The end of the college football season could have been chaotic on Dec. 7. If both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Auburn Tigers won conference championship games, or if the Florida State Seminoles had lost theirs, the BCS would have fallen apart in its final go around. But somehow, the BCS came to an end without any controversy or debate, thanks to the Tigers and Michigan State Spartans knocking the Buckeyes out of the championship game.
Auburn first put the pressure on with a 59-42 shootout win over the Missouri Tigers to win the SEC. Right afterwards, Ohio State kicked off the Big 10 title game, needing a win to stay ahead of No. 3 Auburn. When the Spartans went ahead by 17-0, all seemed clear for the Tigers, until the Buckeyes stormed back ahead by 24-17 in the third quarter.
Even if the Buckeyes had won, the controversy would have resumed on whether they deserved to be No. 2 -- especially after falling behind 17-0 while the Tigers ran all over Missouri. In a choice between an Ohio State team few believed in outside of the Midwest, or an Auburn club that captured the nation in November, not many outside of Big 10 country would have wanted the Buckeyes. But with Ohio State coming back, that seemed to be how it was headed.
Yet the Spartans rose back to stop the bleeding with a field goal, then took the lead with a touchdown in the fourth. However, it all really turned when Braxton Miller, who had carved the Spartans with his legs during the Buckeyes’ comeback, couldn’t gain a yard on a fourth-and-1 in Spartans territory. After that, Michigan State drove down for the clinching score of a 34-24 victory.
With that, there will be no BCS controversy in its final season after all. Now Florida State and Auburn will move onto the national championship game together with no debate, while Ohio State is projected to take a smaller BCS spot in the Orange Bowl.
The accompanying slideshow lists how the BCS was all filled up on Dec. 7, in a far more orderly fashion than expected -- although there were obviously some surprises.