In late November, it looked like this game might feature a match-up between the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes. But then Alabama fell on the road to the Auburn Tigers 34-28 in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30 and Ohio State dropped a 34-24 decision to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis on Dec. 7. Both Alabama and Auburn ended up with one loss on the season (Auburn lost on the road in September to the #6 ranked LSU Tigers), but Auburn’s dramatic last play win over Alabama [see video below] gave it the #2 seed with a 12-1 record. Florida State Seminoles, meanwhile, went undefeated at 13-0 to claim the #1 seed.
It’s probably just as well that Ohio State didn’t make it to the title game. When it comes to NCAA football, the two conferences that Auburn and Florida State belong to (the SEC and ACC) are definitely powerhouses. Like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who lost to Alabama 42-14 in last year’s title game, the Buckeyes likely would have been over-matched.
As to who will win the 2014 championship, I don’t know enough about U.S. college football to offer much insight. Florida State has the unblemished record, and were listed as eight point favourites early on, but they did have a slightly weaker schedule than Auburn. Five of their games were against top 25 ranked teams, with two being against top 10 ranked teams, while Auburn played six and four games respectively against top 25 and top 10 ranked opponents.
The BCS Championship game goes tonight from the Rose Bowl in Pasenda, CA with kick-off at 7:30 p.m. As a side note, this will be the last time where the two top-ranked teams in the polls will meet in the championship game as next season the NCAA is moving to a four-team playoff that will see the four top-ranked teams meet in a pair of semi-finals with the winners advancing to the title game. If that system had been in place this year, Michigan State and Alabama would be the other two contenders.