Bowl Projections 2013: Potential Barnburners You Won't Want to Miss

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IDecember 8, 2013

Sep 29, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin (1) looks for a receiver during the second quarter against the Central Florida Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Never let it be said the college football gods don't care about their subjects, as there are some outstanding potential matchups brewing for the 2013 bowl season. 

To no one's surprise, college football has been absolutely crazy in the final year of the BCS.

At the beginning of the season, Alabama seemed poised for a three-peat as national champions. Florida State was viewed as a team with potential, but it had a preseason ranking of No. 11, while Auburn wasn't even ranked in the Top 25.

But that's why they play the games. The human element is always present, and the best teams don't always win.

The Seminoles and Tigers will play for the national title at the BCS National Championship, while Alabama will have to wait until next year to win The Coaches' Trophy for Nick Saban

The craziness of the season has opened the door for a wild postseason finale. Here are a few potential matchups you won't want to miss that have emerged after a wild and crazy conference championship weekend.

Sugar Bowl: Oregon vs. Alabama

This is the matchup most people expected to see emerge for the BCS National Championship Game, but the 2013 season proved disappointing for both Oregon and Auburn. Heck, it's the matchup everyone was clamoring for back in 2012, too.

Finally, America can get its wish.

Alabama, as the No. 2 team in the SEC with Auburn participating in the title game, is an automatic qualifier for the Sugar Bowl.

Oregon, on the other hand, is no lock, but the Ducks are an attractive at-large team, and it's hard to imagine the Sugar Bowl organizers will turn down the opportunity to pit these teams against one another in January. 

Oregon features one of the most explosive offenses in the nation, averaging 46.8 points per game.

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks in action during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Ducks 42-16.  (Photo
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Marcus Mariota is a phenomenally gifted athlete who is also an accurate passer with a big arm. Oregon's offense hasn't been stymied often in his two years behind center, but Alabama's No. 2-ranked scoring defense could potentially prove a sufficient match.

Alabama's offense against Oregon's fast and aggressive defense would be an interesting matchup in this contest. The two teams that beat the Ducks this year (Stanford and Arizona) combined to rush for 576 yards and six touchdowns. 

Kenyan Drake and T.J. Yeldon could potentially have monster games against Oregon, which means the game could turn into a shootout if Oregon's offense finds a way to get going. 

Projected Score: Alabama wins 42-31. 

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State

As a result of getting humbled by Michigan State in the Big Ten Conference Championship game, Ohio State lost its chance for a national title. 

To those who've been watching the Buckeyes all year long, though, this wasn't a huge surprise. Ohio State's defense just isn't capable of locking down the entire field, and the Spartans took advantage of every mismatch they found. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to run during the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

But this is still one of the most exciting teams in the nation. Braxton Miller is in the Heisman conversation for good reason, and Clemson's defense—though solid—would yield a few more big plays than Michigan State did in Week 15. 

Tajh Boyd's Tigers have plenty of firepower to respond in kind, however, and this potential matchup would turn into a game full of offensive highlights. Boyd and his top receiver Sammy Watkins are going to be playing big-boy football in the NFL next year, and this will be the final chance to see both of them in action wearing Clemson colors. 

In the end, though, Miller and the Buckeyes would prevail at the conclusion of a wild fourth quarter.

Projected Score: Ohio State wins 45-42.

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin (1) looks to throw chased by Auburn Tigers defensive end Carl Lawson (55) in the first quarter during the 2013 SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome.. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shire
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State was ever so close to getting into a BCS bowl game, but Blake Bell ruined the Cowboys' chances with 19 seconds on the clock in Week 15, throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to propel Oklahoma to a huge win. 

Missouri had dreams of potentially leaping over Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State to reach the BCS National Championship Game, but Auburn crushed those dreams, thanks to a legendary performance by Tre Mason.

Both teams must rebound quickly, though, because there's a chance they'll compete against one another in one of the most prestigious non-BCS bowl games this January. 

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 23:  Clint Chelf #10 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys reacts in the first quarter against the Baylor Bears at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Cowboys feature a balanced offense that ranks No. 15 in the nation. Clint Chelf struggled against the Sooners, throwing an interception, but he's been playing well in the second half of the season. 

James Franklin was outstanding for the most part against Auburn, but he couldn't keep pace with the "other" Tigers' scoring. 

Missouri's defense isn't as strong as Oklahoma State's, but the Tigers feature more offensive firepower than the Cowboys. The two teams are evenly matched, and this game would surely come down to the wire.

Projected Score: Missouri wins 38-35.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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