This is what I think will happen in the five BCS Bowl Games of the 2008-2009 college football season.
These games are:
Penn State vs. USC in the Rose Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl
Alabama vs. Utah in the Sugar Bowl
Ohio State vs. Texas in the Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Florida in the BCS National Championship
USC 17, Penn State 13
This game could possibly be one of the better games in college football history. Both teams have great offenses, great defenses, and have lost one game each that they should have won.
USC's offense is very good, but occasionally won't do so well against good defenses (they scored just 17 on Arizona and California, who had the 23rd- and 24th-best defenses in the nation, and they scored 21 on Oregon State, the 33rd-best defense).
But they also scored 52 points against Virginia and 38 points against Notre Dame, both with decent defense, and 35 against Ohio State, the eighth-best defense in the nation.
USC's offense averages 37.5 ppg and 453 yards per game, ranking 14th nationally in each. The Trojans might have some trouble getting those numbers against the Penn State defense, which hasn't allowed more than 24 points in any game. The Nittany Lions' defense averages 12.5 yards per game and 264 yards per game, ranking fourth and fifth nationally in those categories.
How will Penn State react to the USC rushing trio of McKnight, Johnson, and Gable? I think that the three backs will have some trouble at the beginning of the game, but will start to wear out PSU near the end and possibly picking up some points.
What about Mark Sanchez? The QB has thrown 10 picks this year. He will likely throw one against PSU's outstanding defense, but that shouldn't affect his overall performance too much. Sanchez will probably have a below-average game for his standards, but will still look good compared to most other QBs.
When PSU has the ball, they will be facing one of the best defenses ever. The USC defense ranks No. 1 nationally in four different categories, including total defense, pass defense, pass-efficiency defense, and scoring defense. They have let up an average of 7.75 ppg, the lowest since Auburn in 1988.
Penn State should give them a challenge, though. The Nittany Lions have one of the best offensive lines in the country, along with RB Evan Royster (1202 yards, 12 TDs, 6.5 YPC), QB Daryll Clark and WR Derrick Williams. The Penn State offense averages 40 ppg and 452 yards per game, ranking 11th and 15th nationally in those categories.
Overall, the Trojans are probably slightly better than Penn State. USC will have some trouble against PSU's defense, but not as much as PSU will have against USC's defense. Penn State's defense will wear down over time, as USC has many weapons and will keep their backs from getting too tired.
USC's defense will slow down, but not too much. They'll likely allow more than usual to PSU's offense, but not too much. I think USC will take the game, 17-13.
Cincinnati 24, Virginia Tech 20
Although many people don't want to watch this game so much, it could turn out to be one of the better BCS games. Virginia Tech is coming off of a 30-12 win over Boston College, who has a very good defense. That victory gave them their third straight win.
Cincinnati has won four close games in their six-game winning streak.
Virginia Tech has a dreadful passing attack, but their rushing game is okay. The Hokies also have one of the nation's top defenses, statistically...but they were also in the ACC, probably the worst offensive conference.
Cincinnati had a pretty good defense too, in a better (but still bad) offensive conference. Cincinnati had a decent offense overall, while Virginia Tech had a terrible overall offense.
Based on how these teams have been playing, I think Cincinnati will take the game, 24-20.
Alabama 24, Utah 17
This game features an unbeaten Utah squad and the Alabama Crimson Tide, whose only loss was to the top-ranked Florida Gators.
A lot of people think that Alabama will dominate the Utes, but Bama hasn't really dominated any good teams except maybe Clemson or Auburn.
Alabama doesn't have a great offense. They have a pretty good rushing offense led by Glen Coffee and John Parker Wilson is a decent QB, but Wilson doesn't pick up too many yards.
Utah has a pretty good rush defense and a better than average pass defense, but that's also in a mid-major conference. They played good teams like Oregon State, TCU, and BYU, but other than that not really anybody. But they still went undefeated, which is hard to do with pretty much any schedule.
Alabama has a very good overall defense: fourth nationally in rush defense, 21st in pass defense, third in total defense, and only gives up an average of 13 ppg in a good conference.
Utah's offense is led by QB Brian Johnson and is decent overall, averaging 37.5 ppg.
Utah will give Alabama a challenge, but the Crimson Tide just has more talent than the Utes. Alabama will win, 24-17.
Texas 34, Ohio State 20
Ohio State is coming into this game feeling lucky to be in a BCS bowl. Texas is coming into this game feeling robbed of a potential national championship.
Texas also has a great rushing defense (second in the nation), and leads the nation in sacks. Their defensive line will give Ohio State RB Beanie Wells a lot of trouble.
Texas has the 109th-best pass defense, but that's also in an amazing passing conference. QB Terrelle Pryor has
Florida 41, Oklahoma 37
This will be a fun game to watch. Both teams are red-hot, with great offenses and pretty good defenses. Florida's offense is lead by QB Tim Tebow, with WR Percy Harvin to help. Tebow has an excellent QB rating, and Florida's offense averages 45 ppg. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has Heisman winner QB Sam Bradford to lead their excellent offense. Bradford has thrown for almost 4500 yards, picked up 53 total TDs (48 passing), had a 68.3 completion percentage, and a 186.29 QB rating. Along with Bradford, the Sooners had two 1000-yard rushers in Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. They have scored 60+ points in their last five games, and they scored 58 points in the game before that streak. OU's defense averages 24.5 ppg, which is actually very good for playing in the Big 12. Florida has a better defense statistically, but it's hard to tell whose is truly better. Florida's excellent pass defense will limit Bradford to less yardage than normal, but can still be a lot seeing as he's averaged almost 400 yards a game this year. Florida also has an excellent rush defense, which will challenge the Sooners' rushing game as they play without DeMarco Murray. Oklahoma also has a very good rush defense, which will limit Tebow and Harvin at least a little bit. OU's pass defense is still pretty good despite them having the 99th pass defense statistically. They played in a very good passing conference. But the offenses in this game definently overpower the defenses. Florida has a better defense, OU a better offense. It will be a very fun game to watch. Both teams are on fire, and although Oklahoma has scored 58+ points in their last 6 games, Florida's average margin of victory has been slightly higher than OU's in the past 6 games, and Florida has averaged over 50 points in those 6 games in a conference with tougher defenses than OU. It will be a very interesting game to watch- most likely high scoring, too. I think that Florida will barely take this game, 41-37.