I think the SEC and the Pac 12 will be the two top conferences in 2013. The two major matchups in the regular season will be LSU at Alabama and Oregon at Stanford. The Big Ten will look improved this year because Ohio State will be a contender, but I think a loss in the final week at Michigan will prevent the Buckeyes for earning a spot in Pasadena. The Big 12 will be too competitive at the top, causing all of its BCS contenders to beat each other. I think Texas will win that league by virtue of a tiebreaker. Clemson will win the ACC, and Cincinnati will upset an undefeated Louisville on the final week of the regular season to win the AAC.
Regardless of whether my BCS Championship becomes reality, I think the SEC will have a team in the game, giving itself a chance to win an eighth-straight championship.
My final BCS top 10 after championship weekend would look like this:
- Alabama 12-1 (SEC champion)
- Stanford 12-1 (Pac 12 champion)
- Ohio State 12-1 (Big Ten champion)
- Cincinnati 11-1 (AAC champion)
- Texas 10-2 (Big 12 champion)
- Oregon 11-1
- Clemson 11-2 (ACC champion)
- South Carolina 11-2
- Texas A&M 10-2
- Oklahoma State 10-2
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (January 1 – ESPN): 5. Texas vs. 12. Nebraska
Nebraska will be coming off of a narrow loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, and Texas will be champion of the Big 12. I think Nebraska’s strength will actually be its defense, which will set up a defense vs. offense matchup. But I like Texas to get its first BCS win since the 2009 Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State.
Final Score: Texas 41 Nebraska 30
2014 Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (January 1 – ESPN): 3. Ohio State vs. 6. Oregon
Just missing the BCS Championship Game, Ohio State could mail this one in. But since the opponent is Oregon, I doubt the Buckeyes will do that. This would be a repeat of the 2010 Rose Bowl game, when Ohio State won 26-17. I like the Buckeyes to win again, but a little closer this time.
Final Score: Ohio State 27 Oregon 24
Allstate Sugar (January 2 – ESPN): 9. Texas A&M vs. 10. Oklahoma State
Texas A&M will not have the same surprise effect this year, but I do think the Aggies will reach 10 wins. Oklahoma State will be one of several schools at a log-jam atop the Big 12. The matchup is beyond compelling. Just two seasons ago, these two met as conference foes. Oklahoma State won that game in dramatic comeback fashion 30-29. I think Kevin Sumlin’s squad will win this one.
Final Score: Texas A&M 45 Oklahoma State 35
Discover Orange Bowl (January 3 – ESPN): 4. Cininnati vs. 7. Clemson
I think this game featuring AAC champion Cincinnati and ACC champion Clemson will be a good watch, but many will wonder what might have been if Louisville would have beaten the Bearcats to go undefeated. This one is likely to be an offensive show, but I think the score will remain relatively low.
Final Score: Clemson 29 Cincinnati 17
2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game (January 6 – ESPN): 1. Alabama vs. 2. Stanford
Alabama will clinch a berth in the BCS game for the third straight year by beating South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game. Pac 12 champion Stanford’s only loss will come at USC on the 16th of November. This game will be stylistically different from the other BCS matchups. It will be won or lost on the line of scrimmage, and both teams have the interior players to win. I think the difference will be Alabama’s offensive firepower and athleticism on the edges, but points will be at a premium for both teams.
Final Score: Alabama 20 Stanford 14
I know I’m really going out on a limb by predicting Alabama to win the BCS title, but the schedule sets up better for the Tide than any other team.
Final BCS Standings:
- Alabama (13-1)
- Ohio State (13-1)
- Texas (11-2)
- Clemson (12-2)
- Stanford (12-2)
- Texas A&M (11-2)
- Oregon (11-2)
- Cincinnati (11-2)
- Georgia (11-2)
- Miami (11-2)