Stats & Info: BCS National Championship

BCS bowl games at a glance

December, 8, 2013
12/08/13
11:29
PM ET
The final BCS standings were released Sunday along with matchups for all of the remaining bowl games. Here are some tidbits to prepare you for the five BCS games.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
4 Michigan State Spartans vs 5 Stanford Cardinal
January 1, 2014, at 5 ET on ESPN

Michigan State: First Rose Bowl appearance since the 1987 season and its first appearance in a BCS bowl. The Spartans have reached a bowl game in all seven seasons under head coach Mark Dantonio after making no bowl appearances from 2004-06.

Stanford: Second consecutive appearance in the Rose Bowl (def. Wisconsin 20-14 last season). The Cardinal are making back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances for the first time since 1970-71. Stanford has reached a BCS bowl in four straight seasons after making just one from 1998-2009.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
15 UCF Knights vs 6 Baylor Bears
January 1, 2014, at 8:30 ET on ESPN

UCF: First BCS bowl berth in school history. Won 11 games this season, tied for the most in school history (also won 11 in 2010).

Baylor: Like their opponents in the Fiesta Bowl, the Bears receive their first BCS bowl berth in school history. Baylor looks to extend a school-record 11 wins this season to 12 in this game.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
11 Oklahoma Sooners vs 3 Alabama Crimson Tide
January 2, 2014, at 8:30 ET on ESPN

Oklahoma: Ninth BCS bowl appearance, second-most all-time. The Sooners are 3-5 in BCS bowl games, snapping a five-game losing streak with a win in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl vs Connecticut.

Alabama: Third straight BCS bowl appearance and fifth in the last seven seasons under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide will make their first Sugar Bowl appearance since the 2008 season (lost to Utah in that game).

Discover Orange Bowl
12 Clemson Tigers vs 7 Ohio State Buckeyes
January 3, 2014, at 8:30 ET on ESPN

Clemson: First BCS bowl appearance since 2011, when the Tigers played in the Orange Bowl. Those two games mark the only BCS bowls in school history. Speaking of history for the Tigers, they will make a school-record ninth straight appearance in a bowl game.

Ohio State: Tenth BCS bowl appearance, most all-time. The Buckeyes will make their first Orange Bowl appearance since the 1976 season against Colorado. Their last BCS appearance came in a 2011 Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas.

Vizio BCS National Championship Game
1 Florida State Seminoles vs 2 Auburn Tigers
January 6, 2014, at 8:30 ET on ESPN

Florida State: After beating Northern Illinois in last year’s Orange Bowl, the Seminoles return to a BCS bowl game. It marks their first back-to-back BCS bowl appearances since 2002-03. This will be their first BCS Championship Game appearance since 2000 and fourth overall.

Auburn: Second BCS Championship Game appearance, first since winning the national title over Oregon in the 2010 season. This marks the third BCS bowl appearance for the Tigers, who are unbeaten in such games thus far.

Keep an eye on Eifert, because 'Bama will

January, 5, 2013
1/05/13
4:58
PM ET
When the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Discover BCS National Championship Game on Monday, one of the biggest difference-makers on the field could be Tyler Eifert.

Eifert, this season’s John Mackey Award winner, given annually to the nation’s top tight end, is the latest and possibly the best in a long line of great players Notre Dame has produced at that position.

Notre Dame’s last three starting tight ends –- Anthony Fasano (2003-05), John Carlson (2004-07) and Kyle Rudolph (2008-10) –- are all playing in the NFL, yet no tight end has caught more passes for more yards in Irish history than Eifert.

A major reason Eifert could be the player who gives the Crimson Tide defense more fits than anyone else is that Alabama has had issues when its linebackers are forced into pass coverage.

When opposing offenses have lined up in four-or-five-receiver sets against the Tide, they’ve been more effective than in sets with three or fewer receivers.

The numbers are even more telling when you take a look at the five games in which Alabama faced ranked opponents (Michigan, Mississippi State, LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia).

No team was more successful than the Aggies, a natural spread-offense team with a mobile, redshirt freshman quarterback; eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel completed 19 of 23 passes for 184 yards and 2 TD when A&M operated out of a four-or-five-receiver set in a 29-24 upset in Tuscaloosa, the Tide’s only loss of the season.

In comes Notre Dame, also a natural spread-offense team with a mobile, redshirt freshman quarterback. As a unit, the Irish passing attack is better when operating out of a four-or-five-receiver set.

However, when it comes to Eifert, the senior has been more effective when working out of a set with three or fewer receivers (including him), a formation that usually dictates opposing defenses cover him with a linebacker.

When the Irish had three or fewer receivers on the field and Eifert was the targeted receiver, they completed 25 of 42 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns.

He was most lethal when Notre Dame operated out of what’s known as “11” personnel (one running back, one tight end, three receivers) and he was the targeted receiver.

In those situations, the Irish were 15-of-23 for 208 yards and a touchdown. But when operating out of a four-or-five-receiver set and Eifert was targeted, Notre Dame was 19-of-33 for 261 yards and no touchdowns.

In other words, Eifert’s presence opened things up for the other receivers.

Therein lies the conundrum for Alabama. What should the Tide do with Eifert?

No one’s had success covering him with a linebacker when the Irish are operating out of “21” (two backs, one tight end) or “11” personnel and rolling the coverage over toward him when they’ve operated from four-or-empty (five-receiver) sets only opened things up for Notre Dame’s other capable pass catchers like TJ Jones, Robby Toma and Theo Riddick when they move him from running back spot and into the slot-receiver position.

It’s a sure bet that Nick Saban is glad to have had the extra time to prepare for this problem.

BCS snapshot: First glimpse at matchups

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
10:52
PM ET
The final BCS standings were released Sunday along with matchups for the five BCS bowls. With four weeks left until the Rose Bowl on January 1, here are some nuggets on each of the games to whet your appetite.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
Wisconsin Badgers vs. 6 Stanford Cardinal

January 1, 5 PM ET on ESPN

Wisconsin: First Big Ten team to reach Rose Bowl in three straight seasons since Michigan did so from 1976 to 1978. Wisconsin has lost each of its last two Rose Bowl appearances (those Michigan teams lost all three). The Badgers' last Rose Bowl win was in the 1999 season against Stanford.

Stanford: First Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth since 1999 season. Stanford's last Rose Bowl win was a 13-12 victory over Michigan on January 1, 1972-- 40 years to the day of this game.

Discover Orange Bowl
15 Northern Illinois Huskies vs. 12 Florida State Seminoles

January 1, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Northern Illinois: First BCS bowl berth in school history; First non-AQ team to reach a BCS bowl without being undefeated.

Florida State: Extends longest current bowl-berth streak with 31st straight bowl berth; First BCS bowl berth since 2005 season. The Seminoles have lost their last three Orange Bowl appearances (2000, 2003, 2005 seasons), last winning 31-26 over Notre Dame on January 1, 1996.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
21 Louisville Cardinals vs. 4 Florida Gators

January 2, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Louisville: Third straight bowl berth, second BCS bowl berth (first since 2006).

Florida: 22nd straight bowl berth, seventh BCS bowl berth (first since 2009). The 22 straight is the second-longest current streak, trailing only Florida State. The Gators last Sugar Bowl appearance was a 51-24 win over Cincinnati in the 2009 season.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
4 Oregon Ducks vs. 5 Kansas State Wildcats

January 3, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Oregon: Eighth straight bowl berth and fourth straight BCS bowl berth (all four coming under Chip Kelly). Oregon won its previous Fiesta Bowl appearance, in the 2001 season against Colorado.

Kansas State: First BCS bowl berth since the 2003 season. This is Kansas State's third Fiesta Bowl appearance, having won in 1997 against Syracuse and lost in the 2003 season to Ohio State.

Discover BCS National Championship
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

January 7, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Notre Dame: First BCS title-game berth; seeking first national championship since 1988

Alabama: Seeking to become first school to win three national championships in four-year span since Nebraska (1994-1995, 1997)

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