December 19, 2012Owensville High School
In the second-to-last year of bowl games, some are interesting and some are just pointless. The National Championship this year is among the most anticipated in years. Another highly anticipated game is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The top teams will keep competing in bowl games in the future, but thankfully, all of the pointless bowl games will be done away with starting in 2014. Being the sports fanatics we are, we can still not wait to watch these pointless bowl games… and predict the winners. That is what I will attempt to do with this article. Although I will certainly not pick all of the games right, I feel confident that I will perform well. If you are looking to bet some people or win some money with your predictions, do your research. Reading this article may help.
Discover BCS National Championship Game: Alabama (12-1) vs. Notre Dame (12-0)
The Irish and Crimson Tide are two of the most storied programs in college football history. These two cultures will clash in Miami, Florida on January 7th. Notre Dame is looking for their first championship since 1987, while Alabama is going for their third title in four years and looking to continue the SEC’s run of dominance over the rest of the nation. One of the best players in all of college football and the Heisman Trophy runner-up is Manti Te’o. Te’o leads the Irish defense, who is the best in the country. Saban and his Alabama team are solid on defense, as usual, but the offense still lacks.
Projected Winner: Notre Dame
Godaddy.com Bowl: Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)
Kent State just missed out on a BCS berth by a matter of one win in their last game of the season. The Golden Flash will look to rebound against a good Arkansas State team out of the Sun Belt Conference. Arkansas State will be playing this game without their head coach as he took a new job, but the Red Wolves will show up to play. With Aplin at quarterback, this Arkansas State team can beat just about anyone they play.
Projected Winner: Arkansas State
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
This game will be one of the most watched bowl games considering it features this year’s Heisman trophy winner. Johnny Manziel displayed some miraculous athleticism this year as he set the record for offense in the SEC in route to becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman. Oklahoma has had a quiet year as they never quite entered the championship conversation, but they hung around the whole time. With Landry Jones under center, Oklahoma’s offense can be just as explosive. Oklahoma’s defense may not be up to the task of stopping Manziel and I think that is why the Aggies will win.
Projected Winner: Texas A&M
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State (11-1) vs. Oregon (11-1)
At one point this season, this game was expected to be the BCS National Championship Game, but, because of tough losses for both teams late in the season, they dropped in the standings. The teams will still play each other though in a BCS bowl in what is probably the most intriguing bowl game. Oregon’s high-powered offense is tough for any team to slow down. The Duck’s offense line has been banged up lately, but they will have some time to recuperate before this showdown. Collin Klein, the quarterback for Kansas State, was a Heisman Trophy finalist this year. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country. Both defenses lack strength, but I think that Kansas State has the advantage here. Oregon’s speed on both sides of the ball will create chaos for the Wildcats and overwhelm this defense.
Projected Winner: Oregon
BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6)
Both of these teams are among the most improved in all of college football. Both teams were terrible last season, but have rebounded to become bowl-eligible this season. Sure, it is the Compass Bowl, but it is better than watching from home. Ole Miss has faced better competition all season and that will help them in this game.
Projected Winner: Ole Miss
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida (11-1)
Florida fell just short of finding themselves in the SEC Championship game and potentially in the National Championship. The Gators will be back with a vengeance. Louisville suffered two crushing losses but they were still able to be co-champions of the Big East Conference. With Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, the Cardinals can play with the best, however, he lacks the weapons around him and the talent of the Gators will take over this game.
Projected Winner: Florida
Discover Orange Bowl
This year’s “BCS buster” was Northern Illinois. The Huskies, out of the Mid American Conference, were not expected to be in a BCS game; however, after their win against Kent State in the MAC Championship, Northern Illinois shot up to 15 in the BCS rankings, just high enough to squeak into this game. Many people do not think that Northern Illinois belongs in this position, but they earned it. They will be playing this game without their head coach due to him accepting a new job. Florida State was one of the favorites to win the National Championship at the start of the year; however, with losses to North Carolina State and Florida, those dreams were crushed. The ACC Champion Seminoles will look to run all over the Huskies in this matchup.
Projected Winner: Florida State
The Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2)
This annual matchup of the Pac-12 Champion against the Big Ten Champion lacks more than usual. Two teams that were better than Wisconsin this year could have been playing in this game, but both Penn State and Ohio State committed serious infractions, causing them to be excluded from postseason play. Wisconsin is still a good team, but they will be playing without their head coach. Montee Ball has come on strong in the second half of the season for the Badgers. On the other side, Stanford’s defense is great and their team is all-around strong, however, the Cardinal do not have a solid starter at quarterback. This may be a surprise, but I think Wisconsin will win.
Projected Winner: Wisconsin
Outback Bowl: South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4)
South Carolina quietly had a great season this year. Their defense is as suffocating as ever with Clowney at defensive end. Their offense is not exactly the best with the loss of Marcus Lattimore. Michigan was expected to have a great season, but they were highly disappointed when their team did not live up to those lofty expectations. The offense struggled all year with “Shoelace” Robinson floating in and out of the starting lineup with injuries and inconsistent play.
Projected Winner: South Carolina
Capital One Bowl: Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)
Georgia probably feels like they should have been in a BCS bowl considering that they beat Florida who is in the Sugar Bowl and was just one game short of playing for the National Championship, but the rule is that each conference can only have two teams in the BCS. Georgia has a great defense and an offense that is not always consistent, but is still one of the best. Nebraska got dominated in their previous game against Wisconsin and could still be recovering from that painful loss. Nebraska matches up very well against Georgia in terms of offensive fire power, but the x-factor will be on defense. Jarvis Jones will wreak havoc upon the Nebraska offense and will create problems in the passing game, making them one-dimensional and predictable.
Projected Winner: Georgia
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Purdue improved upon their season last year, but they still did not have a great year. Playing in the tough Big Ten, Purdue only won three conference games all year, showing how they do against quality competition. Oklahoma State plays a lot of offense, but has a hardly non-existent defense. Oklahoma State’s record does them no favor, but they have face quality opponents and performed somewhat well.
Projected Winner: Oklahoma State
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)
Neither of these teams really has a signature win this season, but they beat the teams that they needed to. Both of these teams have been solid for the past couple of years in their respective conferences. Northwestern has not won a bowl game in a very long time, all though they should have in 2010 against Auburn where they came up just short in overtime. Mississippi State has been good in the SEC, but not good enough to upset a team like LSU, Alabama, or Georgia. This is one of the more intriguing matchups. This game could go either way.
Projected Winner: Northwestern
Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)
LSU had a disappointing season for their program’s standards, although they won 10 games. Nobody thinks that a spread offensive attack can match up against a pro-style defense of the SEC; that is what we will see in this matchup. LSU has the factor that is Les Miles on their side, but Clemson definitely has a better team.
Projected Winner: Clemson
Autozone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3)
This is another game that could go either way. Tulsa has the better record. Iowa State, although only winning three conference games in the Big 12 this year, faced better competition and they are likely more ready for this matchup.
Projected Winner: Iowa State
Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)
At the start of the season, USC was the number one team in the nation and was expected to return all the way to National Championship glory. Five losses later and those expectations crushed, USC finds themselves in the Sun Bowl. Georgia Tech was a good team, but they fell just short of a conference title. The Yellow Jackets are good, but USC is just too good. Marquise Lee, their wide receiver, is one of the best pure athletes in the nation and will be a big difference maker in this game.
Projected Winner: USC
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
Vanderbilt silently had a great season in the SEC west. Sure, they were not as good as Georgia or South Carolina, but they surprised some people by making upsets, such as the one at Missouri. North Carolina State pulled off an upset of their own against Florida State early in the season. There is a lot of talent on the field for the Wolfpack and that will be the difference in this game.
Projected Winner: North Carolina State
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)
At the start of the season, optimism for a BCS berth was high in East Lansing, Michigan. After a couple of tough losses and some major mistakes, the Spartans hopes were abandoned and they were just trying to get through the season. TCU was making the adjustment to their first season in the Big 12 and they did so somewhat successfully. TCU is better coached and will likely be more prepared for this close game.
Projected Winner: TCU
Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon State (9-3) vs. Texas (8-4)
At one point this season, the Oregon State Beavers were undefeated and being talked about as a title contender. After running the gauntlet of the Pac-12, the Beavers made it out alive with nine wins. Texas is silently making a comeback from last year, which was a disappointment for this outstanding program. Oregon State just seems to be better and will likely play better in this game.
Projected Winner: Oregon State
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy (7-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
Both of these teams have declined in talent as they had great players leave after last season, but they have bother been pleasant surprises. After everyone else stopped playing for the season, Navy still had their last game against their arch-rival Army. Navy won this close game for the tenth year in a row. Arizona State has been surprised with their quarterback play this year, but the rest of the team does not face the test.
Projected Winner: Navy
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
West Virginia, at one point, was among the discussions for a possible BCS berth. After collapsing against Texas Tech and Kansas State consecutively, the course of their season changed. Geno Smith and Tavon Austin, no matter how good they are, could not balance the amount of points that their bad defense was giving up. Syracuse is one of the more underrated teams. The Orange and quarterback Ryan Nassib will look to slip under the radar once again at Yankee Stadium and look to pull off the upset.
Projected Winner: West Virginia
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)
Both of these teams were just average this year; nothing more, nothing less. More Rice fans will probably show up to this game because of the proximity, giving them a slight advantage. Air Force’s offense will make the difference in this game.
Projected Winner: Air Force
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
Both of these small-conference teams will look to impress with a solid win against their opponent in this game. Both of these teams are evenly matched and had pretty good seasons that were cut short by conference foes that were just better. It is hard to pick a winner in this game, but I will have to go with the Bobcats.
Projected Winner: Ohio
Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
Virginia Tech had a disappointing season. With Logan Thomas at quarterback, they were expected to win at least nine games and possibly the ACC Championship. Rutgers almost had a BCS berth, but in their last game of the season, they lost in what would have been the Big East Championship game to Louisville, who did earn that BCS berth. Although Virginia Tech has “Beamer Ball”, Rutgers will likely win this game, barring an upset.
Projected Winner: Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
Both of these teams play in great conferences and face great opponents all year. This will be a pretty good game as these two teams are evenly matched. Texas Tech has the better conference record at 4-5 and showed flashed of potential this year, thus making my decision.
Projected Winner: Texas Tech
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)
Baylor’s highlight of the 2012 season is when they took down No. 1 Kansas State late in the season to put a damper on the Wildcats’ title hopes. UCLA defeated rival USC and then went on to the Pac-12 Championship game where they fell just short of a Rose Bowl berth by losing to Stanford. Jim Mora Jr. certainly has this Bruins team heading in the right direction.
Projected Winner: UCLA
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6)
It is a head scratcher that these two teams are paired together in a bowl game when you look at them on paper, but these teams may matchup against each other good in reality. Cincinnati was the Big East co-champion this season. The Bearcats will be watching the Sugar Bowl at home as their co-champion, Louisville, plays in it. Duke went 3-5 in a less than impressive ACC.
Projected Winner: Cincinnati
Military Bowl: San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
Both of these teams played the year almost unnoticed. San Jose State went an outstanding 10-2. Although it was against opponents who were not very good, the Spartans had a great year. Bowling Green faced better competition, but did not perform as well.
Projected Winner: San Jose State
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Washington (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2)
The highlight of the season for the Washington Huskies was upsetting Stanford. Boise State is in a “rebuilding” stage, although they had a really good season still. I think Chris Peterson and the Broncos will be prepared for this matchup.
Projected Winner: Boise State
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State (9-3) vs. Southern Methodist (6-6)
Southern Methodist is much removed from their glory days of their past, but they are not exactly terrible. The Mustangs have shown some good things this year and the future could be bright for this team. Fresno State performed well in a diminished Mountain West Conference.
Projected Winner: Southern Methodist
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)
Western Kentucky had a great season considering how bad they had been in the past. The Hilltoppers are a well coached team, however, they will be playing this game without their head coach due to him finding a new job. Central Michigan finished with a .500 record in the MAC, which is not a good sign, however, Western Kentucky finished with the same record in the Sun Belt which is about even, if not worse.
Projected Winner: Western Kentucky
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Brigham Young (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
These former Mountain West Conference foes will face each other as non-conference opponents in some time. BYU made the move to be an independent a couple of years ago. These two teams have been rivals in the past so expect this game to be loud. San Diego State is pretty much playing this game in their backyard.
Projected Winner: San Diego State
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl
Both of these teams play in average conferences and had seasons that were a little above average. Ball State was the third or fourth best team in their conference that produced a BCS team. Although there were no BCS teams from the C-USA, Central Florida performed relatively well. I think Ball State will have the edge because of the kinds of teams they played this year.
Projected Winner: Ball State
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)
This game is the first bowl of the year, which is probably why more people watch it then should. This year the teams are more attractive than the traditional Mountain West vs. WAC matchup as this year Arizona is playing. Nevada performed at 4-4 in the Mountain West, not too impressive. Although Arizona lost five games in the conference, the Pac-12 had a great year in terms of talent.
Projected Winner: Arizona
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2)
Neither one of these teams drew much attention through the course of the year; however, both finished with good records. Utah State accomplished a feat that very few did this year: finish the season undefeated in conference play. Sure, they play in the WAC, but they still deserve some credit. Toledo was playing this year in a “stacked” MAC conference. They only lost two conference games this season. This will be a close game.
Projected Winner: Utah State