The final BCS rankings are out, meaning the countdown for bowl season has officially begun.
This winter's marquee matchup will feature two storied programs with rich traditions as Florida State and Auburn will play for the BCS National Championship on Jan. 6. The two contenders won their respective conference championships in convincing fashion on Saturday and the Tigers got some help from Michigan State to secure the coveted No. 2 spot in the final year of the BCS.
Here's a look at the final standings:
|1||Florida State (13-0)||.9957|
|4||Michigan State (12-1)||.8600|
|7||Ohio State (12-1)||.7705|
|9||South Carolina (10-2)||.7152|
|13||Oklahoma State (10-2)||.5233|
|14||Arizona State (10-3)||.4416|
|15||Central Florida (11-1)||.4343|
|20||Fresno State (11-1)||.1675|
|21||Texas A&M (8-4)||.1663|
|23||Northern Illinois (12-1)||.1572|
Florida State was a four-touchdown favorite coming into its ACC Championship Game showdown with Duke on Saturday, and unsurprisingly covered the spread, dismantling the Blue Devils in Charlotte to secure its first national championship appearance in 13 years.
Having led the Seminoles to their first undefeated season since 1999, freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has built an impressive case for the Heisman Trophy. Winston has been one of the most dominant forces in all of college football this season, throwing for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns and breaking the single-season record for touchdown passes by a freshman.
Meanwhile, Ohio State's 10-point loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game derailed the Buckeyes' title hopes and ensured that the SEC would have a team in the championship game for the eighth straight year.
The Buckeyes will have a month to regroup before taking on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Auburn won the SEC Championship Game for the second time in four years on Saturday evening, racking up a ridiculous 545 rushing yards and putting 59 points on the board in the 17-point win.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama will miss out on the title game for the first time since 2010-11, when they finished the regular season 9-3 and had to settle for a trip to the Capital One Bowl. At 11-1 overall, the Crimson Tide will still appear in a BCS bowl in January as they are scheduled to represent the SEC in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl against No. 11 Oklahoma.
Speaking of the Sooners, Oklahoma knocked off rival No. 13 Oklahoma State in Bedlam on Saturday afternoon to open the door for Baylor to win the Big 12 Conference. The No. 6 Bears beat Texas in a winner-take-all battle in Waco to earn their first-ever Big 12 crown and BCS bowl bid. They'll head to Glendale, Ariz. for the Fiesta Bowl against No. 15 Central Florida.
Who should be the early favorite to win it all?
No. 5 Stanford beat No. 14 Arizona State in Tempe to win the Pac-12 title for the second straight year. The Cardinal will head to the Rose Bowl for the second straight year, where they'll play Big Ten champion Michigan State on New Year's Day.
Central Florida beat SMU to conclude the regular season, but had already locked up the American Conference and an automatic BCS bowl berth.
With bowl season still two weeks away, die-hard college football fans can look forward to Army vs. Navy on Saturday afternoon and the FCS playoffs, which will continue this coming weekend with four pivotal quarterfinal matchups.
Otherwise, let the countdown begin.
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