The Bowl Championship Series produced frustration, anger, resentment – and some indelible memories.No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn play the final BCS championship game Monday in the Rose Bowl.
Monday night will be reason to celebrate no matter what happens between Florida State and Auburn here in Big Ten country. That’s because the three-letter word, B-C-S, has been most unkind to the majority of B1G schools. That is unless you are Ohio State, in which case you may very well be sad to see the BCS gone. Sure, recent BCS history hasn’t been kind to the Buckeyes either, but who can forget the 2002-03 season and the last national champion to come from the Big Ten? Despite the B1G not having a national champion since then, no other conference has played in more BCS games than the Big Ten (28), and no other team in the history of the BCS has made more appearances than OSU (10). However, for the other 11 teams currently calling the Big Ten home, the death of the BCS and birth of the College Football Playoff is a dream come true. It’s an opportunity to do what the vast majority of the Big Ten still has to do to get respect: earn it on the field. The ugly truth of the BCS era for the Big Ten is that unless your ranking was followed by the words “Ohio State,” your chances of being in a BCS game beyond winning the conference were pretty slim. Only three other Big Ten schools made appearances in non-Rose Bowl BCS games—Illinois to the Sugar Bowl once, Iowa to the Orange Bowl twice and Penn State to the Orange Bowl once. Notice something missing from those numbers, though? Not a single one of those extra appearances came via this…
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has never had any issue acclimating to the biggest stages in college football. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is sounding like someone who’s getting comfortable under the brightest lights as well.Meyer has coached in four previous BCS games. He’s never lost.Swinney has taken his team to the BCS one other time, and lost by 37 points.Of course, come Friday night, none of that will matter. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes (12-1) and the 12th-ranked Tigers (10-2) will be squaring off in the Orange Bowl, where Meyer will aim to keep his BCS record perfect and Swinney will try to have his team, as he put it, ”continue to climb the mountain.””When you have an opportunity to come to a BCS ball game and lose it, you want to get back and have another opportunity,” Swinney said Thursday. ”There’s only six teams, I think, in the country that have been in two BCS bowls the last three years, and we’re one of them. So it’s a great opportunity for us to have a chance to win one.”Meyer would say the same thing. His team had visions of playing in Pasadena, Calif. for the BCS national championship next week, but the loss in the Big Ten title game – the first under Meyer in 25 games since he took over in Columbus – knocked the Buckeyes out of the title picture.So instead, Ohio State headed to South Florida, where Meyer will look to add the Orange Bowl to his BCS collection that already includes two title-game wins and a Sugar Bowl victory while at Florida, and a Fiesta Bowl triumph from when he coached Utah.”It’s a chance to go compete,” Meyer said. ”Whether it’s checkers or ping pong, we’re going to try to win the game. Our job every time we keep score is to win. It’s the mentality we try to create within our program. Whether it’s the Orange Bowl, whether it’s the eighth game of the season, we’re trying to win the game.”Clemson lost the Orange Bowl two years ago to West Virginia, 70-33 – the game turning when the Tigers fumbled the ball away in the second quarter, on a play where they would have taken the lead. Instead, the floodgates opened.The Tigers are 21-4 since.”This team has more than responded,” Swinney said. View gallery Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and Corey Linsley (71) work out during NCAA college football p … —Here’s five things to watch in the Orange Bowl:THE QB BATTLE: Tickets to the Orange Bowl aren’t inexpensive, but the shows that Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller can put on may make the admission price seem like a bargain. Boyd has accounted for 38 touchdowns this season; Miller has scored 32 with either his arm or his feet. It’s Boyd’s finale; it may be Miller’s as well if he elects to go pro, as some expect he may.BUCKEYE D: If there’s a weakness on a team that’s 24-1 in the past two seasons, it may be Ohio State’s pass defense. Each of the Buckeyes’ last four opponents have completed at least 60 percent of their passes, throwing for 1,363 yards in that stretch. And with that side of the ball dealing with some injury concerns for the Orange Bowl, it’s clearly to Clemson’s advantage.RUN (AND) HYDE: Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde has 1,408 yards in 10 games this season, and says he’d like to cap his college career by setting the Orange Bowl record for yards in a game. Hyde has averaged 7.7 yards per carry; Clemson’s defense has yielded 3.7 per attempt. Hyde is the first running back to top 1,000 yards under Meyer, and is 116 yards away from fifth all-time on Ohio State’s list.WELCOME HOME: The Buckeyes and Tigers both recruit the Sunshine State heavily. Together, the teams have 13 players from the state, including six starters. Among the notables: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins (who may be playing his college finale), Clemson DB Jayron Kearse; Ohio State top tackler Ryan Shazier; Hyde, the Ohio State running back; and Ohio State DL Joey Bosa, who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and the powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas program.KICKERS: If the game comes down to a kick, odds are that either Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro or Ohio State’s Drew Basil will deliver. Catanzaro has made all 56 of his extra-point tries and is 13 of 14 on field-goal attempts. Basil is 74 for 75 on extra-points and 9 for 10 on field goals.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballUrban MeyerDabo Swinney
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — As far as consolation prizes go, Ohio State finds this one more than a little acceptable.Had a play gone differently here or there in the Big 10 title matchup against Michigan State, the seventh-ranked Buckeyes would have been playing in the BCS national championship game.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Kansas State followed up last year’s BCS bowl run with a thud, opening the season with a loss to FCS school North Dakota State at home.It didn’t get much better after that, with three more losses over the next five games, leaving the Wildcats not only out of the BCS bowl picture but in danger of missing the postseason altogether.Then something clicked.Kicking its offense into another, high-scoring gear, Kansas State (7-5) reeled off five wins in its final six games to earn a spot in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan on Saturday night.”They learned a little bit about how to practice, how to prepare,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. ”It’s something that they probably took for granted at the outside of the season. I think they finally said, ‘Hey, let’s do it the right way.”’Michigan (7-5) finished with the same record as the Wildcats but headed in the wrong direction as the season progressed.The Wolverines opened with five straight victories, including a win over Notre Dame in their second game.Michigan stumbled to the finish, though, losing five of its final seven.Other than a 29-6 loss to Michigan State, the Wolverines were in every game but just couldn’t finish things off.”No question, this football team is 11 points away from being 11-1,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. ”We haven’t finished games and executed the way we needed to at the end of the games.”Here are five things to watch for in the Buffalo Wings Bowl:—MICHIGAN’S QB: The Wolverines were hit with a huge blow when quarterback Devin Gardner hurt his toe in their regular-season finale against Ohio State. Gardner, who’s thrown for over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns the past two seasons, aggravated the injury last week and is out for the bowl game, leaving Michigan in the hands of freshman Shane Morris. He attempted nine passes in three games this season and played just four games as a high school senior because of mononucleosis.K-STATE’S TWO QBs: Instead of trying to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein with one quarterback, Snyder has gone with a two-headed approach. Junior Jake Waters is the thrower, accounting for 2,198 yards and 15 touchdowns passing. Sophomore Daniel Sams is the runner, rushing for 784 yards and 11 TDs. Snyder doesn’t typically like to use two quarterbacks, but he believes Waters and Sams together give the Wildcats the best chance to win.STOPPING MUELLER: With a freshman starting his first game at quarterback, Michigan will want to keep Kansas State from knocking Morris around and possibly rattling him early. Doing that will start with slowing down Wildcats defensive end Ryan Mueller. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior was a walk-on in 2010 who developed into one of the nation’s most disruptive defensive linemen. Mueller finished the season sixth nationally with 11 sacks and was seventh with 18.5 tackles for loss.BOWL WOES: Snyder orchestrated one of college football’s biggest turnarounds his first stint in the Little Apple and got the Wildcats back on track when he came out of retirement in 2009. One thing he hasn’t been able to do, at least recently, is win bowl games. Kansas State enters the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on a five-game postseason losing streak that includes a 35-17 loss to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl a year ago in the desert. The Wildcats haven’t won a bowl game since scoring in the final 90 seconds to beat Arizona State in the 2002 Holiday Bowl.GO-TO GALLON: Fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon has become Michigan’s go-to receiver. After catching 49 passes last season, Gallon had 80 receptions this year, which is 33 more than anyone else on the team. He has 1,284 yards receiving and nine touchdowns and accounted for the Wolverines’ four longest plays from scrimmage, including an 84-yard catch from Gardner against Ohio State.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballKansas StateMichigan
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The phone call came in, the next challenge was confirmed and Urban Meyer was ready to move on. The Ohio State coach praised the bowl destination, talked up the opponent he’s already preparing for and mentioned on several occasions how his driven team will quickly adapt its goals now that there’s only one thing left to accomplish this season.
But as Meyer rattled everything off the No. 7 Buckeyes have to look forward to against No. 12 Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3, even on a teleconference it was clear he was still carrying with him at least one wound from the loss that abruptly ended “The Chase” and ripped a likely crack at the national championship away from his team.
“Excuse me,” a hoarse Meyer said Sunday night. “I lost my voice yesterday a little bit.”
The Buckeyes had no shortage of reasons to scream as Michigan State picked apart their secondary, largely shut down the spread offense and snatched a trip to the Rose Bowl from them in the Big Ten title game. And that loss is likely to haunt Ohio State well after Meyer has any need for lozenges.
SportsNation: BCS bowl winners? Florida State and Auburn will play for the title. Who wins it? And the other BCS games? Vote! » Rank the teams! » But in place of one spot in the BCS, the Buckeyes quickly earned a bid to another when the Orange Bowl called to help brighten up Meyer’s afternoon. They may not have a shot at Florida State, but another ACC powerhouse filled the void to give the Buckeyes a chance to make a statement victory after having their schedule picked apart all season long.
The school-record 24-game winning streak is gone as well, but then there’s a springboard to maybe start a new run down in south Florida.
And while it’s understandable and perhaps acceptable for Ohio State to be feeling a little down and disappointed for a day or two, that can’t last long if it’s going to do anything with the opportunity that took the place of the one the Buckeyes really wanted.
“I actually opened a forum a little bit after the game, opened the floor for anybody, and it was interesting to have a couple players, a couple coaches say a few words,” Meyer said. “It was just about finishing this thing the right way. …
ATLANTA (AP) — A week ago, the Southeastern Conference looked as though it had finally been vanquished.The rest of the nation breathed a sigh of relief, clearly relieved it wouldn’t have to watch the haughty SEC celebrate another national championship.Not so fast.After a wild Saturday in this most unpredictable of seasons, the SEC was back in a familiar position – set to play for a BCS title, albeit not in its usual role of favorite.No. 2 Auburn (12-1) was expected to land a spot in the championship game against top-ranked Florida State (13-0) when the BCS pairings were announced Sunday night, the fallout from Ohio State losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.The Seminoles were established as an early touchdown favorite for the Jan. 6 game at the Rose Bowl.Auburn doesn’t sound the least bit intimidated.”We feel we’re the best team in college football,” star running back Tre Mason said. ”We’ve got to continue to prove it.”Ohio State had not lost a game in two years under coach Urban Meyer and needed one more victory to lock up a trip to Pasadena. Alas, in what has been a familiar theme since 2006, the SEC champion Tigers stepped up to claim the spot when the Buckeyes were upset by Michigan State 34-24.Auburn it deserved a shot at the title, no matter what Ohio State did.There’s no argument now, despite that collective groan from the SEC’s detractors, who have gotten downright tired of watching this conference win the final game year after year. View gallery Auburn fans roll Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 following a win over Mi … Four SEC teams – Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn – have combined to win the last seven BCS championships, an unprecedented streak of dominance by a single league.In this part of the country, there’s a sense of entitlement that came across even before the Tigers defeated Missouri 59-42 in an SEC shootout. These guys believe they’re the best conference in the country, and they’re not shy about stating it over and over again.Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs started lobbying for a BCS berth as soon as his team knocked off two-time defending champion Alabama, a game that seemingly eliminated the conference’s best hope. The Tigers followed up with a video game-like performance in Atlanta, totaling a record 677 yards against Missouri – including 545 on the ground.”It’s nine words,” Jacobs said. ”Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule.”Alabama was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 when it fell to Auburn. Missouri went into the SEC title game ranked No. 5 and sporting one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses, but had no answer for Auburn’s hurry-up spread offense led by Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall. View gallery Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright (90) does snow angles in confetti after Auburn’s 59-42 win o … Mason ran 304 yards and four touchdowns.During the regular season, Auburn defeated three other teams – Texas A&M, Mississippi and Georgia – that were ranked at the time.”Who else has knocked off two top-five teams in the last week?” Jacobs asked. ”Who else has knocked off five Top 25 teams? Show me who they are, and I’ll tell you they belong instead of us.”Turns out, he didn’t need to plead his case.In a game that started about the time Auburn was finishing off Missouri, Ohio State rallied from an early 17-0 deficit but couldn’t hold on. The Spartans dominated down the stretch, a result that surely pleased the folks down South. View gallery Auburn offensive linesman Avery Young (56) carries the championship trophy after the second half of … After all, Meyer guided Florida to a national title that launched the SEC’s record run and won another two years later, only to leave the Gators after the 2010 season, saying he needed to devote more time to his health and his family.One year later, he turned up as Ohio State’s new coach, sparking plenty of bitterness in Gainesville – and plenty of giddiness in SEC country when Meyer’s new team came up short.Now, the SEC will pin its hopes on a team that doesn’t have the league’s usual DNA. Under first-year coach Gus Malzahn, Auburn produced one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history largely on the back of its dynamic offense, a striking change from previous champs that relied on stifling defense.It will be interesting to see if the Tigers, who rank 88th nationally in yards allowed (423.5 per game), can outscore the explosive Seminoles, who have the overwhelming Heisman favorite, quarterback Jameis Winston, and have beaten every opponent by at least 14 points.The Tigers feel like they’ve got something special going, a mojo that can’t be measured by stats after improbable wins over Alabama and Georgia.”A lot of teams aren’t getting better each week,” Malzahn said. ”This team is.”—Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballUrban Meyer
Urban Meyer is set to enter uncharted territory this winter after Ohio State suffered its first loss in nearly two years on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game. But with the fuming Buckeyes set to earn an at-large bid to the BCS, you can bet Meyer will have his players ready to finish the season the same way they began it, in dominant fashion. Despite the gut-wrenching loss, Ohio State is still 24-1 overall since Meyer took over and is one of the most talented offensive teams in the country, ranking seventh in total offense and fourth in scoring offense. With that in mind, expect Meyer and his alma mater to bounce back in a big way this coming January. Looking Back Although Ohio State clearly didn’t bring its A-game to Indianapolis on Saturday, you can credit Michigan State for most of the Buckeyes’ struggles. After all, Ohio State averaged 6.8 yards per carry as a team and took excellent care of the ball. Instead, it was Michigan State’s top-ranked defense that stood out as the biggest winner of the night. The Spartans held up on key fourth downs late in the game and did a phenomenal job of avoiding penalties on both sides of the ball. But Michigan State’s defensive success can’t come as much of a surprise. They ranked tops in the nation in total defense and third in scoring defense coming into the Big Ten title game, and they simply played up to their impressive numbers. Plus, despite a sluggish start, Ohio State was able to…
December, 8, 2013 Dec 8 10:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lessons and developments from No. 2 Ohio State’s 34-24 upset loss to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten title game on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The Spartans had the better plan: The Ohio State defense has had some rough patches at times, largely early in games, but more often than not it was able to adjust and tighten the screws when it counted. The offense had been starting to look pretty one-dimensional down the stretch, but the Buckeyes didn’t seem to mind that, because they were so effective rushing the ball. But against the stout, assignment-sound Spartans, neither side of the ball for Ohio State was able to do what it had made look routine during another perfect run through the regular season. Injuries took a toll on the defense, and Braxton Miller at one point dragged the Buckeyes back into the lead, but in the end, Michigan State simply had the better game plan and more successful counters in earning the conference crown.
Miller needs to return: His physical skills are among the best in the country, and at some point his multipurpose skills are going to make him an appealing option for an NFL team looking for a quarterback. But if Miller was thinking about making the jump after his junior season, his rough passing performance with no weather impacting his accuracy might nudge him back for another year with the Buckeyes. His receivers didn’t do him many favors, with a handful of costly drops, and the Spartans didn’t make it easy with all the pressure they put on him, but going 8-for-21 for 101 yards and a touchdown on the biggest stage of the season isn’t likely to do much for Miller’s draft stock.
The season isn’t over: The Buckeyes are still an appealing option for any organizer of a BCS game, and the Orange Bowl is likely going to snap them up in a hurry. That would give Ohio State one more chance at a marquee victory heading into Urban Meyer’s third season, and a chance to start a new winning streak after its streak of 24 consecutive wins since he took over the program ended Saturday. It’s clear the Buckeyes still need to add some depth in recruiting, particularly at linebacker, and Meyer wasn’t hired just to compete for a championship in his second year. All things considered, the Buckeyes still have plenty to feel good about thus far in his tenure, and a win in a BCS game still could add to it.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has stated its case. Now all Auburn can do is watch, wait and hope for No. 1 Florida State or No. 2 Ohio State to stumble.After a week of lobbying by the SEC to have its champion play for the BCS national title ahead of an unbeaten team, No. 3 Auburn (12-1) won the conference with a wild 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri. It was quite a show, but it’s unlikely to be enough to jump the Seminoles or Buckeyes if they stay undefeated.So it’ll be up to No. 20 Duke or No. 10 Michigan State to pave the way for Tigers to get a chance in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6 to run the SEC’s streak of consecutive BCS titles to eight.Florida State was a four-touchdown favorite heading into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Duke in Charlotte. Ohio State had what looked like a much tougher task – No. 10 Michigan State and its top-ranked defense.The Buckeyes have been the target for the SEC supporters, who have insisted that their champion’s one loss is as good as the Buckeyes’ none because they played a tougher schedule.Still, Ohio State held a solid lead in the BCS standings coming into the weekend, and the chances of the Buckeyes beating the Spartans and blowing that lead, seems remote.A loss is what Auburn, which was third in the BCS coming into this weekend, needs. As SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told FoxSports.com earlier this week: ”I’ll be a Spartan for a day.”And why stop there? If the unthinkable happens and Duke pulls the upset, along with Michigan State, a second all-SEC BCS championship game in three years is probably in the cards, with No. 4 Alabama getting a shot at its third straight national title.Yes, a rematch of the Iron Bowl in the Rose Bowl.The Big 12 also settled its BCS business on Saturday. No. 9 Baylor (11-1) won the conference and locked up an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl, with some help from Oklahoma. Before the Bears beat Texas 30-10, the 18th-ranked Sooners upset No. 6 Oklahoma State 33-24 in Stillwater to keep the Cowboys from winning the Big 12. Baylor will play No. 15 UCF (11-1), the American Athletic Conference champion, in its first BCS appearance.—Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAPSports & RecreationAmerican FootballSoutheastern Conference