Bowl Projections 2013: Updated Outlook for Best Potential Non-BCS Games

Ryan DavenportContributor IDecember 4, 2013

Nov 29, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back De'Anthony Thomas (6) walks off the field at the end of the Oregon State Beavers game at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the cream of the crop have truly separated themselves from the pack, we finally have some clarity as to which teams will vie for BCS Bowl titles.

As a result, we also now have a much clearer idea of which teams will be playing in bowl games outside of the BCS series. As of now, there are a number of potential tilts that appear to be doozies. 

Heading into the final two weeks of the 2013 college football regular season schedule, here's an updated look at which teams could be going head-to-head in the year's most intriguing non-BCS bowl games. 

 

Alamo Bowl

It wouldn't be the postseason game Oregon was hoping for a couple of weeks ago, but the Ducks appear to be a solid bet to receive an invitation to the Alamo Bowl. 

And, if the Ducks are tabbed to be the Pac-12's representative, they'll probably face a more than formidable foe in the University of Oklahoma Sooners. 

Yes, the Sooners' in-state showdown against the No. 6 Cowboys will have an impact on whether they garner an invite to San Antonio, but this team, with two wins over top-25 opponents on the year, deserves to be here. 

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks is chased by Sean Martin #6 of the Oregon State Beavers during the 117th playing of the Civil War on November 29, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonatha
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

While Oklahoma waits to see where the postseason will take them, the Ducks will be glued to the television when Arizona State takes on Stanford, as the outcome of that game will likely have an impact on where Marcus Mariota and company head this winter. 

Assuming Stanford wins, Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas and the rest of the Ducks will be forced to try and salvage their season by beating a very respectable Oklahoma squad at the Alamo Bowl. 

 

Cotton Bowl 

Due to the undeniable depth of the SEC, the Cotton Bowl is bound to feature one of college football's brightest quarterbacks from the nation's most talented conference. 

But will it be Zach Mettenberger, Connor Shaw or Johnny Manziel? Both teams have notched impressive wins and suffered demoralizing defeats, but it seems inevitable that LSU, South Carolina or Texas A&M will represent the conference in the Cotton Bowl this season. 

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies scrambles as defensive lineman Markus Golden #33 of the Missouri Tigers persues during the game on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Im
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

At 9-3, Les Miles' Tigers have to be considered at least a contender to earn the bid, even if LSU dropped games to Ole Miss, Alabama and Georgia in 2013. 

After having smoked the Aggies 34-10 at home, No. 15 LSU's has a much better chance than Manziel's bunch, but Steve Spurrier and company may be the team to watch here. 

With Spurrier's Gamecocks at 10-2, they're the front-runner to get the nod, but one cannot discount the financial benefit of having Manziel on the field, as the reigning Heisman winner is undoubtedly college football's most popular player. 

That being said, as of now, it sounds like the University of South Carolina Gamecocks are the favorite to get the call to play in the storied Cotton Bowl. 

 

Texas Bowl

If things go according to plan, one team will leave the Texas Bowl with a great deal of frustration. 

That's because, as of now, the Texas Bowl will likely feature Minnesota and Texas Tech—two teams that have struggled mightily down the stretch this season. 

For the Golden Gophers, a victory over a quality opponent like Texas Tech would at least begin to make up for the two-game losing streak that saw the team drop from the rankings after falling to Wisconsin and Michigan State. 

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 2: Texas Tech Red Raider head coach Kliff Kingsbury observes game action against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 2, 2013 at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State won the game 52-34. (Photo by John Weast/Getty I
John Weast/Getty Images

At the other end of the field, the Red Raiders will be hungry to end what has been a disappointing season on a positive note, as Kliff Kingsbury's boys have dropped five straight after winning seven to start the year. 

Last year, we saw these two teams put forth a very entertaining display during Texas Tech's 34-31 victory at Reliant Stadium, and it looks like we may see the same matchup again this year.