BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Closest Matchups of Potential Pairings

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIDecember 8, 2013

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Running back Tyler Gaffney #25 of the Stanford Cardinal carries the football en route to scoring on a 69 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first quarter of the Pac 12 Championship game at Sun Devil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Last year's BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame was not what the fans wanted to see. Sure, it was great for fans of the Crimson Tide, but fans with no vested interest in the matchup were left bored by the one-sided affair.

You can expect much more compelling matchups in the 2013 bowl season.

The potential matchups for this bowl season appear great on paper. A flurry of upsets in the latter weeks of the season made the bowl picture a bit cloudy, but the past week of games did enough to provide some clarity to the situation.

With so many good teams vying for just a few bowl games, you can rest assured knowing that the end results won't be a letdown.


BCS National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on against the Duke Blue Devils during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Stree
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The 2013 BCS title game will not be a blowout like the Alabama-Notre Dame contest was from a year ago. Notre Dame was no match for Alabama, and the Crimson Tide won handily as a result.

While Florida State appears to be the best team in the nation—I mean, it is the lone undefeated remaining—Auburn looks like it might be the team of destiny. The Tigers knocked off Alabama in the Iron Bowl, destroyed Missouri in the SEC Championship Game and haven't lost since September 21 against then-No. 6 LSU.

Containing Jameis Winston will not be easy. He's the Heisman favorite for a reason, and he has shown the ability to pick apart some very good defenses.

Auburn will stick with the Seminoles offensively, though. The Tigers have the No. 1 rushing attack in the nation thanks to Tre Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall, and each rusher should be able to put up at least 100 yards on the ground in this one.

This game will come down to which defense can come up with more stops. I think the Seminoles win in the end, but it won't be in blowout fashion. This game gets decided by a touchdown: 41-34.


Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Jeremy Langford #33 of the Michigan State Spartans is lifted by teammate Fou Fonoti #51 after scoring the game winning touchdown in the fourth quarterof the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Ohio State Bucke
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If not for two upset losses against Utah and USC, Stanford probably could have found itself in the picture for the BCS title game. Hindsight is 20-20, though, and the Cardinal will have to settle with a Rose Bowl berth against the Michigan State Spartans.

This contest has all the makings of a classic defense-first matchup. Both teams possess top-10 defenses, and each unit will be put to the test against underrated offensive units. Each defense will be tasked with stopping a quality run game, and the game will be decided by which running back is more effective.

Stanford's Tyler Gaffney has just over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season, and he has been a huge reason why Stanford has been able to keep the ball moving down the field. He has helped quarterback Kevin Hogan with the balance he provides in the run game.

Michigan State's Jeremy Langford accumulated just over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he is currently working on a streak of eight straight 100-yard games. That'll be put to the test against Stanford.

This game will be decided by no more than 10 points. I think Stanford's run game gives it an edge against the No. 4 defense in the country, though, and the Cardinal will win, 28-20.


Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida

Nov 16, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) congratulates wide receiver Antwan Goodley (5) during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Baylor beat Texas Tech 63-34. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If you wanted a game with explosive playmakers on either sideline, then a Fiesta Bowl featuring Baylor and Central Florida is the game for you. Baylor is the top-ranked offense in the country, and UCF has legitimate weapons on the ground and in the air.

Baylor's Bryce Petty has thrown for over 3,800 yards and 30 touchdowns, and a majority of those yards and touchdowns have gone to wide receiver Antwan Goodley. Goodley has hauled in 67 passes for 1,319 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

UCF's ability to put tight coverage on Goodley will have a huge impact on this game. Petty has other options, but Goodley is by far his favorite target. Limiting him will force him to throw to receivers that he is less comfortable working with.

For Central Florida, quarterback Blake Bortles has two weapons that he likes to use frequently. Rannell Hall may have nearly 20 more catches than Breshad Perriman, but both have nearly 770 yards and each has hauled in three touchdowns.

Bortles' ability to spread the ball around will make Baylor's defensive scheme interesting to watch.

The weapons on either side make this game compelling. Baylor's offense is too strong from top to bottom, though, and the Bears will win 38-28 as a result.