Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — September 4th
First weekends in college football are always funny. You never know what to expect despite the eight-month lead up of projections, analysis and constant chattering.
|BCS Bowl Projections|
|Title Game||USC vs. LSU|
|Rose Bowl||Oregon vs. Wisconsin|
|Orange Bowl||Florida St. vs. Louisville|
|Fiesta Bowl||West Virginia vs. Michigan|
|Sugar Bowl||Alabama vs. Oklahoma|
|Scroll down for more.|
The 2012 season’s opening slate was a little tame — offering few upsets and plenty of blowouts. But even in the expected, there was plenty to learn about the shape of the season to come.
A few teams made the statements we expected, and are well on their way to strong 2012 campaigns. But a handful more made the first impressions that set tones for a run at a possible national title game berth.
The first week of college football is officially complete. Where will your team land when the last one ends?
BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. USC Trojans (BCS No. 2)
Comment: A class of teams rose on college football’s first weekend in the eyes of most fans. Included among them were LSU and USC. Joining the Tigers and Trojans were Oregon and Alabama. At this point, the general consensus is that one of these four teams will win the national title. And with LSU and USC performing to expectations — and then some — against inferior first-week opponents, there’s no reason to change the projection here. But both must be careful, the treading in the SEC and Pac-12 beyond the Crimson Tide and the Ducks isn’t simple by any stretch of the imagination.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: Fall short of the national title game and reach the Rose Bowl. This might be the way Oregon’s 2012 plays out if they are unable to topple the Trojans when the two teams meet once (or twice) at the end of the season. But a berth at the Rose Bowl could easily fall the Ducks’ way if they don’t make the top bowl game. And given their performance on Saturday night, the Ducks haven’t lost a step since 2011.
Wisconsin may have had some trouble knocking the rust off against Northern Iowa, but the Badgers are still in prime position to take the Big Ten’s bid to the Rose Bowl if things fall their way in 2012. Challenges lie ahead for Wisconsin, but a return to the Rose Bowl could be in the cards.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)
Comment: Defending national champion or not, Alabama looked spectacular against Michigan on college football’s opening weekend, plastering the preseason No. 8, 41-14. And with a strong returning core and a defense that was able to contain Denard Robinson and the Wolverine attack, the Tide are as dangerous a squad as any this season, but should they fall short of the title game, the Sugar Bowl will be waiting eagerly for a chance to welcome Alabama back to the bowl and the city.
Oklahoma didn’t exactly crush UTEP on their opening weekend, and given the strength shown by West Virginia, it’s logical to bump the Mountaineers up into the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champs and Oklahoma down to an at-large selection for the Sugar Bowl. But it’s little loss, as the Sooners could be blessed with a fascinating matchup with Alabama in New Orleans.
Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)
Comment: Florida State looked strong against Murray State, a FCS with little to gain except some exposure against the Seminoles. Pounding away at the Racers gave a look at the explosiveness Florida State can have, but can they bring it against the ACC this season? That remains to be seen.
For as little as we may have learned about Florida State, we certainly learned this about Louisville — the preseason hype was warranted. The Cardinals looked solid against Kentucky on Sunday, and could give the Big East a much-needed national presence this season if they can keep that kind of play up as the season progresses. An Orange Bowl bid might be in the cards if Louisville can take the Big East crown.
Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big 12 Champion) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)
Comment: West Virginia looked like the class of the Big 12 despite its freshman status in the league. Quarterback Geno Smith and the Mountaineers were unstoppable against Marshall, posting 69 points against the Thundering Herd. Sure, they gave up 34 points, but the Big 12 hasn’t been one for defense recently. Given the Fiesta Bowl’s tie with the Big 12, don’t be surprised to find the Mountaineers here in January.
Sure, Michigan didn’t look great against Alabama. But they are still Michigan. Despite the disappointing loss, the Wolverines still have decent shot at a BCS bowl if they can play their cards right and stay BCS eligible come season’s end. The Big Ten wont be an easy place to get that done in 2012. But any BCS bowl would love to have that fan base come to town, and a matchup with West Virginia would be a draw for the ages.
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