Bowl Games

Bowl Games 2013: Best Matchups That Will Live Up to the Hype

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07: Tre Mason #21 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates his second quarter touchdown with teammate quarterback Nick Marshall #14 against the Missouri Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIDecember 16, 2013

The regular season is over and the Heisman Trophy has been awarded to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, and now all the hype will be focused on some of 2013's best bowl games.

The final weeks of the college football season were nothing short of compelling, as unbelievable upsets and top-notch performances were the catalysts in shaking up the BCS rankings. Describing the final weeks as anything but "exciting" would be an understatement.

Heck, even "exciting" doesn't do those games enough justice.

As a result, the top bowl games on the schedule will live up to the hype.


Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. UCF

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 7: Blake Bortles #5 of the Central Florida Knights looks to the sidelines for a play against the SMU Mustangs on December 7, 2013 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

In terms of quarterbacks, the Fiesta Bowl features the best matchup of signal-callers out of all the BCS bowl games.

Bryce Petty of Baylor and Blake Bortles of UCF have put up stellar numbers all season. Petty put up 3,844 passing yards and 30 touchdowns with just two interceptions on the season, whereas Bortles tallied 3,280 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Both quarterbacks spread the ball around to their receivers, and both are capable of taking over a game. Needless to say, the key will be which quarterback comes out to play against an underrated defense.

Baylor and UCF each boast strong defenses that don't receive as much recognition as they should. This game won't be a shootout like we're used to seeing from these two offensive juggernauts, but that doesn't mean it won't be compelling.


Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes delivers a pass during the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Clemson and Ohio State are a combined 45-6 since the beginning of last season, and these high-powered offenses will put on a show in the Orange Bowl.

Sure, the Buckeyes had high hopes of playing in the BCS National Championship Game, but a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game squashed those hopes. Instead, Braxton Miller and Co. will be motivated to finish their season on a high note.

Miller and Tajh Boyd are very similar quarterbacks in terms of style. Both are very mobile and can make plays on the ground, but they are also capable of taking advantage of teams through the air.

Miller struggled against the Spartans, completing just 8-of-21 passes for 101 yards. His ability to pass against a tough Clemson defense will decide the game.

Ohio State needs a credibility booster, and winning against Clemson would do just that. It'll be an exciting matchup.


National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07:  Tre Mason #21 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with teammate quarterback Nick Marshall #14 against the Missouri Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta,
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Auburn's Nick Marshall and Tre Mason will need to rack up serious yardage if they want to take down the undefeated Florida State Seminoles and their Heisman-winning quarterback.

They average an uncanny 335.7 yards per game on the ground (tops in the nation), but the Seminoles defense is very strong against the run. Mason, a Heisman candidate himself, will need to shoulder the load and keep the chains moving.

He put up 304 yards and four touchdowns against Missouri in the SEC Championship Game, and Marshall added on 101 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Winston is dynamic on the ground as well, but his ability as a pocket passer makes him the total package. This game will come down to which defense can stop the top players on either side, and because nobody has been able to do that to the Seminoles yet, it's hard to pick against them.

Then again, Auburn looks to be the team of destiny after defeating Alabama in the Iron Bowl and taking down Missouri. I expect big things from this game.

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