The mid-season finale of college football season resulted in a surprisingly peaceful ending. In just one month, the BCS bowls will answer any lingering questions, drop a few bombshells and leave everyone satisfied with the BCS’ series finale.
More importantly, it’s also holiday season which means gifts are abound. No bowl showers its participants with gifts as well as the BCS bowls.
They may not be the best games you’ll see this season, but they have prestige, pride and overpriced tickets. Here’s are official rundown of the final Bowl Consolation Series.
Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida vs. Baylor
It wasn’t as surprising as Marcus Mariota’s announcement, but last week, Bryce Petty announced he was returning for his senior season. The question is why did anyone ever consider him a candidate to leave early? Piling up big numbers at quarterback in an Art Briles offense is as reliable as watching the sun rise.
On the other hand, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles is a unique talent with solid mobility. An immaculate performance in the Fiesta Bowl would vault him into the top half of the NFL Draft’s first round.
He outdueled Teddy Bridgewater and laid his Heisman hopes and automatic BCS bid aspirations to rest. Unlike Mariota and Petty, when the moment called on him he answered. Bortles led the game-winning driving that beat Louisville in the final minute. He and J.J. Wortles also connected on one of the catches of the year late during a fourth quarter comeback against Temple.
Bortles should have an outstanding individual performance, but Central Florida’s defense snaps like a tortilla chip when they face BCS AQ competition. Baylor’s defense has its flaws, but their offense is on a Ph. D level course compared to Central Florida.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Bob Stoops vs. Nick Saban or a coach TBD later. If Saban is on the other sideline for Alabama, Stoops’ BCS bowl record may take another hit, but that would also mean Saban is still Alabama’s head coach. The last thing Stoops needs is to get diminished in the eyes of his own fan base by getting clobbered by Saban in The Red River Rivalry on an annual basis.
Getting clobbered by Saban on Jan. 2 will give Saban a sigh of relief.
Stoops has been talking a ton of smack about the SEC this summer.
Presumably, Blake Bell will get the start. McCarron’s final collegiate start will pit him against the program he nearly committed to after high school. Ponder that scenario for a second. McCarron redshirts, then sits behind Landry Jones and starts for the first time as a senior.
Jameis Winston commits to Alabama and starts right away as a true freshman in 2012. In this alternate ending to McCarron’s career Winston is the experienced starter with a national championship under his belt and McCarron is the mysterious one-hit wonder managing Stoops’ conservative offense.
Instead, McCarron’s send-off will be against one of the best secondaries in the nation.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Tajh Boyd can’t cut it in big games and Ohio State defends with the same proficiency of a chicken with its head cut off. Something has to give.
Dabo Swinney should be able to leave his punter behind in South Carolina. If Boyd can’t knock a few home runs out in a passing derby against Ohio State’s phantom pass defense, he might as well pack up, skip the NFL Combine or postseason All-Star Games and go home. Forget what ya’ heard out of Auburn. Ohio State’s tandem of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde is still the nation’s top rushing combo.
Lest I remind everyone how Clemson’s season began. The Tigers are about to get tore up from the floor up on the defensive end. Another cause of concern for Clemson is that Ohio State is tied for the national lead in team sacks.
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford
This is a far cry from the Oregon vs. Ohio State Rose Bowl offensive explosion we anticipated a few weeks ago. Instead, these two offenses may revive the two yards and a cloud of dust offenses.
The Rose Bowl we expected had the fireworks of Wrestlemania. Spartans vs. Buckeyes will have the look of Greco-Roman Olympic-style wrestling.
Instead of spreading their offenses out and attempting to find creases to break open big plays the Spartans and Cardinal like to pack their formations in tightly.
This may be one of the worst matchups in recent memory. There’s nothing on the line and the quarterbacks have a propensity for toeing the line between Jekyll and Hyde. Against the scenic Pasadena background, these two squads are going to blot out the sun, throw each other around and emerge with a few black eyes.
This is only for the most hardcore of college football observers.
BCS National Championship: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn
The BCS National Championship, otherwise known as the Alabama Bowl. The national championship has been won by a school in Alabama four years in a row. No matter who wins on Thursday night, the state of Alabama gets a confidence boost from this national championship. Gus Malzahn recruited Winston hard, but he didn’t budge from his commitment to FSU.
In January, his pursuit of Winston will involve blitz packages for Dee Ford. Auburn has its own Winston-lite waiting in the wings and burning a year of eligibility. However, until then Auburn’s frenetically paced offense will be based around Nick Marshall rushing ability.
Auburn’s run blocking has allowed them to gash every defense that’s stood between them and the end zone.
Defensively they’re outside the top 100 in pass defense. That doesn’t bode well for their matchup.
The only passing offense more proficient than FSU’s is the Denver Broncos’. Quietly, FSU’s offense is 28 points shy of setting the new NFL, err…NCAA record for points scored in a single season. It’s not the record for average that Baylor was threatening until their Oklahoma State loss, but it’s a record they want nonetheless.
Remember when FSU fans were getting excited over Andrew Wiggins coming to their school?
The Florida State offense has scored 689 points per game this season. The previous record was Oklahoma’s 716 points in 2008. The season ended with them getting rolled by Florida and getting lit up like a blunt at a Wiz Khalifa concert in the BCS National Championship Game.