All 35 bowl games simulated by WhatIfSports.com
2012 NCAA Football FeaturesAlabama vs. Past 15 National Champions
December Madness College Football Playoff
2012 College Football Season-To-Date
2012 NCAA Football Archives
NCAA Football SimMatchup
Create Your College Football Dream Team
Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 78.8 percent of all 2012 FBS games, we simulated each of the 35 bowl matchups 1,001 times.
Each team's winning percentage, average score and sample box score can be found below. If you would like to replay any bowl game, every 2012 bowl team roster is available using our free NCAA College Football SimMatchup feature.
Note: The box score recap is just an example of what could happen based on the average score. Click on the box score button for complete play-by-play.
College Football Bowl Performance
|Overall Winning Percentage:||62.9% (22-13)|
|AP Top 25 Winning Percentage:||75.0% (18-6)|
|BCS Bowl Winning Percentage:||80.0% (4-1)|
27 carries, 155 yards, TD
3 catches, 22 yards
Arizona: The Wildcats had little problem finding the end zone this season as they averaged 37.3 points per game. However, the defensive side of the ball was another story. Arizona surrendered 34.3 points per game and granted 295.9 yards per contest to opposing quarterbacks, the fifth-worst mark in the nation.
Box Score: Arizona got out to an early 10-0 lead that grew to 16-3 at the half. Nevada rallied with 13 fourth-quarter points, but it was too little, too late for the Wolf Pack. Ka'Deem Carey paced the Wildcats with 155 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 29-23 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Nevada 24 - Arizona 30
21 carries, 138 yards, TD
4 catches, 63 yards
Utah State: WAC champ Utah State suffered only two losses by a combined four points this season, dropping games at Wisconsin and BYU. The Aggies feature a stout defense that conceded the eighth-fewest points in the nation and sacked opposing quarterbacks 39 times.
Box Score: Running back Kerwynn Williams had a typical day for the Aggies, generating 201 yards of offense and a touchdown. It was the play of his backup, Joe Hill, that was less expected. Hill had runs of 62 and 45 yards, the latter for a touchdown, as Utah State rallied from 10 down for a 31-30 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Toledo 26 - Utah State 28
San Diego State: It was a historic season for the Aztecs. Their nine wins are the most in the regular season since 1977, their current seven-game winning streak is the school's first since 1981 and their November 3rd win over Boise State was the first road victory over a ranked opponent in school history.
Box Score: Two third-quarter scores by the Aztecs' Adam Muema erased a 20-6 deficit, but BYU's Riley Nelson threw his third touchdown of the game with 5:24 remaining to put the Cougars back on top for good. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: BYU 25 - San Diego State 23
23 carries, 177 yards, TD
3 catches, 42 yards
Ball State: The Cardinals can credit their best season since 2008 to a rush attack that ranked 23rd nationally. Sophomore Jahwan Edwards led the ground game with 1,321 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
Box Score: Latavius Murray and Storm Johnson proved too much for the Cardinals as the duo combined for 279 rushing yards and two scores. Two Steven Schott field goals put Ball State within striking distance but UCF held on for a 33-27 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: UCF 28 - Ball State 25
8 catches, 124 yards, TD
Louisiana-Lafayette: Make that two straight 8-4 seasons for the Ragin' Cajuns. Louisiana-Lafayette hopes for an ending much like last season, when the school notched a 32-30 victory over San Diego State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Box Score: The foot of Brett Baer carried the day for the Ragin' Cajuns. The kicker connected on four of five field goals, including a 50-yarder, to pace Louisiana-Lafayette in its 26-24 win. East Carolina receiver Justin Hardy led the Pirates with eight receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: East Carolina 28 - Louisiana-Lafayette 29
34 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD
4 catches, 53 yards, TD
Boise State: Believe it or not, Boise State's two losses are the most at the school since a 10-3 season in 2007. Defense was the name of the game as the Broncos held opponents to 14.9 points per game, the sixth-best mark in the nation, and 163.4 passing yards per game, tied for fourth-best.
Box Score: Boise State captured a commanding lead, going ahead 20-3 after the first quarter, and then survived an onslaught by Sankey to squeak by 26-24. Sankey found the end zone three times, twice in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough for the Huskies. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Washington 24 - Boise State 27
30-40, 324 yards, TD
15 carries, 13 yards, TD
Southern Methodist: Former Texas Longhorns field general Garrett Gilbert started for the Mustangs. Gilbert's stats were less than stellar, with 14 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 53.1 completion percentage. Senior RB Zach Line has accumulated 4,114 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns during his four-year career.
Box Score: Fresno State went ahead early, which didn't bode well for a SMU team with Gilbert at the helm. He completed just 12 of 34 passes. Carr, meanwhile completed 75 percent of his passes for 324 yards and a score as the Bulldogs prevailed 33-23. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Fresno State 30 - SMU 26
25 carries, 109 yards, TD
3 catches, 38 yards
Central Michigan: The Chippewas are bowl-bound for the first time since 2009, when they beat Troy 44-41 in overtime. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton is enjoying a breakout season with 1,649 yards from scrimmage and 20 trips to pay dirt.
Box Score: Don't blame yourself, David Harman. The Chippewas kicker had a chance to give his team a 23-21 advantage with just under five minutes left in the game but his 24-yard attempt sailed wide right. Western Kentucky prevailed, thanks to Antonio Andrews, who led the team in both rushing (135 yards) and receiving (29 yards). Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Western Kentucky 26 - Central Michigan 25
19 carries, 90 yards, 2 TD
2 catches, 18 yards, TD
Bowling Green: The Falcons possess a talented defense that allowed only 15.8 points per game, ninth in the nation. Coach Dave Clawson's team is equally efficient against the pass and rush, surrendering 173.0 passing yards per game (seventh nationally) and 116.7 rushing yards per game (14th nationally).
Box Score: The outcome looked bleak for the Spartans, facing a 23-6 deficit as the fourth quarter began. Undeterred, De'Leon Eskridge found the end zone on a 15-yard run to narrow the gap. Fales then got things going, finding Ryan Otten and Grisby for scores to complete the 27-23 rally. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: San Jose State 28 - Bowling Green 26
23-36, 302 yards, 3 TD, INT
9 carries, 32 yards
Duke: This season marks the end of a bleak time in Blue Devils football history. The bowl game is the school's first since 1995 and a bowl win would be the first since 1961. However, Duke stumbled down the stretch and hasn't won since October 20th against archrival North Carolina.
Box Score: The Blue Devils used a big second quarter that included three Sean Renfree touchdown passes to go ahead 28-14, but Cincinnati charged right back. Kay looked like he belonged behind center, completing 23 of 36 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearcats notched a 34-31 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Cincinnati 27 - Duke 24
36 carries, 189 yards rushing, 3 TD
2 catches, 18 yards
UCLA: One of UCLA's strengths on defense is ironically its most glaring weakness on offense. The Bruins' 44 sacks are fourth-most in the nation, but its 46 sacks allowed are the third-most. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley hasn't missed a game despite the beating.
Box Score: The Bruins prevailed in triple overtime after going ahead by three and forcing a Baylor fumble on the ensuing possession. UCLA shut down the Baylor rush attack in the win, but Florence lit up their secondary for 437 yards and four scores. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Baylor 26 - UCLA 27
19-34, 232 yards, TD, INT
15 carries, 24 yards rushing, TD
Louisiana-Monroe: The school out of northern Louisiana made noise early this season with an upset of No. 8 Arkansas, followed by two narrow defeats to Auburn and Baylor. Thanks to a 6-2 record in Sun Belt league games, the Warhawks will play in their first ever bowl game.
Box Score: The Bobcats had gotten the best of the Warhawks until Kolton Browning took over. Louisiana-Monroe's QB rushed for one fourth-quarter score and threw for another as the Warhawks rallied for a win in the program's first bowl appearance. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Ohio 26 - Louisiana-Monroe 28
33 carries, 163 yards rushing, TD
5 catches, 53 yards, TD
Virginia Tech: Not a great year for the preseason No. 16 team. The Hokies recorded their fewest wins since a 2-8-1 campaign in 1992, but late-season victories against Boston College and Virginia salvaged bowl eligibility.
Box Score: The Rutgers D was true to form, taking away any semblance of a Virginia Tech ground game, as the Scarlet Knights overcame three picks from Gary Nova to defeat the Hokies 29-23 in triple overtime. Jawan Jamison earned MVP honors with 216 total yards and the game-winning touchdown. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Rutgers 23 - Virginia Tech 22
Texas Tech: On the other end of the spectrum, the Red Raiders had no trouble scoring in 2012, averaging 37.8 points per contest. The pass attack, led by senior Seth Doege, pasted opponents for 361.9 yards per game, second only to Marshall.
Box Score: This one wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Texas Tech raced out to a 10-0 advantage and led by as much as 30-7 before surrendering two late touchdowns and a field goal to the Gophers. Doege threw for 334 yards and two scores in the win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Minnesota 23 - Texas Tech 29
11 carries, 98 yards rushing, 2 TD
Air Force: In matchups between military academies, the Falcons were 0-2 this season, dropping games to Navy and Army. However, a 6-6 record, including 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference, enables Air Force to go bowling for the sixth consecutive season.
Box Score: Air Force captured a lead early and held on late in dispatching Rice. Wes Cobb earned MVP honors for his two scores, but it was really the combined performance by Cobb, Ty MacArthur and Cody Getz that carried the day. The trio accumulated 371 rushing yards and all four of the Falcons' TDs. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Rice 24 - Air Force 25
24-31, 337 yards, 2 TD
14 carries, 3 yards, TD
Syracuse: Doug Marrone has guided Syracuse to its second bowl game in his four years as head coach. In 2010, the Orange defeated Kansas State 36-34 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. They'll be hoping for a similar result against another Big 12 foe.
Box Score: West Virginia's Geno Smith submitted a superb season that was lost in the midst of his team's struggles. Smith threw for 4,004 yards with 40 touchdowns to just six picks in 2012, and he added to those stats against Syracuse. Smith's big day included two passing TDs and the go-ahead rushing score as the Mountaineers topped the Orange 38-34. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: West Virginia 29 - Syracuse 27
16-23, 202 yards, 2 TD, INT
15 carries, 44 yards, TD
Arizona State: First-year coach Todd Graham guided the Sun Devils to their most wins since 2007 and will be seeking the school's first bowl win since 2005. An opportunistic Arizona State defense averaged 3.9 sacks per game, the second-best mark in the nation, and totaled 20 interceptions, fourth-most nationally.
Box Score: Taylor Kelly of Arizona State shouldered the load in the first half, throwing for two scores and running for one more. Teammate Cameron Marshall led the second-half charge with two rushing TDs. Navy kept pace for most of the game, but the Sun Devils prevailed 32-24. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Navy 20 - Arizona State 28
9 catches, 148 yards, 2 TD
Oregon State: After navigating his squad to six bowl games in his first seven seasons, including five bowl wins, Mike Riley's Beavers failed to make the postseason two years in a row. That streak ended in 2012 as Oregon State climbed to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll on its way to a nine-win season.
Box Score: The Beavers rallied around their quarterback as Sean Mannion overcame six interceptions to lead Oregon State from a 28-10 halftime deficit to a 44-42 win over the Longhorns. The comeback included two scores for Storm Woods and two more by Markus Wheaton, the last as time expired. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Texas 22 - Oregon State 23
30 carries, 144 yards rushing, TD
4 catches, 7 yards
Michigan State: Several narrow defeats haunted the Spartans as five of their six losses were by a combined 13 points. Junior running back Le'Veon Bell rushed for 1,648 yards and 11 touchdowns, while quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggled to replace Kirk Cousins, completing only 52.9 percent of his
Box Score: Jaden Oberkrom had a busy night. Whenever the TCU offense stalled – and it did frequently – Oberkrom was called on to punch it through the uprights. The freshman matched a career high, connecting on six field goals, including two in the fourth quarter that delivered a 25-24 Horned Frog victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: TCU 23 - Michigan State 22
Vanderbilt: Like the best of its SEC brethren, Vanderbilt relied on a stout defense in 2012. The Commodores surrendered just 18.3 points per game and were particularly strong against the pass. Opposing signal callers averaged 175.8 yards per game and completed 52.0 percent of passes.
Box Score: Vanderbilt broke a 17-17 tie with just under five minutes remaining when Jordan Rodgers found Jordan Matthews in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown strike and a 24-17 lead. NC State had two chances to score, but both possessions ended in interceptions by Glennon. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: North Carolina State 19 - Vanderbilt 21
Georgia Tech: The good news? The Yellow Jackets are going to their 16th consecutive bowl game. The bad? The last seven bowl trips have ended in losses. Just like past Paul Johnson-coached teams, Georgia Tech strongly favors the rush. Six players ran for more than 400 yards in 2012.
Box Score: Matt Barkley and the Trojans got off to a slow start, trailing 21-0, but finally caught up and surpassed the Yellow Jackets when a run by Barkley gave USC a 31-28 edge with under a minute remaining. Georgia Tech had a chance to send it to overtime, but David Scully's attempt went wide left. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: USC 27 - Georgia Tech 24
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane are hoping for a different result than the last time they faced Iowa State, a 38-23 loss in the first game of the 2012 season. The Iowa State O-line will have their hands full with a Tulsa defensive front that recorded the third-most sacks in the country.
Box Score: A pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Iowa State's Edwin Arceo – the last with 12 seconds remaining in the game – sparked the Cyclones past Tulsa. Freshman Sam Richardson continued his efficient play with two touchdowns and no picks. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Iowa State 29 - Tulsa 25
18 carries, 96 yards rushing, 2 TD
1 catch, 8 yards
Clemson: Countering the LSU defense will be a Clemson offense that averaged 42.3 points per game, sixth-most in the country. Junior QB Taj Boyd improved his completion percentage from 59.7 in 2011 to 66.6 in 2012 as he threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for 492 yards and nine scores.
Box Score: A failed two-point conversion proved to be the difference as Clemson's fourth-quarter rally fell short of knocking off LSU. Had Andre Ellington been able to power in for two points, Clemson's field goal eight minutes later would have tied the game. Alas, it was not to be as LSU held on 24-22. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: LSU 23 - Clemson 21
22 carries, 217 yards rushing, 3 TD
Northwestern: The Wildcats are playing in their fifth consecutive bowl game but coach Pat Fitzgerald has yet to deliver a postseason victory during his tenure. Venric Mark and Kain Colter led the nation's 14th-ranked ground assault, combining for 2,130 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.
Box Score: Mark was a man possessed. The Wildcats running back powered his way to three first-half scores and secured a 21-3 halftime lead for Northwestern. The Bulldogs fought back in the second half, with Russell passing for three touchdowns, but Northwestern held on for the 27-24 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Mississippi State 23 - Northwestern 25
7 carries, 44 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 6 yards, TD
Oklahoma State: Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were gone, but the prolific Cowboys offense remained. Despite utilizing three quarterbacks – J.W. Walsh, Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt – Oklahoma State averaged 44.7 points per game and netted 333.4 passing yards per game.
Box Score: Cowboys running back Jeremy Smith accumulated just seven touchdowns during the 2012 season, but he added four to his total against the Boilermakers. Joseph Randle did most of the heavy lifting, accumulating 191 yards, but it was Smith who kept finding the end zone as Oklahoma State won 33-28. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Purdue 23 - Oklahoma State 26
25 carries, 83 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 7 yards, TD
Nebraska: Quarterback Taylor Martinez spent the offseason honing his passing mechanics. While the improvement was clear – Martinez threw for 578 more yards and eight more touchdowns in 2012 than in 2011 – Nebraska only managed 207.7 passing yards per game, 91st in the nation.
Box Score: The SEC and Big Ten runner-ups proved evenly matched foes through four quarters, as each squad scored 24 points. In the extra stanza, Georgia struck first on an Aaron Murray strike to Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs defense then stuffed Nebraska for the 31-24 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Georgia 26 - Nebraska 22
18-29, 189 yards, TD
15 carries, 53 yards
Michigan: With his right arm injured, Denard Robinson made a position change to running back to help his team in another capacity. Against Iowa and Ohio State, he managed a combined 220 yards and a touchdown in the new role. Update: The game was re-simulated on 12/17/12 to account for Michigan suspensions.
Box Score: The Gamecocks broke a tie with one minute remaining in the game when Connor Shaw found Rory Anderson for the touchdown strike and a 27-20 lead. Miles and Davis combined for 99 yards and a score on 26 carries. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: South Carolina 23 - Michigan 19
30 carries, 157 yards, TD
3 catches, 22 yards
Stanford: With the departure of Andrew Luck, Stanford fell from the 22nd-ranked passing offense to the 94th. Yet the Cardinal won their first conference championship since 1999, partly thanks to a defense that submitted 56 sacks, easily most in the nation.
Box Score: Two of the nation's best running backs were on display as the Badgers and the Cardinal clashed. Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor did not disappoint. Ball totaled 196 yards and a score, while Taylor accumulated 157 yards, one touchdown and a Rose Bowl win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Wisconsin 21 - Stanford 23
21-30, 257 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Florida State: The well-balanced Seminoles are equally talented on both sides of the ball, contributing to an average margin of victory of 24.8 points per game, the third-best mark in the FBS. Third-year coach Jimbo Fisher is 2-0 in bowl games at Florida State.
Box Score: Underdog Northern Illinois took Florida State to the wire, as the Seminoles needed a last-second field goal by Dustin Hopkins to send the game to overtime. FSU won 27-20, but the Huskies proved their BCS bowl bust was warranted. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Northern Illinois 19 - Florida State 27
7-11, 62 yards, 2 TD
12 carries, 61 yards, TD
Florida: A dominant defense that finished in the top 15 against both the pass and rush and surrendered the third-fewest points in the nation has delivered the Gators a trip to their 22nd consecutive bowl game. Florida last missed a bowl in 1990 due to postseason in ineligibility.
Box Score: The vaunted Florida defense kept Louisville off the scoreboard until a field goal at the 4:23 mark of the third quarter narrowed the score to 13-3. The Cardinals added two more late scores, but Florida earned a comfortable 23-13 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Louisville 18 - Florida 23
31 carries, 159 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 18 yards
Kansas State: A hiccup at Baylor cost the Wildcats a shot at the national title, but Heisman candidate Collin Klein is a sure bet to find the end zone against Oregon after running for 22 touchdowns and throwing for 15 more this season. Klein has scored at least once every game the last two years.
Box Score: Two second-quarter scores by Barner carried the Ducks to a 14-8 halftime lead. Kansas State responded with touchdowns on their first two drives of the third quarter, but Oregon tacked on 17 more points in the last eight minutes of the third. Oregon survived 31-29. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Oregon 24 - Kansas State 23
17-26, 198 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
21 carries, 84 yards, TD
Oklahoma: The Sooners' two losses came to opponents – Kansas State and Notre Dame – with a combined record of 23-1. Senior quarterback Landry Jones has now accumulated 16,368 passing yards and 125 total touchdowns while guiding his team to 40 wins in his career.
Box Score: Facing a 33-14 deficit, a Cotton Bowl loss seemed all but certain for Texas A&M. But 22 fourth-quarter points, including a go-ahead field goal as time expired, lifted Manziel and the Aggies to a dramatic 36-33 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Texas A&M 29 - Oklahoma 27
Ole Miss: Four of the Rebels' six losses came to ranked foes in Texas, Alabama, Georgia and LSU. Their other two losses were to Texas A&M, unranked at the time but No. 10 in the final AP poll, and Vanderbilt, 27th in the final AP poll.
Box Score: In a back-and-forth game, the difference proved to be a safety. Ole Miss punter Jim Broadway buried Pitt at their own six-yard line as the second quarter waned and the Rebels defense took down Pitt's Tino Sunseri on the ensuing play for a safety. Ole Miss ultimately won 26-24. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Pittsburgh 21 - Ole Miss 24
13 carries, 114 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 14 yards
Arkansas State: Wins are costly for Sun Belt champ Arkansas State. In 2011, the program won 10 games and head coach Hugh Freeze departed after just one season on the job. This year saw nine wins and another lost coach, as Gus Malzahn will take over at Auburn.
Box Score: Archer and Durham combined for 198 rushing yards and three scores in pacing the Golden Flashes, but the day belonged to Arkansas State's Ryan Aplin, who found J.D. McKissic for a 33-yard strike with 1:34 left in the game. The touchdown pass netted a 30-27 win for the Red Wolves. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Kent State 24 - Arkansas State 25
Notre Dame: Brian Kelly's squad is gunning for the school's first national championship since 1988. A stellar Fighting Irish defense anchored by Manti Te'o relinquished just 10.3 points per game, the fewest in the nation. In four victories over ranked opponents, Notre Dame surrendered 35 total points.
Box Score: A defensive slugging match was busted open by two third-quarter runs from Alabama's T.J. Yeldon. The first, a 57-yarder, brought the Crimson Tide to within a point of Notre Dame. The second, from 40 yards out, secured another national championship for Alabama and the SEC. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Alabama 24 - Notre Dame 23
Remember if any depth chart changes or injuries occur between now and a team's bowl game, you have the ablity to adjust the depth chart using our FREE college football SimMatchup feature.
Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.