|AJ Mast / Associated Press|
|Michigan State's win over Ohio State set the stage for Auburn to sneak into the BCS title game.|
Auburn will try to win the SEC's eighth consecutive national title when it plays Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif. The game officially was announced Sunday night, along with the rest of the BCS matchups.
This is the final season of the BCS; college football's four-team playoff begins next season.
The BCS is going out in style, as the final regular-season weekend made for some last-minute excitement. No. 2 Ohio State fell to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game, with Auburn -- which had been No. 3 and beat No. 5 Missouri in the SEC title game -- benefiting from the Buckeyes' misfortune.
Championship games also were held in the ACC (FSU ripped Duke) and Pac-12 (Stanford nailed down a spot in the Rose Bowl by whipping Arizona State), while Baylor clinched the Big 12 title by beating Texas a few hours after league front-runner Oklahoma State was upset by archrival Oklahoma.
Florida State, which is led by presumptive Heisman favorite Jameis Winston, will be in the BCS championship game for the fourth time but is making its first appearance since after the 2000 season. FSU is 1-2 in championship games. Auburn will be going for its second title in four seasons; the Tigers won it all with Heisman winner Cam Newton in 2010 in their only other appearance.
Florida State (13-0) has dominated with a mix of potent offense and dominating defense. The Seminoles have scored 689 points, 28 shy of tying the FBS record for most points in a season (Oklahoma scored 718 in 2008), In addition, FSU has allowed seven or fewer points seven times this season and has surrendered more than 17 just once (in a 48-34 win over Boston College). That was FSU's closest margin of victory; the next-closest margin was 27.
Auburn (12-1) comes in on a nine-game winning streak, but the Tigers have had some close calls. They won their third game by scoring on a TD pass with 10 seconds left against Mississippi State. The winning touchdown against Texas A&M, their sixth victory, came with 1:09 left. Auburn's 10th win came via a tipped pass with 18 seconds left against Georgia. Then came the 11th win, in the Iron Bowl against archrival Alabama, when Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 100 yards (actually, it was 109, but the NCAA doesn't count yardage in the end zone) on the final play of the game.
Auburn is trying to keep the national title in the state of Alabama. Auburn and Alabama have combined to win the past four national titles.
Since 1936, when The Associated Press began crowning national champions with a nationwide vote, the SEC's current run of seven titles is by far the longest of any league. Second-longest is three, by the Big Ten (1940-42) and the SEC (1978-80). In addition, independent programs won the national three seasons in a row from 1987-89.
This is the 16th season of the BCS, and 14 of the 16 title games will have had an SEC team or a team from Florida in it (all but 2004 and 2005).
Here is the final BCS top 14 of the season, with the school, its spot in the Harris poll, its spot in the coaches' poll and its BCS computer average. We've also included the NCAA's schedule strength, which is not part of the BCS formula.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.