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Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Most Highly Anticipated Postseason Matchups

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks walks off the field after a 36-35 victory against 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 Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IDecember 6, 2013

There's just one weekend of regular-season college football left before the official bowl schedule will be finalized.

With only a few games remaining and several bowls relying on the outcome of conference championships, fans can only speculate about what the bowl season will look like.

From high-scoring offenses to nasty defensive teams, there are several matchups that could provide excitement for fans tuning in during December and early January. In anticipation of this weekend's announcement of the upcoming bowl game schedule, here is a look at some of the more intriguing potential matchups.

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks throws a pass against 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 Jonathan Ferrey/
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

 

Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Oregon

The Oregon Ducks were a heavy favorite to play for the BCS championship until Stanford derailed any chance of that possibility. Then the train fell further off the rails in a 42-16 loss to Arizona.

Despite those losses, Oregon remains one of the best offenses in the country, ranking ninth in the country in rushing yards and fifth in points per game. Those types of numbers are what make this an exciting matchup against an Oklahoma offense that can run the ball as well.

The Ducks feature four players with over 500 yards including former Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota. The signal-caller is also one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the country, throwing for 3,412 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season with a 63.1 completion percentage.

For Oklahoma, Brennan Clay has rushed for nearly 850 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight has also rushed for an average of 102.5 yards per game in the last two contests. If the Sooners can find some consistency behind center, with Knight possibly being the answer, this could be one of the best non-BCS matchups of the bowl season.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 30:  Anthony Boone #7 of the Duke Blue Devils rolls ut under pressure from Jeff Schoettmer #34 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during play at Kenan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Ha
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M

OK, let me know when you stop laughing hysterically. From the outset, this looks like one of the most ridiculous bowl projections ever, but what Duke has done this season deserves respect.

Coach David Cutcliffe has righted one of the most difficult ships in college football and has the Blue Devils at 10 wins for the first time in school history and playing for the ACC Championship this weekend against Florida State. The likelihood of a win is slim, but there's still a chance Duke could win its first ACC Championship since 1989.

Luke DeCock of The News & Observer in Raleigh tweeted about the likelihood of Duke winning according to Vegas odds:

Texas A&M offers one of the most explosive offenses in the country, averaging 43.6 points and 350.9 passing yards per game (ranked seventh and eighth, respectively). Meanwhile, Duke has held opponents to 23 points per game and is on an eight-game winning streak.

While this bowl didn't appear to make sense before the season started, it certainly looks like a potential breakout game for Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils program if they can down Johnny Manziel and the high-flying Aggies.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Kevin Hogan #8 of the Stanford Cardinal gets tackled short of a first down by Matthias Farley #41 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the third quarter at Stanford Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Palo Alto, California.  (
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

 

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford

On the other end of the spectrum, the Spartans and Cardinal have earned a potential BCS bowl game based solely on the strength of their defenses. Both teams are two of the stingiest in the country, each allowing fewer than 19 points per game.

Neither team ranks in the top 25 in any offensive category, but both have some explosive playmakers worth watching.

For the Cardinal, the connection between Kevin Hogan and Ty Montgomery is worth the price of admission. The two have combined for nine touchdowns on the season but might play second fiddle to the rushing attack of Tyler Gaffney. The senior needs just 15 yards in the bowl game to go for 1,500 yards on the season. He's averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Spartans quarterback Connor Cook has been spreading the ball around to a number of receivers all season and has 17 touchdowns with just four interceptions. In order for the Spartans to down the Cardinal, they will need Cook and running back Jeremy Langford to do what teams like Oregon and UCLA couldn't do—move the ball and score against a staunch Stanford defense.

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