College Football Bowl Predictions: BCS Rankings Week 12 Edition
As the season nears an end, the controversy is growing larger. With recent losses by Boise State and Stanford, now all eyes are on Oklahoma State and the one-loss teams.
Will Oregon or Oklahoma jump Alabama if the Cowboys lose? Can Arkansas make a run at another BCS game?
There are a lot of questions, but this slide show will provide many answers.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio Bobcats vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Date: December 17, 2011
Location: Boise, Idaho
Time: 5:30 p.m. EST
Ohio defeated Central Michigan this past week to move to 7-3 overall.
Their final two opponents of the season have a combined record of 8-12. They only need to win one of those games to win the Eastern division and play in the MAC Championship Game.
They are unlikely to win that game versus Northern Illinois. As a result, they will land in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Louisiana Tech had a signature win this past weekend over the SEC’s Ole Miss. It was just not a win, it was a blowout at 27-7.
The Bulldogs are one of the best 6-4 teams in college football.
They have lost three games to Southern Miss, Mississippi State and Houston by a total of nine points. All three of those teams have been ranked in the top 25 at some point this season.
Colby Cameron has been leading the Bulldogs since taking over as starting quarterback three weeks ago against San Jose State. Since that time, he has completed 52 of 92 passes for 813 yards and seven touchdowns to just one interception.
During that stretch, the Bulldogs are 3-0.
He is helped by Lennon Creer, who is closing in on his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, and wide receiver Quinton Patton, who has 919 yards receiving and nine touchdowns.
The Bobcats have a three-headed offensive weapon as well. They are led by quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who has thrown for over 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns, running back Donte Harden, who has rushed for 725 yards and wide receiver Lavon Brazill, who has totaled 828 yards and nine touchdowns.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Date: December 17, 2011
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
After starting the season with two early losses to Illinois and Virginia Tech, the Arkansas State Red Wolves have responded with seven straight wins.
The Red Wolves now have an overall record of 8-2 and only need to win one of their final two games to clinch the Sun Belt league championship. Their two final opponents have an overall record of 4-14.
Arkansas State has a solid passing game that is currently ranked 25th in the nation. However, their defense has been solid as well. They currently rank 23rd in the nation, giving up only 19.9 points per game.
Central Florida is not a lock to become bowl eligible. They have to beat ECU and UTEP in the next two games.
If ECU beats the Knights, they are likely to replace them in this bowl. The Knights are not sporting the same record that got them matched up against the Georgia Bulldogs last season. However, they have the same stifling defense.
Central Florida is currently ranked 10th in the nation in scoring. They are holding opponents to an impressive 16.8 points per game. In their four wins, they have held opponents to a combined nine points.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Temple Owls
Date: December 17, 2011
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST
San Diego State currently has a record of 6-3 but is likely to be 8-4 at the end of the season. They will be selected to play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
The Aztecs are one of the most balanced offenses in the nation. They are currently averaging 218 yards passing per game and 185.1 yards rushing a game.
The Aztecs have a pretty tough schedule when you consider they are not in a BCS conference. They have faced Michigan and TCU and will face Boise State next week.
The Temple Owls, on the other hand, currently have a record of 6-4 and should finish the season 8-4 with wins over Kent State and Army to close the season.
The Owls have a strong combination of a solid running game (254.1), which is No. 8 in the nation, and a stingy defense, which is ranked fourth in the nation at 13.6 points surrendered per game.
They will have their hands full with Aztec Ronnie Hillman, who has already rushed for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Marshall Herd
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Date: December 20, 2011
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
The Pitt Panthers will limp into this game with a 6-6 record. However, they will be a worthy opponent because of the strong play of Ray Graham.
Graham has rushed for over 900 yards and nine touchdowns and has been solid all season.
Marshall will need to finish their season with two wins to become bowl eligible. However, they should be able to accomplish this with two very beatable teams remaining.
They will have to step up on defensive play, however. They are currently 90th in the nation in scoring.
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Boise St. Broncos vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Date: December 21, 2011
Location: San Diego, California
Time: 8 p.m. EST
The Broncos once again kicked away another shot at a BCS bowl this past weekend. This time, TCU was the recipient of the pitiful field goal kicking of the Broncos.
Despite the disappointment of their recent loss, Kellen Moore will have his team prepared to play, as they aim for another 12-win season.
The Broncos will not play in a BCS bowl this season, but Moore deserves to be a Heisman finalist.
Moore has completed 220 of 297 passes this season with 31 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
The Broncos will face off with a team that they have became familiar with over the years, the Nevada Wolf Pack. It was the Wolf Pack that derailed Boise State's BCS hopes last season.
Nevada will enter the game with an 8-4 record, led by the nation's seventh best running ground attack that averages over 262 yards per game. They will need to be able to run the ball consistently to have any shot of upsetting the Broncos.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs vs. UCLA Bruins
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images
TCU might not finish with the season with a record they have grown accustomed to. However, after an upset of Boise State they are back on track.
Quarterback Casey Pachall has done a great job replacing Andy Dalton and now has over 2,400 yards passing and 24 touchdowns.
UCLA, on the other hand, was on their way to a disastrous season. However, they have turned things around and now have the inside track to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Neither team has had the season they had hoped for, but both seem to be peaking at the right time.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The Mustangs will head into the Hawaii Bowl with a 7-5 record, but they will be taking with them a familiar face in June Jones. Jones will face his former team, Hawaii.
Both teams have prolific offenses and rank in the top 18 in the nation in passing.
Hawaii will also enter the game with a 7-5 record and likely lose a rare game in the Hawaii Bowl.
AdvoCare V100 Independence: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Air Force Falcons
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
The North Carolina Tar Heels will enter the game with a 7-5 record, led by Bryn Renner, who has over 2,200 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The Falcons will enter with a 7-5 record as well.
The Tar Heels will have to try to slow down the Falcons rushing offense, which is averaging over 300 yards per game.
Little Caesars Bowl: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
What started as a dream season for Ron Zook and his team has now turned disastrous. After starting the season 6-0, the Illini will enter this game with a 7-5 record.
The Huskies will enter the game 10-3 behind the nation's No. 9 rushing offense.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Texas Longhorns vs. Utah Utes
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
After a humiliating defeat last week at the hands of Missouri, the Longhorns' options have diminished greatly.
They will now have to face off against a Utah Utes team that will be 8-4.
The Utes are currently 17th in the nation in scoring, so this should be a great defensive battle.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: Wake Forest Deamon Deacons vs. Navy
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Demon Deacons will enter the game with a record of 6-6. Navy, on the other hand, will have to win the next two games to make it into this game.
However, with games versus San Jose State and Army, they should be able to accomplish this.
Army, as usual, has the second-best rushing offense in the nation.
Valero Alamo Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. Washington Huskies
Brett Deering/Getty Images
Baylor has one of the top offenses in the nation. Led by Robert Griffin III, the Bears are fourth in the nation in total yardage and 11th in the nation is scoring.
This could be trouble for the Huskies, who are 102nd in scoring defense. Despite a respectful record, the Huskies are horrific on defense.
Champs Sports: Florida State Seminoles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Champs Sports Bowl is one of the most intriguing non-BCS bowls.
It will involve two of the most well-known teams in the nation in Florida State University and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Seminoles will enter the game with a 9-3 record. The Irish started the season rough, but will finish 9-4.
Insight Bowl: Missouri Tigers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The Tigers pulled off an upset over the Texas Longhorns and might have earned themselves a match against former Big 12 member, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Huskers will enter the game with a record of 9-3.
However, with several Big 10 teams sporting competitive records, the Huskers will drop to the Insight Bowl.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Miami Hurricanes vs. Mississippi St.
Butch Dill/Getty Images
This game could be called the "disappointment bowl."
Both teams came into the season with high expectations. However, Mississippi State and Miami will get into the Music City Bowl by the skin of their teeth.
Both teams will have a record of 6-6, but have enough talent to make this game intriguing.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces: Brigham Young Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
It has been one of BYU's most challenging schedules in recent memory. However, the Cougars have fared well and will enter this game with a record of 9-3.
Tulsa has been good this season as well and will finish with a record of 8-4. The Golden Hurricanes have a strong running game, averaging over 200 yards rushing per game.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Northwestern Wildcasts vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Northwestern will need a win next week against Minnesota to become bowl eligible. The Wildcats have won three in a row, including an upset of Nebraska two weeks ago, after losing five games in a row.
Rutgers is currently 7-3, and if they upset Cincinnati next week, they could win the Big East Championship and get a BCS bowl. However, I am going to take the Bearcats in that game, and Rutgers will finish the season 8-4.
Northwestern will have to be creative against this Rutgers defense, which is 11th in the nation.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
For the second consecutive season, the Nittany Lions will face off against the Florida Gators in postseason play.
For Penn State, it is about closing strong despite all of the chaos surrounding the program.
For the Gators, this game is about trying to gain some kind of momentum heading into the 2011 season. Florida, under first year head coach Will Muschamp, has struggled through the season with injuries and inconsistent play.
Both teams are in need of a win to bring some light to a dark season.
Meineke Car Care of Texas: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
For Ohio State, this is the end of a miserable calendar year that started just prior to last season's Sugar Bowl.
A year ago, they had a star quarterback and one of the nation's premier football coaches. However, 12 months later, they have an interim coach and a 7-5 team headed to Texas to play in a lower tier bowl.
They will be facing off against Texas A&M, who knows about 2011 disappointments.
Earlier in the season, the Aggies were one of the nation's best teams. However, since that time, they have become known as one of the most horrific second half teams in recent memory.
Despite the disappointments, both teams are loaded with talented players who could make this game entertaining.
Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Virginia will head to the Sun Bowl with a 7-5 record and a solid rushing offense that produces almost 200 yards a game on the ground.
Arizona State will enter the game with an 8-5 record and an offense that is passing for almost 300 yards per game.
The Cavaliers will try to control the tempo running the football, while the Sun Devils will try to move the ball around through the air and trust their defense to win the game.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
You want offense? The Capital One Bowl will have plenty of it as the Badgers and Razorbacks accept postseason invitations.
Tyler Wilson will lead the high-scoring Arkansas offense against Russell Wilson and the Badgers.
Wisconsin is averaging 46.5 points per game, and Arkansas is averaging 38.8 points per game. Both teams will enter this game with 10-2 records, and it should be a barnburner.
Belk Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
This game will have a little bit of it all.
If you like games with a lot of pass attempts, the West Virginia Mountaineers will provide it. If you like old school football that contains almost all running and no passing, Georgia Tech will provide it.
Both teams are very good at what they do.
The Mountaineers will come into this game with a 9-3 record, while Georgia Tech will be sporting an 8-4 record.
Can Paul Johnson's offense produce in a bowl game?
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: North Carolina St. Wolfpack vs. California Golden Bears
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Both of these teams will limp into this game with 6-6 records. Neither has been overly impressive this season and struggle statistically on both sides of the football.
Don't expect a lot of offense. The Golden Bears are averaging 22 points per game, and North Carolina State is averaging an equally anemic 24 points per game.
Both teams lost great players last season, but could build momentum for the 2012 season with a win in the Hunger Bowl.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles vs. Tennessee Vols
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
This was a tough one, and the participant for the SEC will be decided this week when Vanderbilt and Tennessee face off.
Over the course of the season, Vanderbilt has been the better team. However, the Vols should get Tyler Bray back this week, and that will be the difference. If not, Derek Dooley will be introduced to the hot seat.
Tennessee will enter the Liberty Bowl with a 6-6 record. They have been struck with injuries and blasted by most of their opponents.
The Vols will have Bray, Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter all back next season. As a result, hopes will be high once again.
But, this Vols teams needs to learn how to win ball games, and this would be a good start.
Southern Miss has been one of the surprise teams this season and will enter this game with an 11-2 record. The Eagles have been strong on offense, averaging almost 40 points per game, while the Volunteers have not been consistent at anything all season long.
However, look for the Vols to be in a shootout.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Many SEC fans are hoping for a rematch of LSU-Alabama. However, this game is not going to happen. What might happen, however, is a Clemson-Auburn rematch in the Chic-fil-A Bowl.
Although Clemson ran away with the game in the fourth, Auburn will be better in a bowl game. This team is still very young, and a month of bowl practice will make them dangerous.
This game should be filled with fireworks and touchdowns, and I am betting on a momentum-building win for Auburn.
TicketCity Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Reese Strickland/Getty Images
The Iowa Hawkeyes will enter this game with a disappointing 7-5 record. The Hawkeyes have not been able to run the ball like many expected, and it has been an issue all season long.
The Ragin' Cajuns enter the game with an 8-4 record, but are even worse in the running game, ranking 83rd.
This is a great opportunity for both teams. Louisiana-Lafayette could prove they are on their way up, and Iowa could end the season on a positive note.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Louisville Cardinals vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Both Vanderbilt and Louisville will need a win in the final two weeks to enter into this game. However, both teams are better than their records indicate.
Vanderbilt has suffered some heart-breaking, last-second losses this season, including games to Arkansas and Georgia.
Louisville had a signature win versus West Virginia, but has struggled with consistency.
Many people believe Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong is in line for an SEC job. A win versus Vanderbilt would likely increase his chances.
James Franklin, on the other hand, needs a win. The Commodores have had too many moral victories, and they need an actual victory.
Outback Bowl: Michigan Wolverines vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Despite all of the criticism, Steve Spurrier has done a fantastic job coaching this season.
Despite losing their quarterback and star running back, the Gamecocks will enter this game with a 9-3 overall record. They finished second in their division despite being 5-0 against other East Teams.
Michigan has been up and down this season, but have been much improved under their new coach. They should enter this game with a 9-3 record and a win over Ohio State.
Both teams have solid defenses and strong running games, so this game should be close.
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Kansas State Wildcats
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Two of the best college football coaches in America will square off in the Cotton Bowl after revitalizing their respective teams.
For the second time in his career, Bill Snyder has revitalized the Kansas State program. After an 0-2 start, the same could be said about Mark Richt.
Both teams will enter the game with solid resumes. Georgia will come into the game with a 10-3 record. 11 wins and an SEC East championship must sound good to the Bulldog faithful after an 0-2 start.
Kansas State, on the other hand, will come into the game with a 10-2 record.
The game should be good, but Georgia's defense and quarterback will prove too much for the Wildcats.
Discover Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Virginia Tech and Clemson appear to be headed for a rematch in the ACC Championship Game. The natural choice would be to select Clemson to repeat, but I believe the Hokies will run away with the game this time.
Clemson was playing off early-season emotion. However, in their last three games, they seem to have come back down to earth, including their last two games in which they were soundly defeated 31-17 by Georgia Tech and needed a last-second field goal to defeat Wake Forrest.
Cincinnati had won six consecutive games before their three-point defeat to West Virginia this weekend. However, they still sit atop the Big East.
A win this week would go a long way in clinching a BCS birth. The Bearcats have the 12th ranked offense and the 18th ranked defense. As a result, the Bearcats are beating their opponents by 20 points per game.
Virginia Tech, once again, has a solid defense. Despite having the nation’s most underrated running back in David Wilson, who has already rushed for over 1,300 yards, the offense has been sporadic.
In the end, Cincinnati has the better team on paper, but the Hokies have the better team in reality. Unfortunately, this game might be a snoozer.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan State Spartans
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Oregon Ducks appeared to have forfeited any shot they had at a return to the national championship game in Week 1. Oregon was defeated handily by LSU, 40-27. Although the Tigers only won the game by 13 points, the game was not as close as the score would indicate.
Since that time, the Ducks have dominated every opponent they faced. Moreover, they defeated the previously undefeated Stanford Cardinal, 53-30, on the road this weekend.
Now, the Ducks are back in the national championship hunt, but are likely to have to accept the Rose Bowl instead.
Michigan State has the clearest shot at the Rose Bowl, but the Big Ten Championship Game could go a different direction. The Big Ten’s Leaders division is the biggest question mark in this equation.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have a commanding lead, but the recent events that have transpired make it unclear who will come out of that division. As a result, we have to give the Spartans the edge.
The Ducks will be heavily favored over the Spartans, but do not count out Michigan State just yet. They have a solid defense that ranks eighth in the nation in scoring, only allowing 16 points per game.
The problem for the Spartans is that defense probably will not be enough.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Stanford Cardinal
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Both teams had national championship dreams and watched them come crashing down during the 2011 season. The Fiesta Bowl, however, is a nice consolation prize for both the Cardinal and Sooners.
This game has shootout written all over it. Stanford is fifth in the nation in scoring at 46.4 point per game, and Oklahoma is sixth with an average of 45.4.
Both teams have decent defenses that rank in the top 25 nationally, but are susceptible to the big play.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Houston Cougars
Butch Dill/Getty Images
If Houston quarterback Case Keenum wanted a shot to move up the NFL draft boards, here is his shot.
Keenum has completed 279 of 376 pass attempts for 3,951 yards and 35 touchdowns. Despite breaking numerous NCAA records, Keenum is viewed as a late-round draft pick by many scouts. A good game against Alabama could change that.
The Crimson Tide are currently ranked No.1 in the nation in pass defense, rush defense, total defense and scoring defense. This Tide defense is loaded with future NFL players, and a strong performance by Keenum could go further than a strong performance at the combine.
What happens when Houston and their No. 1 scoring offense (54.1) faces the Crimson Tide and their No.1 scoring defense (7.1)? I am guessing UGA-Hawaii 2.0.
BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. LSU Tigers
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
One of the most popular college football discussions at the moment is what happens if LSU or Oklahoma State loses a game before the BCS selection.
Oklahoma State only has one remaining hurdle to face, and that is their in-state rival, the Oklahoma Sooners.
I was leaning toward choosing the Sooners in this game before the loss of All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles. The loss of Broyles will be the demise of the Sooners in this game.
The Cowboys also have a bye before their game versus Oklahoma. If the Cowboys can avoid turnovers, they can win this football game.
LSU, on the other hand, has two hurdles remaining.
The Tigers will finish the regular season at home versus the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks have won three of the last four games against the Tigers. This, however, is 2011 and a different team. Without Knile Davis, Arkansas has a one-dimensional offense, and the Razorbacks have looked horrific on the road.
In my opinion, the greater hurdle for LSU is the SEC championship game against the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs have won eight games in a row and are healthy for the first time this season, and it is showing. The Bulldogs have the No. 4 ranked defense in the nation and the best quarterback in the SEC.
I think LSU wins by less than seven. This matchup is ideal because it is the ultimate battle of wills.
Oklahoma State is second in the nation in scoring, putting up 51.7 points per game. LSU, on the other hand, is second in the nation in scoring defense at 10.7 points per game allowed.
LSU would be favored in this game because of their overall resume. However, do not sleep on the Cowboys, who can move the ball like no other team in college football.