Josh Flagner’s Weekly NFL Pick have inspired me to do a set of picks on my own. I have always enjoyed the BCS, not so much in order to determine the National Championship game, but to see matchups and teams that wouldn’t be seen on a regular basis. I watch with intrigue as even the smallest of schools battle it out, because I just love the sport of college football such an incredible amount. With Ohio State out of the bowl picture this season, it gives me the perfect chance to be a completely unbiased and objective picker, something I may have never been thanks to my beloved Buckeyes. Here goes nothing!
New Mexico Bowl: Arizona over Nevada.
Arizona started this season very strong but ran into the brick wall that was the Oregon Ducks. Arizona will end the season as they started it, strongly.
Idaho Potato Bowl: #18 Utah State over Toledo.
What a year it has been for the Aggies! There is no other way to cap it off than to beat the Rockets, gaining some momentum going into next season.
Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State over BYU.
The Aztecs have really finished the season strong, winning their last 7 matchups. That trend will continue against BYU.
Beef o’ Brady’s Bowl: UCF over Ball State.
The Knights had quite a year in Conference USA. Two losses to the Conference USA Chamipion, Tulsa, and losses to Ohio State and Missouri, were the only flubs on the UCF schedule.
New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Lafayette over East Carolina.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, in addition to having the FBS’ bet nickname, are coming off a decent year and playing a “home” game in the Super Dome. The Pirates will have their hands full in NOLA.
MAACO Bowl: Washington over #20 Boise State.
Washington may have had a bit of a down year, but Keith Price is still one of my favorite players in college football. Boise State had a better season, but did have a bad loss to the San Diego State Aztecs.
Hawaii Bowl: SMU over Fresno State.
June Jones has been to one to many Hawaii Bowls to lose this one. The Mustangs could surely pull the upset over the Bulldogs.
Little Caesar’s Bowl: Western Kentucky over Central Michigan.
While this game is a toss up between two average teams, the Chippewas really had a down year in the MAC, while the Hilltoppers are up and coming in the Sun Belt. While it could go either way, I’ll give the future Petrino’s the edge.
Military Bowl: #24 San Jose State over Bowling Green.
Although the Spartans are currently searching for a new Head Coach, they had an absolutely magnificent 10-2 season, their only losses coming to Utah State and Stanford. The Falcons could be in for a rough outing.
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati over Duke.
Duke is in a bowl game? Just kidding. The Blue Devils have finally entered the bowl realm, but will get a rude awakening from the Bearcats, who were one of the big surprises in college football at the beginning of the season.
Holiday Bowl: #17 UCLA over Baylor.
We’ve all seen the Bears put points on the board, but UCLA has played stout defense, unlike most of the Big 12, the entire season. Very nearly the Pac 10 Champs, the Bruins will start the 2013 season on a high note.
Independence Bowl: Louisiana Monroe over Ohio.
I hate to do this to Frank Solich’s group, but Ohio lost their last three games after starting the season at 8-0. The Warhawks can certainly throw the football and wll against the Bobcats.
Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers over Virginia Tech.
Although the Scarlet Knights finished on a low note, as opposed to the Hokies climax near the end of the year, Rutgers won their first 7 while the Hokies had a thoroughly atrocious year. Watch for Rutgers to bounce back against Logan Thomas.
Meinke Car Care Bowl: Texas Tech over Minnesota.
The Red Raiders, although they fired head coach Tommy Tuberville, can still wing the football with ease. The Gophers had a rough season, and didn’t play the Buckeyes, making a matchup against a Big 12 opponent that much tougher.
Armed Forces Bowl: Rice over Air Force.
In a tale of very different seasons, the Owls started 1-4 before rattling off 6 wins in 8 games. The Falcons, on the other hand, had a tough schedule and couldn’t seem to get it going. The Owls definitley have momentum on their side.
Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia over Syracuse.
A battle of former Big East foes, the Mountaineers have an aerial attack to fear with Geno Smith and Dana Holgersen at the helm. Although it was a rough year, the Mountaineers will get it done rather easily against the Orange.
Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona State over Navy.
The Sun Devils surely didn’t have a great record, but if you look at their losses, they come against UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon, and USC, which are all quality opponents. The Midshipmen were almost beat by Army, not portending a good outcome in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
The Alamo Bowl: #15 Oregon State over Texas.
This prediction comes down to whether or not Mike Reilly accepts the head coaching job at Wisconsin. The Longhorns have had a rough campaign, while the Beavers were surprisingly great. If Reilly stays, Beavers win. Reilly goes, Longhorns win.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU over Michigan State.
The Horned Frogs turned in a solid campaign while the Spartans turned in a very dissapointing one. After a loss to the Buckeyes, the Spartans couldn’t seem to find it in themselves to compete against their Big Ten foes.
Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt over NC State.
The Commodores ended their season with 6 wins after a 2-4 start and are playing a home game in Nashville. While the Wolfpack did beat Florida State, Vandy will be way too tough at home for them to handle.
Sun Bowl: USC over Georgia Tech.
Both the Trojans and Yellow Jackets had an atrocious season, but the season in Atlanta, while maybe not as dissapointing, was way worse than the season in Los Angeles. The Trojans will get it done rather easily in this one.
Liberty Bowl: Iowa State over Tulsa.
While the Hurricane won the Conference USA Title, in an earlier matchup this season in Ames, the Cyclones beat them rather easily. While their seasons went in different directions, the Cyclones will still have too much talent for the Hurricane.
Chik-Fil-A Bowl: #14 Clemson over #9 LSU.
An ACC school over the 3rd or 4th best in the SEC? I must be crazy! The Clemson version of the Tigers can score points, the LSU version of the Tigers can’t. Clemson will be able to overpower the LSU defense and pull off the upset.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State over Purdue.
While the Boilermakers have Coach Hazell coming in from Kent State, their talent level is still not up to par, especially after a dissapointing season in the Big Ten. Chris Chelf and the Pokes are going to get the job done in Dallas.
Gator Bowl: #21 Northwestern over Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs were undefeated until they ran into the train that is the Crimson Tide, which thoroughly exposed their weaknesses. The Wildcats are coming off of a strong season in the Big Ten, but this game will be incredibly close.
Capitol One Bowl:#6 Georgia over #23 Nebraska.
The Bulldogs should have beaten Alabama. The Huskers had 133 points scored on them in two games. This game is why the BCS system is so off kilter. The Bulldogs could be the 3rd team to put over 60 on Brasky.
Outback Bowl: #11 South Carolina over #19 Michigan.
While the Gamecocks couldn’t seem to put together the BCS Bowl type season they were looking for, they were still able to put up a good one in the SEC. Michigan lost to two undefeated teams and Alabama, which makes them look way worse than they actually are.
Rose Bowl: #8 Stanford over W*sconsin
The Stanford Cardinal put up an incredible season on the shoulders of freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan, en route to a Rose Bowl Berth. The Badgers have Barry Alvarez back on the sidelines which, if nothing else, is a morale boost.
Orange Bowl: #16 Northern Illinois over #13 Florida State.
I would venture to say that the ACC is worse than the MAC, and this game has ALL of the makings for a massive upset. The Seminoles are viewing this as a massive joke, while for the Huskies, this is the National Championship. Jordan Lynch is going to propel the Huskies to an incredible victory and shut up the haters.
Sugar Bowl: #4 Florida over #22 Louisville
Another flawed performance by the BCS system, many in Gainesville argued that the Gators should have been in the National Title hunt, while the Cardinals lost to Connecticut and Syracuse.
Fiesta Bowl: #5 Oregon over #7 Kansas State.
While we’ve seen both of these teams exposed by good defense, both can put points on the board rather quickly. The Ducks can put points up way more quickly than the Wildcats however. This game will definitely, however, be a shootout.
Cotton Bowl: #10 Texas AM over #12 Oklahoma.
Both of these are tremendous teams and should call for a close game. However, one has a Heisman winner and one has a dissapointment. One is in the SEC, one is in the Big 12. It will be close, but the Aggies have too much not to beat the Sooners.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Ole Miss over Pittsburgh.
The Fighting Irish were taken to the ropes by the Panthers but it was an otherwise terrible year. For the Rebels, the record looks way worse than their season should. All of their losses came against dominant SEC foes, so the Panthers should be no problem.
GoDaddy.Com Bowl: #25 Kent State over Arkansas State.
I don’t understand how a 9-3 Sun Belt team is favored over a 11-2 MAC team, but we’ll leave that one to the experts I guess. Kent State is coming off of a magical season in which they lost in overtime to a very good Northern Illinois Huskies football team. The Golden Flashes will win this game and look toward an even better 2013.
The BCS National Championship Game: #2 Alabama over #1 Notre Dame.
Don’t get me wrong, I will be wholeheartedly rooting for the Fighting Irish in this matchup, but I just think the SEC is too good to mess with. Yes, Notre Dame played one of the hardest schedules in college football. Yes, they have a Heisman finalst on the defensive side of the football. Yes, they have a great head football coach. I just think that the Crimson Tide, in some way, somehow, is going to win this football game. Notre Dame could very well win, but there is just something ridiculous about Alabama that allows them to get it done in the National Championship game. All I know is that, in terms of picking a National Championship Game, the BCS could not have done a better job with this one, although there wasn’t much of a choice. This one will go down as one of the greatest ever. Or it could be a blow out. That’s how little we know about this matchup. It’s too hard to determine, but in the end, I think that SEC “magic” will get it done for the Tide.
Well, there you have it folks. My predictions for Bowl Season. I will certainly keep tabs on my performance, although from the looks of it, doing well shouldn’t be very difficult. A lot of these games, thanks to the ineligibles, are not going to be close. However, it will still be fun to see certain matchups, regardless of the outcomes. I think the game that we are all looking forward to is the National Championship contest. I am flumoxed as to which team is going to come out on top, as we really haven’t seen either team play anyone that resembles each other. All I know is that if I see another SEC team win a National Championship, I might puke. Ohio State is going to change that next season, I just know it.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove