BCS Bowl Predictions: Breaking Down the Latest Betting Lines for Every BCS Bowl
All you have to do is take a look at the betting lines for this year’s five BCS bowl games to see that we’ve got a bunch of very evenly matched games to look forward to in early January.
From the looks of things, this year’s BCS slate has the chance to be one of the most entertaining we’ve seen in years.
And even if you aren’t too thrilled about the rematch between LSU and Alabama in the national championship game, don’t worry; there are a few other matchups like the Rose Bowl between Oregon and Wisconsin and the Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma State and Stanford that should be enough to keep you happy.
If you happen to be looking to put a little money down on this year’s action, here’s a look at the five current betting lines for this year’s BCS bowl games.
BCS Championship: LSU vs. Alabama
Spread: LSU (-1)
They say that it’s hard to beat the same team twice in one season, but that’s exactly what No. 1 LSU is going to have to do if the Tigers want to finish off their 2011 campaign undefeated and take home the BCS Championship trophy.
The Tigers have clearly been the best team in college football all year long, but they’ve certainly got a tough test with the rematch of the “Game of the Century” against Alabama.
The Tide have the top-ranked defense in the country, and the type of talent and depth that Nick Saban has on that side of the ball is almost unprecedented.
We all remember the type of defensive battle we saw in the first game, but I have a feeling that this one will be a little bit more high-scoring than 9-6.
In the end, I think the game will come down to which quarterback manages his offense the best and which one makes the fewest critical mistakes.
These are the type of defenses that will make you pay for any little mistake you make, and it will be interesting to see which quarterback can ultimately handle the pressure the best, LSU’s Jordan Jefferson or Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford
Spread: Oklahoma State (-3.5)
Stanford hasn’t played the role of the underdog an awful lot over the last two years, but then again, QB Andrew Luck and the rest of the Cardinal haven’t had to face many offenses that are as explosive as the one they’ll see in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma State’s high-powered offensive attack, led by the dangerous trio of QB Brandon Weeden, WR Justin Blackmon and RB Joseph Randle, is one of the most productive in the country, ranking second nationally in scoring offense and third in total offense, averaging 49 points and 557 yards per game.
When the Cowboys are firing on all cylinders offensively, they’re almost impossible to stop. The Stanford secondary, which ranks 78th in the country and gives up an average of 241 yards through the air per game, is definitely going to have its hands full.
It’s hard to bet against a player as talented as Andrew Luck, but if Oklahoma State comes to play and doesn’t get caught up in the whole “we should be playing for a national title” drama, then this one has all the makings of becoming a shootout between the two talented signal-callers.
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Spread: Oregon (-6)
The Rose Bowl battle between Oregon and Wisconsin is one of the most anticipated matchups of this year’s bowl season, and with good reason.
These are two of the most potent and powerful offenses in the entire country, and the backfield tag-team bout, pitting Oregon QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James against Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson and RB Montee Ball will definitely be worth the price of admission.
Oregon currently ranks third in the country in scoring offense and sixth in total offense, while Wisconsin ranks fourth in scoring offense and 15th in total offense.
These two teams each know the sting of failing to get the job done out in Pasadena, as they happen to be the past two losers of the Rose Bowl (Wisconsin lost to TCU last season, and Oregon lost to Ohio State the year before that).
You would have to expect that both of these teams will be motivated and ready to go at it on Jan. 2. This one has the chance to be one of the most entertaining affairs of the entire bowl season.
Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech
Spread: Michigan (-2.5)
It’s true, the only reason that these two teams ended up in a BCS bowl game has to do with the fact that both will bring a ton of fans down to New Orleans. Though neither team actually deserved a BCS bid this year, that doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t have the potential to be very entertaining.
Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas and Michigan QB Denard Robinson will both enter 2012 as legitimate Heisman candidates, and both of them would love to start building some momentum for next year’s campaign with a great performance in the Sugar Bowl.
Neither of them will have it easy, though, as both of these defenses have really gelled as the season has worn on, and both units currently rank in the top 20 nationally in total defense (Virginia Tech is 13th, Michigan is 18th).
There’s a lot of quality young talent that will be on display down in New Orleans on Jan. 3, and with the way these two teams are built, there’s definitely a chance that both of them can make a serious run at a national title next year.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. West Virginia
Spread: Clemson (-3.5)
The Orange Bowl has been getting downgraded a lot, because the game lacks teams that are ranked in the top 10, but make no mistake about it, Clemson and West Virginia both have the type of offenses that can put on a show.
If both quarterbacks, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and West Virginia’s Geno Smith, bring their A-games, these two teams have the type of firepower that can really light up the scoreboard down in Florida.
The problem with trying to handicap this game is that both of these squads have battled with bouts of inconsistency at times this year, and you never know truly what kind of effort you’re going to get out of these teams.
Still, Boyd and Smith both have the type of playmakers surrounding them, with guys like Sammy Watkins, Andre Ellington, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, to really make things fun. I think this one will ultimately come down to which quarterback plays the best game and utilizes his surrounding skill position talent the best.