BCS Bowl Games 2013-14: Predicting Most Thrilling Matchups

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIDecember 23, 2013

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 30:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers drops back to pass during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Last year's BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame was the antithesis of what most fans want to see on college football's biggest stage, but there are several BCS bowl games for this 2013-14 season that figure to blow Alabama-Notre Dame out of the water.

The Crimson Tide won handily, 42-14, and the clash that was supposed to keep fans on the edge of their seats turned into just another game on the schedule. Several of this year's matchups are sure to not disappoint in that way.

While Alabama's Sugar Bowl matchup against Oklahoma has the potential to be a bit one-sided (in favor of the Crimson Tide), the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and BCS title game should be thrilling from start to finish.


Rose Bowl

Michigan State and Stanford are two very evenly matched teams, and the Rose Bowl has the potential to be pretty exciting as a result.

Stanford has a slight advantage given how well it has played against ranked opponents this season, though. The Cardinal are undefeated in such games, and their wins have come against Arizona State (twice), Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon and Notre Dame.

On the other hand, the Spartans lost early in the season to Notre Dame and picked up victories against Michigan and Ohio State. Stanford's big-game experience in 2013-14 should help to prepare the team for this matchup.

Both offenses and defenses produced at similar levels this year, and that's what makes the game so intriguing. Stanford's No. 40-ranked offense will go against Michigan State's No. 4-ranked defense, while Michigan State's No. 62-ranked offense will test itself against the No. 10 defense of Stanford.

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Running back Tyler Gaffney #25 of the Stanford Cardinal carries the football en route to scoring on a 69 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first quarter of the Pac 12 Championship game at Sun
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Tyler Gaffney and Jeremy Langford (arguably the top two offensive players in the game), will look to make noise on the ground and keep the chains moving.

Stanford's Gaffney rushed for just over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, while also totaling 88 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Spartans will run Langford like they have all season, a season in which he amassed over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns.

This game will be decided by no less than 10 points, though I wouldn't be surprised if it came down to a field goal or two either.


Orange Bowl

Following Ohio State's loss to a big-time defense in Michigan State, the Buckeyes' Orange Bowl contest against Clemson has become much more interesting.

The Buckeyes' No. 4-ranked offense will butt heads with the Tigers' No. 17-ranked defense, but Ohio State might actually have some serious issues solving Clemson's secondary.

Braxton Miller was just 8-of-21 for 101 yards against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, and he'll have to complete at least 50 percent of his passes to give his team a shot to win. While he always has his legs to turn to, completing passes in the pocket will be what actually moves the ball down the field.

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 quarterback Tajh Boyd is of a similar mold, though he has been a statistically better quarterback this year. If he should struggle for any reason through the air, though, then look for him to hit the ground running as well.

If this game turns into a battle of mobile quarterbacks, it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top. Miller put up much better rushing numbers than Boyd did in just 19 more carries (1,033 yards to 273 yards), but Boyd was still able to find the end zone nine times.

Boyd's propensity to make big plays through the air gives Clemson the advantage at first glance, but Miller's ability to run will keep Ohio State in the game. I can see this matchup going either way and being decided by a touchdown or less.


BCS National Championship Game

Auburn looks to be the team of destiny after defeating both Alabama and Missouri in shocking fashion, but Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston certainly won't let his Florida State Seminoles fall victim to the same fate.

At 13-0, the Seminoles face their toughest test of 2013-14 in the BCS title game. Auburn running back Tre Mason will give them fits as he runs up and down the field, as the late addition to the Heisman ballot rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns against Missouri.

Quarterback Nick Marshall can also run, as he has rushed for at least 89 yards and a touchdown in each of the last four games. It'll be this combination that keeps Auburn moving down the field, but it will also be this combination that loses the game for them if Florida State can stop them in their tracks.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Nick Marshall #14 of the Auburn Tigers is tackled during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While Marshall is far from a bad passer, he doesn't have the ability to carry his team in the passing game. Marshall makes most of his plays on the ground and relies on Mason to help him with the heavy lifting.

This makes Auburn's offense very one-dimensional—the Tigers were the No. 1 rushing team in the nation, after all—and Florida State will simply have to stop the run (or contain the run) to win the game.

It'll be a battle between the offensive line of Auburn and the defensive line of Florida State throughout the entirety of the game, and the unit that budges will be the unit that falls short.