No matter who ends up in the top two of the BCS standings and goes to the national championship eventually, there’s going to be an uproar. Ohio State barely survived against Michigan, but remain undefeated. However, one-loss Auburn became the team that knocked off the almost wire-to-wire number one Alabama off its perch, while Florida State took care of business against Florida. What are the pollsters and the computers to do?
It’s going to end in tears for someone. A playoff would have been perfect on a year like this, but alas, we’re one year too soon. Alabama, with one loss, need both Ohio State and Auburn to lose in their conference championship games in order to regain what they lost in the blink of an eye. A more stunning ending couldn’t have happened – Alabama leading 28-21, but Nick Marshall finds Sammie Coates with 32 seconds left on a 39-touchdown play. A bit later Nick Saban goes for a field goal from 57 yards. It lands in the arms of Chris Davis, returning it 109 yards for a touchdown. Undefeated season? Over. SEC West title? Over. National championship hopes? Over as well.
Auburn do have to play Missouri, and won’t be going in with the confidence of undefeated champions. Suddenly, a win for Mizzou in that game and they’ll also be expecting to finish among the top two. Florida State are safe, as long as they can beat Duke, a team that lost to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh this season. If anyone’s close to being guaranteed a spot in the national championship game, it has to be the Seminoles.
Ohio State? The only reason their national title hopes are still alive is because of Brady Hoke deciding he’ll risk too much on a 2-point conversion. Instead of winning against the Buckeyes for the second time in three years, Devin Gardner was intercepted by Tyvis Powell, and Ohio State move on to the conference championship game with that undefeated record still intact, going 12-0 for the second consecutive season.
Rivalry week did have less crucial games occurring in it – Clemson lost to South Carolina yet again, which means their chances of becoming an at-large team greatly reduces. For the Gamecocks it’ll probably won’t be enough to be the second SEC team in the BCS bowls, but it does add another sign of success for Steve Spurrier, still waiting to take this team to another level.
Oregon had something of a happy ending to their season with the 36-35 win over Oregon State in a weekend filled with drama. UCLA beat USC for a second consecutive year, something that hasn’t happened in over a decade, just to earn Southern California bragging rights. Duke beat North Carolina for the right to be slaughtered by Florida State, who hold all the cards and seem to be the only team that can feel confident about winning out and making it to the big game.