We are approaching the best part of the college bowl season, and I have three winners pegged for some of the highlighted upcoming contests.
In the final year before we hit the College Football Playoff, there are solid matchups to take the system out in style.
Below, I'll pick the winner of three of those games.
Matchup: No. 4 Michigan State (12-1) vs. No. 5 Stanford (11-2)
This matchup isn't going to be the most entertaining. Well, unless you are a fan of great play in the trenches combined with bruising and disciplined football.
Stanford and Michigan State both got to the Rose Bowl by owning the point of attack.
The best matchup this meeting will produce comes when the Cardinal have the ball. Stanford's running game certainly isn't the flashiest in the nation, but it is consistent.
Stanford has the nation's 23rd-ranked rushing attack. It got those yards, however, in consistent four- and five-yard carries between the tackles. Those are the kind of carries that will wear an opponent down.
That running game will face its stiffest test of the season. The Spartans will bring the nation's best rush defense. Michigan State allowed 80.8 rushing yards per game this season.
This fueled the Spartans to the nation's fourth-stingiest scoring defense. Stanford is not far behind at 10th in that ranking.
The Spartans defense will be facing the stiffer test in this one. Michigan State is just 89th in passing and 51st in rushing in the national rankings.
Stanford will exploit that weak offense, get a few three and outs and then grind out a victory in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Stanford 20, Michigan State 13
Matchup: No. 12 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (12-1)
This game could very well end up being the most entertaining bowl game of the season.
Both of these offenses can put up points in a hurry, and although the defenses are not inept, they also aren't prepared to handle the quality offenses they will be facing.
Clemson finished the season 17th in the nation in points allowed, while the Buckeyes checked in at 21st. These are solid numbers.
Anyone who watched the Michigan Wolverines destroy the Buckeyes for 41 points or the Florida State Seminoles make mincemeat of the Tigers' defense to the tune of 51 points isn't going to be eager to back up the validity of either defense, however.
In this game, that is going to be a problem. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and Clemson's Tajh Boyd arguably give this game the bowl season's best quarterback matchup.
Miller uses his running ability in concert with running back Carlos Hyde to give the Buckeyes the fourth-most prolific rushing attack in the nation.
Boyd teams up with wide receiver Sammy Watkins to give the Tigers the nation's 12th-ranked passing attack.
The Buckeyes will pull this one out because of their running game. In a contest where both defenses struggle, the Buckeyes will be able to control the ball and use that to their advantage in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Ohio State 42, Clemson 37
BCS Title Game
Matchup: Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)
Well, there isn't much of a controversy over the two participants in the last year before the playoff. Florida State crushed everyone in their path and wound up first in the nation in scoring and second in the nation in points allowed.
Auburn didn't impress as much on the stat sheet. Although they boast one of the nation's best rushing attacks, it was their big wins down the stretch that announced their legitimacy for this game.
In the end, it is that path that has me siding with the Tigers. The experience of those big, close games gives this team the poise to win in the end.
This contest will be another shootout.
Freshman quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston has been unstoppable, and with three receivers who caught over 920 yards worth of passes, he has plenty of weapons around him.
Winston won't be able to help the Seminoles stop Auburn's rushing attack, however.
The Seminoles only allowed 3.14 yards per carry, but that isn't going to intimidate Auburn. The Tigers shredded Alabama's defense for 296 rushing yards, gained at an average of 5.7 yards per carry.
Auburn is going to rush its way to the national title.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Florida State 34
Stats via CFBStats.com.
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