Florida State and Auburn are ranked first and second, respectively, in the final Bowl Championship Series standings and will face each other for the national championship on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.
In the final year of the BCS being the Football Bowl Subdivision's top postseason format, the Seminoles finished atop the standings for the first time since 1999. Florida State lost the first BCS championship during the 1998 season to an SEC opponent, Tennessee, before winning the title the next season against Virginia Tech.
Florida State will again face an SEC opponent for the title this season, and that opponent will be trying to earn the SEC the BCS National Championship for the eighth consecutive season.
The Seminoles and Tigers were ranked 1-2 in the two human polls - the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll - and the Seminoles were No. 1 in four of the six computer metrics, with Auburn first in the other two. Florida State's BCS average was .9957, and Auburn's was .9638.
Defending BCS champion Alabama finished third and will face No. 11 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. Big Ten champion Michigan State finished fourth and will face No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Stanford's fourth consecutive BCS berth leads the nation.
In the other BCS bowls, No. 6 and Big 12 champion Baylor meets No. 15 and AAC champion Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, and No. 12 Clemson meets No. 7 Ohio State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
After the national championship pairing was set, the Orange Bowl began the at-large selections by picking Ohio State to replace Florida State. Then the Sugar picked Alabama (which had earned an automatic berth by virtue of its top four ranking) to replace Auburn. Next, the Orange picked Clemson, then the Sugar picked Oklahoma. Finally, the Fiesta grabbed Central Florida.
The Fiesta Bowl matches two teams playing in their first BCS bowls.
Michigan State's defeat of previously unbeaten Ohio State on Saturday night eliminated most of the opportunity for controversy in what has long been a controversial postseason setup. But that doesn't mean the final season of the BCS lacked for drama.
Alabama's two-year run as BCS champion essentially was ended in the Nov. 30 Iron Bowl against Auburn, a team that wasn't ranked in the preseason. For that matter, only two of the six teams to qualify automatically for BCS bowls this season - then-No. 12 Florida State and then-No. 4 Stanford - were in the preseason USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll. Auburn (SEC champ), Baylor (Big 12), Central Florida (AAC) and Michigan State (Big Ten) were not.
The SEC placed seven teams in the final BCS top 25, with the Pac-12 next at five.