BCS Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Critical Info for January's Marquee Matchups

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles passes 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

The college football bowl season kicks off on Dec. 21, but the BCS action will have to wait until New Year's Day when Stanford and Michigan State lock horns in "The Granddaddy of Them All," otherwise known as the Rose Bowl.

Jan. 1's Rose Bowl Game will signal the beginning of a week of BCS bowl games, culminating with Florida State vs. Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6.

With the BCS bowls less than two weeks away, let's get you set with everything you need to know for January's marquee showdowns.

BCS Bowl Schedule 2013-14
Date/TimeBowlMatchupVenueTVLive Stream
Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ETRose Bowl GameNo. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan StateRose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.ESPNESPN3.com
Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ETTostitos Fiesta BowlNo. 15 Central Florida vs. No. 6 BaylorUniversity of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.ESPNESPN3.com
Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ETAllstate Sugar BowlNo. 11 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 AlabamaMercedes-Benz Superdome, New OrleansESPNESPN3.com
Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ETDiscover Orange BowlNo. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio StateSun Life Stadium, MiamiESPNESPN3.com
Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ETBCS National ChampionshipNo. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 AuburnRose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.ESPNESPN3.com
Bowl Schedule via ESPN


Rose Bowl: Stanford (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1)

The beloved Rose Bowl Game will pit Pac-12 champion Stanford against Big Ten champion Michigan State.

The Cardinal beat Wisconsin in this bowl a year ago and will look to become the first team to repeat as Rose Bowl champions since USC in 2008.

But knocking off the gritty Spartans will be no easy task. Michigan State has won nine in a row and won't be lacking confidence having knocked off Ohio State its last time out.

You can expect a defensive battle to unfold in this one as both teams rank inside the top 10 nationally in scoring defense. The Spartans rank fourth-best in America, slightly ahead of Stanford, allowing just over 12 points per game in 2013.


Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida (11-1) vs. Baylor (11-1)

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 07:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears throws the ball against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In what promises to be a high-scoring affair, American Conference champ Central Florida will try its luck against Big 12 champion Baylor, who leads the country in scoring offense this season, averaging more than 53 points per game. 

While the Knights have proven to be a dangerous squad this seasonlosing by three points to South Carolina and coming from behind to beat Louisville on the road—you can expect them to have a difficult time keeping pace with Bryce Petty and the Bears. 

Central Florida is averaging 33.2 points per game this season, and even if the Knights hit their average, they're likely to get blown out in Glendale.

And as NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt points out, both teams are having trouble getting their fans to buy into this matchup:

You could certainly argue that this is the least anticipated matchup of the five BCS bowls. 


Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Alabama (11-1)

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 23:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field to face the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two-time defending national champion Alabama was a few bad breaks away from potentially playing for a third consecutive national crown this winter.

Unfortunately, a gut-wrenching loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl ended the Crimson Tide's memorable reign. 

Now Nick Saban's squad will gear up for Oklahoma, who earned an at-large bid from the Big 12. 

While the stakes aren't quite as high as he had hoped, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is still excited about the Tide's opportunity to finish the season strong, per RollTide.com:

I know Alabama and the Sugar Bowl have a rich tradition together, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to play such a tremendous program like the University of Oklahoma. The Sugar Bowl gives us a chance to play our final game together on one of the grandest stages college football has to offer.

The Sooners' best wins this season came against Notre Dame, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. But blowout losses to Texas and Baylor raised question marks.

Unsurprisingly, Bob Stoops' team will be mighty underdogs in New Orleans. 


Orange Bowl: Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1)

There's certainly no shame in suiting up for the Orange Bowl.

But for Ohio State, January's bowl game will be a disappointing reminder of how close they came to playing for a championship.

While the Clemson Tigers will likely be ecstatic to represent the ACC in Miami, the Buckeyes will have to regroup and turn in an impressive performance in prime time in order to earn some much-needed respect for the Big Ten. 

The Buckeyes are projected to be slight favorites at kickoff and for good reason.

Ohio State boasts the nation's third-best rushing attack in terms of yardage and should have a solid advantage on the ground against Clemson's 51st-ranked run-stopping unit. 


BCS National Championship: Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates a second quarter touchdown against the Duke Blue Devils during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, Nort
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The country's two best teams will meet for all the marbles on Jan. 6 in Pasadena. Per BCS executive director Bill Hancock (via USA Today's Daniel Uthman): "We've gotten the matchup everybody wants to see. We felt we'd get the two best teams, and we did."

No. 1 Florida ran the table for the first time since 1999 and won the ACC title for the second straight year. 

Meanwhile, Auburn has won nine straight, including a pair of miraculous wins over Georgia and Alabama in November. 

All eyes will be on Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who became the second freshman ever to win the coveted award after throwing for more than 3,800 yards and 38 touchdowns. 

It'll be up to Winston to deliver another mighty performance with the Seminoles set to square off against the nation's No. 1-ranked rushing attack in Auburn. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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