Bowl Projections: 10 Games That Will Be Decided on Last Play
Bowl Projections are some of the biggest buzz in college football. Let's just skip over this weekend's championship games and take a look into our crystal ball and see which teams are playing where during bowl season.
Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers are nearly a lock for the BCS title game now that he's been ruled eligible to play against the South Carolina Gamecocks for the SEC championship. Think Steve Spurrier has any magic left for a dramatic upset?
That's hard to believe. The Tigers have been playing at a completely different level all season long as they've managed to remain undefeated playing some of the nation's best football teams.
Looking ahead into the future, who will be playing who? And what games are going to go down to the wire?
Here are 10 college football games that will be decided on the game's last play.
10. Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State Vs. Navy
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Projection: San Diego State vs. Navy
This is one perfect matchup that will certainly fill out a stadium.
San Diego State is the no-brainer choice because of their appeal to the locals. With TCU slated to play in a BCS Bowl and Utah likely going to the Las Vegas Bowl—the Aztecs should get the invite out of the Mountain West.
The Navy will be the other invitees after locking up a bid to play by winning more than six games.
What a great showdown—San Diego is a Navy town, and there's also going to be plenty of support for this Navy football team.
The last three Poinsettia Bowl games have been close, and this game should be no different. It could come down to the last play.
Preidction: San Diego State 31, Navy 28
9. Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Florida State Vs. Mississippi State
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Projection: Florida State vs. Mississippi State
This bowl bid goes to the number two team out of the ACC. Barring an upset, Virginia Tech should walk away with the ACC title and will be headed to the Orange Bowl.
Who will rival them? An SEC team most likely to be Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs are 8-4 this season with all four of their losses coming against ranked teams in-conference.
Mississippi State's only win against a ranked team this year came when they defeated the Florida Gators, 10-7, who was ranked No. 22 on the AP poll at the time they faced them.
Interestingly, it was the same Gators team that the Seminoles demolished 31-7.
Prediction: Florida State 24, Mississippi State 20
8. Capital One Bowl: Michigan State Vs. South Carolina
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Projection: Michigan State vs. South Carolina
Sadly, the Spartans will likely be left out of the Top BCS Bowl games even though they own a share of the Big Ten title and have only one loss this season.
Their consolation prize will be an appearance in the Capital One Bowl where they can go head-to-head with an SEC opponent.
The Spartans have had an arguably soft schedule this season, hosting top Big Ten opponents in their home field, so this Bowl game will be a true test for this upstart squad.
Steve Spurrier's team has gone through a lot more tough matches this year, facing Alabama and beating them once and playing Auburn twice this season. The Gamecocks should be the one that comes out at the end.
Prediction: South Carolina 27, Michigan State 24
7. Outback Bowl: Iowa Vs. Alabama
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Projection: Iowa vs. Alabama
At at least one point in the season, we were understandably high on both of these football teams.
Alabama had just won the national championship, while the Hawkeyes looked like a strong defensive powerhouse out of the Big Ten.
But they have since fallen in the standings and will need to look to next year for a national title.
Meanwhile, they're likely to face each other in the Outback Bowl. Ohio State and Wisconsin are likely headed to BCS bowls, so Iowa could earn this bid.
And of course, who wouldn't want Alabama in this bowl game?
For Alabama, the pressure is off, and they just need to prove that the SEC is better than the Big Ten.
Prediction: Alabama 30, Iowa 28
6. Gator Bowl: Penn State Vs. Florida
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Projection: Penn State vs. Florida
In an ideal scenario, Joe Paterno will head down to Florida for the Gator Bowl and call it a career. But that's never going to happen. JoePa will probably keep coaching into his 90's.
So much for the draw of seeing Paterno's last game as a head coach.
The Gators and the Nittany Lions are both going through a rebuilding season, which makes this possible matchup pretty evenly matched.
Both teams started the year in the nation's Top 25 and have since fallen out. Each team has had to deal with ineffective play from their starting quarterbacks and have struggled at times to keep up with ranked teams.
A bowl game win will give the winning team something to build upon in the offseason.
Prediction: Florida 27, Penn State 21
5. Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Vs. LSU
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Projection: Texas A&M vs. LSU
The Tigers were probably Sugar Bowl bound until the Razorbacks swooped right in and took it away from them when they defeated them last weekend.
Now that the Texas A&M Aggies have knocked are out of contention for the Big 12 title, they've been offered and accepted a bid to the Cotton bowl
This should be an interesting game that will see the streaking Aggies, who have won their last six games, go up against Les Miles' defense.
It will be in that SEC defense that the Tigers will need to rely on in order to slow down local favorites Texas A&M.
Prediction: LSU 28, Texas A&M 24
4. Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska Vs. Stanford
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Nebraska should finally come away with the Big 12 title this season after coming oh so close last year against the Texas Longhorns.
Once they lock up their Fiesta Bowl bid, their most likely opponent would be Stanford. The Cardinal are currently the No. 4 team in the BCS rankings and will probably earn the at-large bid.
This battle between the Big 12 and the Pac-10 could turn into a high-scoring affair. Both squads boast very high-powered offenses. Stanford has a very capable pass thrower in Andrew Luck and the 'Huskers have a great runner in Roy Helu, Jr. and a mobile quarterback in Taylor Martinez.
Nebraska should have the advantage on the defensive side given their history of being a very solid team defending the football.
Prediction: Nebraska 34, Stanford 27
3. Sugar Bowl: Arkansas Vs. Ohio State
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Projection: Arkansas vs. Ohio State
The Arkansas Razorbacks played their way into this BCS bowl bid after defeating LSU in their last game of the regular season.
With the Auburn Tigers expected to make an appearance in the national title game, the Sugar Bowl will probably have room for Arkansas.
For their at-large bid, expect it to go to Big Ten co-champion, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Outside of Iowa and Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have hardly been tested this season, while Arkansas has done battle with many top ranked teams in the SEC.
But don't expect OSU to be overmatched; they're fighting for bragging rights here and looking to prove that the SEC is not that much better than the Big Ten.
Prediction: Arkansas 21, Ohio State 17
2. Rose Bowl: Wisconsin Vs. TCU
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Projection: Wisconsin vs. TCU
Unless something outrageous happens this weekend in college football—such as an Oregon State upset of Oregon—there will be no Pac-10 representative in the Rose Bowl.
The bid will go to a top ranked non-BCS football team, namely TCU.
Wisconsin has a very good offense led by running back John Clay, capable of scoring with the best of them, including TCU.
TCU had a defensive minded head coach in Gary Patterson and will be one win away from going through their season undefeated.
More importantly, they should be set to prove that they truly belong among college football's best, while the Badgers will need to show that a non-BCS team has no right crashing into the Rose Bowl.
Prediction: Wisconsin 35, TCU 31
1. BCS Title Game: Oregon Vs. Auburn
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Projection: Oregon vs. Auburn
What's the difference between these two schools?
On paper, their perfect records are similar. But there's one big difference—the Tigers have had to play through a much tougher schedule than the Oregon Ducks.
Yes, Oregon has defeated Stanford and Arizona. However, Auburn has had to play through some of the nation's best by playing in the SEC, and they have a perfect record to show for it.
That said, Auburn is much more battle tested than the Ducks. They've taken plenty of hits and have bounced back, including the Cam Newton NCAA investigation, while the Ducks had one close-call against Cal.
Auburn is the team that should come out on top, while the Ducks will be sent flying home with a loss.
Prediction: Auburn 31, Oregon 27