championship game in doubt, but a win would confirm what has been the season-long belief: Alabama is the best team in the nation.

Two straight national championships are evidence enough to support that statement.

Florida State has just one victory by a margin of less than 27 points, which was a 48-34 road win over Boston College. Its quality of opponents has been criticized, but the way the Seminoles have won games is close to unparalleled.

A road game against the Florida Gators could be tough, and the ACC Championship Game will be a serious test, but Jimbo Fisher's crew is a legitimate force.

There's a case to be made that Ohio State deserves to be in this game, and Auburn could enter the conversation if it defeats Alabama. Barring the unthinkable, however, Alabama and Florida State are on the fast track to square off.

Dominant is a word that describes both of these teams.

 

Rose Bowl: No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Stanford

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The Rose Bowl is likely to feature the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, who have now won 23 consecutive games. On the opposite end, things are unclear, with Arizona set to face either the No. 13 Oregon Ducks or the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal.

Stanford closes the year out at home, and it makes for the best potential opponent for the Buckeyes.

Which team would win?

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It's genuinely stunning that Ohio State receives such limited respect as a BCS National Championship Game contender. The Buckeyes went undefeated in 2012 and are one game away from doing it again in 2013, but there's still limited praise given to the Big Ten powerhouses.

Even as the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans and No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers have emerged as fellow forces in the conference, Ohio State has suffered due to the weakness of its conference.

Stanford has a tough test ahead of it with the No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. If it defeats Notre Dame, then the Cardinal will play the Pac-12 Championship Game against the No. 12 Arizona State Sun Devils, which makes this game one of unpredictable levels.

If any team should be viewed as the favorite to win the Pac-12, however, it's Stanford.

If Stanford loses and Oregon wins its final games of the regular season, the Ducks would make the Pac-12 Championship. One way or another, Arizona State is in store for a very real test in the conference title game.

Don't be shocked to see the Sun Devils win, but Stanford is the on-paper favorite for a reason.

 

Orange Bowl: No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 9 Baylor

Tyler Smith/Getty Images

The Orange Bowl will not feature ACC champion Florida State unless the Seminoles lose against the Gators. In turn, it will become a case of at-large teams being accepted, but that doesn't mean an ACC team won't get the invitation.

In this case, it'll be the No. 6 Clemson Tigers going up against the No. 9 Baylor Bears.

Which team would win?

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Baylor and Clemson possess two of the most dangerous offensive units in the country. Tajh Boyd is a potential NFL quarterback, while Bryce Petty was a primary Heisman Trophy candidate until he faltered during Week 13.

If the Orange Bowl is looking for a high-scoring, entirely entertaining game, this is it.

Baylor is currently averaging 56.8 points per game, which ranks No. 1 in the country. Clemson is averaging 42.3 points per contest, good for No. 10, but also possesses the No. 18 scoring defense and the No. 1 wide receiver in the country in Sammy Watkins.

Seriously, what could be more offensively entertaining than this?

There are a number of other teams that could be in line for this game, but no meeting would be as intriguing as this offensive slugfest. Boyd and Petty could prove their NFL legitimacy, Watkins would get a BCS sendoff, and the scoreboard could end up breaking.

It wouldn't get any better than this.

 

Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 11 Michigan State

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The No. 5 Missouri Tigers have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2013 college football season. The No. 11 Spartans are one of the most dominant defensive teams in the nation.

It may not be the offensive battle many want to see, but it'd provide the Big Ten with an opportunity for redemption after a year of adversity.

Which team would win?

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The Tigers have overcome the multi-game absence of quarterback James Franklin to reach 10-1. Missouri owns road wins over the Georgia Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels, and its lone loss was a 27-24 overtime defeat at the hands of the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Tigers will have their hands full during their final game against the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies.

Michigan State has quietly worked its way to 10-1 with the No. 4 scoring defense in the country. The Spartans have held five separate teams to six points or less, including four of their past five outings.

If any team can contain Missouri, Michigan State appears to be the squad.

The Big Ten deserves the opportunity to prove that it's stronger than its reputation suggests. Teams such as Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin are legitimate, and Missouri is the perfect team to face MSU.

This may not be a high-scoring affair, but it'd still be a good one.

 

Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Auburn

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The No. 7 Oklahoma State Cowboys made quite the statement during Week 13 when they secured a win over the No. 9 Baylor Bears. The No. 4 Auburn Tigers have been extraordinary and will now face the Crimson Tide in their final regular-season game.

Why not pit these two powers against one another in an offensive battle for the ages?

Which team would win?

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Oklahoma State is 10-1 and has won all 10 of those outings by double digits. That includes a 49-17 win over Baylor, a 38-13 blowout at the Texas Longhorns and a 52-34 drubbing of the Texas Tech Red Raiders while all three teams were ranked.

Clint Chelf and company are explosive enough to compete with any team in the country, and that makes Auburn the perfect opponent.

Auburn's lone loss was on the road against the No. 17 LSU Tigers, which is a testament to the championship-caliber ability this team possesses. Since then, Auburn has defeated Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia, amongst others.

Gus Malzahn is a front-runner for Coach of the Year.

This game would pit Oklahoma State's offense, ranked No. 13 in the nation, against Auburn's rushing attack, ranked No. 3. That battle would create the potential for high-scoring action, but it could also result in a defensive-minded battle.

It wouldn't get much better than this.

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