The 2013 college football regular season was certainly full of offenses like Florida State's and Auburn's that crushed nearly any opponent, but then there were the teams like Michigan State and Stanford that reminded fans of old-school football.
All four of those teams are now playing in BCS bowl games because they were the best in the country on at least one side of the ball. Or, like in Florida State's case, they showed greatness on both sides. But if the top teams in the country proved anything, it's that playing great defense can still lead to greatness in college football.
When the college bowl season does officially begin on Dec. 21, here are a few bowl games that promise to be great defensive showdowns.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
The Badgers have held opponents to 10 points or less in seven games this season. The Gamecocks have allowed teams to score above 30 points this season just once. The two teams that know how to hold opponents to low-scoring affairs and have won all season with that mentality.
Both teams can also score at a high clip, with each averaging above 34 points per game, making this game even more interesting. The play of Joel Stave and Connor Shaw could likely dictate the winner of this game if either can crack the other team's defense, but the numbers for both teams prove that these quarterbacks can play on the big stage.
Whether Wisconsin can find a way to run the ball against the No. 2 rushing defense in the SEC (following Auburn's destruction of the No. 2 rushing defense in Missouri), or Shaw can find a way to get around a strong front seven for Wisconsin, this game will be decided by two great defenses.
Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU
LSU possesses the No. 3 pass defense and finished the season at No. 4 in total defense in the SEC behind the likes of Alabama and South Carolina. Iowa ranks 11th in the country in points allowed at just 18.8 per game.
Then there's the fact that LSU will be facing a tough Iowa defense without star signal-caller Zach Mettenberger, who suffered a torn ACL against Arkansas. As for the Hawkeyes, sophomore Jake Rudock appears to be ready to make just his 13th straight start against LSU. Rudock has thrown 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on the season.
Therefore, a sophomore in Rudock and a freshman likely starting for LSU in Anthony Jennings will be facing two of the stingiest defenses in the country. If either team plans to get its offense going, it will likely have to come from the running game with Iowa's Mark Weisman (938 rush yards, seven touchdowns) and LSU's Jeremy Hill (1,185 yards, 14 TDs).
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford
This showdown in Pasadena might just be a fight to 10 points for both teams. The Spartans and Cardinal both rank inside the top 10 in scoring defense and are coming off huge games in which they shut down two of the best offenses in the country.
Which bowl is the best defensive matchup?
Sparty did give up 374 total yards against Ohio State but held an offense that scores an average of 46.3 points per game to just 24 points. Michigan State held Ohio State scoreless in the first and fourth quarter to claim the Big Ten title
Meanwhile, Stanford was exposing a potent Arizona State offense that averaged 41 points per game to just 14 points in the Pac-12 championship game. Outside of a touchdown in the first and second quarter, the Sun Devils were shut out in the second half and couldn't get anything going against the Cardinal.
These are two teams that truly wouldn't be in a BCS bowl game without their great defenses and will need them to shine once again in order to come out of Pasadena with roses in their hands.