Auburn's Win Over Alabama Puts SEC National Title Streak at Risk
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Auburn's thrilling last-second victory over Alabama on Saturday night not only knocked the Crimson Tide out of the top position in the BCS Standings for the first time this year, but it also put at risk the Southeastern Conference's amazing streak of seven straight BCS Championships. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings, to be released next Sunday, will meet in this year's title game in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6. Currently, Florida State holds the No. 1 slot, followed by Ohio State at No. 2. Auburn is now No. 3, followed by Alabama.
Florida State and Ohio State, both undefeated, each have conference championship games this weekend. The Seminoles will take on upstart Duke, now ranked No. 20, in the ACC title tilt (Saturday, 7 p.m., ABC). The Buckeyes, who barely edged archival Michigan on Saturday, face a tough challenge this weekend as they battle No. 10 Michigan State and it's vaunted defense in the Big Ten Championship game (Saturday, 7:17 p.m., Fox).
A loss by either of the top two teams could open up a title game slot for the SEC Champion, which will be decided on Saturday (3 p.m. Central, CBS) in Atlanta in an unexpected match-up between Auburn and No. 5 Missouri. The two SEC Divisional champs combined for a total of eight wins overall and just two in league play last season. If the SEC Champion does not qualify for the BCS Championship game, it will play in the 80th edition of the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Thursday, Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m.).
If the SEC Champion does advance to the national title game, the Allstate Sugar Bowl will have the opportunity to replace that champion, likely with another SEC team. Top candidates would include the loser of the SEC Championship game; Alabama, currently No. 4 in the BCS Standings; or No. 8 South Carolina, which moved up two positions after upending then-No. 6 Clemson (which has slipped to No. 13).
The top teams from the Big 12 in this week's BCS Standings are No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Baylor. The Cowboys can clinch the conference title and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl with a win at home this weekend in the annual "Bedlam" game against arch rival and 17th-ranked Oklahoma (Saturday, 11 a.m., ABC). However, if the Cowboys lose, then Baylor would win the Big 12 title if they defeat No. 25 Texas at home on Saturday (2:30 p.m., Fox). If both the Cowboys and Bears lose, then it's Mack Brown's Longhorns who would be heading to the Fiesta Bowl.
Two other key conference championship games this weekend are in the Pac-12 and the Mid-American Conference. In the Pac-12, No. 11 Arizona State will host No. 7 Stanford (Saturday, 6:45 p.m., ESPN) with the winner collecting a spot in the Rose Bowl. The MAC title game (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN2) features No. 14 Northern Illinois against Bowling Green.
December 1, 2013 BCS Standings