After a wild first weekend in October that saw No's. 3, 4 and 5 all get knocked off, our early 2013 BCS bowl predictions are starting to come into focus. Let’s have a look at which teams appear ready for the biggest of bowl spotlights and who’ll be playing for it all.
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Oregon State – Wow. This is an odd pairing, but who expected the Beavers to be a Top 10 team and the Big Ten to be this bad? The good news for Michigan is that despite getting shellacked in the Crimson Tide’s exhibition game, their remaining schedule isn’t too rough. They should be Indianapolis-bound to face a Wisconsin squad that will be jumping at least one postseason non-qualifier to be there.
Oregon State won’t walk out of Autzen a winner, but after the Ducks take care of business in the Pac-12 Championship game, the Beavers will be headed to Pasadena.
Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Florida State – Despite North Carolina State’s dramatic upset, the Seminoles are still in prime position to win the ACC (Insert gasps here). As usual, much like the Big Ten, nearly anyone not banned from postseason play with a passable schedule could win the conference.
Cincinnati doesn’t have the most brutal of remaining schedules and is putting up 34 points per game. Right now, the Bearcats look to be the winners of a round robin between them, Rutgers and Louisville which will likely determine the conference champion.
Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. South Carolina – The Longhorns get the nod over Kansas State as both teams have yet to deal with Paul “Spoiler” Rhodes and the Northwestern of the Big 12 known as Iowa State, but Texas already dealt with West Virginia. Don’t expect the Wildcats to do much better against Geno Smith and the Michael Bay Explosion Offense of Dana Holgorsen.
KSU and Texas meet at the end of the year with the Longhorns looking like the more complete team. While Texas has been the loser that series as of late, Bevo wins this round. If Texas-South Carolina happens, David Ash may want to live it up in New Orleans while he can. Jadeveon Clowney eats quarterbacks like the locals eat gumbo.
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. West Virginia – Notre Dame’s starting to play inspired football and even if they stub their toe, the Fighting Irish being in the BCS’ top eight isn’t unthinkable. If they can continue to gel and not falter against the likes of Oklahoma or USC, they’ll have the honor of defending against a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Geno Smith.
It’s hard to decide which would be more fun to watch: A Manti Te'o-Smith chess match or Lou Holtz come New Year’s Eve.
BCS Championship Game: Oregon vs. Alabama – The Ducks return to the grandest stage against the best team in the state of Alabama. The difference is that this time, instead of one fantastic athlete and a handful of very talented ones surrounding him, this team from the Land of Finebaum is one big crimson machine. The names on the back of their jerseys mean nothing. They’re out to collectively grind you into the dirt.
Oregon is one of the few teams that actually stand a chance at denying the Crimson Tide back-to-back national championships. While they’d need to play flawlessly to do so, if any team has as much SEC Speed® as Alabama, it’s the Ducks. As a suggestion, if Oregon can find a way to apply that HydroChrome LiquidMetal finish to their entire uniform to blind the opposition, it couldn’t hurt.
Follow Brandon on Twitter @EightLaces.