The SEC has never lost a BCS championship game to anyone but itself. The league will trust the Auburn Tigers to keep that streak alive when they play Florida State for the BCS title in Pasadena on Jan. 6.
While the BCS title isn't like a championship belt that goes from team to team or conference to conference, not having the SEC there to defend its throne wouldn't have felt right. The SEC is the king of the BCS, having won nine of 15 national titles, including eight of the last 10 and the last seven in a row.
The SEC traditionally is about strength of schedule and endurance. The champion must beat many of the best teams in the country and endure what's arguably the nation's most physical brand of football in the process.
Since the start of the BCS era, meanwhile, ACC football has been predicated upon offensive balance and defenses that can fly around the ball. Based on record alone, this year's Florida State squad is the conference's best team since the Seminoles won it all in 1999. It's also the best stylistic fit for the ACC due to its speed.
Pitting Auburn's power offense and defense against the speed of the ACC's best will be a true test for the Tigers. Auburn has seen some lucky breaks this year, but it does have a ton of talent and could end up surprising the world by beating a Florida State team that hasn't allowed anyone to come close to beating it. (The Seminoles are currently 8.5-point favorites, per OddsShark.com.)
|SEC in the BCS|
|1999||Tennessee (SEC)||Florida State (ACC)|
|2003||LSU (SEC)||Oklahoma (Big 12)|
|2006||Florida (SEC)||Ohio State (Big Ten)|
|2007||LSU (SEC)||Ohio State (Big Ten)|
|2008||Florida (SEC)||Oklahoma (Big 12)|
|2009||Alabama (SEC)||Texas (Big 12)|
|2010||Auburn (SEC)||Oregon (Pac-10)|
|2011||Alabama (SEC)||LSU (SEC)|
|2012||Alabama (SEC)||Notre Dame (Independent)|
|College Football Reference|
Without Michigan State's victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, the Tigers likely would have never had the chance to upset the Seminoles. And that would have been a true shame because Auburn earned its spot the hard way.
The Tigers beat last year's champion and arguably the best team in the BCS era in Alabama. The next week, they went through another top-five team in Missouri in the SEC title game.
Auburn's strength of schedule and subsequent wins say that it is easily one of the top two teams in the country. And after the Tigers beat top-five teams in back-to-back weeks, leaving them out of the title game would have just felt wrong.
So we should all thank Michigan State for allowing the BCS to go out the right way—with an SEC team fighting for the title.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.