Bowl Predictions: The 12 College Football Games We Almost Certainly Won't See
We're all going to be willingly subjected to one of the best bowl seasons in recent history.
Provided Auburn and Oregon both win out, the BCS title game should be one of the most intriguing matchups in quite some time. Two incredible offenses, and so many great storylines.
But the fun doesn't stop there.
In the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin against TCU should be a real treat. TCU's defense is good, but can they really stop an offense that has averaged 67 points the past three weeks?
Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl should be a good game, too. Ohio State hasn't really been tested in many weeks now, and Virginia Tech is one of the hottest teams in all of college football, putting their loss to James Madison way behind them.
And if the ESPN.com bowl projections are to be believed, we could have some really good non-BCS games to look forward to.
Florida vs. Penn State. Texas A&M vs. Arizona. Oklahoma State vs. LSU. Michigan State vs. Alabama. Nebraska vs. Stanford.
But as many amazing games as there look to be, there are still so many potential matchups that make you wish fans could pick all the non-BCS bowl games.
So that's what I'm going to do. Here are the top 13 bowl games I would like to see. Maybe you might agree.
Boise State Vs Alabama
It was hard to remember while listening to Ohio State president Gordon Gee slam Boise State's schedule that Gee wasn't the first administrator to do so this season.
Soon after Boise State's epic 33-30 victory over Virginia Tech to kick off the 2010 season, Alabama head coach Nick Saban insinuated that choosing teams for a national championship shouldn't be about one game, but rather about doing it week-in and week-out. In other words...not this year Broncos, and not with that conference schedule.
Saban's criticism cut much deeper than Gee's however, because he knew that if the two teams (BSU and Bama) ever met on the field, the Crimson Tide very well might lose, but they would still have the advantage because they could climb their way out of a one-loss season and eventually overtake an undefeated Boise squad.
So what could make for a better bowl game than pitting Saban's Crimson Tide against Boise State. The game would be intriguing on so many levels.
First, you would have the champion for the "big guy" in college football, taking on the champion for the "little guy."
You would also have two of the winningest college QBs (Greg McElroy vs. Kellen Moore) going up against each other.
Two of the nation's best running-back tandems (Doug Martin and Jeremy Avery vs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson).
Three of the best wide receivers in the country (Titus Young, Austin Pettis and Julio Jones).
Two of the stoutest defenses.
And possibly the top two coaches in all of college football.
I'd most certainly arrange everything that is going on in my life to watch this one.
And it would finally give the Broncos a chance to make Nick Saban eat his words.
LSU Vs Michigan State
Seriously, have their been two coaches in recent memory who have more "cajones" than Mark Dantonio and Les Miles?
I think not.
They're the masters of the fake-punt, fake-field goal, and faking you into thinking they're a serious title contender. Both teams suffered emotionally draining losses.
LSU's two came against Auburn, who pulled ahead with the game-winning TD with five minutes remaining, and an eight-point loss to Arkansas that killed any hopes the Tigers had at an at-large BCS bid.
Michigan State kept their composure and intensity going even after their head coach was sidelined with a heart attack, but got a severe beatdown at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes, 37-6.
I can imagine this game would have at least four or five trick plays, and let's be honest, why not?
This game could also feature two head coaches who could potentially be on the move.
Les Miles was always the front-runner for the Michigan job, something you could never get him to admit. He could see new opportunities on the horizon with an expanded Big Ten next year and move on to easier pastures.
And Dantonio, in my opinion, should be one of the top candidates for the big job at Miami, where I think his mindset and play-calling would be a refreshing change from the serious nature of Randy Shannon and Co.
TCU Vs Virginia Tech
TCU will most likely get their just reward, and get the opportunity to take on the juggernaut that is Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but as a loyal Boise fan, I can't help but think, since the two teams (BSU and TCU) can't play each other this year, they should at least be measured up against the same team.
Then we can really see which non-AQ team is better.
Yeah, yeah I know that TCU is undefeated and Boise has one loss, but I'm betting that TCU would have a pretty tough time with the Hokies, who have reeled off 10 straight victories since their stunning defeat at the hands of James Madison in Blacksburg.
TCU is good, but with Andy Dalton nursing a sore elbow and with all the momentum Tech has generated during their steamroll through the ACC, I bet this would be a pretty one-sided game.
Unfortunately, we won't get the chance to see it, which could be a good thing for TCU. I don't know that I would want to face Wisconsin either, but Virginia Tech has more of a chip on their shoulder.
Oklahoma Vs Arkansas
I get excited just thinking about this as a potential bowl game, which ESPN.com tells me could be a legit pairing.
Landry Jones vs. Ryan Mallett. Oh my goodness!
This game could be huge! Two huge names, two big arms, tons of points. I can see it now.
Arkansas declared itself as the best team not named Auburn to come out of the SEC this season with its win over LSU last weekend.
And Oklahoma looks like a safe bet to defeat Nebraska and claim the Big 12 title.
Both teams looked like they're headed to a BCS game.
Please let them find each other.
Arizona Vs Iowa
I know we already saw this game once this season, but it was a really good one that saw the Wildcats walk away with a 34-27 victory, giving Arizona their biggest non-conference win in quite some time.
Neither team was really able to sustain any sort of momentum this season. Iowa looked really strong early on, brushing aside losses to Wisconsin and Arizona, before finally collapsing and losing their last three games, including a 27-24 head-scratcher to 3-9 Minnesota.
The same was true for Arizona. They looked really good despite a loss to Oregon State, but also lost the last three games that they have played. They still have their season final against Arizona State, but at 7-4, they've already slumped back to earth, and put any shot at salvaging their season behind them.
So, I'd like to return both teams to better times, when their seasons looked brighter and both teams were filled with plenty of optimism.
Wisconsin Vs Nevada
Seriously, are there two teams outside of Oregon and Auburn playing better football than these two teams.
Wisconsin has averaged 67 points over their last three games, and 341 rushing yards per contest. They wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title with a 53-point victory over Northwestern and appear primed for a date with TCU in the Rose Bowl. And I'm fine with that, pitting two teams with a combined one-loss against each other.
But I'd much rather see the Badgers take on the only team that could possibly out-rush them, the Wolfpack of Nevada.
Chris Ault's team is coming off the biggest win in school history against Boise State on Friday, and they too have wrapped up a piece of their conference title.
Nevada is one of 11 teams who rush for more yards than the Badgers too and they have just as lethal a running combination in Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua.
Both teams have vastly underrated defenses as well. Wisconsin has only allowed more than 30 points once this season. And anyone who has watched Boise State's games this season knows how impressive Nevada's second-half defensive performance against the Broncos was.
Most of all, I would like to see Nevada coach Chris Ault get to show off his coaching acumen in a game bigger than the Humanitarian Bowl.
Missouri Vs Mississippi State
There haven't been two more impressive teams that have gotten close to no attention than Missouri and Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs have reformed themselves under second-year coach Dan Mullen, who has quickly changed the mindset among State fans, giving them hope and instilling a sense that they can win games they wouldn't have in years past.
Those games include last second-losses to LSU and Arkansas, the latter in double-overtime a few weeks ago. They notched impressive wins over Florida and Georgia this season, marking the first time they have defeated both in a single-season in God knows how long.
Missouri has also been quietly impressive. They fell off the face of the earth after back-to-back losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech mid-season, but they bounced back with three consecutive wins to finish the season at 10-2.
And they took it to Texas A&M 30-9 back in October, before the Aggies reeled off six straight wins of their own.
Their offense is high-powered, led by Blaine Gabbert, one of the top young QBs in college football.
South Carolina Vs Florida State
As a resident of the state of Florida, I can't forget how much fun Steve Spurrier was to hate. Especially as a fledgling Seminoles fan.
He's still fun to hate, but less so when he's coaching at South Carolina, who has a chance to upset everything if they can take down Auburn in the SEC title game.
Regardless of the result of that game, I would love to get the opportunity to see the Ole Ball Coach take on the Noles one more time.
None of the faces at FSU are the same. Bowden is gone, with Jimbo Fisher in his place, but even Fisher knows Spurrier from his time in the SEC. Everybody is connected somehow or another.
And with FSU riding high off of their destruction of the Gators last weekend, this game would be all the more sweet.
Michigan Vs Nebraska
This is a game that early in the season could have been something really special.
Both Taylor Martinez and Denard Robinson were serious Heisman candidates, while Nebraska's QB had his Huskers ticketed for a BCS bowl game. The latter is still a possibility, but the Huskers are going to have to take down Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game for their BCS dreams to come true.
Still, can you imagine the kind of numbers these two guys would put up in this game?
On the season, Martinez has completed nearly 60% of his passes for 1,435 yards and ten TDs. On the ground, he's run the ball 134 times for 974 yards, good for a average of 7.3 yards per carry. That's third-best in the country. He's also got 12 scores on the ground.
As good as Martinez's numbers are, Robinson's are epic.
He has 1,643 rushing yards, second in the country, trailing the leader by only six yards! 6.7 yards per carry, 14 rushing scores, 245 carries, which ranks ninth in the country, 2,300 passing yards, a 62% completion percentage, and 16 passing TDs.
This has offensive explosion written all over it.
Navy Vs Georgia Tech
What could be better than an all-option fest?
Nothing I say. Along with Air Force, no two teams have been as impressive at running the option over the past few years as these two teams, and it would be great to see them finally meet on the field of battle for the first time since Tech pulled the switch.
Navy is currently ranked third in the country in rushing, while Tech ranks first. Both have QBs with ten or more TDs on the ground. And in true option fashion, both teams rank near the bottom, right next to each other as a matter of fact (#118 and #119), in passing yards per game.
Still, Navy hung 76 points on East Carolina this year. They also beat Notre Dame. Tech has struggled but they managed to rack up 411 rushing yards last week against rival Georgia.
This game could be a game where you see less than ten passes attempted by both teams combined! And it could still be a shootout.
Sign me up!
Oklahoma State Vs USC
Well, this one is certainly not going to happen, first and foremost because USC is bowl ineligible for their part in the Reggie Bush fiasco.
Still, this is a game that I would like to see.
Think of it as the old-guard versus the new. It's no secret that it's been a bad year for the traditional powerhouses like Michigan, Alabama, Penn State, Florida, and Texas.
And as they have fallen by the wayside, newer, fresher programs have risen up to take their place at the head table. Squads like Auburn, Wisconsin, Stanford and Oregon. And of course, Oklahoma State.
Okie State has been different this year. They aren't that same team that wins their first six or seven games only to fold when they hit the crux of their conference schedule. This is a team to be reckoned with. They went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma and barely lost a shot at the Big 12 title.
Whichever bowl game is lucky enough to snag the Cowboys will be getting one heck of a offensive show.
Texas A&M Vs. Utah
Texas A&M has been a very pleasant surprise this year.
After dropping three in a row and falling to 3-3 on the year, they have rattled off six consecutive wins, including at home against Oklahoma and Nebraska, and at Texas in their season finale.
But because they play in the stacked Big 12 South, they won't even come within a spot of the conference title game. That will go to Oklahoma, who they crushed 33-19.
I'd be more than delighted to get to see them play another overlooked team, in 10-2 Utah.
The Utes got crushed 47-7 by TCU and then felt the effects of the hangover the next weekend against Notre Dame. But, aside from those two performances, they have been very strong.
They put those back-to-back losses behind them and finished the season strong, and in second place in the MWC, getting a little extra luck in the form of a last-second blocked field goal to beat BYU.