BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: Biggest Stars to Watch in Marquee Bowls

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Manti T'eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish waves to the crowd as he leaves the home field for the last time during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After plenty of movement over the final few months of the season—including Alabama falling from the title game picture before regaining its spot—the BCS bowls are finally set.

The five marquee games feature no shortage of star power.

Now that the matchups are decided, the question becomes: Which stars are going to shine above the rest? While the list of candidates is seemingly endless, a couple of names always seem to stand out when breaking down the games.

Let's take a look at the three players who will steal the headlines leading up to the BCS games and go on to showcase why they deserved the hype.


Manti Te'o

Notre Dame's star linebacker and Heisman candidate can do it all. From making sure an opponent's running game remains in neutral to dropping into coverage to intercept passes—and everything in between—he can impact a game like few other players in the country can.

More importantly, he's the leader that ensures the Fighting Irish are prepared for battle on game day. They weren't always the more talented team on the field during their undefeated regular season, but Te'o led the charge when it came to out-hustling and outworking opponents.

When his teammates see him making plays from sideline to sideline, it becomes contagious.

The Irish need him to set the tone against Alabama. The Crimson Tide will attempt to run them out of the stadium early. Te'o will step up to make sure it doesn't happen.


Collin Klein

Another Heisman hopeful, Klein has steadily improved during his time as Kansas State and is now one of the most important players in the nation. The Wildcats offense wouldn't be nearly as effective without him under center.

The dual-threat quarterback finished the regular season with nearly 3,400 total yards on offense and 37 touchdowns. Equally impressive was his overall improvement as a passer, raising his completion percentage nearly nine points from last season.

Kansas State is in for a shootout against the high-flying Oregon Ducks, which means it needs Klein to have a monster game to keep it close.

Luckily for Wildcat fans, he should be able to put up some massive numbers against a shaky Oregon defense.


Eddie Lacy

Alabama's path to a second straight national championship begins on the ground. Lacy and star freshman T.J. Yeldon have combined to create a formidable duo throughout the season, but it's the upperclassman who will get things moving for the Tide.

It's common for young players to suffer from some big-game jitters. Although Yeldon was able to produce against Georgia, playing for the national championship in front of a massive television audience is a completely different animal.

Lacy has gone through it before as a part of last year's team. The junior, who averaged more than six yards per carry this season, needs to get the Tide off and running early.

Alabama can't allow Notre Dame to gain confidence by keeping it close early.