BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: Players Who Will Break Out in This Year's Best Matchups

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - OCTOBER 20:  Tyler Lockett #16 of the Kansas State Wildcats carries the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the game on October 20, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

This year's BCS bowls don't just feature established stars like Manti Te'o and Collin Klein; other talented players will use the massive stage to break out and form their own reputations.

Each team has a player who people need to know about. The team's fanbase is already aware of what these players are capable of, but these nationally televised games will allow them an opportunity to show off their skills in front of more people than ever.

The BCS bowls are exciting for a lot of reasons, but the talent on these 10 teams is what it's all about.

Let's look at three players who will break out in this year's biggest bowl matchups.


Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Alabama fans already know how good Cooper is, but the rest of the country will know as well after the BCS National Championship Game.

Cooper has 53 catches for 895 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He's got the size and speed to exploit weaker cornerbacks, and he will take advantage of Notre Dame's weakest unit in this year's ultimate matchup.

Don't sleep on this kid because he's just a freshman. He's already proven that he's a big-game player, hauling in 136 yards in the team's losing effort to Texas A&M and catching eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in the SEC Championship Game versus Georgia.

The Crimson Tide could struggle to run the ball against Notre Dame's stout front seven. That will put more pressure on A.J. McCarron to perform, and Cooper will be the guy he looks for to stretch the defense.

Cooper's play will keep the Irish honest, and he will turn some heads before this one is over.


Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State

Kansas State's offense revolves around Collin Klein's dual-threat skills, but someone has to be on the receiving end of his passes.

Lockett has 40 catches for 652 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Averaging just over 16 yards per grab, he's the Wildcats' big-play threat, but he does most of his work in catch-and-run situations.

Chris Harper and Tramaine Thompson will also receive attention for Kansas State, but Lockett is the most exciting of the bunch. Because of the attention Klein receives, many people may not be aware of how dynamic this kid really is.

Kansas State's matchup with Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl is the most interesting, aside from the championship, of all the BCS bowls. Both teams should put up points, but the Wildcats will utilize the passing game more than their counterparts.

While Harper stretches the field, be prepared to watch Lockett put on a clinic underneath. He's only a sophomore, but he's going to catch your attention.


Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois

Lynch is one of the most exciting players in the nation, but college football fans who are familiar with "MACtion" are probably the only people who really know what he's capable of.

Many people will see that Northern Illinois is playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl and automatically assume that this kid isn't going to do anything against the Seminoles' daunting defense, but that won't be the case.

Lynch is too good to be completely shut down, and the 'Noles haven't seen a player like him all season long.

He has 2,962 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns this season, but that's not the kicker. The dual-threat quarterback also has 1,771 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Numbers like that, no matter who you're playing, are scary.

If you like football, you'll like watching Lynch. He's a big play waiting to happen, and it's time for people around the nation to really understand what he can do with the ball in his hands.

It's easy to count Northern Illinois out against its talented opponent, but Lynch is good enough to make things interesting.