Bowl season is approaching with a vengeance in college football. If the top two teams win out, they will almost certainly play for the national championship. Alabama and Florida State have played solid schedules, and both have a few more challenges to conquer before the programs meet for what could be an epic showdown for the crystal football.
Not only does Florida State have the athletes on defense to test Alabama's balanced attack, but the Seminoles offense has dynamic playmakers and perhaps the best player in college football in Jameis Winston. The Heisman trophy winner will be announced on Dec. 14. If Winston has already picked up the hardware, it will add even more intrigue to the title game.
While the potential battle for the BCS title is intriguing, it isn't the only great matchup that could be in store for college football fans during bowl season. Here's the projected bowl game for every team in the AP Top 25 and a look at two other potentially interesting showdowns.
|Projected Bowl Games for AP Top 25|
|1||Alabama||11-0||BCS Title Game|
|2||Florida State||11-0||BCS Title Game|
|3||Ohio State||11-0||Rose Bowl|
|7||Oklahoma State||10-1||Fiesta Bowl|
|10||South Carolina||9-2||Outback Bowl|
|11||Michigan State||10-1||Capital One Bowl|
|13||Arizona State||9-2||Holiday Bowl|
|16||Fresno State||10-0||Fiesta Bowl|
|18||Northern Illinois||11-0||GoDaddy.com Bowl|
|19||Texas A&M||8-3||Capital One Bowl|
|21||Louisville||10-1||Russell Athletic Bowl|
|23||USC||9-3||Las Vegas Bowl|
|25||Notre Dame||8-3||Pinstripe Bowl|
|Projections per Jerry Palm of CBS Sports|
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State
Fresno State and Northern Illinois are in a similar boat. Both programs are likely to finish the season undefeated, but because neither belongs to a major conference, neither will have a chance to play for a national championship. At least Fresno State is on target to play in a BCS bowl; Northern Illinois looks to be headed for a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Yay!
The Bulldogs will undoubtedly face the toughest test of the year. The team hasn't played a ranked team all season, and the Cowboys proved their mettle by ruining the national title hopes of the Baylor Bears. Matched against the nation's top offense, Oklahoma State's surprising defense held the Bears to just 17 points.
On the strength of that performance alone, Mike Gundy's team would be massive favorites in the game. However, don't completely count out the Bulldogs. Derek Carr to Davante Adams has been one of the most prolific combinations in college football this season.
Carr has 39 touchdown passes and just four picks in 502 passing attempts. Adams has 100 receptions and 19 TD receptions this season. Curtailing them will be a challenge for the Cowboys defense.
Though their competition hasn't been stellar, only three of the Bulldogs' opponents have even stayed within a touchdown this season. The game could be the program's coming out party, much like the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was for Boise State.
Capital One Bowl - Texas A&M vs. Michigan State
Johnny Manziel could lead the Aggies into a battle of two college football extremes. Seeing one of the nation's best offenses and most dynamic and polarizing players take on one of the best defenses is exciting.
The Michigan State Spartans have the No. 1 defense in the country. The unit has allowed a measly 653 yards on the ground this season. Led by senior linebacker Denicos Allen and sophomore lineman Shilique Calhoun, the Spartans' front seven is a legitimate problem for any offense in the nation.
It hasn't faced a team with the weapons on the outside the Aggies have, though. Mike Evans is a future No. 1 receiver in the NFL and Manziel has followed up his Heisman season with another banner year. They are two of the biggest reasons the Aggies are fourth in total offense in college football.
What will happen if these two forces collide? I hope we get a chance to find out.
Stat references per CFBStats.com