BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Last-Minute Projections for January's Marquee Games

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2013

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) runs against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6) during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It all comes down to championship weekend.  

While Florida State and Ohio State are currently in the driver's seat to play for college football's biggest prize next month, a single slip-up on Saturday could open the door for another hopeful contender.

With only a handful of matchups remaining before the BCS becomes set in stone, here are my last-minute predictions for January's BCS bowl games. 

*Below matchups are projected. Final BCS standings and bowl games will be announced Sunday, Dec. 8.


Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 30:  Michigan State Spartans players celebrate the victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Spartan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 14-3.  (Photo by Mark A
Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

When: Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Watch: ESPN

Stanford will be a slight underdog in Saturday's Pac-12 Championship Game at Arizona State, but the Cardinal topped the Sun Devils by two touchdowns when they met back in September in Palo Alto.

Assuming Stanford can knock off Arizona State again, this time for the Pac-12 crown, the Cardinal will be heading to Pasadena for a showdown with Big Ten runner-up Michigan State. The 11-win Spartans will likely be chosen as the replacement for undefeated Ohio State.


Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Central Florida

When: Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Watch: ESPN

Oklahoma State can wrap up the Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl berth with a win over Oklahoma in the Bedlam rivalry on Saturday. The Cowboys have won seven in a row and, thanks to recent wins over Texas and Baylor, they control their own destiny at home this weekend.

The Cowboys are 10.5-point favorites to knock off the rival Sooners, according to VegasInsider.com.

On the other side, American Conference champions, Central Florida, are set to play in a BCS bowl game for the first time in school history.


Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Baylor

When: Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Watch: ESPN

The winner of the SEC title game this weekend is likely headed to the Sugar Bowl, assuming Florida State and Ohio State both take care of business in their respective contests.

VegasInsider.com has Mizzou as a two-point favorite coming into Saturday, but 2013 is the wrong year to bet against Auburn. The Tigers have been finding new ways to win every week and boast the nation's fourth-ranked rushing attack.

Meanwhile, Baylor could potentially earn an at-large berth in this game. The Bears are currently No. 9 in the BCS and can finish the season 11-1 with a win over Texas at home on Saturday. 


Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Alabama

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the second quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When: Friday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami

Watch: ESPN

The two-time defending national champions are still in solid position in the BCS and will no doubt be headed to a marquee bowl in January. Alabama is 11-1 overall and No. 4 in the BCS, with the potential to move up in the final standings. 

Meanwhile, with Duke likely suffering a third loss and falling further down in the BCS standings, look for 10-2 Clemson to make its way into the Orange Bowl as the ACC replacement. 


BCS National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Ohio State

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates on the field with quarterback Kenny Guiton #13 and quarterback Cardale Jones #12 after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 42-41 in a game at Michigan Stadium
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

When: Monday, Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. 

Watch: ESPN

No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Ohio State both control their own destinies on Saturday night, making them the two favorites to finish atop the final BCS standings.

The Seminoles will be four-touchdown favorites over Duke in the ACC title game in Charlotte, while the Buckeyes are only favored by six points over Michigan State, per VegasInsider.com. If there's a team on upset alert this weekend, it's clearly Ohio State. Michigan State has only lost once all season and boasts the top defense in college football.

The Spartans also rank first against the run (64.8 yards per game) and third in scoring defense (11.8 points per game). Therefore, expect the Buckeyes to struggle much more than the Seminoles on Saturday.


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