BCS Bowl Games 2013-14: Power Ranking the Marquee Games

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles scores a touchdown in the third quarter against the Duke Blue Devils during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

While there may be a grand total of 35 bowl games ranging from everything to the AdvoCare V100 Bowl to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, there are five games that jump out on the schedule.

The BCS games capture the attention of the college football-loving public every January, and this season’s offerings will be no different. Florida State and Auburn will bring the BCS era to an end in the national title game, but there will be plenty of fireworks before that. 

Read on for a power ranking of the five BCS games based on a pure entertainment criteria. In other words, if you have no rooting interest in any of the schools, this is a ranking of how “must-see” the respective BCS showdowns will be this season.


No. 5: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

At the beginning of the season, very few people expected Baylor or Central Florida to crack the BCS slate, but both will be facing off on Jan. 1.

The Bears got here by winning the Big 12 after Oklahoma stunned archrival Oklahoma State, while the Knights will represent the American Athletic Conference. Neither program has ever appeared in a BCS bowl. 

Baylor’s firepower will ultimately be too much for Central Florida to handle, but any game involving the Bears’ offense is worth a watch. It is important to note that Baylor will finally be returning to health after a long break before this game, something it couldn’t have said for much of the season’s final month.


No. 4: Allstate Sugar Bowl

Baylor’s offense may be worth the price of admission, but the Sugar Bowl will be more entertaining because of the starpower of the competing schools.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the fourth 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

It doesn’t get much better than Alabama and Oklahoma from a historical standpoint, and head coaches Nick Saban and Bob Stoops are two of the best in the game. That’s not even taking into account the chance to watch Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon, Aaron Colvin and AJ McCarron the day after New Year’s.

Oklahoma picked up an impressive victory against Oklahoma State to end the season, but this offense struggled mightily against Texas and didn’t look all that impressive against Baylor. The bad news for Stoops and company is that the Crimson Tide are better defensively than either of those teams. 

As long as Alabama is motivated to play in a bowl game that isn’t the national title contest, it should win this one going away.


No. 3: Discover Orange Bowl

If you like offense, make sure to tune into the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.

Ohio State and Clemson sport two of the best offenses in the nation behind superstars such as Carlos Hyde, Braxton Miller, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. Throw in the fact that the Buckeyes and Tigers struggled on the defensive side of the ball in some of their marquee games this season, and the scoreboard will be plenty busy.

And then there’s this nugget from Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors:

Much like an arena football game, stringing together two consecutive stops may be the key to victory. Look for Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby and Ohio State’s formidable defensive line to make the important plays when needed and the Buckeyes to escape with a victory.


No. 2: Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio

The Rose Bowl couldn’t have asked for a much better matchup in its 100th edition than a showdown between Michigan State and Stanford.

If you prefer offense to defense, then the Orange Bowl could be ranked above this, but this is smashmouth football at its best. The Spartans shut down the high-power attack of Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, while the Cardinal once again shut the door on Oregon’s no-huddle offense and stopped a formidable Arizona State squad to win the Pac-12. 

Michigan State and Stanford are both in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense. Look for hard hitting, interior running and a game that comes down to the final possession.


No. 1: Vizio BCS National Championship

The undercard for the national title game presents a number of intriguing matchups between offensive powerhouses and defensive stars, but the BCS system is always about the national title game.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates on stage after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 45-7 in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolin
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This season’s version will pit Florida State and Auburn against each other in a game that is not short on star power. Jameis Winston, Nick Marshall, Tre Mason and a litany of unheralded superstars—some of the best offensive players in the country—will be on display Jan. 6.

The key may be Florida State’s defense, which ranks first nationally in scoring defense. Auburn’s defense is not nearly as formidable, which means if the Seminoles can string together a few stops, Winston and the offense can open up a lead and ultimately take home the crystal football.


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