BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Predictions

January 1, 2013

4. Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL)  1:00 PM ET ESPN
#10 South Carolina @ #18 Michigan 

- South Carolina and Michigan lost key games that could have put them in BCS bowl games. Both teams have good defenses that rank ten and eleven in the country. The South Carolina Gamecocks lost running back Marcus Lattimore in late October for the season, but were still able to have a good season. The offense led by quarterback Connor Shaw was good, but the Gamecock defense is what made this team successful. The Gamecock defense is led by one of the best defensive ends in the country Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecock defense held opponents to 18.4 points per game and just 106.3 rushing yards per game this season.

The Michigan Wolverines lost a key game at Nebraska that would have put them in a position to go to the Rose Bowl, but quarterback Denard Robinson went down with an elbow injury. With Robinson injured, the Wolverines brought back converted wide receiver Devin Gardner to the quarterback position. Gardner proved to be the right fit as a dual threat quarterback for the Wolverine offense. The offense was shaky at times this season for the Wolverines, but the defense was able to be the catalyst for winning ball games. The Wolverine defense held their opponents to 18.8 points per game and 155.2 passing yards per game. The Michigan defense will need to be strong and keep their team in this game, because the offense may struggle. The Gamecock defense is so fast and physical, which means that the Michigan offensive line will need to protect Devin Gardner, as well as Denard Robinson, from big hits. Gardner will not be able to run the ball or scramble like he was able to in other games this season. The Wolverines are going to have to mix up their game plan with more passing plays. If Michigan cannot establish a passing game it is going to be tough for them to stay in this game. 

Prediction: South Carolina 32, Michigan 21

5. Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL)  1:00 PM ET ABC 
#7 Georgia vs #16 Nebraska 

- Both teams were one game away from going to a BCS bowl game. Georgia wasn't able to hold off Alabama when it mattered most and Nebraska was blown out by Wisconsin as they gave up 70 points. The Georgia Bulldogs had a good offense with an even better defense this season. The Bulldog passing game was solid with quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray passed for 31 touchdowns and had a 172.4 quarterback rating this season. The running game also surprisingly became very good with freshman Todd Gurley rushing for over 1,000 yards. The Bulldog defense struggled early in the season, but were able to bounce back. After giving up 35 points to South Carolina in a 35-7 loss in early October, the Bulldog defense finished their last seven games by giving up just 14.1 points per game. The defensive play of linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Olgletree played a key role in why the defense became such a threat to other team's offenses.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers had high hopes of being in the Rose Bowl, but found themselves in a horrible nightmare when they were blown out against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. The Husker offense relies heavily on the running game consisting of quarterback Taylor Martinez and running backs Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead. The passing game has struggled, even though Taylor Martinez improved his accuracy. The Husker defense ranks first in the nation against the pass, but against the run it has been a different story. Wisconsin's rushing attack led by Montee Ball put up 539 rushing yards on the Husker defense. The Husker defense must try to contain yet another physical rushing attack led by Todd Gurley. For the Huskers to win this ball game, the offensive line has to protect Taylor Martinez and be able to run the ball. If the Huskers cannot establish a rushing attack and begin committing turnovers like they have this season it will be another long game for this Husker team. Most people are not giving the Huskers a chance in this game. I think this game is closer than most people might think.

Prediction: Georgia 37, Nebraska 27

6. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio (Pasadena, CA)  5:00 PM ET ESPN
Wisconsin vs #6 Stanford

- This is a matchup that everyone has wanted to see. These two teams are identical in the way they play football. They pound it out on the ground with their talented running backs and play physical defense. The Stanford Cardinal hung around this season and then upset #2 Oregon on the road in overtime. This gave Stanford a clear path to the Pac-12 Championship game and then found themselves in their first Rose Bowl since 2000. Stanford became a much better team when head coach David Shaw made the switch at the quarterback position from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan. Kevin Hogan made the Cardinal offense tremendously better with his ability to take pressure off of 1,000 yard rusher Stepfan Taylor by being able to scramble and make plays outside of the pocket. The Cardinal defense was once again one of the best defenses in the country with potentially the best outside linebacking unit in the country consisting of Trent Murphy and Chase Thomas. The Cardinal defense has given up just 17.5 points per game and an astounding 88.0 rushing yards per game.

The Wisconsin Badgers appeared to be out of a BCS game with an 7-5 record season, but with Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible in the Big Ten Leaders Division it gave the Badgers an opportunity to knock off Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship. The Badgers ran all over Nebraska and won in blow out fashion 70-31. So here are the Badgers again in Pasadena for the third straight year. The Badgers come into this game without their head coach Bret Bielema, after he bolted for the Arkansas job. This will give the most successful coach in Wisconsin history, Barry Alvarez, one last time to coach his school that he loves so dearly. The Badgers offense finally found a starting quarterback in Curt Phillips, but will still need to depend on running backs Montee Ball, James White, and Melvin Gordon to move the offense. The Badger defense is an important aspect to this team as well. The Badger defense is solid with a linebacking core consisting of Mike Taylor, Chris Borland, and Ethan Armstrong. This is going to be a hard-nosed football game with teams running it up the gut the whole game and being put in third and five passing situations. This is going to be a very close game with both teams leaning on their defenses to make key stops in the red zone. Most people are taking Stanford to win this game, but I'm going with Wisconsin. Third time's a charm, right?

Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Stanford 24

7. Discover Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, FL)  8:30 PM ET ESPN
#15 Northern Illinois vs #12 Florida State 

- This became the most controversial bowl matchup of the year. Northern Illinois found themselves at No. 15 in the BCS Standings, which put them in the Orange Bowl. The Huskies will be without head coach Dave Doeren who left for the NC State job, but the Huskies will have one of the most dynamic players in college football Jordan Lynch. Lynch has 43 total touchdowns and 1,771 rushing yards on the season. The Husky offense has averaged 41.2 points per game and 490.7 yards per game this season. The Husky offense focuses on running the ball, but Lynch will need to rely on wide receiver Martel Moore because of how difficult it may be to run on the Florida State defense. The Florida State Seminoles almost blew their ACC title again this season, but found a way to get to their first BCS Bowl game since the 2005 season. This will be senior quarterback EJ Manuel's last game as a Seminole and he will be more motivated then ever to go out with an Orange Bowl victory. The Seminole offense averaged 35.9 points per game this season and will face a Northern Illinois defense that held opponents to 20.0 points per game this season. The Seminole defense is going to be the story of this game with defensive end Bjoern Werner, safety Lamarcus Joyner, and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The Seminole defense is the fourth best in the country and give up only 104.2 rushing yards per game. If the Husky offense cannot get the rushing attack going, the Seminoles are going to blow the Huskies out. It is not possible for Lynch to sit back in the pocket the entire game and expect to have a chance of upsetting the Seminoles.

Prediction: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 17

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