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December 6, 2009

The matchups: BCS bowl game capsules

BCS Bowl Capsules
BCS Title Game
The Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Jan. 7, 8 p.m., ABC
The Matchup: Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0)
The Buzz: Texas will be vying for its second national title in five seasons; Alabama is going for its first since 1992. The Crimson Tide hammered Florida in the SEC championship game, while the Longhorns barely squeezed past Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game. Texas' defense, coordinated by former Nick Saban assistant Will Muschamp, should hold up its end of the bargain. But will Colt McCoy and Texas' offense be able to move the ball on the Tide? Alabama's defensive front isn't as good as Nebraska's, but the Tide's back seven is better than Nebraska's - and that has to worry Texas fans. Alabama will be trying to give the SEC its fourth consecutive national title and the league's fifth this decade.
Quickie story line: Will Texas' offense be able to move the ball at all against Alabama's defense?

ROSE BOWL
The Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m., ABC
The Matchup: Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2)
The Buzz: The Buckeyes have struggled of late against non-conference opponents with speed, and Oregon certainly has some speed - especially on offense. QB Jeremiah Masoli and RB LaMichael James are the leaders of the Ducks' spread attack. Ohio State, as usual, is built around its defense. The Buckeyes' physical defensive line will provide a big test for Oregon's offensive line. Ohio State has been effective running the ball, and Oregon isn't particularly big along the defensive front. Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor - who considered signing with Oregon out of high school - still is a work in progress as a passer, so the aggressive Ducks will crowd the box in an attempt to stymie the Buckeyes' rushing attack.
Quickie story line: Can Ohio State beat a noteworthy non-conference opponent?

SUGAR
The Site: New Orleans
Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., Fox
The Matchup: Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1)
The Buzz: Florida was manhandled by Alabama in the SEC championship game, which ended the Gators' hopes of repeating as national champs. You have to wonder about Florida's mindset for this one. Coach Urban Meyer even talked about that after the Alabama loss. This will be Tim Tebow's last college game, and you have to figure he will be ready. The Gators' secondary better be ready, too, or Cincinnati QB Tony Pike will pick them apart. Then again, Cincinnati's mindset could be an issue, too, if coach Brian Kelly leaves for Notre Dame. Cincy's defense has struggled mightily in the past month, and you'd figure Florida should be able to run effectively on the Bearcats.
Quickie story line: Will either team be in the right frame of mind at kickoff?

FIESTA
The Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Jan. 4, 8 p.m., Fox
The Matchup: Boise State (13-0) vs. TCU (12-0)
The Buzz: This is a sort of "mid-major" Super Bowl. While this is an enticing matchup, you have to think each of these teams would've rather played a Big Six conference opponent. Boise State QB Kellen Moore has been lights-out this season, but TCU has - by far - the best defense he will have seen this season. Boise will miss WR Austin Pettis, who suffered a season-ending injury last week. TCU has built its reputation on defense, and it's stout again, led by E Jerry Hughes, LB Daryl Washington and CB Rafael Priest. But the Horned Frogs have become far more explosive on offense this season after an offseason shuffling of the coaching staff. Boise State has had some trouble with opponents who have lined up and run right at them - and TCU will do that. This is a rematch of last season's Poinsettia Bowl, when two-loss TCU beat unbeaten Boise State by one.
Quickie story line: Can TCU's stout defense slow down Boise State's high-powered passing attack?

ORANGE
The Site: Miami
Jan. 5, 8 p.m., Fox
The Matchup: Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2)
The Buzz: This will be the most under-the-radar BCS matchup this season, but watching Iowa's defense go against Tech's prolific triple-option attack should be fun. Iowa is built around its defense, and coordinator Norm Parker is a veteran who has seen it all. But it's doubtful he has seen an option attack like Tech's. Iowa could have starting QB Ricky Stanzi back for this game, and that would provide a big boost for a mediocre Hawkeyes offense. Tech's defense can be exploited, but Iowa's offense doesn't scare anyone.
Quickie story line: Can Iowa's rugged defense slow Tech's option attack?



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