The last time an SEC school didn't win the BCS National Championship was 2006, when Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns knocked off Matt Leinart and the USC Trojans. With the national title game set to return to Pasadena in January, we may see the SEC's championship streak come to an end.
Florida State and Ohio State sit atop the new BCS standings, as expected. Auburn came in at No. 3, just ahead of fellow SEC programs Alabama and Missouri.
At this point, most BCS gurus are at a consensus: if the Seminoles and Buckeyes win their respective conference championship games, they'll play for the national championship in January. Even if Auburn blows out No. 5 Missouri and Ohio State squeaks one out against Michigan State, the Buckeyes should have enough of a buffer between the navy and blue Tigers to play for the title. Emphasis on should. But this is the BCS, where weird, weird things tend to happen.
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The Seminoles haven't been ranked No. 1 in 13 years. Even if they lay a stinker against Duke and sneak out with an ugly win, is there any way they wouldn't play for the national title? Tomahawk Nation doesn't think so.
Land-Grant Holy Land took an in-depth look on how voters have historically viewed undefeated teams.
None the less, expect a lot of idle chatter between now and next weekend. If Auburn does anything more than win by an undeniable margin, the talk may become little more than a vocal minority sooner rather than later. If they do (and particularly if Ohio State follows that up with a less than style point rich win over Michigan State), the Buckeyes will still have history on their side, but you'd certainly have every reason to not love the scenario of having to leave it up to the collective Russian judge, as it were.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit is one of the many who thinks OSU is safe from being leapfrogged if they can beat Michigan State.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit says he’d put Florida State at 1 and Ohio State at 2. Is extremely skeptical Auburn can jump OSU.— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 2, 2013
Ohio State (.9503) is .027 points ahead of Auburn (.9233), and a win over the SEC East's Tigers in the conference championship game could push Gus Malzahn's team over the top. It might not be likely, but the final standings would be close, and we're telling you there's a chance.
The computers really like the Tigers. Auburn is third in the standings behind No. 2 Ohio State in the computer rankings, and based on next week's games -- the Tigers have No. 5 Missouri; the Buckeyes have No. 10 Michigan State -- Auburn should finish ahead of OSU, according to the computers. Missouri is fifth in the computer rankings, while Michigan State is 12th.
It may not be probable, but as they say, there's a chance, and weirder things have happened with the BCS.
The black and gold Tigers aren't out of the national title race, but they'll need some help. On Saturday, the Mizzou faithful will be scoreboard-watching.
On top of wanting a Mizzou victory in the SECCG, we want a Duke win over Florida State and/or a Michigan State win over Ohio State.— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) December 2, 2013
If MU beats Auburn and Florida State or Ohio State lose, the Tigers would leap Alabama and play for the national title, no matter if they win by one point or 50 points. The top-five win would push them over the Crimson Tide.
Two weeks ago, the Baylor Bears were legitimate championship contenders. While they won't be playing in Pasadena this year, Our Daily Bears is more than happy with what the team has accomplished this season. They still have an outside shot at a BCS bowl game, too, if Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma and Baylor beats Texas.
It probably doesn't matter where we're ranked relative to them at this point except for pride simply because the SEC can only have two teams in the BCS in any given year, and those spots will go to the winner of Auburn/Missouri and Alabama, for certain. Baylor remains #9 in the country, our highest ranking ever for this late in the season. We're not a player in the National Championship race, nor can I argue we should be, but it's entirely possible that we can snag an at-large bid for our first BCS bowl in program history. Let's hope. All Baylor can do at this point is beat Texas this coming Saturday in the final game in Floyd Casey Stadium history.
A Spartans win over Ohio State would send them to the Rose Bowl. Should the Buckeyes win, there's still a great chance MSU could be headed to the Rose anyway, due to rankings rules and the bowl's tie to Big Ten teams.
MSU has a significant gap between them and No. 15. Rose Bowl w/ win. Good chance for Rose Bowl with respectable loss.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) December 2, 2013
Now all NIU has to worry about is beating Bowling Green on Friday and it should finish ahead of an automatic qualifying conference champion, meaning a one-way ticket to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Currently the Huskies sit ahead of American Athletic Conference front-runner UCF which narrowly beat USF on Friday and sits at No. 16 in this week's BCS rankings, up three spots from a week ago.
If NIU can finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings, which will be released next week, and ahead of an AQ champion such as UCF, the Huskies are guaranteed a trip to a BCS bowl. However, if UCF leapfrogs NIU in the BCS standings, NIU would need to be in the top 12 of the final BCS standings to earn a BCS-bid. Either way, a win against Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1 MAC) in Friday's MAC Championship will likely be enough to secure the Huskies a BCS Bowl-berth.
Week 13 impact
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 20 Duke, 8 p.m. ET
The stakes are pretty clear in this one: if Jameis Winston and the Seminoles can continue their undefeated run on Saturday night, they'll play for the national title regardless of how they look. Duke has been a terrific story all season long, though they're they could be 30-point underdogs by kickoff. Should they somehow win, a trip to the Orange Bowl is booked.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Michigan State, 8:17 p.m.
Almost like Florida State, an Ohio State win will probably send them to the championship. Buckeye faithful will be holding their breaths until the final BCS standings are released, but as long as they don't lay a stinker against Michigan State, they should be alright. That being said, MSU is playing really well right now and has the ability to shut Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense down. The Spartans are likely Rose-bound either way.
No. 3 Auburn vs. No. 5 Missouri, 4 p.m.
If FSU or OSU lose, the winner of this one will likely play for the national title. Both teams feature excellent run games, and James Franklin is playing as well as he ever has at quarterback for Mizzou. Get ready for a fun afternoon at the Georgia Dome.
No. 17 Oklahoma at No. 6 Oklahoma State, 12 p.m.
The Big 12 doesn't host a conference title game anymore, but this game will basically serve as half of one. If Oklahoma State wins, they'll earn the Big 12's automatic Fiesta bid. If they lose, the winner of Baylor-Texas will be headed to the BCS.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 11 Arizona State, 7:45 p.m.
In what will be a rematch of a game Stanford won 42-28 earlier this year, the winner of this one wins the Pac-12 and will be headed to the Rose Bowl. The Sun Devils will be at home this time around, and it'll be interesting to see how they handle Stanford's power running game after giving up 240 yards on the ground to them back in September.
Bowl projections, and what about that College Football Playoff?
For all the teams who won't be playing in a BCS bowl game this season (and those who will!), our full bowl game projections can be found here.
Like every week, Team Speed Kills has assembled what the College Football Playoff would look like if we got one this year. Here's a look at what would happen when the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl host the national semifinals.
Sugar Bowl Semifinal: Florida State vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Semifinal: Ohio State vs. Auburn
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Missouri
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Baylor
Peach Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. South Carolina
The best part about this potential playoff: a rematch between Alabama and Auburn. The way Saturday's instant classic finished, quite a few folks would be interested in seeing the Tide and Tigers go at it for another 60 minutes. Just don't expect Nick Saban to try and kick many field goals.