NCAA Football

Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder Runs for Life to Get Away from Gatorade Shower

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 31-14, in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. on Saturday, Dec. 28.

The Kansas State players felt it was fitting to honor head coach Bill Snyder with a Gatorade shower. He made a courageous effort to escape the chilly fate, but it was ultimately all in vain.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder Runs for Life to Get Away from Gatorade Shower

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 31-14, in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. on Saturday, Dec. 28.

The Kansas State players felt it was fitting to honor head coach Bill Snyder with a Gatorade shower. He made a courageous effort to escape the chilly fate, but it was ultimately all in vain.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football: Trojans' 6 Best Moments of 2013

With a tumultuous 2013 season for the USC Trojans football team wrapped up, it is time to look back on what was an adventurous campaign for the men of Troy.

Coaching changes, injuries and intrigue of all forms indelibly stamped their mark on this year's Trojans. When all was said and done, 2013 was one of the most memorable of all time for the Cardinal and Gold, though not always for positive reasons.

Now, with the season in the rear-view mirror, fans of the program can ponder the myriad of events that made this year both satisfying and difficult all at once.

This slideshow will take a look back at the season just completed and identify some golden moments for USC as it meandered through one of the most difficult seasons in recent memory.

So without further delay, here are some of the best moments of USC's 2013 season.

Begin Slideshow

USC Football: Trojans' 6 Best Moments of 2013

With a tumultuous 2013 season for the USC Trojans football team wrapped up, it is time to look back on what was an adventurous campaign for the men of Troy.

Coaching changes, injuries and intrigue of all forms indelibly stamped their mark on this year's Trojans. When all was said and done, 2013 was one of the most memorable of all time for the Cardinal and Gold, though not always for positive reasons.

Now, with the season in the rear-view mirror, fans of the program can ponder the myriad of events that made this year both satisfying and difficult all at once.

This slideshow will take a look back at the season just completed and identify some golden moments for USC as it meandered through one of the most difficult seasons in recent memory.

So without further delay, here are some of the best moments of USC's 2013 season.

Begin Slideshow

USC Football: Trojans' 6 Best Moments of 2013

With a tumultuous 2013 season for the USC Trojans football team wrapped up, it is time to look back on what was an adventurous campaign for the men of Troy...

Begin Slideshow

Notre Dame Football: Why Everett Golson Will Have a Big Year in 2014

Senior quarterback Tommy Rees led Notre Dame over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl 29-16 to close out the 2013 season. Now, let's take a look at what Notre Dame's offense will look like in 2014. 

Quarterback Everett Golson will return to the team after a year away and is expected to regain the starting spot. He will have a lot of new weapons on offense in 2014. Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels and tight end Troy Niklas both had breakout seasons and give Golson more options than he had in 2012. 

Watch Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer break down Notre Dame's offense in 2014. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Football: Why Everett Golson Will Have a Big Year in 2014

Senior quarterback Tommy Rees led Notre Dame over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl 29-16 to close out the 2013 season. Now, let's take a look at what Notre Dame's offense will look like in 2014. 

Quarterback Everett Golson will return to the team after a year away and is expected to regain the starting spot. He will have a lot of new weapons on offense in 2014. Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels and tight end Troy Niklas both had breakout seasons and give Golson more options than he had in 2012. 

Watch Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer break down Notre Dame's offense in 2014. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

BCS Bowl Games 2013-14: Keys to Victory for Every Team

The final season of the BCS brings about some great matchups in the biggest bowl games of the year. Each team has clinched a well-deserved berth in these contests and look to finish off their seasons with a flourish.

For each of these squads, the outcome of the game will hinge on producing at the highest level. After all, any of these five BCS games could go either way.

Highlighting their own strengths and exposing their opponents' weaknesses will be crucial for each team involved. Also, limiting the success of their opponents' strengths is necessary to win on such a big stage.

These are the keys to victory.

Let's take a team-by-team look to determine the factors that will be of the utmost importance to each of these squads in January.

 

Rose Bowl

Stanford: Maintain a Balanced Offense

Stanford's weapon of choice has been running back Tyler Gaffney throughout the 2013 season. Gaffney has been the workhorse this year, accumulating 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns on 306 carries—good enough for an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

However, against such a talented Michigan State defense, maintaining an offensive balance is crucial.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan has been able to shine at times this season. He has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 2,487 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He must remain careful with the football against the Spartans' ball-hawking secondary.

There may be little room to maneuver for Stanford if it attempts to keep up a ground-and-pound style of offense. Hogan must step up in a big way during the Rose Bowl. After all, keeping a balance between the run and pass is the only way to get past such a stout defense.

 

Michigan State: Ride the Defense

Although the Michigan State offense has been solid this season, the defense is the reason for the team's continued success. If the Spartans are to emerge victorious in January against the Cardinal, the defense will be the reason once again.

Michigan State currently owns the nation's fourth-ranked defense, according to NCAA.com. Not only are they the top-ranked unit against the run, but they are stellar against the pass as well, with Darqueze Dennard featured as one of the nation's top corners.

The Spartan defense is only allowing an average of 12.7 points per game. If they can keep Stanford anywhere along those lines, the offense will be able to do enough to secure the victory.

 

Fiesta Bowl

UCF: Stick with Blake Bortles' Hot Hand

Quarterback Blake Bortles has put together a fantastic late-season run. The success of the Knights is directly related to the success of their quarterback. Bortles has been extremely efficient over the 2013 season, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

His stellar play has NFL scouts taking notice of him in a big way.

Baylor does have a very good pass defense. After all, they are ranked 23rd in the nation, according to NCAA.com. The Bears are allowing an average of just 207.8 passing yards per game. However, they have given up 20 passing touchdowns this season—Bortles can certainly take advantage of that aspect.

UCF's best chance to come away victorious against a good Baylor team is to keep the ball in the air and allow Bortles to continue his hot streak.

 

Baylor: Win the Turnover Battle

The Baylor offense has done a great job protecting the football this season. Quarterback Bryce Petty has only thrown two interceptions against 30 touchdown passes on the year. Due to Baylor's ability to take care of the football, it is currently ranked 13th in the league with a plus-11 turnover margin.

UCF has a high-octane offense, and this game certainly looks like it could be headed in the direction of a shootout. Creating a turnover at the right time could be all that Baylor will need to come out ahead in this contest.

Winning the turnover battle will win the Fiesta Bowl.

 

Sugar Bowl

Oklahoma: Dominate Time of Possession

Against such a deep, complete team like Alabama, this is easier said than done. However, Oklahoma has been one of the nation's best teams in terms of maintaining possession of the football. According to NCAA.com, the Sooners are ranked 15th in the nation while averaging 32 minutes of possession per game on the season.

Alabama has one of the nation's top defenses, and its offense is prolific as well. Keeping the offense off the field will be key for Oklahoma's success.

With its offense on the field, Oklahoma will be able to slowly wear down a stout Alabama defense and keep itself in the game with a chance to pull away in the end.

 

Alabama: Feature T.J. Yeldon

It seems strange to suggest the ball be in anyone's hands other than quarterback AJ McCarron; however, that is exactly what Alabama needs to do against Oklahoma.

Running back T.J. Yeldon should be featured heavily in this contest due to a very solid Oklahoma pass defense. In what is expected to be a defensive struggle, keeping the ball on the ground is a far better option for the Crimson Tide.

Oklahoma is allowing an average of 138.3 yards per game this season, which gives Yeldon a big chance to shine. If Yeldon is able to establish the running game, it will open things up over the top of the defense for McCarron.

Yeldon will dictate how Alabama's offense is able to maneuver during the Sugar Bowl.

 

Orange Bowl

Clemson: Pass, Pass and Pass Again

This is a pretty easy one for the Tigers. They have an NFL-caliber quarterback in Tajh Boyd and are facing a terrible Ohio State secondary. Boyd has thrown for 3,473 yards, 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions so far this season. He will absolutely be able to tee off against an Ohio State secondary that is allowing an average of 259.5 passing yards per game.

Yes, of course Clemson should not remain one-dimensional throughout the game. After all, they do have a very talented running back in Roderick McDowell.

However, with Boyd at the helm, an explosive Sammy Watkins on the outside and a terrible secondary across from him, passing early and often seems like the way to go here.

 

Ohio State: Run, Run and Run Some More

Talk about two completely opposing styles of offense. Ohio State has one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the nation, as dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde are a formidable duo.

Hyde and Miller have rushed for 1,408 and 1,033 yards, respectively, in 2013 while combining for 24 rushing touchdowns.

Clemson is currently ranked 51st in the nation against the run, according to NCAA.com. The Tigers are allowing an average of 152.6 yards per game on the ground this year. Braxton, Hyde and Co. can continue to remain successful running the football against the Tigers, which, in turn, will keep Boyd and the Clemson offense off the field.

 

BCS National Championship Game

Florida State: Unleash the Heisman Winner

Quarterback Jameis Winston has been incredible this season. After all, he did win the Heisman Trophy after passing for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over the regular season. Winston has been dynamic and efficient and will continue to propel this team going forward.

Auburn doesn't exactly have a pass defense to write home about. They are ranked 104th in the nation and are giving up an average of 260.2 yards per game—yes, that's even more than Ohio State.

Winston's arm should be featured heavily during this game, as he will surely find plenty of space to hit his targets and put up some gaudy numbers to end a fantastic season.

 

Auburn: Triple Option for the Win

Yes, Florida State has a pretty good run defense. They are ranked 14th in the nation and are only allowing an average of 116.5 yards per game to opposing teams. However, they have yet to face an attack nearly as vicious as Auburn's triple option.

Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason have been explosive in 2013. Mason and Marshall have rushed for 1,621 and 1,023 yards, respectively. They have also combined for 33 rushing touchdowns.

That would be difficult to stop in its own right; however, Auburn adds another wrinkle here: wide receiver Sammie Coates.

The third option in this scheme, Coates remains available for a pitch-style pass to the outside should the running lanes for Marshall and Mason be unavailable. This is not something that is easily prepared for. After all, Florida State does have a very aggressive defense and can be beaten when Coates becomes a factor.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

BCS Bowl Games 2013-14: Keys to Victory for Every Team

The final season of the BCS brings about some great matchups in the biggest bowl games of the year. Each team has clinched a well-deserved berth in these contests and look to finish off their seasons with a flourish.

For each of these squads, the outcome of the game will hinge on producing at the highest level. After all, any of these five BCS games could go either way.

Highlighting their own strengths and exposing their opponents' weaknesses will be crucial for each team involved. Also, limiting the success of their opponents' strengths is necessary to win on such a big stage.

These are the keys to victory.

Let's take a team-by-team look to determine the factors that will be of the utmost importance to each of these squads in January.

 

Rose Bowl

Stanford: Maintain a Balanced Offense

Stanford's weapon of choice has been running back Tyler Gaffney throughout the 2013 season. Gaffney has been the workhorse this year, accumulating 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns on 306 carries—good enough for an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

However, against such a talented Michigan State defense, maintaining an offensive balance is crucial.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan has been able to shine at times this season. He has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 2,487 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He must remain careful with the football against the Spartans' ball-hawking secondary.

There may be little room to maneuver for Stanford if it attempts to keep up a ground-and-pound style of offense. Hogan must step up in a big way during the Rose Bowl. After all, keeping a balance between the run and pass is the only way to get past such a stout defense.

 

Michigan State: Ride the Defense

Although the Michigan State offense has been solid this season, the defense is the reason for the team's continued success. If the Spartans are to emerge victorious in January against the Cardinal, the defense will be the reason once again.

Michigan State currently owns the nation's fourth-ranked defense, according to NCAA.com. Not only are they the top-ranked unit against the run, but they are stellar against the pass as well, with Darqueze Dennard featured as one of the nation's top corners.

The Spartan defense is only allowing an average of 12.7 points per game. If they can keep Stanford anywhere along those lines, the offense will be able to do enough to secure the victory.

 

Fiesta Bowl

UCF: Stick with Blake Bortles' Hot Hand

Quarterback Blake Bortles has put together a fantastic late-season run. The success of the Knights is directly related to the success of their quarterback. Bortles has been extremely efficient over the 2013 season, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

His stellar play has NFL scouts taking notice of him in a big way.

Baylor does have a very good pass defense. After all, they are ranked 23rd in the nation, according to NCAA.com. The Bears are allowing an average of just 207.8 passing yards per game. However, they have given up 20 passing touchdowns this season—Bortles can certainly take advantage of that aspect.

UCF's best chance to come away victorious against a good Baylor team is to keep the ball in the air and allow Bortles to continue his hot streak.

 

Baylor: Win the Turnover Battle

The Baylor offense has done a great job protecting the football this season. Quarterback Bryce Petty has only thrown two interceptions against 30 touchdown passes on the year. Due to Baylor's ability to take care of the football, it is currently ranked 13th in the league with a plus-11 turnover margin.

UCF has a high-octane offense, and this game certainly looks like it could be headed in the direction of a shootout. Creating a turnover at the right time could be all that Baylor will need to come out ahead in this contest.

Winning the turnover battle will win the Fiesta Bowl.

 

Sugar Bowl

Oklahoma: Dominate Time of Possession

Against such a deep, complete team like Alabama, this is easier said than done. However, Oklahoma has been one of the nation's best teams in terms of maintaining possession of the football. According to NCAA.com, the Sooners are ranked 15th in the nation while averaging 32 minutes of possession per game on the season.

Alabama has one of the nation's top defenses, and its offense is prolific as well. Keeping the offense off the field will be key for Oklahoma's success.

With its offense on the field, Oklahoma will be able to slowly wear down a stout Alabama defense and keep itself in the game with a chance to pull away in the end.

 

Alabama: Feature T.J. Yeldon

It seems strange to suggest the ball be in anyone's hands other than quarterback AJ McCarron; however, that is exactly what Alabama needs to do against Oklahoma.

Running back T.J. Yeldon should be featured heavily in this contest due to a very solid Oklahoma pass defense. In what is expected to be a defensive struggle, keeping the ball on the ground is a far better option for the Crimson Tide.

Oklahoma is allowing an average of 138.3 yards per game this season, which gives Yeldon a big chance to shine. If Yeldon is able to establish the running game, it will open things up over the top of the defense for McCarron.

Yeldon will dictate how Alabama's offense is able to maneuver during the Sugar Bowl.

 

Orange Bowl

Clemson: Pass, Pass and Pass Again

This is a pretty easy one for the Tigers. They have an NFL-caliber quarterback in Tajh Boyd and are facing a terrible Ohio State secondary. Boyd has thrown for 3,473 yards, 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions so far this season. He will absolutely be able to tee off against an Ohio State secondary that is allowing an average of 259.5 passing yards per game.

Yes, of course Clemson should not remain one-dimensional throughout the game. After all, they do have a very talented running back in Roderick McDowell.

However, with Boyd at the helm, an explosive Sammy Watkins on the outside and a terrible secondary across from him, passing early and often seems like the way to go here.

 

Ohio State: Run, Run and Run Some More

Talk about two completely opposing styles of offense. Ohio State has one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the nation, as dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde are a formidable duo.

Hyde and Miller have rushed for 1,408 and 1,033 yards, respectively, in 2013 while combining for 24 rushing touchdowns.

Clemson is currently ranked 51st in the nation against the run, according to NCAA.com. The Tigers are allowing an average of 152.6 yards per game on the ground this year. Braxton, Hyde and Co. can continue to remain successful running the football against the Tigers, which, in turn, will keep Boyd and the Clemson offense off the field.

 

BCS National Championship Game

Florida State: Unleash the Heisman Winner

Quarterback Jameis Winston has been incredible this season. After all, he did win the Heisman Trophy after passing for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over the regular season. Winston has been dynamic and efficient and will continue to propel this team going forward.

Auburn doesn't exactly have a pass defense to write home about. They are ranked 104th in the nation and are giving up an average of 260.2 yards per game—yes, that's even more than Ohio State.

Winston's arm should be featured heavily during this game, as he will surely find plenty of space to hit his targets and put up some gaudy numbers to end a fantastic season.

 

Auburn: Triple Option for the Win

Yes, Florida State has a pretty good run defense. They are ranked 14th in the nation and are only allowing an average of 116.5 yards per game to opposing teams. However, they have yet to face an attack nearly as vicious as Auburn's triple option.

Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason have been explosive in 2013. Mason and Marshall have rushed for 1,621 and 1,023 yards, respectively. They have also combined for 33 rushing touchdowns.

That would be difficult to stop in its own right; however, Auburn adds another wrinkle here: wide receiver Sammie Coates.

The third option in this scheme, Coates remains available for a pitch-style pass to the outside should the running lanes for Marshall and Mason be unavailable. This is not something that is easily prepared for. After all, Florida State does have a very aggressive defense and can be beaten when Coates becomes a factor.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down the Best Matchups Still to Be Played

Although 15 bowl games are already in the books, the best is still yet to come in this college football postseason.

Obviously, the best teams in the country will be competing in the BCS games and other high-level bowls. This includes top offenses like Baylor and Ohio State, as well as top defenses like Alabama. However, these squads will not necessarily produce great games. 

Instead, there are a number of other contests between evenly matched teams that should go down to the wire. Here is a look at the closest games left on the postseason slate as well as a full schedule of bowl matchups remaining. 

 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

These two teams were extremely close to playing in a BCS bowl, but losses on the final day of the season knocked them down to the Cotton Bowl.

Missouri was one of the best stories in the country this year. The team went from a 5-7 record a year ago to SEC East Champions and a win in the SEC Championship Game away from competing for a national title.

Oklahoma State was never really in the title picture, but the team could have earned the Big 12 title with a win over rival Oklahoma. However, the Sooners came away winners at Bedlam, and Baylor ended up with the automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

Still, the most interesting thing to watch in this game will be the individual matchup between Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert and Tigers receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. As Bleacher Report's Matt Miller notes:

Meanwhile, Green-Beckham is just a sophomore, but the 6'6" receiver has loads of talent, as shown by his 144-yard, two-touchdown performance against Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.

These two players will likely battle in the NFL one day. Before that, this matchup will play a huge role in the Cotton Bowl as two balanced teams will look to upstage the Orange Bowl on the same night.

 

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford

When two top-10 defenses face off against each other, you know it is going to be a classic, hard-nosed battle.

Stanford and Michigan State had a similar philosophy this season: run the ball, control possession and play strong defense. This worked out perfectly, as each side came away with a conference title.

However, the Spartans will be without senior linebacker Max Bullough, who was suspended for violating team rules. According to David Leon Moore of USA Today, Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren thinks the opposing player will be missed:

He's an outstanding football player. The thing they're going to miss, judging by the film, is he looks like a coach out there. He's making this check and that check. In terms of performance, they've got other people who can step in and play football. I think they'll probably miss his leadership. I think they'll miss some of his checks at the line of scrimmage.

It remains to be seen whether Michigan State can play without him, but the fact is there are a lot of talented players still on the roster. Stanford will not be able to do much on the ground against the No. 1 run defense in the country.

This will truly be a game of strength against strength, and the outcome will likely be decided by no more than a field goal.

 

BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn

Depending on who you ask, many think this game is going to be a blowout.

Auburn fans think anyone outside the SEC is weak and this ACC foe will be no match. Florida State fans have seen a dominant performance in every game and expect another one to win the national championship. 

The truth is neither side will have an easy win, as both teams will put on a show.

Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will cause problems for the Tigers defense. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, even his opponents think highly of him:

"He is the most NFL-ready quarterback that I've had the privilege of preparing for," a defensive coach for a team that faced Winston told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons. "I'm not saying he's Peyton Manning, but he's pretty darn close, man."

Meanwhile, the backfield tandem of Nick Marshall and Tre Mason will be tough for the Seminoles to stop, especially after combining for 405 rushing yards in the SEC title game.

After a few seasons of blowouts in the national championship game, this matchup might create one of the best in years. 

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down the Best Matchups Still to Be Played

Although 15 bowl games are already in the books, the best is still yet to come in this college football postseason.

Obviously, the best teams in the country will be competing in the BCS games and other high-level bowls. This includes top offenses like Baylor and Ohio State, as well as top defenses like Alabama. However, these squads will not necessarily produce great games. 

Instead, there are a number of other contests between evenly matched teams that should go down to the wire. Here is a look at the closest games left on the postseason slate as well as a full schedule of bowl matchups remaining. 

 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

These two teams were extremely close to playing in a BCS bowl, but losses on the final day of the season knocked them down to the Cotton Bowl.

Missouri was one of the best stories in the country this year. The team went from a 5-7 record a year ago to SEC East Champions and a win in the SEC Championship Game away from competing for a national title.

Oklahoma State was never really in the title picture, but the team could have earned the Big 12 title with a win over rival Oklahoma. However, the Sooners came away winners at Bedlam, and Baylor ended up with the automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

Still, the most interesting thing to watch in this game will be the individual matchup between Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert and Tigers receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. As Bleacher Report's Matt Miller notes:

Meanwhile, Green-Beckham is just a sophomore, but the 6'6" receiver has loads of talent, as shown by his 144-yard, two-touchdown performance against Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.

These two players will likely battle in the NFL one day. Before that, this matchup will play a huge role in the Cotton Bowl as two balanced teams will look to upstage the Orange Bowl on the same night.

 

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford

When two top-10 defenses face off against each other, you know it is going to be a classic, hard-nosed battle.

Stanford and Michigan State had a similar philosophy this season: run the ball, control possession and play strong defense. This worked out perfectly, as each side came away with a conference title.

However, the Spartans will be without senior linebacker Max Bullough, who was suspended for violating team rules. According to David Leon Moore of USA Today, Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren thinks the opposing player will be missed:

He's an outstanding football player. The thing they're going to miss, judging by the film, is he looks like a coach out there. He's making this check and that check. In terms of performance, they've got other people who can step in and play football. I think they'll probably miss his leadership. I think they'll miss some of his checks at the line of scrimmage.

It remains to be seen whether Michigan State can play without him, but the fact is there are a lot of talented players still on the roster. Stanford will not be able to do much on the ground against the No. 1 run defense in the country.

This will truly be a game of strength against strength, and the outcome will likely be decided by no more than a field goal.

 

BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn

Depending on who you ask, many think this game is going to be a blowout.

Auburn fans think anyone outside the SEC is weak and this ACC foe will be no match. Florida State fans have seen a dominant performance in every game and expect another one to win the national championship. 

The truth is neither side will have an easy win, as both teams will put on a show.

Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will cause problems for the Tigers defense. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, even his opponents think highly of him:

"He is the most NFL-ready quarterback that I've had the privilege of preparing for," a defensive coach for a team that faced Winston told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons. "I'm not saying he's Peyton Manning, but he's pretty darn close, man."

Meanwhile, the backfield tandem of Nick Marshall and Tre Mason will be tough for the Seminoles to stop, especially after combining for 405 rushing yards in the SEC title game.

After a few seasons of blowouts in the national championship game, this matchup might create one of the best in years. 

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Games 2013-14: Most Intriguing Matchups on Remaining Slate

The overflow of college football bowl games makes it tougher to weed out the meaningless games from those that matter.

Given how saturated the market is with enough games to ensure that nearly every team gets to play and virtually every company gets to sponsor one, the aggregated product becomes stale—unless you're truly excited for the GoDaddy Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl and Flint Michigan Mega Bowl, in which case, I'm glad you can maintain a positive outlook.

There's still time to kill before reaching the big bout, and many of the appetizers offer up superb competition and healthy doses of intrigue. After all, the main event isn't the only event.

Let's take a gander at a couple of the more interesting showdowns before reaching the season's grand finale.

 

Rose Bowl: No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan State (Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. EST)

Old-school football fans, this one is for you.

Those who enjoy hard running and debilitating defense will appreciate watching Stanford and Michigan State duke it out in a contest of two of college football's top runner-ups. 

While Stanford finished its schedule with two losses, its tough slate impressed the BCS. The Cardinal defeated seven ranked opponents (at the time of their games), including an Oregon squad clashing for the No. 2 spot at the time.

Stanford's defense, which derailed a seemingly unstoppable Oregon attack, ranks 10th in the FBS with 18.6 points allowed per game. On the other side, Tyler Gaffney leads the way with 1,618 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

Gaffney must poke holes in an indelible Spartans defense that allows just 2.7 yards per carry. Luckily for him, Michigan State will be missing linebacker and team captain Max Bullough, who was suspended by the team. As Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde pointed out, that makes Stanford's game plan all the more clear.

According to USA Today's Joe Rexrode, Stanford's offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren believes the Spartans will miss Bullough's leadership more than anything in the Rose Bowl.

He's an outstanding football player. The thing they're going to miss, judging by the film, is he looks like a coach out there. He's making this check and that check. In terms of performance, they've got other people who can step in and play football. I think they'll probably miss his leadership. I think they'll miss some of his checks at the line of scrimmage.

Even without Bullough, this matchup will be decided by defense. Don't expect too much scoring, which could lead to a close bout and thrilling conclusion.

 

Orange Bowl: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State (Friday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. EST)

But hey, some of us prefer a good old shootout. There's nothing wrong with admiring an offense's ability to seamlessly carve through the opposition.

The Orange Bowl features two premier quarterbacks in Tajh Boyd and Braxton Miller, who have pride to earn and NFL draft stocks to boost.

Boyd, a senior, has more riding on this game with his collegiate career concluding and the NFL calling. He has completed 67.3 percent of his passes and produced 38 total touchdowns, but he was last seen surrendering two interceptions in a loss to South Carolina.

Despite missing time early in the season, Miller has compiled 2,893 total yards (1,860 passing, 1,033 rushing) along with 22 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing scores and just five interceptions. But he also limped to the finish line as a passer, completing 14 out of 36 pass attempts for 234 passing yards combined in his last two games.

Expect a fast-paced slugfest on Friday night between two teams that were standing tall before suffering recent defeats.

 

BCS National Championship: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn (Monday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST)

In the grand scheme of things, this is truly the only game that matters.

The other battles are consolation prizes created to draw ratings and make more money for schools and companies to not share with the players. This one (brought to you by the kind folks of Vizio, so I guess it's for all the TVs) at least decides the champion.

In an unexpected swerve, top-ranked stalwart Alabama squandered its spot at obtaining its third consecutive championship after SEC rival Auburn pulled off a last-second miracle. The Tigers will instead represent the conference juggernaut on the grand stage.

They'll face the Florida State Seminoles, who ended the season as the only squad still holding an unblemished record. Jameis Winston leads a dynamic offense that scored 53 points per game.

Winston and Co. will get their points, so the game boils down to how Florida State can stymie the nation's top-rated rushing attack. Led by Tre Mason, Auburn leads the FBS with 335.7 yards per game through the ground, but Florida State yields just 3.1 opposing yards per carry.

The Tigers can't rely on returning another missed field goal for a touchdown, so it'd be best for them to avoid a shootout akin to their matchup with the Crimson Tide. Nevertheless, that's probably the necessary path to victory during the national championship.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Games 2013-14: Most Intriguing Matchups on Remaining Slate

The overflow of college football bowl games makes it tougher to weed out the meaningless games from those that matter.

Given how saturated the market is with enough games to ensure that nearly every team gets to play and virtually every company gets to sponsor one, the aggregated product becomes stale—unless you're truly excited for the GoDaddy Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl and Flint Michigan Mega Bowl, in which case, I'm glad you can maintain a positive outlook.

There's still time to kill before reaching the big bout, and many of the appetizers offer up superb competition and healthy doses of intrigue. After all, the main event isn't the only event.

Let's take a gander at a couple of the more interesting showdowns before reaching the season's grand finale.

 

Rose Bowl: No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan State (Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. EST)

Old-school football fans, this one is for you.

Those who enjoy hard running and debilitating defense will appreciate watching Stanford and Michigan State duke it out in a contest of two of college football's top runner-ups. 

While Stanford finished its schedule with two losses, its tough slate impressed the BCS. The Cardinal defeated seven ranked opponents (at the time of their games), including an Oregon squad clashing for the No. 2 spot at the time.

Stanford's defense, which derailed a seemingly unstoppable Oregon attack, ranks 10th in the FBS with 18.6 points allowed per game. On the other side, Tyler Gaffney leads the way with 1,618 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

Gaffney must poke holes in an indelible Spartans defense that allows just 2.7 yards per carry. Luckily for him, Michigan State will be missing linebacker and team captain Max Bullough, who was suspended by the team. As Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde pointed out, that makes Stanford's game plan all the more clear.

According to USA Today's Joe Rexrode, Stanford's offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren believes the Spartans will miss Bullough's leadership more than anything in the Rose Bowl.

He's an outstanding football player. The thing they're going to miss, judging by the film, is he looks like a coach out there. He's making this check and that check. In terms of performance, they've got other people who can step in and play football. I think they'll probably miss his leadership. I think they'll miss some of his checks at the line of scrimmage.

Even without Bullough, this matchup will be decided by defense. Don't expect too much scoring, which could lead to a close bout and thrilling conclusion.

 

Orange Bowl: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State (Friday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. EST)

But hey, some of us prefer a good old shootout. There's nothing wrong with admiring an offense's ability to seamlessly carve through the opposition.

The Orange Bowl features two premier quarterbacks in Tajh Boyd and Braxton Miller, who have pride to earn and NFL draft stocks to boost.

Boyd, a senior, has more riding on this game with his collegiate career concluding and the NFL calling. He has completed 67.3 percent of his passes and produced 38 total touchdowns, but he was last seen surrendering two interceptions in a loss to South Carolina.

Despite missing time early in the season, Miller has compiled 2,893 total yards (1,860 passing, 1,033 rushing) along with 22 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing scores and just five interceptions. But he also limped to the finish line as a passer, completing 14 out of 36 pass attempts for 234 passing yards combined in his last two games.

Expect a fast-paced slugfest on Friday night between two teams that were standing tall before suffering recent defeats.

 

BCS National Championship: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn (Monday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST)

In the grand scheme of things, this is truly the only game that matters.

The other battles are consolation prizes created to draw ratings and make more money for schools and companies to not share with the players. This one (brought to you by the kind folks of Vizio, so I guess it's for all the TVs) at least decides the champion.

In an unexpected swerve, top-ranked stalwart Alabama squandered its spot at obtaining its third consecutive championship after SEC rival Auburn pulled off a last-second miracle. The Tigers will instead represent the conference juggernaut on the grand stage.

They'll face the Florida State Seminoles, who ended the season as the only squad still holding an unblemished record. Jameis Winston leads a dynamic offense that scored 53 points per game.

Winston and Co. will get their points, so the game boils down to how Florida State can stymie the nation's top-rated rushing attack. Led by Tre Mason, Auburn leads the FBS with 335.7 yards per game through the ground, but Florida State yields just 3.1 opposing yards per carry.

The Tigers can't rely on returning another missed field goal for a touchdown, so it'd be best for them to avoid a shootout akin to their matchup with the Crimson Tide. Nevertheless, that's probably the necessary path to victory during the national championship.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Chick-Fil-A Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

When the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 4-4 SEC) square off against the No. 24 Duke Blue Devils (10-3, 6-2 ACC) in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl on Tuesday, the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

Texas A&M has lost two straight games heading into this bowl matchup and is looking to find redemption. Losing to SEC juggernauts like LSU and Missouri is nothing to be ashamed about, but the Aggies have not found enough consistency on defense to be a viable championship contender.

Duke was destroyed by the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game, and the program will be looking to bounce back against a struggling Texas A&M program. The ensuing battle should be one for college football fans to thoroughly enjoy.

Here are all the details for Tuesday’s bowl game, betting information, injury updates and a full prediction.

 

When: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas

Television: CBS

Live Stream: CBS Sports Live

 

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

Over/Under: 75

Spread: Texas A&M (-11.5)

 

Duke Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

Texas A&M Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

How Will Johnny Manziel React?

Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel may enter the NFL draft this offseason, and his announcement is expected before the matchup with Duke, according to head coach Kevin Sumlin on ESPN Radio.

If Tuesday really is Manziel’s last college football game, how he performs will be under intense scrutiny.

He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation and leads Texas A&M in passing and rushing. While he was unable to repeat his performance as a Heisman Trophy winner, his 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns through the air and 686 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 2013 are still incredible.

The Blue Devils have been stingy on defense, allowing only 24.7 points per game, but the program proved against the Seminoles that the defensive unit is susceptible to the play of dual-threat quarterbacks.

If Johnny Football is leaving for the NFL, he’s going out with a bang.

 

Prediction

As much as Duke deserves credit for a defense that has masked the offensive deficiencies of a rebuilding program, the Aggies offense led by Manziel is one of the most dangerous in the country.

Texas A&M averages 350.9 yards passing per game and has shown consistency through the air. Johnny Football has become known for his scrambling, but his pass-first mentality is at the root of the Aggies’ success on offense.

The program also amasses a respectable average of 187.3 rushing yards per game, but with more defenses focusing on Manziel’s mobility by assigning a defender to spy him, that game plan will open up the Blue Devils to concede big plays in the secondary.

Add in Duke’s inability to find consistent success in running or passing the ball, and the Aggies will rack up enough points to secure a monumental victory for the program and for Manziel’s confidence if he decides to enter the NFL draft.

Final Score: Texas A&M 44, Duke 24

 

*All stats via CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Sun Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

When the No. 17 UCLA Bruins (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) square off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 5-3 ACC) in the 2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

UCLA is looking for its 10th win of the season for the first time since 2005. The Bruins have racked up three losses this year, but each came against a currently ranked team (Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State).

Virginia Tech has four losses of its own (Alabama, Duke, Boston College and Maryland), including three of the last five matchups this season, and looks to be playing with far less chemistry than UCLA.

If the Hokies can’t put together their best game on both offense and defense, the Bruins will steal the show on New Year’s Eve and walk away with a huge Sun Bowl victory.

Here are all the details needed to watch Tuesday’s bowl game, betting information, injury updates and a full prediction.

 

When: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

Television: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

Over/Under: 47

Spread: UCLA (-7)

 

Virginia Tech Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

UCLA Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

Defense Reigns Supreme

For the college football fans that love hard-nosed defensive football, the battle between UCLA and Virginia Tech is exactly what you’re looking for in a bowl game.

The Hokies are ranked fourth in the nation allowing just 269.6 yards per game to opponents and have remained in contention in the ACC throughout this season on the shoulders of the defense. While Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to find consistency, the defensive unit has stepped up to carry the burden.

The Bruins have been just as strong this season, allowing just 24.1 points per game and 221.1 yards passing in the pass-happy Pac-12. UCLA is coming off a 35-14 victory over USC that helped prove how dominant the team can be on defense, and confidence is high for the Bruins.

Allowing only six points in a victory over Virginia on Nov. 30 has helped the confidence of a struggling Hokies team, but UCLA has a far more talented offensive unit than Virginia Tech has squared off against with the Cavaliers and the rest of the ACC.

 

Prediction

The main difference in this matchup will be head coach Jim Mora and his game plan for the marquee bowl.

With sophomore Brett Hundley having a great season as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation—racking up 2,845 yards passing and 22 touchdowns with another 587 yards rushing and nine touchdowns—Mora realizes the Bruins can and will capitalize on the mistakes that Virginia Tech will inevitably make.

These defensive battles are usually won by the team that protects the football better.

Hundley has amassed only nine interceptions this season and has leaned heavily on running the ball to do much of his damage. The offense is predicated on the rushing attack, and UCLA has done a great job avoiding turnovers.

Add in the fact that freshman phenom Myles Jack is rumbling out of the backfield—the linebacker was put in as a running back during a series of injuries and exploded for four touchdowns against Washington on Nov. 15—and the Bruins offense has the weapons to neutralize the Hokies defense.

Virginia Tech’s defense will keep the score close, but UCLA will walk away victorious.

Final Score: UCLA 24, Virginia Tech 17

 

*All stats via CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Chick-Fil-A Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

When the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 4-4 SEC) square off against the No. 24 Duke Blue Devils (10-3, 6-2 ACC) in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl on Tuesday, the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

Texas A&M has lost two straight games heading into this bowl matchup and is looking to find redemption. Losing to SEC juggernauts like LSU and Missouri is nothing to be ashamed about, but the Aggies have not found enough consistency on defense to be a viable championship contender.

Duke was destroyed by the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game, and the program will be looking to bounce back against a struggling Texas A&M program. The ensuing battle should be one for college football fans to thoroughly enjoy.

Here are all the details for Tuesday’s bowl game, betting information, injury updates and a full prediction.

 

When: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas

Television: CBS

Live Stream: CBS Sports Live

 

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

Over/Under: 75

Spread: Texas A&M (-11.5)

 

Duke Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

Texas A&M Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

How Will Johnny Manziel React?

Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel may enter the NFL draft this offseason, and his announcement is expected before the matchup with Duke, according to head coach Kevin Sumlin on ESPN Radio.

If Tuesday really is Manziel’s last college football game, how he performs will be under intense scrutiny.

He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation and leads Texas A&M in passing and rushing. While he was unable to repeat his performance as a Heisman Trophy winner, his 3,732 yards and 33 touchdowns through the air and 686 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 2013 are still incredible.

The Blue Devils have been stingy on defense, allowing only 24.7 points per game, but the program proved against the Seminoles that the defensive unit is susceptible to the play of dual-threat quarterbacks.

If Johnny Football is leaving for the NFL, he’s going out with a bang.

 

Prediction

As much as Duke deserves credit for a defense that has masked the offensive deficiencies of a rebuilding program, the Aggies offense led by Manziel is one of the most dangerous in the country.

Texas A&M averages 350.9 yards passing per game and has shown consistency through the air. Johnny Football has become known for his scrambling, but his pass-first mentality is at the root of the Aggies’ success on offense.

The program also amasses a respectable average of 187.3 rushing yards per game, but with more defenses focusing on Manziel’s mobility by assigning a defender to spy him, that game plan will open up the Blue Devils to concede big plays in the secondary.

Add in Duke’s inability to find consistent success in running or passing the ball, and the Aggies will rack up enough points to secure a monumental victory for the program and for Manziel’s confidence if he decides to enter the NFL draft.

Final Score: Texas A&M 44, Duke 24

 

*All stats via CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Sun Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

When the No. 17 UCLA Bruins (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) square off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 5-3 ACC) in the 2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

UCLA is looking for its 10th win of the season for the first time since 2005. The Bruins have racked up three losses this year, but each came against a currently ranked team (Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State).

Virginia Tech has four losses of its own (Alabama, Duke, Boston College and Maryland), including three of the last five matchups this season, and looks to be playing with far less chemistry than UCLA.

If the Hokies can’t put together their best game on both offense and defense, the Bruins will steal the show on New Year’s Eve and walk away with a huge Sun Bowl victory.

Here are all the details needed to watch Tuesday’s bowl game, betting information, injury updates and a full prediction.

 

When: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

Television: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

Over/Under: 47

Spread: UCLA (-7)

 

Virginia Tech Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

UCLA Injury Report (via USA Today)

 

Defense Reigns Supreme

For the college football fans that love hard-nosed defensive football, the battle between UCLA and Virginia Tech is exactly what you’re looking for in a bowl game.

The Hokies are ranked fourth in the nation allowing just 269.6 yards per game to opponents and have remained in contention in the ACC throughout this season on the shoulders of the defense. While Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to find consistency, the defensive unit has stepped up to carry the burden.

The Bruins have been just as strong this season, allowing just 24.1 points per game and 221.1 yards passing in the pass-happy Pac-12. UCLA is coming off a 35-14 victory over USC that helped prove how dominant the team can be on defense, and confidence is high for the Bruins.

Allowing only six points in a victory over Virginia on Nov. 30 has helped the confidence of a struggling Hokies team, but UCLA has a far more talented offensive unit than Virginia Tech has squared off against with the Cavaliers and the rest of the ACC.

 

Prediction

The main difference in this matchup will be head coach Jim Mora and his game plan for the marquee bowl.

With sophomore Brett Hundley having a great season as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation—racking up 2,845 yards passing and 22 touchdowns with another 587 yards rushing and nine touchdowns—Mora realizes the Bruins can and will capitalize on the mistakes that Virginia Tech will inevitably make.

These defensive battles are usually won by the team that protects the football better.

Hundley has amassed only nine interceptions this season and has leaned heavily on running the ball to do much of his damage. The offense is predicated on the rushing attack, and UCLA has done a great job avoiding turnovers.

Add in the fact that freshman phenom Myles Jack is rumbling out of the backfield—the linebacker was put in as a running back during a series of injuries and exploded for four touchdowns against Washington on Nov. 15—and the Bruins offense has the weapons to neutralize the Hokies defense.

Virginia Tech’s defense will keep the score close, but UCLA will walk away victorious.

Final Score: UCLA 24, Virginia Tech 17

 

*All stats via CFBStats.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Football: Grading Quarterback Shane Morris Versus Kansas State

Freshman Shane Morris appeared in only four games all season (5-of-9 for 65 yards and one interception) before being pressed into the starting role in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because of an injury to quarterback Devin Gardner.

Gardner was injured during the Ohio State game allowing Morris to take all the practice repetitions with the first team during bowl preparations.

How did he do in his first collegiate start?

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Michigan Football: Grading Quarterback Shane Morris Versus Kansas State

Freshman Shane Morris appeared in only four games all season (5-of-9 for 65 yards and one interception) before being pressed into the starting role in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because of an injury to quarterback Devin Gardner.

Gardner was injured during the Ohio State game allowing Morris to take all the practice repetitions with the first team during bowl preparations.

How did he do in his first collegiate start?

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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 2013: 10 Things We Learned in Michigan's Loss

Early on, the Michigan Wolverines appeared ready to score some points. 

But as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl progressed, the offense stalled, failing to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter of Saturday's 31-14 loss to the Kansas State Wildcats. 

Fitz Toussaint's five-yard score did little to lessen the blow of what was easily one of the Wolverines' worst showings of 2013. Needless to say, it wasn't the ideal way to end an otherwise sad season. 

Lessons taught, lessons learned. And we'll do it Michigan style. 

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