2012 College Football Bowl Preview: BCS Bowl Predictions

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IDecember 13, 2012

2012 College Football Bowl Preview: BCS Bowl Predictions

0 of 5

    Using the same WhatIfSports.com college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 78.8 percent of all 2012 FBS games, we simulated each of the BCS bowl matchups—the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and BCS National Championship—1,001 times to predict the outcome.

    The simulations provided each team's winning percentage and average score. We also selected a sample box score that represented the average results from the simulations.

    So, who is favored in each of the BCS bowl games?

Rose Bowl Prediction

1 of 5

    Wisconsin: Due to sanctions at Ohio State and Penn State, the Badgers played in the Big Ten Championship despite a third-place finish in the Leaders division. A thumping of Nebraska earned a trip to the Rose Bowl, but Wisconsin's coach of seven years, Bret Bielema, is moving on to Arkansas.

    Stanford: With the departure of Andrew Luck, Stanford fell from the 22nd-ranked passing offense to the 94th. Yet the Cardinal won their first conference championship since 1999, partly thanks to a defense that submitted 56 sacks, easily the most in the nation.

    Prediction: In 1,001 simulations, Stanford won 56.3 percent of the time by an average score of 23-21.

    Sample Box Score: Two of the nation's best running backs were on display as the Badgers and the Cardinal clashed. Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor did not disappoint. Ball totaled 196 yards and a score, while Taylor accumulated 157 yards, one touchdown and a Rose Bowl win. View Boxscore.

    Simulate Matchup:  Adjust lineups and simulate the matchup yourself.

Orange Bowl Prediction

2 of 5

    Northern Illinois: The postseason is nothing new for the Huskies, as the school made its fifth bowl game in as many years and will try for a third consecutive bowl victory. Junior Jordan Lynch did his best Chandler Harnish impression, matching the versatility of the graduated QB as he threw for 2,962 yards and rushed for another 1,771.

    Florida State: The well-balanced Seminoles are equally talented on both sides of the ball, contributing to an average margin of victory of 24.8 points per game, the third-best mark in the FBS. Third-year coach Jimbo Fisher is 2-0 in bowl games at Florida State.

    Prediction: In 1,001 simulations, Florida State won 72.2 percent of the time by an average score of 27-19.

    Sample Box Score: Underdog Northern Illinois took Florida State to the wire, as the Seminoles needed a last-second field goal by Dustin Hopkins to send the game to overtime. FSU won 27-20, but the Huskies proved their BCS bowl bust was warranted. View Boxscore.

    Simulate Matchup:  Adjust lineups and simulate the matchup yourself.

Sugar Bowl Prediction

3 of 5

    Louisville: An already-struggling ground game was dealt a serious blow when running back Senorise Perry was lost for the season against Syracuse. Jeremy Wright has managed just 89 yards on 48 carries, an average of 1.9 yards per rush, since Perry went down.

    Florida: A dominant defense that finished in the top 15 against both the pass and rush and surrendered the third-fewest points in the nation has delivered the Gators a trip to their 22nd consecutive bowl game. Florida last missed a bowl in 1990 due to postseason ineligibility.

    Prediction: In 1,001 simulations, Florida won 66.5 percent of the time by an average score of 23-18.

    Sample Box Score: The vaunted Florida defense kept Louisville off the scoreboard until a field goal at the 4:23 mark of the third quarter narrowed the score to 13-3. The Cardinals added two more late scores, but Florida earned a comfortable 23-13 win. View Boxscore.

    Simulate Matchup: Adjust lineups and simulate the matchup yourself.

Fiesta Bowl Prediction

4 of 5

    Oregon: The nation's leader in scoring margin, the Ducks scored 50.8 points per game while giving up just 22. Oregon's offense primarily stuck to the ground, where three running backs and a quarterback—Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall and Marcus Mariota—combined for 3,445 yards and 40 scores.

    Kansas State: A hiccup at Baylor cost the Wildcats a shot at the national title, but Heisman candidate Collin Klein is a sure bet to find the end zone against Oregon after running for 22 touchdowns and throwing for 15 more this season. Klein has scored at least once every game in the last two years.

    Prediction: In 1,001 simulations, Oregon won 53.1 percent of the time by an average score of 24-23.

    Sample Box Score: Two second-quarter scores by Barner carried the Ducks to a 14-8 halftime lead. Kansas State responded with touchdowns on their first two drives of the third quarter, but Oregon tacked on 17 more points in the last eight minutes of the third. Oregon survived 31-29. View Boxscore.

    Simulate Matchup: Adjust lineups and simulate the matchup yourself.

BCS National Championship Prediction

5 of 5

    Alabama: Nick Saban's team knows a thing or two about defense. The Crimson Tide finished the season No. 2 in scoring defense (10.7 points per game), No. 1 in rush defense (79.8 yards per game) and No. 6 in pass defense (166.2 yards per game).

    Notre Dame: Brian Kelly's squad is gunning for the school's first national championship since 1988. A stellar Fighting Irish defense anchored by Manti Te'o relinquished just 10.3 points per game, the fewest in the nation. In four victories over ranked opponents, Notre Dame surrendered 35 total points.

    Prediction: In 1,001 simulations, Alabama won 52.9 percent of the time by an average score of 24-23.

    Sample Box Score: A defensive slugging match was busted open by two third-quarter runs from Alabama's T.J. Yeldon. The first, a 57-yarder, brought the Crimson Tide to within a point of Notre Dame. The second, from 40 yards out, secured another national championship for Alabama and the SEC. View Boxscore.

    Simulate Matchup: Adjust lineups and simulate the matchup yourself.

    More Bowl Predictions: View bowl predictions and previews for all 35 bowls and all 70 teams here.