Bowl Projections 2013: Analyzing BCS Picture Ahead of Week 14

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent INovember 29, 2013

Nov 23, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field for their game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Week 14 of the 2013 college football season is pivotal for most teams, as it will decide a great deal of conference championship matchups. The winners of these title games—at least those from the major conferences—will head to BCS bowl games against other elite programs from around the country.

Failure is not an option for the top-ranked squads this late in the season, as they have come so far and are on the cusp of making one of the five prestigious BCS bowl showdowns.

Unfortunately, at least two teams inside the Top 10 of the latest BCS rankings will have to fall on Thanksgiving weekend.

Due to the Iron Bowl showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn and the Battle of the Palmetto State between No. 6 Clemson and No. 10 South Carolina, the BCS picture could drastically shift over the next few days.

Regardless, here’s a look at the potential BCS bowl matchups ahead of the last week of regular-season play for most programs:

Predictions for Every BCS Bowl Game
Bowl GameHome TeamAway Team
BCS National ChampionshipNo. 1 Alabama Crimson TideNo. 2 Florida State Seminoles
Rose BowlNo. 3 Ohio State BuckeyesNo. 8 Stanford Cardinal
Orange BowlNo. 6 Clemson TigersNo. 11 Michigan State Spartans
Sugar BowlNo. 4 Auburn TigersNo. 19 UCF Knights
Fiesta BowlNo. 7 Oklahoma State CowboysNo. 14 Northern Illinois Huskies

Alabama and Florida State are the two obvious candidates to play in the national title tilt. Both have gone undefeated in 2013 and deserve a chance at the crystal trophy, assuming they can win out against their rivals to close the campaign and find success in their respective championship games.

Ohio State fans are praying that the Seminoles or Crimson Tide falter at some point in those two upcoming contests, as the No. 3 Buckeyes will be left out in the cold if both teams ahead of them in the rankings can stay the course.

This could be the second straight season for Urban Meyer’s squad to finish undefeated yet disappointed, although OSU was not bowl eligible in 2012. A Rose Bowl showdown against two-loss Stanford would have to feel disappointing after winning 25 straight games stemming back to last year.

Peg Clemson in for an Orange Bowl appearance if FSU makes the title game, as the Tigers are a perfect representative for the ACC. As long as the Michigan State Spartans play well enough against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, they should be a lock for a BCS appearance. Miami is a perfect place for them to land.

Many people may be unfamiliar with UCF, but the one-loss Knights are on top of the American Athletic Conference and therefore receive an automatic berth. It may not be the most popular decision, but UCF will have a chance to prove itself against an SEC opponent—likely Auburn but possibly Missouri—in the Sugar Bowl.

Pencil in Ohio State as the Big 12 winners, as the Pokes are firing on all cylinders now. Unfortunately, that means a matchup with an at-large opponent in the Fiesta Bowl.

With Northern Illinois and Fresno State currently undefeated and at least one looking like a lock for a BCS appearance, it seems the Cowboys will avoid a high-profile bowl showdown this season.

Of course, college football is anything but predictable. Expect these projections to change in the coming week as upsets and surprises take place over the weekend.