Bowl Projections 2013: Predicting Biggest Upsets in Potential Bowl Game Pairings

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIDecember 8, 2013

Nov 30, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason (14) rolls out on a  pass play in the first half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

If you like upsets, then you'll want to keep up with the 2013 bowl season.

The 2013 college football season has been defined by upsets—at least as of late—and they have shaped the landscape of the BCS rankings. Auburn's upset win over Alabama shook up the field for the BCS title game, and Ohio State's loss to Michigan State did exactly the same—albeit on a much smaller scale.

While there will be several predictable bowl outcomes, more than a few games have the potential to end in an upset. Those are the games that you'll want to keep an eye on.


Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson

Dec 7, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws a pass during the third quarter of the 2013 Big 10 Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes proved against Michigan State that they just aren't in the same league as Florida State, Auburn, Alabama or any of the other top teams in the BCS standings. Their then-undefeated ranking and large margin of victory were what kept them toward the top of the standings.

After a 34-24 defeat in the Big Ten Championship Game, though, the Buckeyes have lost nearly all hope at playing in the BCS title game. Instead, they'll likely make a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Clemson is coming off a disappointing loss to South Carolina, but it represents Ohio State's most likely competition. As an ACC opponent, the Tigers will be able to exploit the Buckeyes. Their defense and offensive schemes just aren't the same as the ones that a Big Ten school like Ohio State is used to facing.

Despite being ranked a few spots lower (No. 13), Clemson will pull off the upset against OSU in the Orange Bowl. Clemson's defense will give Braxton Miller fits, while the offense will simultaneously pick apart the Buckeyes secondary.

This is an upset based on rankings alone, as Clemson does appear to be the far superior team.


Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Missouri

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback James Franklin #1 of the Missouri Tigers passes against the Auburn Tigers in the second half during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Im
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Wisconsin may be a Big Ten team taking on an SEC powerhouse in Missouri, but Wisconsin's chances of pulling off the upset are pretty high. 

The Badgers have both an explosive offense and stout defense, and the defense's effectiveness against a tough Missouri offense will be the key to the outcome. Missouri averages 39.0 points and 236.5 rushing yards per game, but Wisconsin's defense is great against the run and only allows 14.8 points per game.

The defense has led the Badgers to wins over then-No. 25 Minnesota and then-No. 19 Northwestern. Their three losses were by a combined 16 points, with differentials of two and seven against Arizona State and Ohio State, respectively.

This team can put up points and is good at minimizing opportunities for opposing offenses. Mizzou quarterback James Franklin will need to be kept in check throughout the course of the game, because he can kill the Badgers if he is given too many chances.

Look for Wisconsin to come out on top, though. The Badgers are a balanced squad that will ride their defense and rushing game to a win.


Gator Bowl: Michigan vs. Georgia

Nov 9, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason (14) reacts with offensive tackle Kolton Houston (75) after a touchdown against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Appalach
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing Aaron Murray for the rest of the season because of an ACL injury, the Georgia Bulldogs are in good position for the Gator Bowl against Michigan. Not having their starting quarterback makes them the underdogs against Michigan, but the Bulldogs are playing the perfect opponent.

The Wolverines have lost five of seven games, and their two wins in that time came against Indiana and Northwestern (in triple overtime). Sure, they lost on a failed two-point conversion against Ohio State, but this team isn't playing fantastic football right now.

Murray's replacement Hutson Mason has been solid in limited action this season. He has started just one game since Murray's injury against Kentucky, but Mason has appeared in three games overall. On the year, he has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 648 yards and four touchdowns. With only two interceptions in 71 attempts, he has shown the ability to make smart decisions in the pocket.

Georgia won't be given as much credit as it should without Murray under center, but Mason is in a perfect position to lead the Bulldogs to an upset against the Wolverines. Michigan is riding a cold streak right now, and it won't be able to bust out of it against Georgia.