Bowl Projections for the 2012-2013 Season


Ahhh, the college football preseason.

A time where self-annointed college football experts throw in their predictions and prognostications for the season, predictions that will surely come true. Predictions such as Alabama winning the national title in 2010. Hey, in their defense, a school from Alabama did win the title that year. War Eagle.

Anyways, August is the month where useless preseason polls and predictions are released by the dozens, whether it be the AP’s top 25 or the Bleacher Report’s “Top 50 teams that have a Live Mascot” slideshow. There’s also the banter about uniform changes. “Will the names and numbers on Auburn’s uniforms be bigger?” “Will Penn State change their uniforms to leave their old look behind?” “Is this finally the year Florida’s football team plays in jorts?

Alas, after offering some back-handed compliments to the art of predicting the most unpredictable sport in America, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m caught up in preseason hype, and now I offer my picks for every bowl game for the 2012-2013 college football season.

New Mexico Bowl: California vs. Wyoming (The Pick: California)

New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Marshall (The Pick: Arkansas State)

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl: SMU vs. South Florida (The Pick: South Florida)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (The Pick: Louisiana Tech)

Hawaii Bowl: East Carolina vs. Hawaii (The Pick: East Carolina)

Military Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Army (The Pick: Army)

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Toledo vs. Illinois (The Pick: Illinois)

Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Nevada (The Pick: Nevada) Bowl: Troy vs. Ohio (The Pick: Troy)

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona vs. Navy (The Pick: Arizona)

Poinsettia Bowl: Air Force vs. BYU (The Pick: BYU)

TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern vs. Southern Miss (The Pick: Northwestern)

Independence Bowl: Fresno State vs. Texas A&M (The Pick: Texas A&M)

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Washington State (The Pick: Boise State)

BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Syracuse (The Pick: Vanderbilt)

Music City Bowl: Florida vs. Virginia (The Pick: Florida)

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Missouri (The Pick: Missouri)

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Baylor vs. Purdue (The Pick: Purdue)

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Rutgers (The Pick: Texas Tech)

Belk Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest (The Pick: Notre Dame)

Those were the bowl games that don’t attract much attention at all. I have no clue at all how a game named the “ Bowl” doesn’t get national attention… outside of the fact it’s a horrible name with a bad sponsor and two small teams in the heart of Southwest Alabama. Anyways, here are some of the bigger bowl games:

Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Utah

The Cowboys and Utes should provide a high-flying matchup here. It isn’t a Baylor-Washington kind of game, but there will still be plenty of points. The Utes will have high expectations coming into their second year in the Pac-12, and if they can get a home upset on a Thursday night against USC, this could be a big year for Utah. While Oklahoma State might not be as good as last year with some major holes to fill on both sides, never count out a Mike Gundy team. In case you haven’t heard, he’s a man. The Pick: Utah

Sun Bowl: Stanford vs. NC State

To the average college football fan, this doesn’t look like a great matchup. However, the Cardinal will still be a powerful, efficient team, even without Andrew Luck. Stanford will be just fine. NC State is a very intriguing team. Mike Glennon has the potential to be a great QB, and the defense is one of the ACC’s best. It would be a very interesting game between two physical teams from the ACC and Pac-12. The Pick: NC State

Holiday Bowl: Washington vs. Kansas State

Hey, look, Baylor just scored again. No, but seriously, Washington will have to improve defensively to improve on their 7-6 record last season, especially since this year’s schedule could see the Huskies start 2-4. Keith Price is one of the Pac-12’s best quarterbacks, so U-Dubb should be a solid team. Kansas State is led by, in my opinion, one of the greatest college football coaches ever, Bill Snyder. The Wildcats have perhaps the Big 12’s best defense and a true dual-threat QB in Collin Klien. The Wildcats are good for at least eight wins. The Pick: Kansas State

Russell Athletic Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati

The Yellow Jackets have become a power in the ACC with their triple-option attack, but it’s come with a price: an 0-4 record in bowl games under Paul Johnson. Georgia Tech is my surprise pick to win the ACC Coastal Division. The Bearcats shared the Big East title last season, but lose some big starters on offense. Cincy does return most of their defense and special teams, so expect them to (once again) be one of the Big East’s best teams. The Pick: Georgia Tech

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Iowa

TCU and Iowa are two of the nation’s more well-coached teams. They both have had success in bowl games recently, combining to go 6-2 since 2008. TCU’s expected to immediately be a contender in the Big 12, while Iowa looks to have some of the pieces in place to challenge Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan for the division title. These are two very consistent programs and should provide one of the best bowl games of the year. The Pick: Iowa

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech

The Hogs were considered by many to be a BCS National Championship contender before the Bobby Petrino scandal. They still might be, as the Hogs have multiple Heisman contenders on their offense and their defense has improved every year. But I don’t think they can win the SEC West without Petrino’s unique playcalling. The Hogs will be good, but probably can’t go better than 2-2 in games against Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and LSU. Virginia Tech is… well, Virginia Tech, meaning they’ll be good for at least 9 wins with classic Beamer-ball and a great mobile quarterback in Logan Thomas. The Pick: Arkansas

Outback Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan

The Bulldogs have the schedule to potentially go 12-0 in the regular season, but it’s doubtful they can pull it off. Why? The Georgia effect. The suspensions will (once again) have an impact on Georgia early in the season. A loss at Missouri will lead to a disappointing 10-2 record for the Dawgs. The Michigan Wolverines face a stiff schedule, playing Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State. While the fighting Brady Hokes will once again be a good team with our beloved Al Borges calling plays for Denard Robinson, the tough schedule makes a return to a BCS bowl difficult. The Pick: Michigan

Gator Bowl: Tennessee vs. Nebraska

The Volunteers went 5-7 last year, but with pressure on Derek Dooley, a great QB in Tyler Bray, a solid defense, the SEC’s best wide receiver unit and a good home schedule that includes the likes of Florida and Alabama, the Vols should rebound nicely with at least eight wins this year. The Nebraska Cornhuskers will once again try to take that next step into the BCS. They’ve lost exactly 4 games each year under Bo Pelini, twice going 9-4 and twice going 10-4. With 16 starters back, the Cornhuskers should be a solid team, but can they improve enough on both sides of the ball to make a BCS bowl? Probably not. The Pick: Nebraska

Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Texas

The Cotton Bowl will feature our beloved Tigers against the powerful Texas Longhorns at Cowboys Stadium. The Tigers have two great new coordinators, 18 returning starters and a schedule that sets up for success. War Eagle is still a year away from being a BCS National Championship contender, but this year should be a good year for Chizik’s bunch nonetheless. I see the Tigers going 9-3 (10-3 if they win this bowl). Texas still needs to find a QB as well, but the defense is solid and this is still one of the nation’s most talented teams. However, I couldn’t see them being any better than 10-2. The Pick: Auburn

Capital One Bowl: Alabama vs. Wisconsin

What? The defending champs not in a BCS bowl? Well…. yeah. The Crimson Tide loses most of its great defense, several of its top receivers and a little diddy named Trent Richardson. Despite that, the Tide should be one of the SEC’s best teams. However, like 2010, I see the youth and inexperience costing Alabama this season. A 10-2 record will barely keep Alabama out of a BCS bowl. Wisconsin is a 1/5 favorite to win their division, and those odds are still too low. Montee Ball is one of the nation’s best running backs, the rest of the division is depleted, and the Badgers are one of those teams that always wins at least 10 games with solid, physical, boring-style football. The Pick: Alabama

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Louisville

I think the Tigers want a little revenge. After being destroyed by 37 by West Virginia in last year’s Orange Bowl, these Tigers will be hungry to win the ACC again and prove they’re a strong program. They feature the best offense in the league, and while I think they lose to Auburn to start the year, I see them once again winning the ACC crown. The Louisville Cardinals, despite going 7-6 last year, look to be the Big East’s best team. Charlie Strong is a great coach, the team improved last year down the stretch and 15 starters return, including QB Teddy Bridgewater. It doesn’t hurt that the schedule’s manageable. The Pick: Clemson

Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia vs. Florida State

Yes, I see the Mountaineers winning the Big 12 in their first season in the conference. The offense will be maybe the nation’s best. Geno Smith is nearly impossible to stop, the WR group is one of the nation’s best and Dana Holgersen is just awesome. Florida State has the schedule to go 10-2 and sneak into the BCS, and having the ACC’s top defense doesn’t hurt. It would be awesome to watch West Virginia’s offense face the Florida State defense. The Pick: West Virginia

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

The Sooners still have Landry Jones at QB and one of the nation’s best home-field advantages. There doesn’t appear to be as much hype for Oklahoma in the preseason as usual, but I predict that the Sooners will be unbeaten going into a November showdown at West Virginia. South Carolina, in my opinion, will be a national title-caliber team. They don’t return many starters in the secondary or at WR, but the defensive line is one of the country’s best, Marcus Lattimore is the best running back in the country, Connor Shaw has the potential to be a great QB and with Steve Spurrier at the helm, these Gamecocks could run the table outside of a trip to Baton Rouge. It wouldn’t surprise me if South Carolina is in Miami playing for the crystal ball at the end of the season. The Pick: South Carolina

Rose Bowl: USC vs. Michigan State

Trojans vs. Spartans. Man, if you thought “300” was epic, wait until this bowl battle! The Trojans will be one of the favorites to win the BCS title this season. So why won’t they? The defense and depth. The defense has been very average since Lane Kiffin arrived. Also, the Trojans’ depth isn’t very good thanks to NCAA-enforced scholarship reductions. I see the Trojans running the table in the regular season, but a loss in the Pac-12 title game against Oregon will knock the Trojans out of the national title game. Michigan State might lose Kirk Cousins, but they still return 15 starters, including 8 from a defense that gave up 277 total yards per game last season. The Spartans aren’t receiving as much media attention as Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but Mark Dantonio has built up a Big Ten powerhouse in East Lansing. The Pick: USC

BCS National Championship Game: #1 LSU vs. #2 Oregon

This matchup looks a little familiar, doesn’t it? The Tigers beat the Ducks 40-27 to open last season, and I predict they’ll beat the Ducks again to close this season. The Ducks still haven’t chosen a QB and have to play at USC, but if they can win every game except for the game at USC in November, an upset over the Trojans in the second meeting in the Pac-12 title game could launch the Ducks into their 2nd title game in 3 years, which is what I’ll predict will happen. LSU returns many key pieces, having a great offensive line, running back group, defensive line, secondary and special teams. This LSU team could be better than last year’s. Even though I see the Bayou Bengals getting upset somewhere along the way, I predict a return to the big stage, where this time, they’ll stick the landing. National Champion: LSU

Now that it’s been determined who will win the title, we might as well not play the season now because it’s all been decided. OK, not really. I should note that I picked LSU to play Oklahoma State last season, and I was one Iowa State away from that being the case. It should be another great season of college football!