Northern Illinois threw a wrench into 2013 BCS bowl projections when it lost to Bowling Green by the score of 47-27 on Friday night.
The Huskies were previously projected to earn a Fiesta Bowl berth. Here are predictions for each bowl without Jordan Lynch and company.
|2013 BCS Bowl Projections|
|National Championship||Florida State||Auburn|
|Rose Bowl||Stanford||Ohio State|
|Sugar Bowl||Alabama||Michigan State|
|Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma State||UCF|
|Games are projected based on season developments.|
National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn
It would take one of the greatest upsets in college football history in No. 20 Duke over No. 1 Florida State for the Seminoles to not make the national championship. It would take one of the greatest injustices in BCS history for No. 3 Auburn to leapfrog undefeated No. 2 Ohio State should Auburn beat No. 5 Missouri.
Key phrase: one of, because great BCS injustices have happened before.
If blue and orange Tigers beat the black and yellow Tigers, history suggests that they will leapfrog the Buckeyes. The last four Iron Bowl winners and seven SEC Champions have earned title bids.
Of course, Florida State will ultimately defeat whichever school lines up against it. It's been blowing out its opponents by an average margin of 45.9 points per game since the turn of October.
Florida State by seven
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Ohio State
If No. 7 Stanford takes care of business at No. 11 Arizona State and Ohio State defends its home turf against No. 10 Michigan State, they'll head to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 and Big Ten representatives. The Buckeyes would hold a significant edge in such a matchup.
Their offense scores 15.4 more points per game than the Cardinal's. Neither Stanford's passing or running game is ranked among the top-25 air and ground attacks in the nation. And not only does Braxton Miller have a passer rating 14.4 points higher than Kevin Hogan's, but Miller is the superior athlete, rushing for 601 more yards than Hogan this season.
Stanford's 12th-ranked defense will keep the game close, but its offense won't be able to keep up.
Ohio State by seven
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Baylor
No. 13 Clemson is the highest-ranked ACC school to replace Florida State in the Orange Bowl, while No. 9 Baylor, assuming it maintains its one-loss record after facing No. 25 Oklahoma on Saturday, is the best at-large option. This showdown would be one of the most exciting of the bowl season, but it wouldn't necessarily be close.
The Bears boast the No. 1 offense in the nation, averaging 55.4 points per game. Only twice did it fail to pass the 40-point mark, which is about how many Clemson's offense averages, 40.2.
Tajh Boyd looked like a Heisman candidate when he wasn't playing a ranked opponent. He finished with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1-to-4 against the Tigers' last two, Florida State and South Carolina. His offense won't be able to keep pace with Bryce Petty's, who has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 28-to-2 on the season.
Baylor by 10
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan State
Alabama will be the highest-ranked SEC team available to represent the conference in the Sugar Bowl if Auburn earns a national championship bid. And Michigan State should maintain a high enough ranking to attract an at-large bid even in a loss to Ohio State. But like Florida State in the title, any school that is matched up with the Crimson Tide in the Sugar or Orange Bowl will be a heavy underdog.
Against Big Ten competition inferior to that of the SEC, the Spartans average a measly 29.3 points per game. Alabama scores 38.8 a game as well as holds its opponents to 11.3 per. Michigan State only surrenders 11.8 points per game, but it also hasn't faced future NFL draft first-round talents like T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper.
While Yeldon averages 6.1 yards a pop and Cooper 17.1 a catch, neither the Spartans' rushing or passing attack is ranked in the top 45 in the country. Their lack of offense will be their downfall.
Alabama by 14
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. UCF
If No. 6 Oklahoma State maintains its eight-game winning streak against No. 17 Oklahoma and No. 16 UCF keeps alive its seven-game winning streak vs. SMU, they'll face off in the Fiesta Bowl—the Cowboys as the Big 12 representative and the Knights an automatic at-large bid as AAC champs. It would prove to be the least competitive BCS bowl this year.
UCF only defeated unranked Memphis by seven, Houston by five and Penn State, Temple and South Florida by three. The Knights are lucky to have only one loss. Comparatively, Oklahoma State has beat its last five opponents—which include No. 4 Baylor, No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 24 Texas—by an average margin of 28.4 points per game.
The Cowboys are arguably the hottest team in college football outside of Florida State. A showdown with UCF, which has never been to a BCS bowl, would be a major mismatch.
Oklahoma State by 17
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.