The BCS rankings will see a shakeup after several games on Saturday altered the projected matchups in the most important forthcoming bowls.
No. 1 Florida State disposed of the Duke Blue Devils to win the ACC, 45-7, decisively as many expected and will play for the national championship. However, there were several other contests that will define how the BCS bowls are going to be determined on Sunday.
Most notably, there was a distinct change in who the Seminoles' opponent will be.
Let's take a look at the other battles between power conference rivals that will have the biggest impact on the next release of the college football standings.
Note: Bowl projections are courtesy of CBSSports.com expert Jerry Palm.
|BCS Rankings Week 15|
No. 10 Michigan State 34, No. 2 Ohio State 24
No matter what the outcome was of this game, the Spartans were essentially guaranteed a Rose Bowl berth in lieu of the Buckeyes, who'd go to Pasadena for the national title game.
Even after 24 unanswered points from Ohio State after it fell behind 17-0 early, though, the second-ranked team in the country ran out of steam.
The Spartans outscored the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter, 14-0, largely thanks to a career game from Connor Cook, who threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
That cost OSU the Big Ten title and a shot at the Coaches' Trophy, which it likely would have played Florida State for on Jan. 6 had this outcome been different.
Now, it looks as though the Buckeyes are slated to head to the Orange Bowl in Miami to do battle with No. 13 Clemson. It should be an exciting offensive showcase between those two clubs.
In stark contrast, the Spartans will face a defensive struggle in the Rose Bowl against Pac-12 champion Stanford.
No. 3 Auburn 59, No. 5 Missouri 42
Speaking of QBs and running backs combining for amazing production on the ground, how about Auburn's Nick Marshall and Tre Mason?
Marshall ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, but the SEC Championship Game MVP Mason stole the show by pounding the rock for 46 carries, 304 yards and four scores.
Perhaps Auburn is a little more one-dimensional than Ohio State, but it has managed to make it through a rigorous SEC schedule and catalyze an amazing turnaround to win the nation's premier conference.
As impressive as it was that Mason and Co. were able to shred a Missouri defense that was 14th in the country against the run entering the game for 545 rushing yards, Auburn didn't look as good on the other side of the ball.
Then again, this was a hotly competitive game that dictated a fast pace and some tired defenses. But it was Auburn's that got the key stops and outscored Mizzou 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
Now the stage is set for Auburn to do battle with the Seminoles for all the proverbial marbles, while Missouri will have to settle for a bowl outside of the BCS. Palm projects an Outback Bowl trip to Tampa, where Mizzou would take on Iowa.
No. 17 Oklahoma 33, No. 6 Oklahoma State 24
While the aforementioned two victors showed the importance of staying in it for 60 minutes and finishing strong, the favored Cowboys did the exact opposite of that. It will cost them a BCS bowl, too.
After Oklahoma State's Desmond Roland punched it in from one yard out to give his team a 24-20 lead with 1:46 left, it seemed the Sooners were doomed to lose.
Blake Bell had other plans, hitting Jalen Saunders in the back of the end zone in Stillwater for a seven-yard strike with only 19 seconds left for what amounted to the winning score.
That came after star cornerback Justin Gilbert appeared to have a game-sealing interception.
To add insult to injury, a fumbled lateral on a wacky final play was scooped up by Eric Striker and taken three yards into the end zone for another TD. That made the final score a wider margin than the game itself indicated.
The Cowboys had the Big 12 title and a likely bid in the Fiesta Bowl in their hands, but they failed to capitalize.
That should see them slide down considerably in the BCS rankings, as they witness the team they beat 49-17, Baylor, go to Glendale as the Big 12 champions. Palm now projects the Sooners to vault into the Sugar Bowl, but B/R sees Oregon doing so to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Sunday will reveal the entire picture, but after this massive shakeup, the matchups seem to be pretty clear.
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