The rest of the BCS bowl field will definitely include UCF, Michigan State, Baylor and Stanford. At-large berths will surely go to Alabama and Ohio State, and the final two spots will come from the trio of Clemson, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Auburn completed its 1-season turnaround, from 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC a year ago, to 12-1 and SEC champions. Auburn outscored Missouri 14-0 in the final quarter to secure the Sugar Bowl bid.
Michigan State claimed the Big Ten title as it scored the last 17 points of the game to overcome a 24-17 deficit after blowing a 17-0 lead. The Spartans won their last outright conference title in 1987, though they were co-champs in 1990 and 2010. They were Legends Division champs in 2011, but lost 42-39 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
Florida State sparred with Duke for most of the first half before exploding for a 45-7 win. It was just 7-0 with under 4 minutes to go before halftime, but the 'Noles tacked on a second touchdown and a field goal in the final 3:37 of the second quarter. FSU then dropped 21 on Duke in the 3rd quarter and another score midway through the fourth to build a 45-0 cushion. Duke saved some face with a TD at the 1:01 mark. It is FSU's fourth BCS title game appearance, but the first since 2000. Florida State played in the first three BCS Championship contests (1998, 1999 and 2000), winning only the 1999 title over now-ACC member Virginia Tech.
Oklahoma scored with 19 seconds left and added a fumble recovery TD with :00 left to beat Oklahoma State 33-24. The loss knocked the Cowboys out of an automatic BCS bowl berth and opened the door for that honor to go to the winner of Texas-Baylor game. In that contest, Baylor broke away from a 3-3 halftime tie to drop the Longhorns 30-10 and wrap up a certain Fiesta Bowl bid. Baylor's last outright title came in 1980 in the Southwest Conference. Baylor was given co-champion status of the Southwest in 1994 after Texas A&M had to relinquish that title due to NCAA sanctions and the Owls shared it with Rice Texas, TCU and Texas Tech.
Also on Saturday, Rice knocked off Marshall 41-24 to win the CUSA crown. It's the first outright conference title for the Owls since taking those honors in the Southwest Conference in 1957. (See above paragraph regarding share of 1994 title).
Saturday night's final game to conclude was the Mountain West championship at Fresno State where the Bulldogs held off Utah State for a 24-17 victory and their first outright conference title since 1989 as a member of the Big West. Fresno State shared the 1991 Big West title, as well as the the 1992, 1993 and 1999 WAC crowns, and the 2012 Mountain West title. In two seasons under Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs and have shared or won the conference each season and compiled a 20-5 record.
Also on Saturday night, South Alabama whipped Louisiana-Lafayette 30-8 in Mobile. In doing so, the Jaguars became the 7th of the 8 Sun Belt teams to be bowl eligible. However, with a surplus of teams to pull from, USA has a 0% chance of getting a bid. UL-L (New Orleans) and Arkansas State (GoDaddy.com) have already accepted bids, and Western Kentucky (8-4) is the only other team in the conference with an above-.500 record.
It didn't take long for week 15 of the college season to cast its importance on the BCS bowl scenarios as the first game out produced the first team in.
The week kicked off on Thursday night with an overtime thriller in the cold and rain at Cincinnati that saw Louisville win 31-24. It meant an 11-1 season for Louisville, but it meant even more for UCF as the Golden Knights clinched the American Athletic Conference's automatic bid to a BCS bowl. UCF then went out and beat SMU 17-13 in Dallas on Saturday to finish 11-1.
The first of seven conference championship games was staged on Friday night in Detroit where Bowling Green ended the BCS-buster run of Northern Illinois with a 47-27 rout of the Huskies. The computer had projected a Bowling Green win by 5-1/2 points.
The MAC title is the first for Bowling Green since 1992 and 11th overall. The loss kept NIU from a three-peat.
CollegeFootballPoll.com's Feature Picks writer Mike Mitchell is 171-26 with his selections after going 1-3 this week. He is 114-83 against the spread. The computer was 1-1 in outright upset projections (1-1 ATS) and is now 43-45 straight up and 55-33 against the spread with those games.
The preseason forecast nailed the exact records of 30 teams and missed by 1 on 36 other schools. It also picked the winner of the Sun Belt and PAC-12 titles, in addition to the winners of both PAC-12 divisions, the Big Ten Leaders and the Mountain West Mountain division.
UNDEFEATED AND WINLESS TEAMS:
FBS vs. FCS:
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Originally, 106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. But Colorado later replaced a game it lost vs. Fresno State (due to flooding) with Charleston Southern. Thus, 106 FBS schools played a total of 111 games vs. FCS foes. The schedule change also made Colorado the 4th FBS team to face at least two such schools this year. The others are Clemson and Georgia Tech with 2 apiece while FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.
Northern Illinois - 25-game winning streak vs. conference foes ended when Bowling Green prevailed in the MAC Championship game. NIU still has streaks of 26 straight at home (FBS longest) and 15 straight true road games (FBS longest). Lost 47-27 vs. Bowling Green in the MAC Championship at Detroit on Friday.
LSU - Won 45 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Regular season complete.
Georgia State - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Regular season complete.
Miami (Ohio) - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Regular season complete.
Kansas - Lost 24 straight road games (FBS longest). Regular season complete.
Kentucky - Lost 16 straight conference games (FBS longest). Regular season complete.