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Bowl Games 2013: Last-Minute Picks and Predictions for BCS Matchups

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Bowl Games 2013: Last-Minute Picks and Predictions for BCS Matchups
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There was some confusion in the final weeks of the season, but the results from championship weekend have given us a much better idea of what the 2013 BCS bowl games will look like.

There was a lot riding on Saturday's championship games. After Florida State's decisive win over Duke, there were several contests that had major implications on the bowl schedule for January. Multiple scenarios were in play, but thankfully, one of the easier scenarios played itself out.

We now have a good idea of what the bowl schedule will look like, and the five BCS games figure to be compelling. Here are the picks for college football's most important games.

 

BCS National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn

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The Seminoles are widely considered the best team in the nation, but the Auburn Tigers' recent run has led many to believe that the Tigers are the team of destiny. This matchup is perfect for the BCS title game.

The game plan for Auburn would be to limit Jameis Winston in any way possible. That's a daunting task, so expect this game to come down to Auburn's ability to keep up with the offensive production of the Seminoles.

Nick Marshall and Tre Mason will be tasked with picking up big-time yardage on the ground, but even that might not be enough to knock off the No. 1 team in the country.

Florida State will win 38-30, and the game won't be as close as the final score suggests.

 

Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson

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Ohio State-Clemson will come down to which defense forces the most stops.

Tajh Boyd is explosive under center for Clemons, and there's a reason he'll likely receive more than a few Heisman votes. He has the ability to make plays in the air and with his legs, and that has helped the Tigers keep the chains constantly moving.

Then again, OSU quarterback Braxton Miller can do the same thing. He's inconsistent as a passer at times, though, and that will hurt the Buckeyes. In the Big Ten Championship Game loss to Michigan State, Miller was just 8-of-21 for 101 yards in the air. To beat Clemson, he'll need to complete more than 50 percent of his passes and not turn the ball over.

I don't trust Miller's passing against the Clemson defense. The Tigers will take this one home, 31-24.

 

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma

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Alabama is still talented enough to compete in the BCS title game, but the loss to Auburn has essentially locked them into the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma will have a tough go of it against the Crimson Tide, as the Sooners are not nearly as complete of a team. Head coach Nick Saban will have AJ McCarron and the rest of the offense firing on all cylinders in this one.

To be honest, I don't predict that this game will be particularly close. Alabama will win handily, 41-20.

 

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida

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Baylor has the No. 1 offense in the nation, and they'll put that on display against the University of Central Florida. This will be an offense-first game for both teams, and it will be quarterback play that dictates the outcome.

Bryce Petty and Blake Bortles will look to go shot-for-shot down the field. Bortles has two receivers—Rannell Hall and Breshad Perriman—that he loves to target, whereas Petty prefers mostly to utilize Antwan Goodley. If Goodley is effectively covered down field, then Petty will have to resort to options that he isn't as comfortable with.

The Bears really haven't had many problems offensively this season (aside from the hiccup against Oklahoma State), and I don't think UCF will present them with anything they haven't seen before. Baylor will win, 40-31.

 

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford

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Between two relatively even teams, I think the key factor in the Rose Bowl will be which running back can keep the chains moving. Both Stanford back Tyler Gaffney and Michigan State back Jeremy Langford have put together fine seasons, but it will be their production against top defenses that determines the final score.

Gaffney (20) and Langford (17) both have a propensity to find paydirt. They can also rack up the yards, as Gaffney has accumulated over 1,700 total yards and Langford has tallied nearly 1,500. Each running back is a staple of his offense.

Gaffney may have a hard time finding running lanes against the No. 4 defense in the country. Michigan State is stingy against running backs and won't allow him to pick up many yards after contact.

That will be the kicker here. Coming off a win against OSU, the Spartans will continue their winning ways, 27-20.

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