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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

BCS match-ups promise play worth a pretty penny

The best thing about college football is its unceasing ability to surprise. This season had plenty of unexpected events in store for us, things that I never could have predicted in a million tries, and not just because I’m terrible at predicting things (not that I let it stop me.) Who would have thought that Oregon would usurp USC’s annual spot in the Rose Bowl after LaGarrette Blount KO’d his season by throwing a punch after losing to Boise State? Who might have guessed that Cincinnati, unranked in the preseason, would rise to the Sugar Bowl and the third spot in the BCS rankings with an undefeated record? Who would believe that even at this late point in the semester I would continue to debase my column by excessively employing such a tired device as rhetorical questions?

Anyway, college football teaches us to expect the unexpected in most regards, except, perhaps, for one. Again this year we will surely see at least two and possibly three undefeated teams at the end of the season, and thus there will be no undisputed national champion. But in spite of this annual controversy, the commissioners of the major conferences have made it clear that the Bowl Championship Series is here to stay—there will be no playoff as long as exorbitant amounts of money can be made. But in this initially upsetting fact of unresponsive corporate monopoly, we can take comfort. Raking in huge profits is contingent on providing games that people want to watch, which means Winter Break will always be chock-full of great, entertaining games. This year the BCS has provided us with a full slate of compelling match-ups. So, did the powers that be get it right this season? Does the system even need to be changed? Seriously, again with the rhetorical questions? The necessity of change is debatable, but what cannot be contested is that these games are going to be exciting.

1. BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas Based on their respective conference championship games, in which Alabama dominated Florida, while Texas barely squeaked past Nebraska, some sports journalists have predicted that Alabama will destroy Texas in an even more awe-inspiring fashion than they did Florida. While I agree that ‘Bama will likely beat Texas, I think people are devaluing Nebraska in evaluating the Longhorns’ performance in the Big 12 Championship. Texas still has an elite defense and a Heisman-worthy quarterback in Colt McCoy, and I believe Texas will keep this game close. However, the Crimson Tide have too much firepower on offense with Heisman shoe-in halfback Mark Ingram along with the potent combination of quarterback Greg McElroy and receiver Julio Jones. Predicted Score: Alabama 24, Texas 17

2. Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Florida vs. No. 3 Cincinnati This game could also end up a little lopsided, but I give the Cincinnati more respect than to immediately count them out. Florida has a lot of holes on offense, so the Gators’ strength lies in its defense. That ought to suit Coach Brian Kelly’s high-powered Bearcat offense just fine. Quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy Gilyard are two of the top players in the nation at their respective positions, and Florida hero/messiah Tim Tebow has not been his usual superhuman self this season. I’m predicting a Bearcats upset on this one, after which Tim Tebow will sacrifice himself to prevent a 2012-like cataclysm and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be renamed Tebow Memorial Stadium. Predicted Score: Cincinnati 35, Florida 33

3. Fiesta Bowl: No. 6 Boise Sate vs. No. 4 Texas Christian Some fans of non-BCS schools have been crying foul over this matchup, saying they would prefer for the Broncos and Horned Frogs to face teams from major conferences to “expose” the weakness of the big boys. What these fans misunderstand is that this matchup shows respect for their teams, putting them on the same level as the other guys. This game pits the second best defense in the nation against the best passing team, with an undefeated season and thus a theoretical slice of the national title at stake. The Broncos’ signal-caller, Kellen Moore, deserves to be mentioned with the best quarterbacks in the nation, but I think the Horned Frogs will just be too strong, dictating pace and slowing the game down on both sides of the ball. Predicted Score: TCU 24, Boise St. 13

4. Rose Bowl: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Oregon The media storyline around this game is pretty damn deep. Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeyes’ freak-athlete of a quarterback, will get to see what might have been if he had instead gone to Oregon, where athletic quarterbacks are allowed to range free. This game will certainly be a lesson in opposing styles overall. Coach Jim Tressel’s OSU continues to bring boring football back while Chip Kelly’s offense scintillates. The Buckeyes have the best defense the Ducks have faced since Boise State in game one, but playing in the Big Ten has not prepared the Buckeyes for an offense of Oregon’s caliber. I’m going with the Ducks, and I hope Blount gets in a redemption TD. Predicted Score: Oregon 42, Ohio State 31

5. Orange Bowl: No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech This game may make us forget all about the forward pass. Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi likes to throw them to the other team, and Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt doesn’t like to throw them at all. Expect the ball to stay mostly on the ground in this game, especially for the Yellow Jackets and their triple-option offense. Defense will win the day in this matchup of a couple smashmouth, old-school teams. Given that Iowa’s defense, particularly its interior line, has been superb all year, my money is on the Hawkeyes to come out on top, which, except for the helmets, will look a lot like football circa 1906. Predicted Score: Iowa 17, Georgia Tech 13

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