Bowl Predictions 2013: Breaking Down Likely Scenarios for BCS Games

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2016

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates on stage with offensive lineman Bryan Stork #522 after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 45-7 in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The conference championships have been played, the contestants for the BCS title game will be named without controversy and the only thing left to do is project the BCS matchups.

Yeah, I'm excited too. Let's predict some bowls!

Before we begin, however, let's review the BCS selection process. The first thing to remember is that the Rose Bowl is tied to the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions, the Sugar Bowl is tied to the SEC champion, the Orange Bowl is tied to the ACC champion and the Fiesta Bowl is tied to the Big-12 champion.

Now, we know Florida State and Auburn are off to the BCS championship. That means the Orange Bowl gets the first selection to replace top-ranked Florida State, and the Sugar Bowl gets the second selection for losing Auburn. 

We also know that Michigan State, Stanford and Baylor are off the table, as they'll go to their respective bowls as conference champions. And Orange Bowl can try to select Alabama but likely won't succeed in landing them, since the bowl replacing the top-ranked team can't choose a team from the conference with the second-ranked team unless given consent to do so.

And why in the world would the Sugar Bowl give up a powerhouse like Alabama?

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  AJ McCarron #10 and Cade Foster #43 react after Foster missed a field goal in the third quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After those two bowls make their selections, the order of the remaining picks goes the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, respectively. In other words, get ready to see Baylor take on Central Florida.

The Orange Bowl will likely make Clemson their first selection to maintain an ACC connection. The Sugar Bowl will follow with Alabama. And then it gets really, really interesting.

At first glance, you'd think the Orange Bowl would go with Ohio State. They have just one loss, they're a huge draw and they have a good enough offense to make a meeting with Clemson an exciting shootout. 

That's the likely choice.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes delivers a pass 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 they could choose to go with another team, with Oregon, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the likely options. Oklahoma State's loss to Oklahoma likely eliminates them. Both Oregon and Oklahoma are big draws, but the Ducks are probably the more appealing choice for the television audience.

On the other hand, Oklahoma fans will probably travel better than Oregon fans, having far less of a distance to go. And the Oklahoma fanbase certainly extends far wider than simply Norman, Oklahoma. 

So, will the Orange Bowl go with Ohio State, Oregon or Oklahoma to face Clemson? Or could they bypass Clemson altogether?

It'd be pretty surprising if they passed up Ohio State versus Clemson. The ACC draw is too strong to ignore with Clemson, and their fans will travel to the game in droves, while the Ohio State brand is large enough to ensure they'll both travel and help the game earn solid ratings. 

So that leaves us with one bowl to decide: the Sugar Bowl. Who will face Alabama?

STILLWATER, OK - DECEMBER 7:    Head coach Bob Stoops congratulates running back Brennan Clay #24 of the Oklahoma Sooners after the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys December 7, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeate
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The matchup every neutral will want is Oregon versus Alabama, even if this game wouldn't be nearly as appealing as a national championship clash would have been, as we all hoped for in the past two years. The Ducks wouldn't be able to stop Alabama's offense at all, of course, but the Crimson Tide defense has been vulnerable against talented offenses and the Ducks would score some points. 

But don't be surprised when the Sugar Bowl goes with Oklahoma. Ultimately, the bowls are about making money, and if they feel the Sooner fanbase will travel better and the game will still do well in the ratings, Oklahoma will get the nod.

The neutrals among us will be disappointed, but let's be honest—Oregon didn't do enough this season to make a compelling enough case that they absolutely deserve the bid more than Oklahoma anyway. The Sooners would be totally justified reaching the Sugar Bowl.

So, without further ado, here are my official projections for the BCS bowls:

BCS Bowl Projections
BCS National ChampionshipFlorida State vs. Auburn
Rose BowlStanford vs. Michigan State
Orange BowlClemson vs. Ohio State
Sugar BowlAlabama vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta BowlBaylor vs. UCF

What do you think? Will Oregon get in? What matchup do you want to see in the Orange Bowl? Will any neutral fans watch Baylor versus UCF?

Be sure to leave your projections in the comments.


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