Many college football teams without bowl aspirations are playing their last games of the 2013 season on Saturday, but for those lucky enough to sit near the top of the BCS, the action is just beginning.
Everything is on the line for undefeated squads Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State—who each face bitter rivals on the road—as they sit in the top three of the standings. A couple of one-loss foes trail them, seeking out the chance to fill one of the top two spots and play for the national title.
Let's take a look at the BCS standings heading into Week 14 and highlight the marquee matchups that will impact the national championship race.
|2013 BCS Week 14 Standings|
|2||Florida State (11-0)||.970|
|3||Ohio State (11-0)||.920|
|7||Oklahoma State (10-1)||.762|
|10||South Carolina (9-2)||.610|
|11||Michigan State (10-1)||.578|
|12||Arizona State (9-2)||.505|
|14||Northern Illinois (11-0)||.462|
|16||Fresno State (10-0)||.412|
|21||Texas A&M (8-3)||.224|
|25||Notre Dame (8-3)||.067|
No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn
In each of the past two seasons, Nick Saban's crew strolled past Auburn in the final week of the regular season as just another hurdle in the climb to two national championships.
This year, it's a play-in game for the SEC Championship and perhaps national championship as well.
Sitting at the top of every Top 25 poll all season long, the Crimson Tide have been more of a machine this season than ever before. Other than a scare at Texas A&M, Alabama has turned each of its games into snooze-fests by crushing its opponents—including LSU, a matchup that almost always goes down to the wire.
A pushover since their 2010 national title, the Tigers come into Saturday's Iron Bowl with national title aspirations of their own. With the lone blemish being a road loss to LSU, Auburn has climbed to No. 4 in the BCS and could threaten to jump over Ohio State in the rankings should it knock off mighty Alabama.
Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason have been money on the ground this season for Auburn, but something has got to give in this one. War Eagle is putting up 39 points per contest, while the Tide give up a whopping 9.3 points in each of their games.
No. 2 Florida State at Florida
Before the season, this matchup would've been seen as a tight contest—or even a lopsided Florida win—by even the biggest experts of college football.
My, how much 11 games can change things.
The Gators lost their starting quarterback, running back, defensive star player and a handful of other key pieces to injury and are 4-7 heading into their season finale. A loss to Georgia Southern at home—yes, Georgia Southern, you read that right—eliminated Florida from becoming bowl eligible this season.
On the other end of the token, Florida State looks to be two wins away from playing Alabama—or whoever else—in the national title game after an undefeated season thus far. Led by redshirt freshman quarterback and Heisman contender Jameis Winston, the Seminoles are dominating opponents on both sides of the ball.
Anything other than a 30-plus-point Florida State win would be a shocker, but as long as the 'Noles get out of The Swamp with a win, their title hopes should stay very alive.
No. 3 Ohio State at Michigan
Ohio State enters its rivalry weekend with Michigan eyeing a second consecutive undefeated season. Only, this one can actually end in a bowl game.
Ranked for much of the opening half of the season, Michigan sputtered through its early schedule but still started out 5-0. Since, they Wolverines have lost four of six games, including Iowa and Nebraska.
The Buckeyes boast one of the most dangerous offenses in college football, with Braxton Miller back healthy and Carlos Hyde running like an absolute monster. Although aided by a cakewalk schedule, Ohio State is on the cusp of finishing undefeated again and throwing its name into the hat for national title contenders.
Urban Meyer is no stranger to coaching teams in games with national title implications, and he'll have his Buckeyes ready. They're seemingly one slip-up by Alabama or Florida State away from moving into one of the two driver's seats.
Michigan has looked lifeless in this recent stretch, but nobody gets the Wolverines more hyped than Ohio State. Whether it's close or not, this game will be a doozie.
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