For the final time, college football fans are left to anticipate the sport's biggest games without those games being connected to a playoff.
Even though the way the season worked out left little room for debate over the rightful two teams battling for the national title, it is hard not to long for the playoff to be a reality this year. Alas, there is nothing we can do about that at this point. So, I'm just going to enjoy the matchups produced in the current antiquated system.
Of the five BCS games, seen directly below, here are the three I'm most looking forward to:
|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|
Rose Bowl: No. 4 Michigan State (12-1) vs. No. 5 Stanford (11-2)
This game doesn't have the potential for burning out the scoreboard lights as some of the others, and the two starting quarterbacks aren't flashy stars. Despite the lack of these key ingredients, this is going to be fun game.
These are two top-five teams that win by playing great defense and a physical brand of football. Although this game doesn't have the potential to produce a lot of highlights, it also shouldn't see many blown assignments or missed tackles.
Bold move by Mark Dantonio. Went to the Rose Bowl in May and recorded a video for his guys http://t.co/59KcBc6QEk (Jump to 4:50) Love it— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 9, 2013
Both teams will look to use solid running games to keep the opposing defense at bay. This will be an especially compelling matchup when Stanford has the ball.
At 80.77 rushing yards allowed per game, the Spartans own the nation's best run defense. Although Stanford doesn't have the nation's most prolific rushing attacks, it is one of the most physical and consistent.
The Cardinal's offensive line is talented and massive. It can wear opponents down in a hurry. The Spartans defense, however, is rarely on the field long enough to get worn out.
This isn't going to be a high-scoring game, but it will feature lots of big hits and sound play. In the end, this game will continue the streak of the past four Rose Bowls having been decided by less than 10 points.
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (12-1)
After posting 24 straight wins yet still sitting outside the top two in the BCS rankings for almost the entire season, things finally lined up for Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes needed just one more win, and they had a strong chance of playing in the BCS title game.
But they blew it. The Buckeyes fell to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and were reduced to seventh in the rankings. Fortunately, this team will get time to emotionally recover from that disappointment to refocus on football and help entertain fans in what is a solid Orange Bowl matchup.
Although I'm sure that Meyer is frustrated by the late loss, I think it is safe to assume he won't be continuing the dubious tradition of Ohio State in this matchup:
Orange Bowl matches Ohio State and Clemson; first meeting since '78 Gator Bowl (Woody Hayes' punch)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 9, 2013
Unlike the Rose Bowl, this game is bound to see a few blown assignments and missed tackles, which will lead to big plays. With starting quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd, neither of these offenses need much of a breakdown to hit for a big play.
The two dangerous signal-callers have combined to account for 70 touchdowns this season.
Miller and the Buckeyes build their success off the nation's fourth-most productive rushing attack, while Boyd and the Tigers like to move the ball with their 12th-ranked passing attack.
Both teams should find success with their preferred methods of attack. For the season, the Buckeyes allowed opposing quarterbacks a passer rating of 129.6. The Tigers, meanwhile, allowed opponents to rush for 1,831 yards gained at an average of 3.7 yards per carry.
Neither of those numbers are terrible, but they also don't suggest that the defenses will be able to hold up in the face of the quality attacks they will be facing.
This will be a fast and fun game.
BCS Title Game: Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)
Unlike last year's debacle, the title game will not disappoint. Florida State and likely Heisman winner Jameis Winston have been nearly perfect this season. The Seminoles are second in the nation in scoring and first in points allowed.
That is far more impressive than Auburn, which is 13th in scoring and 38th in points allowed.
However, don't let those numbers fool you into thinking this will be a walkover win for the Seminoles. The Tigers played a far harder schedule than the Seminoles, and Auburn is a much better team now than they were at the start of the season.
For Auburn, that all starts with the ground game. They lead the nation in rushing. With SEC Championship Game hero Tre Mason and mobile quarterback Nick Marshall, the yards can come from multiple positions.
The Seminoles, meanwhile, have been playing excellent rush defense. This season, Florida State held their opponents to 1,515 rushing yards gained at an average of 3.14 yards per carry that produced just five touchdowns.
Auburn better hope that their physical run game is good enough to increase those numbers because Florida State will be able to score on the Tigers.
Winston has the weapons to torch any defense in the passing game. In this one, Florida State will be able to assist that using its rushing game. The Seminoles have the nation's 27th-ranked rushing attack. The Tigers allowed opponents to gain 2,134 yards on the ground at a clip of 4.59 yards per carry.
Honestly, I don't think either defense will have much success in this one, and that sets up for a high-scoring, back-and-forth title game.
Stats via CFBStats.com.