Oregon Left Out Of BCS Bowls
The final piece of drama engineered by the BCS centered not on the championship game, but on the final at-large selection.
The Sugar Bowl passed up the chance to pit Alabama and Oregon, talked about as a potential national title game not two months ago, in favor of Oklahoma.
The Ducks (10-2) finished at No. 10 in the final BCS standings, losing the Pac-12 North title and a Rose Bowl appearance due to a loss at Arizona on Nov. 23.
The Sooners (10-2), meanwhile, surged into a matchup with the Crimson Tide (11-1) thanks to a last-minute upset of Oklahoma State (10-2) on Saturday. It's the ninth time Bob Stoops has led OU to a BCS bowl berth.
Oklahoma's fan base travels well, Norman, Okla., is much closer to New Orleans and the Big 12 will have a relationship with the Sugar Bowl starting next season as the College Football Playoff system replaces the BCS.
Auburn (12-1) is anywhere from a touchdown to 10-point underdog to Florida State (13-0) as of Sunday night. The two will decide the final BCS champion on Jan. 6, with the SEC's seven consecutive national titles at stake.
Other BCS matchups include Ohio State (12-1) vs. Clemson (10-2) in the Orange Bowl, Michigan State (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-2) in the Rose Bowl and Baylor (11-1) vs. UCF (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Clemson Tigers, Tide and Sooners were the three non-automatic qualifiers. Missouri (11-2) and South Carolina (10-2) were not eligible as only two teams can participate from each conference.
Duke, which finished No. 24 in the final BCS standings and lost to FSU in Saturday's ACC Championship game, will face Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31. The game also could be the final college appearance for the 2012-13 Heisman winner, Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Oregon will face Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 as rumors swirl about the future of Longhorns coach Mack Brown.
Fresno State (Las Vegas Bowl vs. USC, Dec. 21) and Northern Illinois (Poinsettia Bowl vs. Utah State, Dec. 26) slipped from automatic BCS qualifiers into lower-tier bowl bids with losses late in the season, knocking them from the unbeaten ranks.
A record 11 teams from the ACC will play in bowl games, more than the SEC (10), Pac-12 (9), Big Ten (7), and Big 12 (6). The Mountain West (6), Conference USA (6), American Athletic (5), Conference USA (5) and Mid-American (5) also produced at least a handful of bowl teams.
There were 80 eligible teams for 35 games, leaving 11 schools left out: San Jose State (6-6), Texas-San Antonio (7-5), Florida Atlantic (6-6), Central Michigan (6-6), Toledo (7-5), Western Kentucky (8-4), Louisiana-Monroe (6-6), South Alabama (6-6), Troy (6-6) and Texas State (6-6). Half of the bowl-eligible schools that did not receive bids came from the Sun Belt Conference.
Penn State (7-5) was not bowl-eligible due to NCAA sanctions. The lower-tier conferences successfully lobbied to add three more bowl games starting in 2014-15, which would've allowed six of those 10 schools to participate.