Way Too Early Bowl Predictions

With college football season looming just around the corner, is it ever really too early to make predictions? We think not!

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

I won’t bore anyone writing about the BBVA Compass Bowl, etc. This column is
strictly reserved for bowl games with some sort of significance.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
(December 27, 2012 – San Diego, CA)
Utah vs. Oklahoma State
– Oklahoma State will surely slip a little this season with true freshman Wes Lunt under
center and Utah ends up right where they should be; in a solid non-BCS bowl game.
Prediction: Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt has a breakout game and throws for
350+ yards, downing the Utes without much real threat.

Valero Alamo Bowl
(December 29, 2012 – San Antonio, TX)
Stanford vs. West Virginia
– Two of last year’s BCS Bowl participants will have minor drop-offs this year. Stanford’s
loss of all-world quarterback Andrew Luck to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and West
Virginia’s transition to a new, more powerful conference will result in a delightful
matchup for lucky football fans in San Antonio come December. It also provides
another intriguing storyline as Oliver Luck, Andrew’s father is the current AD at West
Prediction: The Cardinal and Mountaineers wage a tight battle in the first half, but West
Virginia’s offense pulls away in the second half for a comfortable victory.

Chick-fil-A Bowl
(December 31, 2012 – Atlanta, GA)
Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee
– There are a slew of potential options for teams here, especially with the SEC being
so loaded and competitive week-in and week-out and a number of teams vying for conference position behind the likes of Alabama and LSU. Virginia Tech should end up in the ACC Championship yet again, but will lose to Florida State while Tennessee will sneak up on everyone to slide right into this bowl matchup.
Prediction: While the Virginia Tech DBs are tough and physical, they will be exploited
over the top by the equally big, fast and physical Tennessee WRs like Justin Hunter and
Da’Rick Rogers. Tyler Bray will also have a field day in a dome setting. Tennessee wins
fairly easily.

Outback Bowl
(January 1, 2013 – Tampa, FL)
Wisconsin vs. Arkansas
– Yet another great non-BCS matchup with two teams who will be going into the season
as BCS-worthy. You can probably just flip a coin for who wins this one between the
coaching and football brilliance of the Badgers and the ultra-skilled position players for
the Razorbacks.
Prediction: My money is on the better QB’d team here. That would be Tyler Wilson and

Capital One Bowl
(January 1, 2013 – Orlando, FL)
Alabama vs. Michigan
– LSU and Georgia will be getting the BCS nods as the top two teams from the SEC,
leaving Alabama and South Carolina battling each other for the other bowl spots. This
is arguably the biggest bowl matchup of all the bowls outside of the BCS so it should be
Alabama here. This would also make for a juicy rematch of two teams that face each
other to kick off the season on September 1st in Ann Arbor.
Prediction: To their credit Michigan is still improving, but Nick Saban and the Crimson
Tide are just too tough. AJ McCarron’s bowl game experience and Bama’s defense will

AT&T Cotton Bowl
(January 4, 2013 – Arlington, TX)
TCU vs. South Carolina
– Texas and Arkansas would make for an incredible neutral-site bowl game here with both
schools being so close to the area, but those programs have bigger things in mind for this season. Meanwhile, I think that TCU will be surprisingly comfortable in the Big 12
this year and South Carolina is poised and ready to contend for an SEC title. This won’t
be a bad consolation prize for either.
Prediction: TCU pulls off the “upset” in a close, defensive game right in their own back
yard and Steve Spurrier’s visor pays the price for it.

Rose Bowl Game
(January 1, 2013 – Pasadena, CA)
USC vs. Michigan State
– Lane Kiffin and Co. get back to Pasadena in their first year back to bowl eligibility and
Michigan State wins 10 games with excellent coaching and an immovable, dominant
defense. The Trojans extreme talent versus the Spartans physicality and determination
will make for a really intriguing game.
Prediction: Michigan State pulls off the upset as toughness and determination get the
better of skill and athleticism…..this time.

Discover Orange Bowl
(January 1, 2013 – Miami Gardens, FL)
Florida State vs. Louisville
– Jimbo Fischer and the Florida State Seminoles have been awaiting the time when they
would get back to a BCS bowl game for what seems like eternity now. This should be
their year as the Seminoles should roll and win the ACC title. This team possesses an
unbelievable defensive front, probably the best in the entire country which should lead
them here. Louisville isn’t the sexiest pick, but the Big East winner must go somewhere.
Look for USF or Rutgers to just as easily be playing in this game.
Prediction: Florida State wins a surprisingly competitive game, picking off Teddy
Bridgewater in the final minutes.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
(January 2, 2013 – New Orleans, LA)
Georgia vs. Texas
– Two of the longest tenured coaches in major college football finally meet in this
matchup of traditional powers. Georgia is led here through the minefields of the SEC
by veteran QB Aaron Murray and one of the nation’s best defenses. Meanwhile, the
Longhorns — after struggling for the better part of two years — have finally re-discovered an identity on offense, pounding their way on the ground with young tailbacks Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown while getting consistent pressure on opposing QBs with one of the best defensive end tandems in the country.
Prediction: Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray comes up big in the clutch and seals the win for

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
(January 3, 2013 – Glendale, AZ)
Oklahoma vs. Clemson
– The Sooners are playing in the Fiesta Bowl?! What?! That’s not possible! Yes, once
again the Sooners get an opportunity for a BCS bowl game victory with Heisman
contender Landry Jones and a stellar offense leading the way, but also fall just short of
playing for the National Championship…..again. Either way, Bob Stoops will be happy
to be right back here in familiar territory. The Clemson Tigers, meanwhile, make their
second consecutive BCS appearance and are a program that is seemingly finally where it
should’ve been for years now.
Prediction: Tajh Boyd and the ultra-athletic Clemson receivers will exploit the Sooners
secondary (as usual with Oklahoma, it seems), but this is an Oklahoma team that has
become accustomed to shootouts. Clemson won’t give up 70 again, but they will give
up a lot of points and come out on the losing end for the second straight year.

BCS National Championship Game
(January 7, 2013 – Miami Gardens, FL)
LSU vs. Oregon
– What could be a more salivating matchup for the title than a 2011 season opener
rematch? Chip Kelly and the mighty Ducks offense will barely scrape by USC for the
Pac 12 title, this time with their defense making the plays in the clutch. Kelly and the
Ducks will once again be tested by the most skilled and nasty defensive backfield in the
country going up against Tyrann Mathieu and Co. Whoever the Ducks QB is this time
around, they must be able to escape the immense pressure that will be put on them
by Sam Montgomery and the other members of LSU’s defensive front. It will be a true
test of the best defense in the country pitted against the most explosive offense in the
country. Who will prevail??
Prediction: LSU. Making up for last year’s horrifying loss will be just too important.

Brian Vornberg is the lead college football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on
Twitter @briberg14 or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports

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