A kick return that allowed the No. 4 Auburn Tigers to upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 in the 2013 Iron Bowl has created upheaval in the BCS rankings.
With Alabama out of the national title picture, the bowl scene that was previously straightforward has now become muddled.
The main topic of conversation concerns Auburn and Ohio State. The Tigers have a legitimate claim to jump the Buckeyes and enter the national title fray, but Ohio State does have 24 straight wins to its name.
For now, the safe bet is Auburn making the jump. This makes for an interesting bowl schedule, to say the least.
|National Championship||Florida State vs. Auburn|
|Rose Bowl||Stanford vs. Ohio State|
|Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois|
|Sugar Bowl||Michigan State vs. UCF|
|Orange Bowl||Alabama vs. Clemson|
BCS Bowl Predictions
National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn
First with the easy side of the title picture. The only thing stopping 12-0 Florida State from the big game is an ACC Championship matchup with Duke. With all due respect to the 10-2 Blue Devils, they simply are not stopping freshman quarterback Jameis Winston (3,490 passing yards, 35 touchdowns).
That was simple.
Now for the tough part.
Auburn gets in with a win over Missouri in the SEC Championship. The Tigers have wins over then-ranked No. 24 Ole Miss, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 25 Georgia and current No. 1 Alabama.
Meanwhile, Ohio State was a failed two-point conversion from a loss to a 7-5 unranked Michigan team. The Buckeyes' marquee wins came against three-loss Wisconsin and 5-7 Northwestern. A .9200 to .8236 advantage in the polls for the Buckeyes evaporates quickly all things considered.
But enough about why Auburn is more deserving. This is the best possible title game for viewing pleasure. Fans will get to see if Florida State's top-ranked scoring defense can slow Auburn's top-five rushing attack led by quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason.
Conversely, fans will quickly find out whether or not Auburn's defense is up to the task of slowing the Heisman favorite.
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Ohio State
After close wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan, the Rose Bowl is not a bad consolation prize for the Buckeyes.
Of course, they will have to move past Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship first.
Should Auburn jump Ohio State?
While not an easy task considering the Spartans have a top-five defense, quarterback Braxton Miller (1,759 passing yards, 21 touchdowns) will be able to get the job done.
Stanford has to beat Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship, which seems a distinct possibility given the Cardinal defense allows an average of 19 points per game.
This leads to a traditional Rose Bowl between two teams that field hard-nosed defenses and enjoy controlling games on the ground.
College football fans win with this matchup. Better to have two evenly matched teams in the Rose Bowl than a blowout in the title game.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois
No. 14 entering Week 14, the Northern Illinois Huskies will have no issue cruising past Bowling Green in the Marathon MAC Football Championship en route to a BCS bid.
Likewise, Oklahoma State will breeze past Oklahoma to close the season.
This makes for a Fiesta Bowl sure to contain fireworks. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch is an under-the-radar Heisman candidate with eye-popping numbers so far:
Lynch will get to test his mettle against a top-15 Cowboys defense. Even better, fans will watch as a Cowboys offense that averages 41.2 points per game looks to keep up.
The above equates to an underrated matchup and what could turn out to be the most entertaining bowl game of all.