After a year of miracle finishes, many debates and off-the-field issues, No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn will play in the national championship Jan. 6 (FSU quarterback Jameis Winston’s birthday) in Pasadena, Calif. for the final time before the playoff format is introduced next year.
For the first time since 1999, Florida State finished at the top of the BCS standings. The Seminoles won the championship the same year over the Michael Vick-led Virginia Tech Hokies 46-29.
It took a Michigan State win over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, but Auburn will play for the national title for the second time in four years. The Tigers will have the opportunity to extend the Southeastern Conference’s streak of seven national titles in a row. Auburn is part of the streak after the Cam Newton-led Tigers defeated the Oregon Ducks 22-19 in the 2011 matchup.
“It ought to be a good one,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told New York Daily News. Malzahn and the Tigers agreed to extend the first-year coach’s contract another six years after the impressive rebound from a 3-9 (0-8) 2012 season. “Our goal was real simple: just improve each game.”
Auburn was the lowest preseason ranked team (No. 22) in the BCS era to win a national title in 2010. Since 1982, only two preseason unranked teams have won the national championship: BYU in 1984 and Miami in 1983. Auburn didn’t receive a vote in the AP poll until Week 4 and wasn’t ranked until Week 8 (No. 24).
Other notable games include:
No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1.
No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 15 Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1.
No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 11 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2.
No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 3.
No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl Jan. 3.