The 2013 Orange Bowl is the final BCS bowl game before the national championship, and it takes place on Friday, Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla.
As Week 15 approaches, it appears as though No. 13 Clemson will represent the ACC in Miami, while the BCS at-large team is still up in the air. This weekend's slate of conference championship games has the potential to completely alter the top of the BCS standings.
However, No. 4 Alabama is the logical choice to be selected for this prestigious bowl game.
Despite the uncertainly regarding which teams will compete, the Orange Bowl will be one of the most-watched bowl games this year. With that in mind, here's a look at when and where you can catch the action, followed by a prediction and a closer look at teams that could make it to the big game.
When: Friday, Jan. 3
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
The winner of Week 15's SEC championship game will likely represent the conference in the Sugar Bowl, and Auburn should handle its business against Missouri on Saturday to earn that bid.
The loser will likely fall out of the running for a BCS bowl game, since only two teams from the conference can participate in one of those five contests; Alabama should be a lock as one of those two.
This means Alabama will most likely take on Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and a blowout should ensue.
After opening the season with a huge statement win over Georgia, a team that was ranked No. 5 at the time, Clemson won five games in a row to open the season 6-0. But the team's second-half performance proved to be humbling, as it badly lost its two games against ranked opponents.
Florida State absolutely crushed the Tigers in Death Valley, winning by a score of 51-14. Clemson was unable to shut down the potent offense of the Seminoles, and Tajh Boyd had a miserable outing, completing less than half of his passes while throwing just one touchdown and two interceptions.
The same thing happened in Week 14, too, as South Carolina handily defeated the Tigers 31-17, thanks to another poor performance by Boyd, who failed to throw a touchdown while tossing two interceptions.
Needless to say, Alabama's defense would be a tough matchup for Boyd, who hasn't been sharp since early October. In his last eight games, he's thrown nine interceptions.
Clemson's defense was unable to do anything to stop the Seminoles and Gamecocks earlier this year, and it has allowed 31 touchdowns this season. As a direct comparison, 'Bama's defense has allowed just 16 scores in the same amount of games.
T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake would have field days going up against Clemson's No. 50-ranked run defense, which has given up 19 touchdowns on the ground in 2013.
Alabama would win this game based on its defense and running game alone, and any big plays generated by quarterback AJ McCarron and his receivers would just be a bonus.
Projected Score: Alabama wins 45-20
Other Teams in Play
If Duke somehow finds a way to take down Florida State in the ACC Championship game, then the Blue Devils would find themselves playing in the Orange Bowl. This isn't likely to occur, as no team has come closer than within two touchdowns of beating the Seminoles this year, but stranger things have happened in college sports.
The Blue Devils have won 10 games this year, most recently taking down North Carolina in thrilling fashion. The team's two losses occurred early in the season, and since then, Duke has won eight straight games—including contests against then No. 14-ranked Virginia Tech and No. 21-ranked Miami (Fl.).
Quarterback Anthony Boone didn't play well early in the season, but he's been terrific of late, passing for 530 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions over his past two starts. He'd be overmatched playing against the next potential Orange Bowl participant, however.
Ohio State could find its way to the Orange Bowl, which has the first pick of the non-conference-championship teams. Should the Buckeyes lose to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game, then they'll be in the mix to play in Florida.
The Buckeyes have been involved in some close games this year, but Urban Meyer's team has won 23 in a row and knows how to survive tough battles.
Braxton Miller has been on fire over the past five games, scoring 21 total touchdowns. He leads the nation's No. 3-ranked scoring offense, averaging 48.2 points per game.
Obviously, scoring isn't an issue for Ohio State, but stopping teams from doing the same could be an issue. The Buckeyes have allowed 30 or more points on four occasions, and they nearly lost to Michigan in Week 14 after allowing 41 points.
A dark horse for the Orange Bowl is AAC champion UCF, which could get a bid to one of the four BCS bowls besides the title game. The Knights lost just once this year—a brutal 28-25 heartbreaker to South Carolina.
Quarterback Blake Bortles leads a balanced and formidable offense that has scored at least 24 points in every game this year but one, and the Knights feature the nation's No. 17-ranked scoring defense, allowing just 20.2 points per game.
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