BCS National Championship 2013 Projections: How Auburn's Upset Win Impacts Game

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVDecember 1, 2013

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA;  Auburn Tigers running back Patrick Lymon (41) celebrates following their victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 after a 100 yard return of a missed field goal by  cornerback Chris Davis (11) with no time left in the game at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the national title picture, and college football in general, got turned on its head Saturday down in Alabama would be the understatement of the year in sports. No. 4 Auburn moved into the driver's seat to face No. 2 Florida State after beating two-time defending national champion Alabama on a last-second touchdown from Chris Davis' 109-yard return of a short Crimson Tide field goal try from 57 yards out.

This crazy result means that most everybody's prediction for the national title game is now wrong.

Alabama looked to be cruising to another national title appearance after rummaging its way through another brutal SEC slate, having held the No. 1 spot in every poll all year long. Late in the season, Florida State slid into the No. 2 spot after an Oregon loss to Stanford in early November. 

The Crimson Tide's toughest test came in a hostile environment against archrival Auburn, and the Tigers' 296 rushing yards, along with a game-winning play for the history books, suddenly clouded up the national title picture at a dizzying rate.

The future game seemed clear heading into rivalry weekend, with Alabama and Florida State as the unquestionable top two teams and undefeated Ohio State closely trailing. But after the madness at Jordan-Hare Stadium, it's wide open.

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (bottom) celebrates with defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) and teammates after returning a missed field goal for a 100 yard touchdown during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Aub
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming Florida State rolls against Duke and Auburn gets past either No. 5 Missouri or No. 10 South Carolina in the SEC title game, the Tigers' body of work and big wins should be enough to jump Ohio State in the standings no matter what the Buckeyes do against Michigan State.

Per ESPN's BCS rankings for Week 14, Auburn entered the weekend with an .8236 average, compared to Ohio State's .9200. 

That's quite the climb for the Tigers to make, but after looking at Alabama's .9881 average, both the voters and the computers will put a whole lot of stock into Auburn's epic victory over the Tide. That will only be amplified after another win over a probable top-10 team in the SEC title game.

On top of that, nobody can be impressed with the Buckeyes this weekend after they came within one failed two-point conversion of losing to Michigan. A tight win over the Wolverines would've been passable early in the season, but they have now lost five of their last seven games. 

Ohio State needed to prove that it could roll against decent teams, and instead it nearly fell flat on its face. Just a few hours later, Davis was sprinting down the sideline to put Auburn into the national title race.

The Buckeyes apparently don't agree. @F_Epitropoulos on Instagram caught Ohio State's reaction on the team bus to the final play that declared Auburn winners:

The Buckeyes' biggest wins are against Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan. Auburn's—assuming it wins the SEC—will be Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Missouri or South Carolina and Alabama. Alabama

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde (34) celebrates with fans after defeating Michigan Wolverines 42-41 at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The debate between undefeated power-six conference teams and one-loss SEC teams has been around since the implementation of the BCS, but the SEC's success in the national title hunt should speak for itself.

The conference has seven straight wins in the big game. Four of those seven were one-loss SEC teams, one was a two-loss LSU team in 2007 and most of the eventual title games weren't even close. 

It remains to be seen if Auburn's win and Ohio State's near loss is enough to allow the Tigers to catapult over the Buckeyes in the standings, but it would be a huge mistake if that failed to happen. 

BCS National Championship Prediction: Auburn vs. Florida State


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