We are getting closer to the year 2013, and you know what that means.
No, not a year of new goals and aspirations, silly! The BCS bowls are just around the corner!
We have some truly dazzling matchups in the BCS bowls this season, complete with two defensive powerhouses going at it in the national championship game and two high-powered offenses facing off in the Fiesta Bowl.
Here's a look at each battle, complete with my predictions.
Note: All stats via CFBStats.com
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Both Stanford and Wisconsin are better when their rushing attacks are working like a well-oiled machine, so this game will likely come down to who stops the run better.
While Stanford has allowed 2.84 yards per carry this season (fifth in the nation, via CFBStats.com), Wisconsin has allowed 3.7 yards per carry (30th).
Stanford did just allow UCLA's Johnathan Franklin to go bonkers (194 yards, two touchdowns), but I'm seeing that as more of an anomaly than a trend. Franklin was outstanding for the Bruins this season and that was the senior's last game for UCLA before bowl season.
Prediction: Stanford 27, Wisconsin 24
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois' offensive attack relies on its running game, led by dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch, who rushed for 1,771 yards on 6.5 yards per carry this season (best mark in the nation).
On the other hand, Florida State has allowed just 2.76 yards per carry this season, fourth in the nation. The Seminoles also just held Georgia Tech's explosive option offense to 3.5 yards per carry.
On top of that, Northern Illinois' defense gave up 37 points to Kent State in the MAC title game (34 points in regulation). Given that was the Huskies' only ranked opponent of the season, there is certainly reason for concern on that side of the ball.
Prediction: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 24
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 21 Louisville
This could be the biggest blowout of the BCS bowls, in my opinion.
Louisville has two things in particular working against it.
One, the Cardinals have trouble stopping the run (4.33 yards per carry allowed, 73rd in the FBS) and Florida loves to run the ball with senior Mike Gillislee.
Two, Louisville's offense runs through sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Florida has been excellent against the pass this season, allowing 5.4 yards per attempt (fourth in the nation) while allowing five passing touchdowns and notching 19 interceptions.
Prediction: Florida 40, Louisville 20
Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 5 Kansas State
The only way to stop this Oregon offense is to stop the run.
Kansas State has allowed 3.73 yards per carry this season, 34th in the nation. That's certainly not bad, but it's also not good enough to stop the Ducks.
It's no coincidence that it took one of the best run defenses in the country to stop Oregon. Stanford was able to limit the Ducks' rushing attack, but no one else has been able to. You truly need to have an elite run defense.
Oregon can be scored on, of course, so Kansas State will score its fair share of points.
It just won't be enough.
Prediction: Oregon 42, Kansas State 37
BCS Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama
Both Notre Dame and Alabama have exceptional defenses, as well as exceptional run defenses. Yards on the ground will undoubtedly be hard to come by.
But the difference for me is that Alabama has a better rushing attack than Notre Dame with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
The Crimson Tide also have a better quarterback in junior A.J. McCarron. McCarron has averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt this season (tied for fourth in the nation) while tossing 26 touchdowns to three interceptions.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Notre Dame 17
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