The final 2013 regular season college football rankings have been established, so it's worth looking at the deviations between the AP poll, the USA Today Coaches Poll and of course, the polarizing BCS standings.
Not much debate could be had as to who the best two teams in the country were, though, as the Florida State Seminoles were a clear-cut No. 1 across the board.
Thanks to a 59-42 win over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game, the Auburn Tigers earned the right to play for the national championship as the consensus second-ranked team after previous No. 2 Ohio State lost on Saturday.
Let's take a closer look at each poll, with an examination of the most notable movers and how they correspond to one another.
Note: Team statistics are courtesy of NCAA.com.
|1||Florida State (13-0)||.9957||1|
|4||Michigan State (12-1)||.8600||10|
|7||Ohio State (12-1)||.7705||2|
|9||South Carolina (10-2)||.7152||8|
|13||Oklahoma State (10-2)||.5233||6|
|14||Arizona State (10-3)||.4416||11|
|15||Central Florida (11-1)||.4343||16|
|20||Fresno State (11-1)||.1675||23|
|21||Texas A&M (8-4)||.1663||24|
|23||Northern Illinois (12-1)||.1572||14|
The most notable move is obvious—the Big Ten champion Michigan State Spartans vaulting all the way to No. 4 from the 10th spot after defeating Ohio State 34-24, as the Buckeyes sank to seventh.
A couple of the computers do have Auburn ahead of Florida State for first in the country, but the Seminoles are the overwhelming favorite.
One team that gets a little more love from the BCS is No. 8 Missouri—the ninth-ranked team in both the other two major polls.
The Tigers hadn't lost a game this season with their starting senior quarterback James Franklin until the SEC title matchup with Auburn. Their only loss before then was with backup Maty Mauk under center, coming in double overtime to South Carolina, who is ranked ahead of Mizzou in the AP and USA Today polls.
Then again, Missouri's previously stout rush defense allowed 545 yards on the ground to Auburn and did deserve to take a bit of a hit in the rankings.
Auburn was led by junior running back Tre Mason, who ran for an SEC Championship single-game record 304 yards on 46 carries and four touchdowns.
AP Poll Analysis
|1||Florida State (56)||13-0||1,496||1|
Auburn received four of the 60 first-place votes, which hints at the perception that the SEC is the country's superior conference.
Head coach Gus Malzahn has just done a sensational job in his first season in charge, taking a 3-9 team that is rather one-dimensional offensively and molding the Tigers into a BCS national title finalist.
Gus Malzahn on a shot at the national championship: "If you go through our schedule, you deserve it."— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) December 8, 2013
Beyond the mild South Carolina-Mizzou controversy, the next difference between the AP and the BCS comes at Nos. 14 and 16, where the AP has LSU and Arizona State slotted, respectively. The opposite is true in the BCS.
The Sun Devils were beaten handily for the second time this year, losing the Pac-12 Championship Game to Stanford, but two of the computers have ASU at No. 9. Overall, LSU has a computer average of .350 compared to .590 for Arizona State.
That doesn't really account for the big loss of LSU starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against Arkansas.
USA Today Coaches Poll Analysis
|Rank||Team (first place votes)||Record||Points||B/R Rank|
|1||Florida State (62)||13-0||1550||1|
Arizona State is a spot even further down at No. 17 in the USA Today poll, but ahead of the Sun Devils in the 16th spot is the Louisville Cardinals, led by top-flight quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
The junior signal-caller led his team to a massive 31-24 victory in the Ohio River rivalry over Cincinnati in Week 15.
This play can't be appreciated enough, as Bridgewater scrambles away from Bearcats defenders and delivers a strike to the end zone to help the Cardinals keep pace in what was an overtime thriller.
Louisville's defense deserves appreciation as well, though, because it is No. 2 in total defense, allowing just 257.9 yards per game and 4.27 yards per play.
Some of the season's surprise upstarts in Duke, Northern Illinois and Fresno State remain in the Top 25 of all three polls and will play in stellar bowl games, and UCF's 11-1 record garnered the program a No. 15 slot across the board.
As a result, the Knights will take on the No. 6 Baylor Bears in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., as both programs make their maiden BCS appearances.