Now that the college football regular season has come to a close, it’s time to start looking at what they’ve been playing all year for, the all-important bowl games. And not just the normal bowls, but the ones that really matter, which are of course, the BCS bowls. Here are my bowl projections and some quick picks after a first glimpse at the match-ups.
BCS National Championship-#1 Notre Dame vs. #2 Alabama
Of course, this is one of the easy ones. Although idle this week and without a conference title to claim, the Fighting Irish will undoubtedly remain in the top spot and Alabama will stay put at No. 2 after conquering the SEC once again with yesterday’s win over Georgia.
It’s hard to go against the SEC considering they’ve won six straight national titles and considering that Alabama is the defending champions, but Notre Dame was the only team to remain perfect all season, although it escaped a number of upsets just barely. I think this will be a close contest, but I have to go Bama here. The Tide are just so clutch in these big bowl games.
Rose Bowl-#8 Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Here’s another easy call considering both teams automatically qualified by winning their conference title games. Stanford finished the season incredibly strong, defeating several ranked teams, including UCLA twice (once in the Pac-12 title game) and mighty Oregon, whose own national title and rose bowl hopes were spoiled by the Cardinal. Meanwhile the Badgers finished the season by losing three of its last four games in heartbreaking fashion in overtime, but rose to the occasion and big stage of the Big Ten title game, crushing Nebraska 70-31.
This match-up will hinge on Wisconsin’s ability to run the ball against the nation’s best run defense in Stanford. Wisconsin relies heavily on the ground game, but the bad news is that it will be up against the only defense that stopped Oregon’s running game, which was the best in the country. If the Cardinal can continue to shut down the ground game, expect them to win this one against the Badgers.
Fiesta Bowl-#5 Oregon vs. #6 Kansas State
The Wildcats got the automatic bid when they beat Texas last night to clinch the Big 12 Championship and Oregon should get the at large bid as the second Pac-12 team. There’s just no way the Ducks won’t get a bid to one of the big bowls at No.5 and being a team that everyone wants to watch, and the Fiesta should be where the Ducks end up.
The Ducks one loss was against the nation’s best run defense and although Kansas State has been solid on the defensive side of the ball at times, I don’t think they’ve be able to contain the powerful Ducks offense. However, K State should be able to score plenty of points themselves against an Oregon D that has struggled at times against the run. At the end of the day, I do like Oregon to outlast K State and pull out a narrow victory.
Sugar Bowl-#4 Florida vs. Louisville
Louisville earned its spot by winning the Big East and Florida should land here as the number two team out of the SEC. The one loss Gators have looked less than impressive in some of their wins, but the same can be said of the Cardinals. Though, the Gators defense should have no problem shutting down the Louisville attack, as it had little trouble with teams in the big bad SEC. I like the Gators to win this one fairly easily.
Orange Bowl-#13 Florida State vs. #11 Oklahoma
Florida State earned its bid after winning the ACC title game and Oklahoma should get a bid as the second team out of the Big 12. Some are thinking Northern Illinois might become this year’s BCS buster as it should jump into qualifying position in the top 16, but there’s little chance it will leap over Oklahoma, which won against TCU this week.
Oklahoma’s powerful offense should rule the day in the Orange Bowl against a Seminole team that has also had trouble with sub par opponent’s. Case in point: FSU only beat 6-6 Georgia Tech 21-15 in the ACC title game and didn’t have much competition all year. When it did, like against Florida, things didn’t go so well. I like the Sooners here.