Although fans should remain excited for the BCS National Championship, this year's Sugar Bowl has the potential to be the best game of the postseason.
This game is scheduled to feature the SEC champion, although that never seems to come to fruition. With Ohio State's 34-24 loss to Michigan State, Auburn is expected to move up to No. 2 in the BCS standings and into the title game.
The Tigers will be looking to bring the SEC a national championship for the eighth year in a row.
However, Auburn will likely be replaced by another high-level SEC team worthy of this prestigious bowl. On the other side will be one of a handful of quality opponents certain to provide fans with an excellent matchup.
Here is a look at what to expect at the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
When: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Predicted Matchup: Alabama vs. Oregon
The Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl each will have to replace their host teams, who will be competing in the national championship. While the Orange Bowl gets first pick at replacing the ACC champion, the BCS' selection procedures stipulate that it is not allowed to take a representative from the SEC.
No matter which team is picked, this leaves Alabama available in order to keep the conference connection.
In reality, this is the best possible option outside of the top two in the BCS rankings. Alabama has won the last two national championships and was on its way to a third before Auburn pulled off the upset in the Iron Bowl.
The Crimson Tide lost on a long missed field goal that was returned for a touchdown as time expired. Still, they are among the best teams in the nation and have plenty of fans that will support them in a big game like this.
While the committee will have a chance to select Missouri, South Carolina or possibly LSU, Alabama is the obvious choice here.
After the rest of the bowls fill their slots with automatic and at-large bids, it will likely leave the Sugar Bowl with a choice between Oregon and Oklahoma. These two teams had very different seasons, but both ended with a 10-2 record and high in the rankings.
The Sooners had a stronger end to the season with an upset win over rival Oklahoma State. However, Oregon has been the better team throughout the year, with the only exception being one poor loss to Arizona.
Each team represents a pretty big draw, but the Ducks have the talent and star power to make the Sugar Bowl a much better game, and they are more deserving of the spot.
If this does turn out to be a battle between Alabama and Oregon, it might end up being the best non-title game in years.
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