BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Updated Projections for Most Intriguing Games

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2013

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) celebrates after a touchdown against the Missouri Tigers during the fourth quarter of the 2013 SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome. Auburn won 59-42. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was anticlimactic.

In the BCS' final year, there wasn't any controversy. Ohio State's loss in the Big Ten championship opened the door for Auburn and eliminated any arguments as to whether an unbeaten Big Ten team should get in ahead of a one-loss SEC champion.

Northern Illinois' loss earlier in the week also took the Huskies out of contention for a BCS bowl, thus ending the debate about NIU's BCS validity.

With the playoff coming next year, you wanted some good, old-fashioned BCS chaos. Instead, everything has been tied with a neat little bow.

Here's a look at the most likely matchups for the five BCS bowls, courtesy of CBS Sports' bowl expert Jerry Palm. Rankings are based off the newest AP Poll.

BCS Bowl Projections
BCS National ChampionshipNo. 1 Florida State SeminolesNo. 2 Auburn Tigers
Orange BowlNo. 7 Ohio State BuckeyesNo. 12 Clemson Tigers
Sugar BowlNo. 3 Alabama Crimson TideNo. 11 Oklahoma Sooners
Fiesta BowlNo. 6 Baylor BearsNo. 15 UCF Knights
Rose BowlNo. 5 Stanford CardinalNo. 4 Michigan State Spartans
CBS Sports' Jerry Palm

Among those five bowls, these three stand out.

BCS National Championship

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07: Tight end Braxton Deaver #89 of the Duke Blue Devils makes a catch as defensive back Jalen Ramsey #13 and defensive back Nate Andrews #29 of the Florida State Seminoles defend during the ACC Championship game at Bank of Americ
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Florida State is giving up the third-fewest yards a game (268.5) and 14th-fewest on the ground (116.5). The Seminoles aren't like Oregon and Baylor, in that their offense isn't of the quick-strike variety, giving the ball back to the other team after only a couple of minutes.

However, you wonder if anybody can stop this Auburn offense. Even in that loss to LSU, it had 437 yards of offense, 213 of which came on the ground. The Tigers don't run a lot of plays on offense, but what they do run is extremely successful.

Missouri wasn't a terrible defensive team, yet Auburn ran for 545 yards. CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman noted how successful the Tigers were through the first three quarters.

As good as Jameis Winston is, he can't play defense. Between Nick Marshall and Tre Mason, the Tigers should have enough to prevail.

With everything that has gone right for Auburn, it looks to be the Tigers' year.

Prediction: Auburn 40, Florida State 30

Orange Bowl

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 30:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers drops back to pass during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This is an interesting matchup of two teams looking to silence some doubters with a BCS win. Clemson and Ohio State both had wins that lost their luster as the season went on, and in their most important games of the season, they came up short.

Winning the Orange Bowl would be a nice way to end the year and, at least, give fans some satisfaction. It could also have some ramifications in future polls and national title discussions.

I'm going with the upset here.

The Buckeyes defense could end up losing them another game. You saw the warning signs in the 42-41 win over Michigan, so Michigan State getting 438 total yards in the Big Ten championship shouldn't have come as a surprise.

Clemson has plenty of offensive weapons with which it can gash the Buckeyes, and Tajh Boyd will be looking to atone for his poor performance in the loss to South Carolina.

Prediction: Clemson 31, Ohio State 24

Rose Bowl

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
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While this game may not reach the offensive excitement of the national title game, it looks to be the most interesting matchup of the BCS in terms of the two teams. Stanford and Michigan State are very alike as they have strong defenses and offenses that depend on the running game in order to be successful.

Kevin Hogan and Connor Cook are capable quarterbacks, but this game will come down to how well Jeremy Langford and Tyler Gaffney can pound the rock.

Although the Spartans have the best rushing defense in the country, the numbers could be inflated by their schedule. Their conference as a whole is weak, and they didn't get Wisconsin this year. Although MSU beat Ohio State, it surrendered 100 yards apiece to Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller.

When facing a better defense, the Spartans could be in trouble.

The key to this game will be who gets up early. In Stanford's two losses this year, it was down at halftime. But when it can build an early lead, it is deadly, as evidenced by the Pac-12 championship.

Prediction: Stanford 24, Michigan State 20


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