Auburn will likely play Florida State for the BCS national championship at the Rose Bowl when the final BCS standings are announced on Sunday.
After Michigan State defeated Ohio State 34-24 in the Big Ten title game on Saturday, Auburn, which would have been on the outside looking in like the school had been after going undefeated in 2004, is all but assured of going to Pasadena after a dream season that saw a team that won no SEC games a year ago win the SEC title under first-year head coach Gus Malzahn and his “Hurry Up, No Huddle” offense. Auburn beat Missouri 59-42 in the SEC title game on Saturday in Atlanta.
No. Florida State will go to Pasadena after thumping Duke 45-7 in the ACC title game on Saturday night.
Three weeks ago, Auburn beat Georgia 43-38 on a miraculous hail mary in the waning moments in the fourth quarter. Last week, Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl on a miraculous 109-yard return of a 57-yard missed field goal attempt for a touchdown in what was arguably the greatest ending in college football history and one of the greatest sporting events ever played. But that game still did not move Auburn, which seems like a team of destiny, ahead of undefeated Ohio State, and Auburn was No. 3 in the BCS standings going into championship weekend.
The final BCS standings will be announced on Sunday, and Auburn and Florida State are expected to take the top two spots in the Coaches Poll, the Harris Poll, and the computer average, which are the three components that make up the BCS.
After the 2004 season in which Auburn failed to make the BCS title game, along with Utah and Boise State that also went undefeated (USC crushed Oklahoma for the title), SEC Commissioner Mike Slive began to push for a playoff system, which has finally come to fruition.
The four-team College Football Playoff will begin next year after a BCS era that has seen a team from the SEC win the last seven titles and a team from Alabama (Alabama in 2009, Auburn in 2010, Alabama in 2011 and 2012) win the last four.
Auburn will seek to close out the BCS era by winning the Southeastern Conference’s (SEC) eight straight BCS national title and the state of Alabama’s fifth straight in a game that will pit the explosive Auburn offense against a Florida State defense that has at least eight starters that will play on Sundays. Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, who will most likely win the Heisman Trophy, will test an Auburn secondary that has been exploited all season in a game that, on paper, has all the potential to be a classic and explosive matchup.