Not so fast, Ohio State fans.
Sure, Auburn’s dramatic victory over Alabama, 34-28, on Saturday helped free up a spot in the BCS title game. However, it just might be the Tigers—not the Buckeyes—who will be making the trip to Pasadena come January.
Oh, BCS chaos, how you’ve been missed.
With a victory against Michigan, 42-41, Ohio State—currently No. 3 in the latest BCS standings—figured all it would take to make its BCS title dreams a reality would be a loss by the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Following Alabama’s defeat, the team seemed to believe the job was done:
However, it’s looking to be more of a catch-22 for the Buckeyes.
That’s because the Tigers entered Week 14 ranked No. 4 in the BCS. Furthermore, the team only trailed Ohio State by a little less than 0.01 points.
One would assume that a win over the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation would provide a significant boost to the victor in the polls. Just take a look at Texas A&M last year, which jumped from No. 15 to No. 8 after its upset of the Tide in Week 11.
Although the Buckeyes should be safe at the No. 2 position for this week, that could change following the conclusion of next week’s conference championship games.
Ohio State takes on No. 11 Michigan State for the Big Ten title. Meanwhile, Auburn will square off with either No. 5 Missouri or No. 10 South Carolina for the SEC title.
"Auburn won't jump Ohio State this week," B/R's BCS Guru Samuel Chi said. "However, there’s a chance they may jump them next week, if Buckeyes win another close game and Tigers blow out a one-loss Missouri team in SEC title game."
Hey, it’s the BCS. Crazier things have happened.
Not only that, but Auburn could also argue that its resume is a lot more impressive than Ohio State’s, even with one more loss:
|Tale of the Tape: Ohio State vs. Auburn|
|Current BCS Ranking||3||4|
|W-L vs. Top 25||2-0||4-1|
|W-L vs. Top 10||N/A||2-1|
Yes, the Tigers lost a game. But that was against then-No. 6 LSU on the road.
Given that LSU is an impressive 57-7 at Tiger Stadium under head coach Les Miles, winning 39 of its last 40 in Baton Rouge, the loss is somewhat forgivable.
Instead, more focus should be on how Auburn navigated through a grueling SEC schedule, beating four ranked opponents—including two Top 10 foes—to earn a berth in the conference title game.
On the other hand, the Buckeyes have only faced two ranked opponents. One of those teams, Wisconsin, just lost to unranked Penn State on Saturday and the other, Northwestern, has lost seven of its last eight.
To sum it up more clearer: The Tigers have faced opponents with a combined record of 77-65 while Ohio State’s opposition is just 60-71.
History also seems to be on Auburn’s side.
In two BCS bowl appearances, the Tigers have an unblemished 2-0 record. Most recently, the team was crowned national champions with a win in the 2011 BCS title game over Oregon, 22-19.
As for the Buckeyes, although they started out by winning their first four BCS bowls, the team has lost three of its last five and had another vacated. Two of those losses came in BCS title games—41-14 to Florida in 2007 and 38-24 to LSU in 2008.
Ironically, current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was largely responsible for the former, as he coached the Gators back then.
All in all, if the results swing the right way, it’s very possible we could witness the first time a one-loss team reaches the BCS title game at the expense of a power-conference unbeaten.
It would also ensure the BCS exits in a more-than-fitting manner: pure and unadulterated chaos.
The College Football Playoff couldn’t get here soon enough.
Quote obtained via e-mail. All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.