On Sunday, the BCS match-ups were announced — not too many surprises, but one exciting BCS-buster! Here are our predictions for each of the games…
1. Rose Bowl
January 1, Pasadena, CA
Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin is the surprise appearance in this year’s BCS line-up, with a lackluster 7-5 record — the first 5-loss team ever to play in the Rose Bowl. They eviscerated Nebraska 70-31 in the B1G Championship in order to secure the berth.
Stanford, the PAC-12 champions, boast a much more impressive record at 11-2 after beating UCLA twice in a row to end the season.
Both teams are formidable, and it will be a hard-fought game. In the end, it will come down to two things: can Wisconsin get its run game going, and can Stanford avoid the turnovers and penalties that have plagued them somewhat this season? In the end, we predict Stanford will emerge as 10-point victors.
2. Orange Bowl
January 1, Miami, FL
Florida State vs. Northern Illinois
It was a banner year for Northern Illinois, the BCS-buster in this year’s lineup. Northern Illinois comes into the Orange Bowl on a 12-1 record and a major chip on its shoulder. Their selection has been controversial, but NIU will come to play.
The storied Seminoles are the match-up for NIU, and come in as the heavy favorites. They finished with a solid 11-2 record and have an impressive offense behind QB EJ Emanuel, and backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, Jr.
There’s no denying that Northern Illinois are the underdogs in this game, but we believe they’ll put up a fight, if only to silence the naysayers who have poo-poo’ed their BCS bid. While we hope the Huskies will give Florida State all they can handle, in the end, we predict that Florida State will win by 14 points.
3. Sugar Bowl
January 2, New Orleans, LA
Florida vs. Louisville
In a year of dubious BCS berths, Louisville is one of the most controversial. They emerged as the champions of a struggling Big East Conference, and will compete despite being ranked just 22 in the BCS polls.
Florida comes into the game ranked no. 4 and with just a single loss. They’ve allowed just five touchdown passes all year, and have one of the best defenses in the country.
Although there’s an interesting storyline here, in that Louisville coach Charlie Strong is the former defensive coordinator for Florida, this should be a fairly easy win for Florida. Our prediction? Florida by 20.
4. Fiesta Bowl
January 3, Glendale, AZ
Kansas State vs. Oregon
The Fiesta Bowl should prove to be one of the more compelling match-ups among the BCS bowls this year. This will prove to be a shoot-out, as both teams come in with legitimate Heisman contenders and powerful offenses that have blasted by their opponents all year.
Kansas State, led behind Heisman contender Colin Klein at QB, has the Wildcats averaging a whopping 410 yards per game.
Of course, the Ducks average 550, thanks to star running back Kenjon Barner, who is a solid receiver as well as a powerful rusher.
In the end, we think the Ducks’ offense will prove just too powerful. They’ll win a high-scoring game by 14 points.
5. National Championship
January 7, Miami, FL
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
This is the most exciting match-up this year. Both Notre Dame and Alabama come are iconic programs in college football history, having won 25 national championships between them.
The match-up features the top two defenses in the country, which means that this will be a low-scoring, grind-it-out kind of game. Alabama comes in as the defending champs, hoping to keep the national championship trophy in the SEC for the 7th straight year. Notre Dame has the only unbeaten record among bowl-eligible teams this year, and hopes to keep its record unblemished with its first national championship since 1988.
In the end, we think Notre Dame will run the table and emerge with a 3-point victory over the defending champions.
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