CHARLOTTE, N.C. — No. 1 Florida State romped and No. 2 Ohio State stumbled, and now the SEC has chance to win its eighth straight BCS championship.
The Seminoles will play No. 3 Auburn in the BCS title game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., after the Tigers capped their remarkable turnaround season with a wild victory over Missouri in the Southeastern Conference title game, and then the Buckeyes were upset by Michigan State in the Big Ten on Saturday night.
For Florida State, it was business as usual against No. 20 Duke. Jameis Winston passed for 330 yards and accounted for four touchdowns, just another huge game for the Heisman Trophy favorite, and the Seminoles' defense smothered the Blue Devils 45-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in Charlotte.
"We're not champs yet," coach Jimbo Fisher yelled to his team after it crushed Duke.
Florida State will play for the national title for the first time since the 2000 season, and Winston will likely have to stop in New York to pick up the Heisman Trophy before Florida State heads to southern California. The Seminoles were will be looking for their first BCS title since 1999, and they'll be trying to break the SEC's vice grip on the national title before the BCS is replaced by a four-team playoff next year.
It looked as if the SEC did in itself last week, when Auburn upset Alabama. Florida State moved to No. 1 in the BCS standings and Ohio State to No. 2.
Auburn was No. 3, but the SEC was not about to go quietly and just hope for an upset.
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.
"I have nine words," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs was quoted as saying by SI.com on Saturday after the Tigers' 59-42 victory against Missouri. "Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule."