Bowl Games 2013: Important Conference Championships That Will Set BCS Stage

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 6, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 celebrates a third quarter touchdown with wide receiver Philly Brown #10 and offensive linesman Pat Elflein #65 of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Michigan Wolverines during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The BCS bowl games are nearly set, but this week's conference championships will officially determine which teams will go to the big games and which will be going elsewhere.

Of course, the big question right now is if both Ohio State and Auburn win, whether the Buckeyes or Tigers will get to go to the national championship. However, that's not the only question that will need answering after this week, as a number of other teams are hoping for big wins.

Below is a look at the most important conference championship games for the BCS picture, breaking down the teams and explaining what would happen depending on which side wins.


Big Ten Championship

The Buckeyes will be taking on the Michigan State Spartans. A win would put Ohio State in great position to go to the BCS National Championship Game, but even then it's no guarantee. If they don't go to that game, a win would still at least put them in the Rose Bowl against the Pac-12 champion.

For the Spartans, a win would put them in the Rose Bowl, but even a loss could still have them in the BCS picture. As long as they stayed at No. 14 or better in the BCS standings, they'd likely be able to still go to the Rose Bowl if the Buckeyes went to the national championship or another game like the Orange Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

It will be the toughest test to date for the Buckeyes, as the Spartans have one of the best defenses in the nation. They're allowing just 11.8 points per game, which is the third-best mark in the country, while allowing six points or fewer in five of their last six games.

Things could get complicated after this game, so it's certainly one that we'll all be keeping an eye on.


ACC Championship

Can the Duke Blue Devils take down the undefeated Florida State Seminoles? Probably not, but if they do it would make things way more interesting in the BCS picture.

A Florida State win would make things easy, as it would allow the Seminoles to walk into the national championship game. A Duke win would just get them to a regular bowl game in what has still been an incredibly successful season for the Blue Devils.

However, a Seminoles loss would mess everything up, especially if Ohio State and/or Auburn fell as well. The win would give the Blue Devils a chance to go to the Orange Bowl, leaving the Seminoles hoping to sneak into another BCS game as an at-large bid to play in either the Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl.

Still, the Seminoles should be in good shape, as they're scoring 53.7 points and allowing just 11.0 per game. Jameis Winston is the likely front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, and with a very talented team around him, the Seminoles are the clear favorites as national champions.


SEC Championship

Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers cornerback Chris Davis (center) celebrates scoring a 100 yard touchdown on a missed field goal attempt with defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

No one should be surprised that this game is on here.

The Auburn Tigers and Missouri Tigers were able to grab berths to the SEC championship game, with Auburn pulling off the incredible upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide to take their spot. They can't rest now, however, as they need a big win here over Missouri.

A win for either team could put them in the Sugar Bowl as SEC champions. However, as champs of the most powerful conference in college football, the argument could be made that the winner deserves a ticket to the national championship. If that happens, the other team would likely be the replacement in the Sugar Bowl, letting both teams go to BCS bowl games.

Both teams are incredibly talented and have a lot of great players, which makes this game so exciting. Auburn will likely be the favorites after taking down the top team in the nation, but that kind of game can wear a team out emotionally, which could be a big factor in this one, since every play will count.