It’s D-D Day for the top two college football teams in the BCS rankings, Auburn and Oregon.
As in , Do or Die. Should both teams win their games later today — No.1 Auburn vs. No. 19 South Carolina in the SEC championship game in Atlanta and No. 2 Oregon at Oregon State in the annual Civil War — the matchup for the 2011 BCS national championship will be set. The Tigers and Ducks will be headed out this way to Glendale for a showdown at University of Phoenix Stadium on Jan. 10.
But if one team should fall and lose for the first time this season, the door swings wide open for the only other undefeated team in the nation, TCU, to take a spot in the BCS title game. TCU’s regular season is over and the Horned Frogs finished 12-0.
Auburn has the toughest road to Glendale. After rallying from 24 points down to win at Alabama 28-27 last week, Warr Eagle has to beat Steve Spurrier and South Carolina for the SEC title and the right to play for the big prize. The ol’ ball coach and his team will be further motivated to play spoiler after Auburn beat the Gamecocks 35-27 in September, rallying from a 13-point deficit in that one.
Oregon (11-0) knows comebacks, too, except the Ducks have rallied early enough in games so as to make the fourth quarter an offensive show where they simply have turned on the afterburners and run away from opponents. The exception was the Cal game last month, which Oregon won 15-13 but chewed up clock in the fourth quarter with a long drive.
The Ducks are big favorites on Saturday, but Oregon State is driven by two things: the chance to become bowl-eligible with a win, and the chance to spoil Oregon’s dream season after the Ducks knocked OSU out of the Rose Bowl the past two seasons.
Oregon’s consolation prize for a loss today isn’t a bad one. The Ducks, already with a share of the Pac-10 championship, would get the Rose Bowl. Auburn would still get a BCS bowl, probably the Orange Bowl, if it loses.
For the BCS, the ideal situation is that both Auburn and Oregon win so as to avoid controversy. TCU, as a mid-major, certainly isn’t a complete lock for the BCS championship game if either Auburn or Oregon lose, though the Frogs will have earned their spot by going undefeated.