Florida State, Auburn will play for national title; more BCS thoughts
With Championship Weekend come and gone, the college football bowl season is officially upon us. The final BCS standings were unveiled on Sunday night in its final year before the College Football Playoff kicks off in 2014.
The complete BCS standings:
1. Florida State
4. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
9. South Carolina
13. Oklahoma State
14. Arizona State
15. Central Florida
20. Fresno State
21. Texas A&M
23. Northern Illinois
BCS bowl matchups were also unveiled on Sunday. Here’s the complete list:
BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Florida State
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida
Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson
A few thoughts on the announcement:
• For at least a little while, the SEC’s streak of seven straight national championships looked like it was coming to an end. No. 1 Florida State was set to meet No. 2 Ohio State if both could survive conference title weekend. But the Buckeyes’ loss opened the door for Auburn to sneak into the BCS title picture, which means the SEC’s run could remain intact with an upset of the Seminoles. If the past three weeks is any indication, there might not be a team with more magic on its side than Auburn. Miracle finishes against Georgia and top-ranked Alabama helped push the Tigers into the SEC championship game. But how does the destiny surrounding Auburn match up with a Florida State defense that ranks third in the country and leads the nation with only five rushing touchdowns allowed?
• That stat aside, the BCS title game could easily end up with a 45-42 final score. The Rose Bowl, meanwhile, has all the making of a 6-3 defensive struggle. Michigan State (No. 1 in total defense) and Stanford (No. 14) should keep the score relatively low in Pasadena. A major challenge isn’t likely to strike fear in either team, though, since both programs spoiled the BCS title hopes of No. 2-ranked teams at different points this season: Stanford sunk No. 2 Oregon on Nov. 7 before the Spartans dropped No. 2 Ohio State in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game.
• There wasn’t as much controversy as expected in the BCS’ final season. Thanks to late-season losses to Northern Illinois and Fresno State, a non-AQ school did not steal a spot in the BCS like the Huskies did last season. Ohio State’s loss also squashed the debate of a one-loss SEC team jumping an unbeaten Big Ten champion before it started. The much-maligned BCS is well-known for its divisive nature, but most fans of major college football conferences can rest easy with these BCS matchups.
• How many times will Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops be asked about the strength of the SEC when his Sooners meet Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? Of course, Stoops wasn’t referring to the Crimson Tide when he took shots at the SEC’s overall depth during the offseason, but his comments will become a storyline against the winners of the last two BCS titles. Stoops will likely be reminded of his last tussle with an SEC team, as well: Last season’s Cotton Bowl, where Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M steamrolled Oklahoma 41-13.
• Two teams that missed out on winning their conference title games will face off in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma State had a chance to clinch a spot in a BCS bowl on Saturday against Oklahoma before the Sooners stole the game on a late Blake Bell touchdown toss. Missouri couldn’t keep up with Auburn’s offense in the SEC title game and dropped only its second game of a remarkable turnaround season. Both teams will be looking to avoid further letdown in Arlington.
• If you like running backs, you might want to buy a ticket to the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La. Arizona and Boston College will clash in game sure to feature plenty of rushing yards from Wildcats’ rusher Ka’Deem Carey and Eagles’ tailback Andre Williams. Carey and Williams both ranked in the top five in the country in rushing and combined for 3,818 yards on the ground this year.