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Final 2013 bowl projections: Florida State-Auburn and 34 other games

The state of Alabama will have a chance at its fifth straight BCS National Championship, Florida State's in line for its first title since 1999, and that's just one bowl game. We'll know all 35 matchups by Sunday night, but for now, here's our best guess.

Mike Ehrmann

Update: The full bowl schedule is official here, with expert picks and everything.

Auburn entered the season picked to finish fifth in the SEC West. Florida State had to replace seven assistant coaches in one offseason. The Tigers had a new head coach and no established quarterback and stood in the shadow of the sport's most dominant dynasty. The Seminoles were replacing three NFL Draft first-rounders, including a senior quarterback.

On January 6, the two will play for the national championship. There is no debate. There is no quarrel. Strength of schedule is not a card that anyone can play against Auburn. No margin-of-victory issue can be raised against Florida State. One will raise the crystal. Pasadena is booked.

The rest of the 35 bowl games are below. We'll keep updating these throughout the day, depending on finalized matchups. Games in bold are set.

Bowl Matchup (Not always tied to conference standings) Team Team
1/6/2014 BCS National Championship (Pasadena) BCS 1 vs. BCS 2 Florida State Auburn
1/3/2014 Orange (Miami) Florida State replacement vs. At-large 1 Ohio State Clemson
1/2/2014 Sugar (New Orleans) Auburn replacement vs. At-large 2 Alabama Oklahoma
1/1/2014 Rose (Pasadena) Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1 Michigan State Stanford
1/1/2014 Fiesta (Glendale) Big 12 1 vs. At-large 4 Baylor UCF
1/5/2014 GoDaddy (Mobile) MAC 2 vs. Sun Belt 2 Ball State Arkansas State
1/4/2014 BBVA Compass (Birmingham) SEC 9 vs. AAC 5 Vanderbilt Houston
1/3/2014 Cotton (Arlington) Big 12 2 vs. SEC 3 Oklahoma State Missouri
1/1/2014 Capital One (Orlando) Big Ten 2 vs. SEC 2 Wisconsin South Carolina
1/1/2014 Gator (Jacksonville) Big Ten 5 vs. SEC 6 Nebraska Georgia
1/1/2014 Heart of Dallas Big Ten 7 vs. C-USA UNLV* North Texas
1/1/2014 Outback (Tampa) Big Ten 3 vs. SEC 4 Iowa LSU
12/31/2013 Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) ACC 2 vs. SEC 5 Duke Texas A&M
12/31/2013 Independence (Shreveport) SEC 10 vs. ACC 7 Arizona* Boston College
12/31/2013 Liberty (Memphis) C-USA 1 vs. SEC 8 Rice Mississippi State
12/31/2013 Sun (El Paso) ACC 4 vs. Pac-12 4 Virginia Tech UCLA
12/30/2013 Alamo (San Antonio) Big 12 3 vs. Pac-12 2 Texas Oregon
12/30/2013 Armed Forces (Ft. Worth) MWC 3 vs. C-USA/Navy Middle Tennessee Navy
12/30/2013 Holiday (San Diego) Pac-12 3 vs. Big 12 5 Arizona State Texas Tech
12/30/2013 Music City (Nashville) ACC 6 vs. SEC 7 Georgia Tech Ole Miss
12/28/2013 Belk (Charlotte) AAC 3 vs. ACC 5 Cincinnati North Carolina
12/28/2013 Buffalo Wild Wings (PHX) Big 12 4 vs. Big Ten 4 Kansas State Michigan
12/28/2013 Pinstripe (New York) Big 12 7 vs. AAC 4 Notre Dame* Rutgers
12/28/2013 Russell Athletic (Orlando) AAC 2 vs. ACC 3 Louisville Miami
12/27/2013 Fight Hunger (San Francisco) Pac-12 6 vs. BYU/ACC 9 Washington BYU
12/27/2013 Military (Annapolis) ACC 8 vs. C-USA Maryland Marshall
12/27/2013 Texas (Houston) Big 12 6 vs. Big Ten 6 Syracuse* Minnesota
12/26/2013 Little Caesars (Detroit) MAC 1 vs. Big Ten 8 Bowling Green Pitt*
12/26/2013 Poinsettia (San Diego) MWC 2 vs. Army Utah State Northern Illinois*
12/24/2013 Hawaii MWC 5 vs. C-USA Boise State Oregon State*
12/23/2013 Beef O'Brady's (St. Pete.) AAC 6 vs. C-USA Ohio* East Carolina
12/21/2013 Idaho Potato (Boise) MAC 3 vs. MWC 6 Buffalo San Diego State
12/21/2013 Las Vegas MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 5 Fresno State USC
12/21/2013 New Mexico (Albuquerque) MWC 4 vs. Pac-12 7 Colorado State Washington State
12/21/2013 New Orleans Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA UL Lafayette Tulane

* Taking another conference's unfilled spot.

Bold: Already set, either officially or according to reports.

BCS bowls

It's simple. As simple as it gets for the BCS, anyway. Florida State and Auburn will play for the national championship. That means the Orange and Sugar get the first two replacement picks.

The Orange can't take Alabama first, due to BCS rules that prevent robbing the other replacement bowl of its pick, so it will surely take the one-loss Buckeyes, who boast an immense fanbase that's relatively nearby. The Orange also has a future relationship with the Big Ten.

Bama's a lock to replace Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.

That gives the Orange Bowl the next pick, as it's first in the non-replacement rotation this year. The Orange's ties with the ACC are as deep as any bowl's with any conference, and while Oklahoma or Oregon could be a tempting choice, the Tigers are much closer and give the Orange the chance to show off the ACC (until the game starts).

The Sugar then goes again, and it looks like it will come down to Oklahoma vs. Oregon. The Sooners are closer, have a larger and more established fanbase, and haven't been to the BCS since 2010. Most critically, the Sugar Bowl is developing a partnership with the Big 12; once the Playoff starts next year, it'll be an SEC-Big 12 game every year. It has reason to start giving Big 12 teams the spotlight now.

The Rose's matchup is locked in: Michigan State vs. Stanford vs. the scoreboard. The scoreboard will lose.

That leaves the Fiesta with no choice. It will be Big 12 champion Baylor vs. UCF, who won an automatic bid by winning the American. Since nobody else will pick UCF over a team with a bigger traveling fanbase and national brand name, there's your Fiesta. It's not exciting, but it's a football game with Baylor in it.

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Ten teams will be left out

There are 80 bowl-eligible teams, but there are still only 70 spots to go around. There will be many justifiably disappointed fan bases around the country Sunday night, and quite a few of them will likely be in the Sun Belt, sorry to say.

Your turn

What's horrifically wrong here? What are you angry about? Any of these games look extra appealing?

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