2013 Preseason Award Projections: Bowl Games

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2013 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and this coming fall’s stars could be the headline players next April for the 2014 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football. We conclude the series with predictions for the BCS Bowl games.

Rose Bowl:

Ohio State


I don’t get why they make such a big deal about the Rose Bowl. Even before the BCS Championship, the Rose Bowl had surpassed by other Bowl games with National Championship implications. The Rose Bowl features a plodding Big Ten team against a good Pac-12 team that is just a little bit short of playing for the national title.

That being said, these are two serious national title contenders because each has a shot at going undefeated. I think someone could knock off Stanford in the tough Pac-12 and I like Oregon to win the conference. Ohio State has a weak schedule, but going undefeated two seasons in a row is very difficult. The Buckeyes won a lot of close games last year and I think this year someone will knock them off.

Winner: Stanford

Fiesta Bowl:


Oklahoma State

What has happened to the Big XII? A few years ago it was the second-best conference in the nation behind the SEC. Now it has seriously regressed behind the Pac-12 and is on a par with the Big Ten or ACC. If Texas A&M had remained in the Big XII, the Aggies would dominate the conference this fall. Overall, I think Oklahoma State is the Big XII’s strongest team. The Cowboys have the fewest question marks with good talent returning on both sides of the ball. I could see TCU, Texas or Baylor making noise though.

Michigan made it the BCS two years ago. The Wolverines have an easier schedule this year and are building in the right direction. I could see them getting an at-large bid into the BCS.

Winner: Oklahoma State

Orange Bowl:


Northern Illinois

I don’t understand why a MAC champion would play in a BCS bowl game over an at-large team like UCLA, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Florida State or Virginia Tech. But that is the BCS for you. Thus, I’ll go with Northern Illinois being the MAC Champion and playing the ACC Champion again.

If Clemson beats Florida State, then the Tigers should win the ACC. The Seminoles lost a lot to the NFL last year, so I think they’re poised to take a step back. Clemson has one of the best offenses in the nation and hosts Florida State in their matchup. I could see Tigers easily going undefeated in conference play but losing one or both of their games against their SEC opponents, Georgia and South Carolina.

Winner: Clemson

Sugar Bowl:

Texas A&M


Louisville should roll over its conference this year. With Teddy Bridgewater leading the way, the Cardinals have a real shot to go undefeated during the regular season. Perhaps Rutgers could knock them off, but that is the only conference team that seems capable of challenging Louisville.

I was tempted to put a rematch in the title game between the Aggies and Alabama. I could see both teams having one loss at the end of the regular season with a tie-breaker deciding who wins the SEC West. However, I think Texas A&M has a bigger capacity to have some let-down games, thus I have the Aggies making it to the Sugar Bowl and not the title game.

Winner: Texas A&M

National Title:



The Ducks have a ton of talent returning and they would’ve been a bigger challenge to Alabama last year than Notre Dame was. Oregon had a loss, while Notre Dame went undefeated, so the Ducks have no argument that they’ve should’ve been in that game. If Oregon can beat UCLA and Stanford, I think the Ducks will play for the title. After last season’s loss to the Cardinal, I think Oregon will be pumped for some revenge.

After Alabama won it all last year, I thought the team would take a step back since it lost so much from its offensive line and one of the best players on the defense, cornerback Dee Milliner. However, the Crimson Tide has a lot of elite talent at the skill positions on offense to make up for it. Plus, Nick Saban has showed an insane ability to reload after losing talent.

Every year, it seems like Alabama has lost great players in the secondary, front seven and backfield, only to be just as good the next fall. I don’t think the Crimson Tide will go undefeated, but I see the team going 13-1 again with its third-straight National Championship.

Winner: Alabama

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