EUGENE, ORE. (AP) - Change is coming to the national title game, though it has nothing to do with any of those BCS busters you heard about all season.
Southeastern Conference champion Auburn and Pac-10 champ Oregon each will be making their first trip to the BCS title game, a rarity for the biggest showdown of the bowl season.
The top-ranked Tigers and No. 2 Ducks will bring perfect records and potent offenses to Glendale, Ariz., for their Jan. 10 matchup.
All the Bowl Championship Series pairings were made official Sunday night, but the championship game announcement was just a formality after Auburn and Oregon completed their unbeaten runs through regular season Saturday.
Oregon players gathered with friends and family in a lounge at the athletic complex on campus to watch as the BCS lineup was revealed on television. There wasn’t a peep in the room when Oregon (12-0) popped up on the screen at No. 2 in the final BCS standings behind first-place Auburn (13-0). It was typical Ducks: all business.
“There was no surprise to anybody that we were going to be one or two,” defensive tackle Brandon Bair said. “I think you’d have had a great response if you’d seen us down there four or five.”
Across the country, Auburn linebacker Craig Stevens had trouble putting his emotions into words. “It’s just an amazing feeling,” he said. “We’ve put in all that hard work (to) see our dreams unfold.”
Those outsiders from TCU and Boise State were closer than ever before to playing for college football’s biggest prize. But the third-ranked Horned Frogs, the nation’s only other undefeated team, couldn’t overcome playing in the lightly regarded Mountain West Conference and will have to settle for a trip to the Rose Bowl to play No. 4 Wisconsin, the Big Ten co-champion.
“I think we’ve done a lot, not just what TCU’s done, but non-automatic qualifying schools,” TCU quarterback Andy Dalton said. “We still have one more game, and we’ll go out and prove how we play and hopefully people will see that.”
As for Boise State, one loss was one too many, and the Broncos ended up out of the BCS and in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas, playing No. 20 Utah.
The other BCS matchups announced Sunday were: Arkansas and Ohio State, which also won a share of the Big Ten title, in the Sugar Bowl; Big 12 champion Oklahoma taking on Big East co-champ Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl; and No. 5 Stanford playing ACC title-winner Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Since the BCS was born in 1998, its title game has almost always been stocked with college football’s blue bloods and programs with championship pedigrees.
Auburn has one national title to its credit _ and it came in 1957. That’s one more than Oregon has. In fact, the Ducks are just the second team in the 13-year history of the BCS to reach the championship game looking for the program’s first national title. Virginia Tech was the first in 1999.View Entire Story
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