BCS Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down Underrated Matchups

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Guard Kevin Danser #76 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 38-14 in the Pac 12 Championship game at Sun Devil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The college football regular season is over, and the focus has shifted to the 2013-14 BCS bowl schedule and the most underrated matchups on tap.

With Alabama relegated out of the BCS National Championship Game, the battle between top-five teams featuring Michigan State vs. Stanford and so much more, fans of the sport are ready for the elite action to begin.

Here is the schedule for the BCS bowl games and a preview of the three most underrated matchups.

2013-14 BCS Bowl Game Schedule
Bowl Date Location Matchup
BCS Title Game Jan. 6 Pasadena, Calif. Florida State vs. Auburn
Orange Jan. 3 Miami, Fla. Clemson vs. Ohio State
Sugar Jan. 2 New Orleans, La. Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. Baylor vs. UCF
Rose Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Michigan State vs. Stanford
Source: Jerry Palm of CBS Sports

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07: Denzel Drone #42 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates in the final minute as Michigan State beat Ohio State Buckeyes 34-24  in the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Rose Bowl: No. 4 Michigan State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 5 Stanford (11-2, 7-2 Pac-12)

The most underrated bowl game of the entire season is the top-five battle between the Michigan State Spartans and the Stanford Cardinal. If you love old-school, hard-nosed football, this is a dream matchup.

The elite defensive units will be the focus of this game. Stanford comes into this meeting with the 10th best defense in the nation, and the program will face its toughest test of the year against the Spartans and their fourth ranked defense.

With both teams allowing just over 30 combined points per game, this on-field war at the Rose Bowl will be a defensive showcase that will have college football and NFL fans excited about the action.

Stanford and Michigan State are also evenly matched on offense. Both programs are ranked around 90th in the nation with just over 200 passing yards per game, but each has shown its ability to run the ball with much more consistency.

This matchup will be won and lost in the trenches, and that will result in one of the most exciting bowl games of the season. Fans should expect this game to resemble the AFC North battles between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens of the last decade.

Predicted Final Score: Michigan State 24, Stanford 23

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 30:  (L-R) Clay Fuller #23 of the Baylor Bears and Bryce Petty #14 celebrate a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Fiesta Bowl: No. 6 Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) vs. No. 15 UCF (11-1, 8-0)

Neither the Baylor Bears nor the UCF Knights were expected to be much of a threat for a national championship this season, but the two programs will meet in the Fiesta Bowl as one of the marquee games of the season.

I didn’t see that coming.

Baylor’s defense is ranked in the top 20 and has played well though most of the season, but the key to the Bears’ success is the nation’s top-ranked offensive unit. With an average of 53.3 points per game and two victories over ranked programs, the Bears have proven they have the firepower to be one of the most explosive teams in the nation.

As good as Baylor has been in 2013, the team will face its toughest test against the underrated abilities of the Knights. Most fans discount UCF’s credentials to earn a spot in this bowl game, but one loss all season (it came against South Carolina) and a win over the vaunted Louisville Cardinals make the Knights a legitimate threat.

UCF has won eight straight games heading into the Fiesta Bowl, and the team’s momentum will help them challenge Baylor like few other programs have this season.

Predicted Final Score: Baylor 45, UCF 34

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

Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

The case could be made that the Alabama Crimson Tide are the most talented team in the nation, but a loss to Auburn has forced the program to accept its bid to the Sugar Bowl. Awaiting them in New Orleans is the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Crimson Tide boast the most dangerous defensive unit in college football, allowing just 11.3 points per game. Besides the last-second loss to Auburn, Alabama looked impervious for most of the season.

While casual fans only know the Tide for the elite play of the defense, the run-first offense has also made a splash this season, averaging 38.8 points per game. As well as Alabama has played, though, the Sooners are on fire since the loss to Baylor earlier this season.

Three straight victories—including a huge win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys—have helped Oklahoma build chemistry on both sides of the ball. With an offense that is finding its stride and a defense that has played well against Big 12 competition, this matchup should be much more intriguing than most fans expect.

Instead of Alabama crushing Oklahoma, it will be a bitter battle.

Predicted Final Score: Alabama 30, Oklahoma 20


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