BCS Bowl Projections 2013: Highlighting Key Matchup in Top Potential Pairings

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BCS Bowl Projections 2013: Highlighting Key Matchup in Top Potential Pairings
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A matchup of the Ohio State offense and the Florida State defense would have been nice to see, but Ohio State's loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday squashed all hopes of that BCS title match happening.

Instead, the fans will be treated to several other matchups that will yield exciting results.

The exact pairings are still up in the air, but we have been given good indications based on previous BCS rankings of what the bowl games will look like. The season's top games will be compelling to watch because of a few key matchups that will dictate the action.

BCS National Championship Game: Nick Marshall and Tre Mason vs. Florida State Defense

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Instead of seeing Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde of the Buckeyes, we will most likely get to see Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason taking on the Seminoles defense.

Auburn has the No. 1 rushing attack in the country. Marshall and Mason have combined for over 2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground. Mason's effectiveness on offense has made Marshall's job a lot easier under center.

In an option offense, being able to pass when the opportunities present themselves is crucial. Without an effective running back, passing becomes difficult because there is nothing to balance the offense. Mason has helped Marshall by providing that balance and moving the chains when given the ball.

Auburn will have a tough time containing Jameis Winston, so they'll need their top two offensive stars to keep up with the Seminoles.

Orange Bowl: Braxton Miller vs. Clemson Defense

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Ohio State can win against Clemson in the Orange Bowl if Braxton Miller can pick apart the Tigers' secondary—something that will not prove easy to do.

Miller had a horrible outing against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, completing 8-of-21 passes for just 101 yards and one touchdown. He did rack up 142 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, but his inability to pass consistently was a major downfall for the Buckeyes.

Miller will need to complete more than of 50 percent of his passes (or 50 percent, at the very least) to give OSU any chance of winning. An ACC opponent like Clemson will give the Buckeyes fits without a fluid offensive attack.

The Tigers will look to get creative with coverage and blitz schemes in an effort to confuse Miller and make his day more difficult. Without a solid day from Miller in both departments (rushing and passing), Ohio State stands little chance.

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma Defense vs. AJ McCarron

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A Sugar Bowl matchup of Alabama and Oklahoma would, in theory, lean considerably in the Crimson Tide's favor. Alabama is far and away the better team—even after losing to Auburn—and are still talented enough to compete in the BCS title game.

Their loss to Auburn prevents that, obviously, so the Crimson Tide will most likely be preparing for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Head coach Nick Saban will have AJ McCarron and the Crimson Tide offense prepared and ready to go against the Sooners. Oklahoma has a top-25 defense, but McCarron should have no problems picking it apart.

If Oklahoma wants any shot at winning, then it will have to force McCarron into making mistakes. He has just five picks on the season, though, so Oklahoma will need to get creative with its defense and give McCarron looks that he hasn't seen before.

Alabama will win if McCarron is nearly flawless—something that he almost always is.

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