BCS Bowls: Beer Lover's Guide to Every Game
The first weekend of December brought much gridiron drama and excitement. Houston was upended in their quest for a BCS bowl, while Oklahoma State was left out of the championship game.
With plenty of resources on the Internet analyzing the five BCS games, I’ve decided to offer something extra.
I love football, and much of the reason is because of beer. The two just make sense together. Of course, the game itself holds great influence over me and is a crucial component to my writing platform.
Having a good beer selection during games just incentivizes the whole experience.
In this slideshow, I will include local beers from each school’s hometown as part of the football discussion.
In a few cases, breweries from nearby cities are sampled in lieu of some schools not having one within their borders.
So grab your favorite pint glass, and get ready to enjoy football the way it’s meant to be. Year-round flagship beers, wintry seasonal offerings and everything in between are included.
This is the beer lover’s guide to every BCS game.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
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Oregon Ducks (11-2) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (11-2)
In a case of football imitating art, a historic beer region meets a new-school craft darling of the Northwest.
The Wisconsin Badgers will need to score at least 30 points if they want a chance at beating Oregon.
The Ducks run a nearly-unstoppable spread offense and are a threat for big plays through the air.
While putting up over 46 points and 295 rushing yards per game, Oregon only stumbled against LSU and USC this season.
Wisconsin can keep up on offense behind the quartet of Russell Wilson, Montee Ball, Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis.
Their total defense was also sixth in the nation in 2011, allowing only 17 points per game.
The Badgers have a better defense, the Ducks have a better offense, and something has to give. I expect the score board to light up in a frenzy.
Wisconsin may reach 30 points or more, but it won’t be enough. In the end, the floral aroma of Total Domination will help Oregon smell the roses.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
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Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-1)
There may not be a brewery in Stillwater, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys probably did a lot of drinking after being left out of the championship game.
Stanford enters on a six-pack of winter beer because they want to forget about autumn. Despite an otherwise strong season, the Cardinal were embarrassed 53-30 by Oregon on Nov. 12.
The Cowboys’ only loss was also embarrassing—a 37-31 upset at Iowa State.
Many point to the previous day’s tragedy involving the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team for explanation.
It must not have mattered to the BCS voters and computers, though.
With two high-flying offenses and Heisman candidates on display, there are sure to be big plays converted and many points scored.
OSU’s Brandon Weeden averaged the third-most passing yards in the country (360.7), and the Cowboys were second in points per game (49.3).
Stanford put up 44.3 points and utilized the ground game more than the Cowboys.
With such prolific offenses, the winner will be determined by which team’s defense steps up.
Oklahoma State allowed some opponents to put lofty point totals on the board, and Luck will be turned loose to throw the ball down field.
Stanford’s defensive stats look prettier, but they also played weaker opponents than the Cowboys had to contend with.
The Cardinal are strong against the run, but that won’t do much good against Weeden’s passing prowess.
After back-and-forth scoring, there will be just one Ultimo Hombre. Well, in this case, a team full of Ultimo Hombres from Stillwater.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
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Michigan Wolverines (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2)
I appreciate both cities including school pride in their beer cultures.
The Hokies were ranked as high as No. 5, but suffered their only two losses of the season to Clemson.
They like to pound the rock with David Wilson, and QB Logan Thomas is utilized in the running game as well. Thomas also spreads his passes to a variety of receiving options, but he seems unpredictable.
He’s thrown for as many as 310 yards and as few as 125 this season.
Interesting matchups for both sides will pit the rushing offenses against the rushing defenses.
Michigan averages over 235 yards on the ground.
QB Denard Robinson led the team in rushing with 1,163 yards and 16 touchdowns. Fitzgerald Toussaint added 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns.
Robinson is a dangerous playmaker, but is also no stranger to interceptions. He must limit his throwing mistakes and not make poor decisions.
Neither team played a dazzling schedule, but Michigan picked up a prominent late-season win over Nebraska.
Virginia Tech’s signature win was over Georgia Tech, but the Hokies would look stronger without the two Clemson losses.
The Maroon Effect Ale brings Virginia Tech sweetness with chocolate and caramel malts, but the Wolverines want to crush those.
The golden nectar of Ann Arbor will flow through New Orleans when this game is over.
Discover Orange Bowl
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Clemson Tigers (10-3) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3)
Coming off an impressive ACC Championship win over Virginia Tech, Clemson brings some swagger to Miami to face West Virginia.
Tajh Boyd and the Tigers led the ACC in passing and touchdowns through the air.
Andre Ellington adds stability in the backfield and completed a 1,062-yard season with 10 touchdowns.
The Mountaineers also throw the ball a lot with Geno Smith. West Virginia led the Big East in passing by nearly 100 yards per game with 341.8.
They have two 1,000-yard receivers in Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.
But, the Mountaineers' defense is not strong against the run. Clemson’s Ellington will see opportunities to slip through the cracks and eat up yards.
With a stronger resume and without West Virginia’s 26-point loss to Syracuse, I like the Tigers. They beat Virginia Tech twice and made a statement out of the Hokies to reach this game.
The Tigers are bringing a traditional summer beer to Miami, but it will allow them to stay crisp in a citrussy locale.
West Virginia will be sipping on a heavy brew made with orange peel, but Clemson’s knockout punch will have the Mountaineers seeing Tripel.
Allstate BCS National Championship Game
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LSU Tigers (13-0) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
From what I can tell, there are no brewery businesses in either Baton Rouge or Tuscaloosa.
The Southeast is probably more known for dry counties and Prohibition-era laws than its burgeoning craft beer scene, but progress is being made.
Some may not like the idea of a rematch between LSU and Alabama for the national championship, but it makes more sense than any other matchup.
Alabama was the only team to seriously challenge LSU, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again.
LSU escaped Tuscaloosa with a 9-6 overtime win on Oct. 5 before cruising to an undefeated season.
These teams represent the two best defenses in the NCAA. Alabama allowed just 8.8 points per game, while LSU allowed only 10.5.
Both offenses also took care of business, especially on the ground.
Alabama RB Trent Richardson was fifth in the nation in both rushing touchdowns (20) and yards per game (131.9).
LSU uses a rotating group of backfield threats. Their top-four running backs combined for 30 touchdowns on the ground.
With both defenses probably anticipating the run, the game will come down to passing.
Alabama has a decided advantage with only A.J. McCarron under center. He averages 200 yards per game and completes 66.7 percent of his passes.
The back-and-forth situation with Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will need shoring up if the Tigers are to win in New Orleans.
Alabama will see Purple Haze after hard hits by Tyrann Mathieu on defense, but the red hue of Strongman will reign supreme as the Crimson Tide take the title.
Here's to a great bowl season and good beer with friends and family. Above all, please don't drink and drive.
Josh Greller has been an editorial intern for Bleacher Report since September. He is a Bay Area resident and has written for various sports sites and startup companies.