So much for BCS game change—looks like SEC will play for title again

Southeastern Conference appears headed back to BCS title game after Auburn beats Missouri and Michigan State upsets No. 2 Ohio State.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —The final Saturday of the first Bowl Championship Series season in 1998 ended with shocking losses by Kansas State and UCLA that turned the BCS on its ear hole.

Wild endings in St. Louis and Miami that day put Tennessee and Florida State in the first title game.

It seemed only right that the final Saturday of the last BCS season should match that chaotic conclusion.

Well, it certainly tried.

In the end, though, somehow, it sort of broke cleanly.


Top-ranked Florida State easily defeated Duke to earn one BCS title spot and Michigan State's 34-24 upset of No. 2 Ohio State will put Southeastern Conference champion Auburn in the title game.

You heard it right, the SEC did it again, and now has a chance to win its eighth consecutive BCS title.

Auburn (12-1) put itself in position to play for the title with a 59-42 win over Missouri in the SEC title game at Atlanta.

The team that should be kicking itself is Stanford, which probably would have been No. 2 had it not lost a close game at Utah.

Florida State was the easy part. The top-ranked Seminoles entered Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game at Bank of America Stadium here needing a win over undersized Duke to clinch its bid to the BCS title game Jan. 6 at the Rose Bowl.

Florida State's biggest worry this week involved sexual-assault allegations against quarterback Jameis Winston.

That cloud was lifted Thursday when State Attorney Willie Meggs said there was not enough evidence to pursue a case.

Florida State failed to score in the first quarter against Duke but regrouped to score an easy 45-7 win.

The Seminoles improved to 13-0 and will play in their first BCS title game since losing to Oklahoma after the 2000 season.

"I love my team," Winston said on the field after the game. "We ain't done yet."

The second BCS spot was the one being hotly contested.

The top two teams in Sunday's final BCS standings will play in Pasadena.

Ohio State entered Saturday No. 2 and undefeated but needed to defeat Michigan State to fend off the one-loss champion of the Southeastern Conference.

Even a Buckeyes win wasn't going to quell the debate. The SEC, having won seven straight BCS titles, was not going to go down without some serious lobbying.

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