As far as BCS finishes go, this season's was uneventful.
After the upset of No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, Florida State and Auburn sat atop the polls and computer ratings Sunday and easily became the choices to play in the BCS championship game on Jan. 6. Unlike many past seasons, there was no drama and no debate on the day the last standings were released.
Next season, however, the decisions about which teams deserve to be part of a new four-team playoff will be left to a 13-person selection committee. And if that committee had been charged with the task of selecting four teams for a playoff this season, its work would have been far more disputed than the final edition of the BCS standings was.
We can all agree that Florida State and Auburn would both be part of a four-team playoff, had one existed in the 2013 season. But which teams would have joined them?
Before we look at the primary candidates for the other two playoff berths, let's review what we know about the selection committee and what it's supposed to do. We've been told that the committee will be asked to choose the four best teams in the nation, giving careful consideration to several factors: schedule strength, conference championships, head-to-head results, common opponents and key injuries. So, let's look at four other potential playoff teams -- Alabama, Baylor, Michigan State and Stanford -- and how they stack up in these areas.
There are many different ways to calculate schedule strength, and each of the BCS computers has its own method. ESPN Stats & Info also has a version. I've been told that the selection committee is unlikely to have one standard set of schedule rankings that will be distributed to all members, so it'll be up to each person to interpret schedule difficulty.
If you look at a cross section of the schedule rankings, you'll see that twice-beaten Stanford played, by far, the strongest schedule among this group of teams...