It looks like the BCS got it right up to now. All four top seeds advanced to the semifinals. But now we move to neutral fields. How will it play out? Before we get going, here are the ground rules again.
- As we have been preaching all season (big thanks to Lambeth Field writer brodonnell), it is a 16 team bracket with each conference having an automatic qualifier plus 5 at-large selections.
- They are seeded by the BCS rankings. Hey they got to be good for something!
- First round and Quarterfinal games are played at the higher-seed sites.
- We got help from National Sport Ranking, who run simulations of over 50 sports and teams from decades worth of teams.
- Each matchup was simulated a minimum of 25 times with the later rounds simulated up to 100 times.
- Then each team was put into a bracket formation and simulated to generate box scores consistent to the previous simulation results.
- The stories generated are a representation of how the game would play out based on the box scores.
PLEASE NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and on any given Saturday, any team can win. But with the number of games simulated, we have a very good understanding how it would play out.
After the long weekend, here is how the semifinals played out.
#4 Stanford 43, #1 Auburn 34
A matchup of the top two quarterbacks in the nation lived up to all the hype. As everyone descended the Orange Bowl, they were greeted by a dual that will remain an instant classic. Andrew Luck and Cam Newton seemed to trade one amazing touchdown for another. Newton threw for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 132 yards and two more scores. Luck countered with 453 yards passing and 3 touchdowns of his own. But just as it seemed like this would go on all night, one quarterback blinked. Newton had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage which fell into the hands of a Stanford defensive tackle, and led to a Stepfan Taylor (107 yards, TD) touchdown. With Auburn already having one extra kick blocked, Stanford went for two to make it a two possession game. Luck found Tyler Gaffney out of the backfield for the two point conversion to make it 43-34 with just under a minute to go. Auburn moved the ball down the field and tried one last Hail Mary, but it came up short and Stanford upset the #1 seed.
#2 Oregon 37, #3 TCU 29
This was the game that TCU wanted: a matchup of undefeated teams for the right to play for the national championship. The Rose Bowl was ready for an all out slugfest of two differently oriented teams. The TCU defense was the best Oregon had seen all year, and they knew it. Right out the gate, they picked off Darron Thomas and set up a Andy Dalton (223 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 47 yards rushing, TD) 5-yard rush for the games first points. From there, both teams started slow. Well, slow by there standards. Oregon put it in the endzone right at halftime, but missed the extra point and took a 20-14 lead into half. In the second half, both teams found yardage, but the points were again hard to come by. With the game at 30-21, Dalton found Jeremy Kerley in the back of the endzone to cut it to 34-27. TCU converted the two point conversion to make it 34-29. The decision to go for two payed off as Oregon got bogged down on the 20 yard line and had to kick a field goal with :39 seconds to go. But on the ensuing kick off, TCU took the kickoff 40 yards before an Oregon defender striped the ball and forced a fumble, which the Ducks recovered. Oregon went into V-formation and won the game 37-29. Thomas had 3 touchdowns on the day (2 passing, 1 rushing) but LaMichael James was held to 134 yards and no scores.