Bowl Projections 2013: Predicting Landing Spots for Top Schools

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Bowl Projections 2013: Predicting Landing Spots for Top Schools
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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.

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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
Rank School Record Projected Bowl
1 Alabama 11-0 BCS Title Game
2 Florida State 11-0 BCS Title Game
3 Ohio State 11-0 Rose Bowl
4 Auburn 10-1 Sugar Bowl
5 Missouri 10-1 Chick-fil-A Bowl
6 Clemson 10-1 Orange Bowl
7 Oklahoma State 10-1 Fiesta Bowl
8 Stanford 9-2 Rose Bowl
9 Baylor 9-1 Cotton Bowl
10 South Carolina 9-2 Outback Bowl
11 Michigan State 10-1 Capital One Bowl
12 Oregon 9-2 Alamo Bowl
13 Arizona State 9-2 Holiday Bowl
14 Wisconsin 9-2 Orange Bowl
15 LSU 8-3 Cotton Bowl
16 Fresno State 10-0 Fiesta Bowl
17 UCF 9-1 Sugar Bowl
18 Northern Illinois 11-0 Bowl
19 Texas A&M 8-3 Capital One Bowl
20 Oklahoma 9-2 Alamo Bowl
21 Louisville 10-1 Russell Athletic Bowl
22 UCLA 8-3 Sun Bowl
23 USC 9-3 Las Vegas Bowl
24 Duke 9-2 Chick-fil-A Bowl
25 Notre Dame 8-3 Pinstripe Bowl

Projections per Jerry Palm of CBS Sports

Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State

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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 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.

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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

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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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

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