Every expectation met

Auburn, Oregon to play for title

no BCS surprises

December 06, 2010|By Chris Dufresne, Tribune newspapers

EUGENE, Ore. — A wild year in college football concluded with a relatively tame finish.

The release of the final BCS standings on Sunday only confirmed what everyone already knew.

Auburn and Oregon finished first and second, respectively, and will play for the national title Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.

Texas Christian held onto the No. 3 spot to earn a berth in the Rose Bowl, while Stanford was No. 4 and Wisconsin was No. 5. Those two spots earn the Cardinal a trip to the Orange Bowl while the Badgers become the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl.

The title game will feature two of nation's most prolific offenses. Oregon leads the nation in scoring at 49.3 points a game and Auburn is No. 6 at 42.7.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, an overwhelming favorite to win this year's Heisman Trophy, has been virtually unstoppable of late. He accounted for six touchdowns in the Tigers' Southeastern Conference title game victory against South Carolina.

"Obviously, his highlights are all over the place," said linebacker Casey Matthews, one of the Oregon defenders who will be assigned to slow down Newton.

The other BCS bowls also worked out as projected:

Rose: Texas Christian vs. Wisconsin.

In the new BCS contract, the Rose Bowl was obligated to take the highest-ranked "non-qualifier" the first year it lost an anchor to the title game. That's why TCU is in the game instead of Pac-10 runner-up Stanford. Wisconsin earned the Big Ten bid over Ohio State and Michigan State by finishing higher in the BCS standings.

Fiesta: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma.

There was some discussion about Stanford swapping with Connecticut for this spot, but ultimately the Orange Bowl preferred BCS No. 4 Stanford over unranked Connecticut.

Sugar: Arkansas vs. Ohio State.

Arkansas, led by star quarterback Ryan Mallett, replaces Auburn as the SEC anchor in this game. Ohio State will try to follow its victory in the Rose Bowl last year with a win in New Orleans.

Orange: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech.

Two remarkable stories, really. Stanford's only loss was at Oregon in early October. The Cardinal earned an automatic BCS bid by finishing No. 4 in the final standings. Virginia Tech won 11 consecutive games after an 0-2 start, clinching a BCS bid with a win over Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

cdufresne@tribune.com

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