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No surprise: Notre Dame vs. Alabama in BCS title game

Big surprise: Northern Illinois moves into the top 16 to earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.

December 02, 2012|By Chris Dufresne
  • Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond celebrates with Manti T'eo (5) and other teammates after intercepting a pass to end BYU's final threat in a 17-14 victory earlier this season.
Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond celebrates with Manti T'eo (5)… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

The final Bowl Championship Series standings on Sunday produced a lot of expected news and one big surprise.

Notre Dame and Alabama, in what everyone knew was just a formality, finished first and second in the final standings and will meet Jan. 7 in South Florida for the BCS title.

The surprise was Northern Illinois, the Mid-American Conference champion at 12-1, sneaking into the top 16 to earn an automatic bid to a major bowl. The Huskies will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Northern Illinois finished No. 15 in the final standings. The Huskies defeated Kent State in Friday night’s MAC title game and then took advantage of losses by Nebraska, Texas and UCLA to jump from No. 21 into the BCS lineup.

BCS rules stipulate a team from a “non-qualifier” conference earns a bid if it finishes in the top 16 ahead of a major conference champion. Northern Illinois actually finished ahead of two “AQ” champions in Louisville (Big East) and Wisconsin (Big Ten).

Northern Illinois’ huge BCS comeback knocks powerhouse Oklahoma out of a BCS game and into the Cotton Bowl.

It was a historic day for the MAC, which earned its first BCS bid and pulled off one of the greatest final-weekend comebacks in BCS history.

In 2007, Louisiana State rose from No. 7 to No. 2 on the final weekend to earn a trip to the title game, which it won.

Here’s the BCS top 10: Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Stanford, Georgia, Louisiana State, Texas A&M and South Carolina.

The SEC placed six teams in the BCS top 10. UCLA finished No. 17 and San Jose State ended up No. 24.

The final BCS lineup is now official:

BCS: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

Rose: Stanford vs. Wisconsin

Fiesta: Oregon vs. Kansas State

Sugar: Florida vs. Louisville

Orange: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State.

The rest of the bowl games include:

GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6: Kent State vs. Arkansas State

BBVA Compass, Jan. 5: Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi

Cotton, Jan. 4: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M

Heart of Dallas, Jan. 1: Oklahoma State vs. Purdue

Capitol One, Jan. 1: Nebraska vs. Georgia

Gator, Jan. 1: Northwestern vs. Mississippi State

Outback, Jan. 1: Michigan vs. South Carolina

Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31: LSU vs. Clemson

Sun, Dec. 31: USC vs. Georgia Tech

Liberty, Dec. 31: Tulsa vs. Iowa State

Music City, Dec. 31: Vanderbilt vs. TBA

Alamo, Dec. 29: Oregon State vs. Texas

Fight Hunger, Dec. 29: Arizona State vs. Navy

Pinstripe, Dec. 29: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

Armed Forces, Dec. 29: Air Force vs. Rice

Meinke Car Care, Dec. 28: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28: Texas Christian vs. Michigan State

Russell Athletic, Dec. 28: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech

Independence, Dec. 28: Louisiana Monroe vs. Ohio

Military, Dec. 27: Bowling Green vs. Holiday, Dec. 27: UCLA vs. Baylor

Belk, Dec. 27: Duke vs. Cincinnati

Little Caesars Pizza, Dec. 26: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Hawaii, Dec. 24: Fresno State vs. Southern Methodist

Las Vegas, Dec. 22: Washington vs. Boise State

New Orleans, Dec. 22: East Carolina vs. Louisiana Lafayette

Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 21: Central Florida vs. Ball State

Poinsettia, Dec. 20: San Diego State vs. BYU

Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15: Toledo vs. Utah State

New Mexico, Dec. 15: Arizona vs. Nevada

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