Florida State, Auburn in title game
After weeks of conjecture and debate about strength of schedule, the matchup for the VIZIO BCS National Championship turned out to be an obvious one.
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The regular season had set up the possibility for a controversial BCS title game with one-loss Auburn on the outside looking in at unbeaten but less-tested Florida State and Ohio State, but Michigan State took the Buckeyes out of the conversation by winning the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Auburn moved up to the second spot in the standings by outscoring Missouri 59-42 in the SEC championship game.
Now the title game is set: Florida State, the nation's only undefeated team, will face 12-1 Auburn, champion of the conference that has won the past seven national championships.
"We all complain about the BCS, but isn't it funny how often they get it right," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said.
The Buckeyes fell to No. 7 in the BCS standings but will still have the opportunity to play in a record 10th BCS bowl. Ohio State will face No. 12 Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl.
Alabama is No. 3, which guarantees it a spot in a BCS game. Alabama will play No. 11 Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Sooners moved up after upsetting Oklahoma State, knocking their intrastate rival out of the BCS race in the process.
This will mark only the fifth time Alabama (11-1) and Oklahoma (10-2) have played each other. Oklahoma leads the series 2-1-1 and beat Alabama 20-13 when they last met in 2003.
Once the perennial patsies of the Big 12, the Bears (11-1) won their first conference title since 1980 by knocking off Texas on Saturday.
The Knights earned the AAC title with Louisville's loss to Cincinnati and closed out the season by holding off SMU in icy Texas on Saturday to earn their first BCS bowl spot.
The Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO will feature its traditional matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions: No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Stanford.
The 2013 bowl season starts Dec. 21 and culminates at the Rose Bowl stadium on Jan. 6 for the VIZIO BCS National Championship. Schedule & results
The Spartans are going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1987 season. Stanford will play in a BCS bowl for the fourth straight year.
This will be the final BCS title game before next year's College Football Playoff, which will involve the top four teams. A selection committee will pick the four teams to play in national semifinals. The winners play for the championship.
No. 8 Missouri (11-2) and No. 9 South Carolina (10-2) are the highest-ranked teams to miss out on the BCS. Only two teams from each conference can go to BCS bowls, and Auburn and Alabama took the SEC's spots.
The only team with a real gripe about being left out of the BCS picture is No. 10 Oregon (10-2). The Orange Bowl passed over the Ducks to select Clemson, which is about 2,500 miles closer to the bowl game's location in Miami. Oregon had played in four straight BCS bowls.
Florida State (13-0) has won each of its games by at least 14 points. The Seminoles are No. 1 in both the USA Today and Harris polls as well as the average computer ratings.
"We're not champs yet," Fisher yelled to his team after it crushed Duke in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday night.
Florida State will play for the national title for the first time since the 2000 season, and quarterback Jameis Winston will likely have to stop in New York to pick up the Heisman Trophy before heading to Southern California. The Seminoles will be looking for their first BCS title since 1999.
Auburn has gone from worst in the SEC to first and is a victory away from its second national title in four seasons.
In 2010, it was Gus Malzahn as offensive coordinator for coach Gene Chizik, directing an offense led by junior college transfer quarterback Cam Newton.
Now Malzahn is in his first season as head coach, and junior college transfer quarterback Nick Marshall is directing a seemingly unstoppable running game that gained 545 yards against Missouri in Atlanta.
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Auburn beat Georgia with the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" and Alabama with the "Kick Six." On Saturday, maybe that Auburn magic was passed on to Michigan State.
Auburn will be playing for the SEC's eighth straight national championship, but don't expect the streak to affect Florida State.
"It's not the SEC conference vs. the ACC conference," Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said. "It's Florida State vs. Auburn."
No. 20 Fresno State and No. 23 Northern Illinois are the only two teams from outside the five automatic-qualifying conferences to remain in the final BCS standings. Both schools suffered their only losses late in the season -- Fresno State in its final regular-season game and Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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