Bowl Projections: Predicting the 2013 Rose Bowl and Other BCS Bowl Games
With only two weeks left in the 2011 season, the National Championship and Heisman picture are becoming more clear. Contenders like Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal have fallen, while the Arkansas Razorbacks are lurking in the National Championship chase.
Instead of looking at this year's prospects, let's examine the best teams of next year. In fact, let's project the BCS bowl games for 2013.
Obviously, some players on these teams might declare for the NFL draft, therefore altering the makeup of all of the bowls. However, I made a few educated guesses for who might return and who might not.
2013 Rose Bowl: USC Trojans vs. Michigan Wolverines
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"The Granddaddy of Them All" will see the return of two powerhouses, who played each other in the 2007 edition of this game, when the Michigan Wolverines play the USC Trojans.
With the chance of winning a conference championship, Matt Barkley will return for his senior season, while putting up gaudy numbers in the Pacific-12. The Trojans will head into this contest after losing the Pacific-12 conference championship game to Oregon.
On the other side, Denard Robinson will lead Michigan to their first Big Ten title since the Lloyd Carr days, running through a weak and depleted Big Ten conference. Michigan will lose to Ohio State on the road but will avenge that defeat exactly one week later.
This game is sure to be a shootout, and I see USC winning 34-31.
2013 Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
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The Fiesta Bowl will see another BCS rematch, when Kansas State and Ohio State face off in 2013. These two programs played in the 2004 version of this game.
With the Big 12 completely wide open next year, I see Collin Klein and company barely beating out teams like the Baylor Bears, TCU Horned Frogs and Texas Longhorns en route to their first Big 12 Championship in almost 10 years.
Urban Meyer will lead the surprising Ohio State Buckeyes to a Leaders Division title and win over Michigan but will lose to the Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship Game.
At the end of the day, I see Klein and the WIldcats winning by seven, 27-20.
2013 Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles vs. TCU Horned Frogs
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This might be the most surprising matchup out of the five, considering both teams struggled at times during the season. However, I see the TCU Horned Frogs getting an "at-large bid" out of the Big 12 and the Florida State Seminoles finally putting their talent together and winning an ACC Championship.
The Horned Frogs, led by Casey Pachall, will shock ESPN experts and analysts when they come one win short of a Big 12 Championship in their first year, losing a thriller to Kansas State.
Florida State will win the ACC Championship over the Virginia Tech Hokies in a blowout. Their one blemish will be a loss at home to the Florida Gators, marking Will Muschamp's biggest win of his career.
I see TCU winning this contest, silencing a pro-Seminole crowd with a 34-21 victory.
2013 Sugar Bowl: Louisville Cardinals vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
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The Sugar Bowl will see the second-best team in the SEC in South Carolina facing off against an unlikely Big East opponent in Louisville. I see the Big East holding onto Pittsburgh and Syracuse for one more year before losing their AQ status.
South Carolina will bounce back after a disappointing year marred by a season-ending Marcus Lattimore injury and Stephen Garcia's dismissal by heading into the SEC Championship Game with only one loss, where they will lose to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
In the Big East's last stand, Louisville will win the conference title over Pittsburgh, Syracuse and South Florida notably. Charlie Strong has done an outstanding head coaching job there and will guide the Cardinals to at least nine wins next year.
I see the Gamecocks romping the Cardinals at New Orleans, winning 45-28.
2013 National Championship: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Oregon Ducks
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Next year's National Championship Game will be contested between two teams who will run the table and win their respective conference championships. The Arkansas Razorbacks and Oregon Ducks will both contend for their first BCS National Championship
Oregon will win their fourth-consecutive conference championship, beating a top five USC team in the title game after going 11-0 during the season. The Ducks will field two Heisman contenders in senior leaders Darron Thomas and LaMichael James.
On the other side, Arkansas will win a depleted SEC West division behind Knile Davis, who returns to All-SEC form after missing the 2010 regular season with an ankle injury. Tyler Wilson returns for his senior year and the Razorbacks beat LSU, Alabama and South Carolina in an undefeated season.
I see Oregon finally getting glory, winning an epic National Championship Game, 35-34 in triple overtime.
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Do you think your team should be on this list? Did I get it completely wrong?
Give your thoughts in the comment section.