It has been a long and thrilling season of college football, but for 70 programs, there is one more chance to make a lasting impression. Still, only the No. 1-ranked Florida State Seminoles and No. 2-ranked Auburn Tigers will have an opportunity to call themselves national champions.
The post-championship week BCS standings have been released, and every bowl-eligible team knows where it will play its final game of the season. Here's a look at the BCS standings after an eventful set of championship games and conference finales on Saturday.
|BCS Standings Heading into Bowl Season|
As expected, the Noles and Tigers will battle for it all, but there were some unforeseen matchups that also came to fruition after Saturday's games. The Sugar Bowl battle between the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners seemed obvious after the latter knocked off the previously sxith-ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday.
It'll be a battle of two of the country's most storied programs, though both have to consider the 2013 season a bit of a disappointment. After nearly running wire to wire as No. 1, Nick Saban's Crimson Tide fell 34-28 in a thrilling Iron Bowl battle with Auburn in Week 14.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma lost by 16 points to Texas before their rivals were ranked. In their second loss, the Sooners were demolished by Baylor, 41-12, in early November in Waco. Still, both programs will have the opportunity to shine on a BCS stage.
Here's a look at all of the bowl matchups and a key stat for each BCS game.
|Bowl Game Schedule|
|BCS Title Game||Jan. 6||Pasadena, Calif.||Florida State vs. Auburn|
|Orange||Jan. 3||Miami, Fla.||Clemson vs. Ohio State|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||New Orleans, La.||Alabama vs. Oklahoma|
|Fiesta||Jan. 1||Glendale, Ariz.||Baylor vs. UCF|
|Rose||Jan. 1||Pasadena, Calif.||Michigan State vs. Stanford|
|GoDaddy.com||Jan. 5||Mobile, Ala.||Ball State vs. Ark. State|
|BBVA Compass||Jan. 4||Birmingham, Ala.||Vanderbilt vs. Houston|
|Cotton||Jan. 3||Arlington, Tex.||Oklahoma State vs. Missouri|
|Outback||Jan. 1||Tampa, Fla.||Iowa vs. LSU|
|Capital One||Jan. 1||Orlando, Fla.||Wisconsin vs. South Carolina|
|Heart of Dallas||Jan. 1||Dallas, Tex.||UNLV vs. North Texas|
|Gator||Jan. 1||Jacksonville, Fla.||Nebraska vs. Georgia|
|Chick-fil-A||Dec. 31||Atlanta, Ga.||Duke vs. Texas A&M|
|Liberty||Dec. 31||Memphis, Tenn.||Rice vs. Miss. State|
|Sun||Dec. 31||El Paso, Tex.||Virginia Tech vs. UCLA|
|AdvoCare V100 Independence||Dec. 31||Shreveport, La.||Arizona vs. Boston College|
|Holiday||Dec. 30||San Diego, Calif.||Arizona State vs. Texas Tech|
|Alamo||Dec. 30||San Antonio, Tex.||Texas vs. Oregon|
|Music City||Dec. 30||Nashville, Tenn.||Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 30||Fort Worth, Tex.||Middle Tennessee St. vs. Navy|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Dec. 28||Phoenix, Ariz.||Kansas State vs. Michigan|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||Orlando, Fla.||Louisville vs. Miami (FL)|
|Belk||Dec. 28||Charlotte, N.C.||Cincinnati vs. North Carolina|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||New York, N.Y.||Notre Dame vs. Rutgers|
|Fight Hunger||Dec. 27||San Francisco, Calif.||Washington vs. BYU|
|Texas||Dec. 27||Houston, Tex.||Syracuse vs. Minnesota|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||Maryland vs. Marshall|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 26||San Diego, Calif.||Utah State vs. Northern Illinois|
|Little Caesars||Dec. 26||Detroit, Mich.||Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu, Hawaii||Oregon State vs. Boise State|
|Beef O'Brady's||Dec. 23||St. Petersburg, Fla.||Ohio vs. East Carolina|
|New Orleans||Dec. 21||New Orleans, La.||La.-Lafayette vs. Tulane|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 21||Boise, Idaho||Buffalo vs. San Diego State|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 21||Las Vegas, Nev.||Fresno State vs. USC|
|New Mexico||Dec. 21||Albuquerque, N.M.||Colorado State vs. Washington State|
|Jerry Palm of CBS Sports|
Big Numbers to Consider Heading into Every BCS Bowl game
Florida State vs. Auburn
After Tre Mason ran all over the Missouri Tigers for 304 yards in the SEC title game, the Florida State Seminoles have to be even more focused on containing the Tigers rushing attack. Game planning and executing are two different things, though.
Every team the Tigers faced this season came in hellbent on stopping their powerful rush and read-option attack. Only one (Mississippi State) met the task and held them under 200 rushing yards. The Tigers twice topped 500 yards on the ground (Western Carolina and Missouri) and both Tre Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall topped 1,000 yards on the year.
But, the Noles defense is elite and packed with future NFL talent. They've held opponents to just 116 yards per game on the ground and only one team (Boston College) rushed for 200 yards against them all season.
If the Noles are unable to slow the Tigers ground game, it will put enormous pressure on redshirt freshman—and likely Heisman Trophy winner—Jameis Winston and the offense to keep pace. Winston has risen to every challenge in his inaugural season, passing for 3,820 yards and an FBS freshman record 38 touchdowns.
We could be in for another wild one. (That has become commonplace with Auburn over the last month.)
Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Someone has to win, right? Neither the Tigers nor Buckeyes have been great in bowl games of late. Since 2006, the two teams have combined for just four bowl wins in 13 attempts. The Bucks have seemingly struggled with the southern teams.
They are just 1-4 against schools that originate from the southern portion of the country, including back-to-back losses in the national title game to Florida (2006) and LSU ('07). Clemson, meanwhile, has simply choked in most of its opportunities on the big stage—except its 25-24 win over LSU in last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The Buckeyes almost finished another perfect regular season under Urban Meyer, but missed out on their shot at a national title in the Big Ten Championship Game versus Michigan State, 34-24. Clemson made it all the way up to No. 3 until they were beaten soundly at home versus eventual No. 1 Florida State, 51-14, in Week 8. They fell again in Week 14, this time against in-state rival No. 10 South Carolina, 31-17.
What happens when two bowl underachievers meet in the Orange Bowl? We'll find out on Jan. 3 in Miami.
Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Many are disappointed with this Sugar Bowl setup, as many were hoping for an Alabama-Oregon matchup. But either way, since the Crimson Tide lost 31-17 to the Utah Utes in the 2008 Sugar Bowl, the team is 23-0 against non-SEC teams. That includes a record of 7-0 in inter-conference battles against ranked opponents.
To put it plain, Bama rarely loses against teams that aren't in its conference. Oklahoma will give its maximum effort I'm sure, but the chances that it beats the Tide in the Sugar Bowl are as slim as Christian Bale in The Machinist.
Baylor vs. UCF
The Knights have a sparkling 11-1 record, but the winning percentage of the teams they have beaten is just .401. Sure the team beat its toughest conference foe, Louisville, 38-35 on the road in October and pushed South Carolina to the limit before falling 28-25 in late September. Still, only four of the teams on UCF's schedule finished with a winning record.
In the Fiesta Bowl, the team faces the battle-hardened Baylor Bears. Art Briles' team has played four bowl teams in five games and finished 4-1 in those games.
This is a big game for the Knights and the American Athletic Conference. If UCF can represent properly in its first BCS appearance ever, it will bring a new level of respect to the conference nationally.
Michigan State vs. Stanford
You would think a team with a reputation as a grind-it-out, defensive-minded squad like the Stanford Cardinal would routinely win the turnover battle. Instead, its turnover margin for the season is in the negative at -0.08. In the Rose Bowl, the Cardinal will be facing the nation's No. 1 defense and an underrated ground attack led by junior Jeremy Langford.
Winning the turnover battle will be crucial in determining the outcome of this one. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan is responsible for 12 of the team's 18 takeaways this season (nine interceptions and three fumbles lost). His two interceptions loomed large in the Cardinal's 20-17 loss at USC. He and the Cardinal must take care of the football and the defense needs to take the ball away to win.
All stat references per CFBStats.com
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