College Bowl Picks: Predicting Winners of BCS Matchups

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
College Bowl Picks: Predicting Winners of BCS Matchups
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There are 35 bowl games in total, but the big ones are the five the BCS has adorned with its tag. Next year, it'll be all about the four-team playoff when it comes to the postseason showcase of college football's elite.

This year the Sugar, Orange, Rose and Fiesta Bowls set the stage for the BCS Championship.

Who wins each game? Here's my take:

 

Rose Bowl - Michigan State Spartans vs. Stanford Cardinal

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Spartans would love to go from being known as the team that ruined Ohio State's national championship plans, to one of the legit best teams in the nation. 

A win over Stanford would accomplish that goal. That will be anything but easy considering the Cardinal are an eye-popping 7-0 against ranked teams this year. Were it not for slips against unranked Utah and USC, Stanford would be playing for more than roses.

One major question: Can the Spartans' No. 1-ranked defense smother the physical and underrated Cardinal attack? Stanford doesn't throw the ball 50 times or incorporate a bruising read-option run game, but somehow, it does just enough to win.

Will that be enough against a defense as good as Michigan State's? I say no.

The Spartans' ability to force turnovers is key. Michigan State had a total of 27 takeaways during the season. In Stanford's two losses, the team averaged 2.5 giveaways per game. If Michigan State wins the turnover battle, it has a great chance to win the game.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan will be facing the best defense he's seen all year. Denicos Allen and the very talented Michigan State front seven will make the plays to force turnovers and dominate time of possession. 

The Spartans will win 24-14.

 

Fiesta Bowl - UCF Knights vs. Baylor Bears

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After playing such a soft regular-season schedule, it is difficult to give UCF a ton of respect heading into the Fiesta Bowl. The Knights are 11-1, but the winning percentage of the teams they've beaten is just .401.

They pulled off a big win over Louisville on the road in October, but the Baylor Bears are far and away the best team the Knights will play this season. Art Briles' offense gets a ton of deserved credit. It leads the nation in scoring at 53.3 points per game, but Baylor's defense doesn't get the love it has earned.

The Bears have played three ranked teams—two in the Top 10—yet it still has a defense ranked 17th in the nation in yards allowed per game. Can UCF stop the Bears' offensive machine led by quarterback Bryce Petty or muster up enough offense to keep the torrid pace? No, it can't.

Baylor is going to put up a big number and make a statement in the Fiesta Bowl with a 57-27 win over UCF.

 

Sugar Bowl - Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Are you ready for another BCS beatdown? Truth be told, the only teams in the country that could probably be competitive against Bama are playing for the national championship. The Sooners got a tough draw here playing the angry, two-time defending champions. The Tide will likely be looking to make an example of an opponent. Just so happens, the Sooners are in the crosshairs.

Oklahoma gave up 255 yards rushing to the Texas Longhorns and Baylor in their two losses this season. That Oklahoma defensive front better have its chin straps on tight because the Bama line is going to come looking to dominate.

If the Sooners defense couldn't slow Baylor or Texas' run game, it won't have any luck against Alabama. T.J. Yeldon is going to have a huge performance, and A.J. McCarron will leave the storied program on a high note. Alabama wins 40-13.

 

Orange Bowl - Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Neither of these schools has performed well in recent bowl history, though Clemson did win the Chick-fil-A Bowl last New Year's Eve. Since 2006, the two schools are 4-9 in bowl games.

The Buckeyes obviously wish they were in the BCS title game, but the team will be wishing for much more than that when this game is over. Clemson is going to expose Ohio State even more than the Spartans did in the Big Ten championship.

The issue for Ohio State is not going to come on the offensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes' run game is legit enough to keep the team from being shut down. The major issue will arise when Ohio State's defense has to make a stand against Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Co. 

The Buckeyes just allowed 34 points to Michigan State, the 83rd-ranked offense in the nation. The Spartans don't have the weapons the Tigers have. Through the season, Clemson averaged 502 yards of total offense per game.

Needless to say, the Buckeyes haven't faced an offense like Clemson's all year. In yet another BCS game that lacks competitiveness, the Tigers will blast Ohio State 50-35.

 

BCS Championship - Florida St. Seminoles vs. Auburn Tigers

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fittingly, the best game of the BCS bowl season figures to be the championship. As long as Auburn doesn't turn the ball over, it will stay in this game. I'm convinced only the Carolina Panthers defense can slow the Tigers' run game—and Tre Mason may still go for 100 yards against them.

I'm kidding, but only slightly. For Auburn to run for over 500 yards on the ground against the second-best run defense in the SEC was amazing.

Even with Auburn's dominant run offense, its defense may be lost against the Noles' attack.

Likely Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston has had an amazing season, and his arsenal of weapons is sterling. This game is going to come down to which offense makes a mistake or which defense makes the crucial stand.

The edge goes to the team with the best signal-caller. Winston is capable of making more plays with his legs and arm than Auburn's Nick Marshall. That versatility will be the difference in a close and exciting championship game.

The Noles win 40-36.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

College Football

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.