BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Matchups Ahead of Key Title Games

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 30:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators on November 30, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Northern Illinois couldn't continue its perfect season on Friday night as it fell to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game.

The Huskies' loss changed the BCS outlook and it might be altered a few more times before Saturday comes to a close. Of course, that's because it's championship week around college football.

There are several critical matchups on tap for tonight, highlighted by No. 1 Florida State in the ACC title game and No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

Those top two national championship contenders will look to defend their spots atop the BCS standings with wins over Duke and Michigan State, respectively. Teams from the powerful SEC, most notably Auburn and Missouri as well as idle Alabama, are hoping things get shaken up.

Without further ado, let's project the BCS bowls:

BCS Bowl Predictions
National Title GameFlorida StateOhio State
Orange BowlClemsonAlabama
Sugar BowlAuburnOregon
Rose BowlMichigan StateArizona State
Fiesta BowlBaylorUCF
2013-14 BCS Projections

Although everybody will be looking out for upsets, especially involving the current top two, perhaps the bigger question is whether Auburn has any chance to leapfrog Ohio State if the first three teams in the rankings all win.

The likelihood is low but, to be sure, it's something to keep in mind.

If Ohio State plays poorly and manages to just sneak by Michigan State, and Auburn is able to produce an outstanding performance to score a sizable win over Missouri, some voters may be swayed at the last minute.

For those particularly interested in the national title race, ESPN passed along a graphic to show the probable matchups based on the results of the key conference championships.

Duke deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back from early losses to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh to reach this point. That said, none of the Blue Devils' results suggest they can hang with a Florida State squad that's already crushed Clemson and Miami, among others.

As for Ohio State, getting pushed to the limit by Michigan last week was a positive. The Buckeyes hadn't been seriously challenged in nearly two months, so having to fight through some adversity before facing their toughest test to date in Michigan State should help.

It won't be easy, but look for Ohio State to remain unbeaten and to do enough to convince voters to keep them No. 2 in the process.

Assuming Florida State is playing for the national title, the Orange Bowl will need to replace the Seminoles.

Clemson doesn't have a bad loss and getting to see Tajh Boyd back on the BCS stage would be a good draw.

The other Orange Bowl spot goes to Alabama. As seen above, the Crimson Tide have a couple potential avenues to the championship game, but it's unlikely. If the chips don't fall their way, they are obviously a coveted at-large team given the strong fanbase.

Moving to the Sugar Bowl, the winner of the SEC title game would highlight the contest.

Auburn has to be the favorite over Missouri given its strong showing against Alabama. Auburn is joined by Oregon, which is catching some breaks so far during conference championship week.

Even if Michigan State isn't able to pull off the upset of Ohio State, there should still be a spot in the Rose Bowl available for the Spartans. They will take on the Pac-12 champion, with a slight nod to Arizona State over Stanford.

Finally, the Fiesta Bowl will get the winner of Texas against Baylor. The Bears' offense gives them a clear edge in that contest. That leaves UCF as the final at-large team for BCS selection after claiming the AAC crown.



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