An Educated Guess at the 2012 BCS Bowl Matchups
An Educated Guess at the 2012 BCS Bowl Matchups
As it always has been, the 2012 Bowl Championship Series picture is murky up until the last possible minute. With several conference championship games taking place over the weekend, things will shake out by next week, but it's always interesting to make an educated guess at the match-ups.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have punched their ticket to Pasadena to take on the winner of the SEC Championship Game and compete for the school's first national championship win since 1988. The nation has their eyes on this one, but that certainly doesn't mean there isn't value in the other matchups as well. Some of the questions include what happens to the Texas A&M Aggies, LSU Tigers and other teams which should compete for SEC bids. Also, will the MAC champion be ranked high enough in the BCS even if they win to get an at-large bid?
While most of us can't wait for the BCS to come to an end, there's no doubt that the drama it creates from year-to-year keeps casual fans involved in the drama, and, for now at least, it's good for the game and for teams to continue to build themselves as national powers. Predictions are never perfect, but here is how we think the BCS games will fall into place.
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State Wildcats V.S. Texas A&M Aggies
Even with a Kent State win over Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship, the Golden Flashes will have to depend on both a UCLA loss to Stanford and a Texas loss to Kansas State to ensure they can even have a chance at jumping into the top 16 in the BCS Rankings to secure the AQ bid afforded them under those circumstances. We’re keeping the Flashes on the outside looking in given that scenario.
Kansas State should handle Texas-- although it won’t be easy-- and will get the Fiesta’s first guaranteed bid as the Big 12 champion. We’re taking the Texas A&M Aggies to be given the at-large bid due to the national attention they have received as of late and the fact they will have a Heisman Trophy winning QB at the helm in Johnny Manziel. Who wouldn’t want to see the Klein / Manziel match-up? We certainly do.
SUGAR BOWL: Florida Gators V.S. Oregon Ducks
Even though common sense would suggest that the loser of the SEC Championship Game, which in our assumption, will be Georgia, would get the Sugar Bowl bid, the computers love the Florida Gators because of their quality wins this season, and what is arguably the toughest schedule in college football. Georgia will get left out in the cold here in favor of Will Muschamp’s Gators.
Purely by default, we’ll put the Oregon Ducks here since the Sugar won’t matchup two SEC teams that have already played each other this season (see Texas A&M Aggies). Oregon has had their moments in 2012, but didn’t take advantage of their biggest opportunities in the PAC-12 when they were available. This one will have some flash for sure and certainly won’t be a defensive battle.
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State Seminoles V.S. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
This one’s fairly straight-forward. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the Florida State Seminoles lose to the over-matched Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in Saturday’s ACC Championship game. GT slid into the game sideways purely due to the luck of their divisional placement and don’t pose a challenge to a Florida State team that has been solid behind the leadership of E.J. Manuel and the coaching of Jimbo Fisher.
Rutgers should be able to outlast Louisville in a battle of wills in the Big East Championship game. While Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater has had his moments this season, some lingering injury concerns will be enough for a solid Rutgers team to take advantage and earn an Orange Bowl bid.
ROSE BOWL: Stanford Cardinal V.S. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Stanford Cardinal matchup against the UCLA Bruins this evening in Palo Alto in what should be a first-class PAC 12 Championship game. Coming off the heels of a victory over the Bruins last Saturday, the Cardinal are riding high behind the leadership of Kevin Hogan, the outstanding play of tight end Zach Ertz, and a defense which has surprised many with its ability to slow down high-powered PAC 12 defenses all season long. UCLA won’t bounce back tonight and Stanford will earn one slot in Pasadena.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers shouldn’t have much trouble with a Wisconsin Badgers squad that has been all over the board this season. While early-season Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball is starting to play like we all expected, it won’t be enough for the Badgers to outlast Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead and the stout Nebraska offense.
BCS TITLE GAME: Notre Dame Fighting Irish V.S. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are already in on the backs of their undefeated season, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o and a tenacious defense which held opposing offenses in check all season long. We’re taking the Alabama Crimson Tide to hold off the Georgia Bulldogs in Saturday night’s epic SEC Championship match-up due to their defensive edge and the tendency of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray to struggle in big games. An Alabama / Notre Dame match-up for all the marbles is just what Notre Dame fans should want to finally put to rest the notion that this season was a fluke. Now, all they have to do is win.