After a wild weekend of conference championship games, the 2013 14 NCAA Bowl Game Matchups were announced and this year bowling season looks to be as wild as ever.
The biggest shock of Saturday's conference championships was the Ohio State Buckeyes losing for the first time this season in the Big Ten Championship Game to the Michigan State Spartans. The loss was especially painful for fans of Ohio State because it meant they wouldn't get a chance to play for a National Championship. After Auburn's incredible win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl many fans assumed an Ohio State vs Florida State matchup in the BCS Championship Game was all but inevitable. Instead, OSU's loss to the Spartans landed the Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl in Miami against the Clemson Tigers.
Ohio State's loss also ensured the SEC will once again be represented in the BCS Championship Game. The Auburn Tigers, who are enjoying what has so far been an incredible season after being the worst team in the SEC last season, take on the high-scoring Florida State Seminoles in the final game of the college football season. The BCS Championship Game is taking place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, giving the game a little more of a historic feel to it. Auburn will try to make it eight straight National Titles for an SEC team.
Auburn's rushing game, led by Tre Mason, has been all but unstoppable this season but in Florida State they will face a very talented defense. Boston College was the only team to score more than 30 points against FSU, but then again their ACC schedule did not feature many offenses as talented as Auburn's.
FSU's Jameis Winston, who leads the nation in passing yards per attempt and will likely win the Heisman Trophy, has anchored what has been an offensive powerhouse. The team has won every game this season by two touchdowns or more. Auburn's defense has not been great this season and gave up 42 points to Missouri in the SEC Championship Game.
This marks the last year the BCS Championship Game will be played in its current format, as next season will see the introduction of the four-team college football playoffs.
The 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl sees a traditional Big Ten vs Pac-12 matchup as Michigan State will take on Stanford. The game will be a little more familiar for Stanford, which repeats as the Pac 12's Rose Bowl representative, where the team beat Wisconsin 20-14. It is the first time MSU has been in the Rose Bowl since 1987.
The Sugar Bowl
sees Alabama take on Oklahoma in a game that will draw a lot of interest from their fans, as the game is just the fifth time these historic teams have ever met. Alabama will be playing with two chips on its shoulder, not only upset for missing out on the BCS Championship due to their last-second loss in the Iron Bowl, but they also lost their 2003 matchup to Oklahoma 20-13. Even though 'Bama won the past two National Championships, they lost to Utah in the 2008 Sugar Bowl, their most recent trip to New Orleans for a bowl game.
The Orange Bowl will see Ohio State vs Clemson in what is the first meeting between these teams in 35 years. After coming so close to playing in the Championship Game, Ohio State will have to settle for an ACC opponent. The Orange Bowl marks Ohio State's tenth BCS bowl appearance, the most all-time, however this is the school's first appearance in the Orange Bowl since 1976.
The Fiesta Bowl matchup between the University of Central Florida and Baylor marks the first BCS bowl appearance for either team. Baylor won the Big 12 with a win over Texas combined with Oklahoma's win over Oklahoma State. UCF won the first-ever American Athletic Conference title, as the conference formerly known as the Big East underwent realignment during the off-season.
While the 2013 - 14 bowl season sees a number of historic firsts, it also marks the end of an era, as next season will see the introduction of the college football playoff system, with four teams selected to take part in a playoff. While details of the college football playoff format are still up in the air, the Bowl Championship Series we have come to love and hate the since 1998 will be a thing of the past, so enjoy it for one last season!