Sunday, December 4, 2005

BCS gets 1-2 matchup

Texas hammers Colorado; USC rolls over UCLA


USC and Texas gave the BCS a Rose Bowl nobody can complain about.

First, Vince Young and the Longhorns handed coach Mack Brown his first conference championship Saturday with a 70-3 victory over Colorado in the Big 12 title game. Then, Reggie Bush and USC made their own emphatic statement, beating UCLA, 66-19.

The final Bowl Championship Series standings are released today, and the top two teams play in the Rose Bowl for the national title. The top-ranked Trojans (12-0) and No. 2 Longhorns (12-0) can rest easy knowing they'll receive bids to title game Jan. 4 in Pasadena, Calif.

"It's nice to see 1 vs. 2 all year long playing for the national championship," USC quarterback Matt Leinart said. "Two undefeated teams. No controversy this year."

USC's first two titles have come with headaches for the BCS. Two years ago, the Trojans shared the national title with LSU after being left out of the BCS title game. Last season, the Trojans played Oklahoma in the BCS championship and won the title outright, but unbeaten Auburn claimed it should have been USC's opponent in the Orange Bowl.

This year, USC and Texas have been first and second in the BCS standings all season and headed into the final day of the regular season as the only unbeaten teams left in major-college football.

They are also the two highest-scoring teams in the nation.

"USC has probably the second-best offense, compared to our offense, in the nation," safety Michael Huff said. "It will be a great matchup for us. We just have to line up and play Texas defense, and we'll be fine."

USC tailback LenDale White wasn't as up on the Longhorns.

"I don't know nothing about Texas," he said.

Young threw three touchdown passes and ran for another for the Longhorns, making his case for the Heisman Trophy.

Bush's rebuttal was 260 yards rushing and two scores on 24 carries, helping put the Trojans in position to win a third straight national title.

Bush said USC wasn't paying attention to Texas.

"I heard that they were winning 70-to-whatever," Bush said. "That had no effect on what we were trying to do."

Penn State (10-1) was third in the latest BCS standings. The Nittany Lions ended their regular season two weeks ago by clinching the Big Ten's BCS bid and had hoped a slip up by USC or Texas could send them to the Rose Bowl.

If they were watching Saturday, Joe Paterno's crew didn't get much chance to dream. Both the Trojans and Longhorns were in cruise control by halftime.

By the time USC had polished off the Bruins, only two more automatic bids to the BCS remained to be doled out.

Georgia (10-2) grabbed one when the Bulldogs beat LSU (10-2) 34-14 in the Southeastern Conference title game. The surprisingly easy victory sends the Dawgs back to the Georgia Dome in about a month to play in the Sugar Bowl, which was forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Florida State pulled championship Saturday's biggest upset, and took the other. The Seminoles (8-4) snapped a three-game losing streak and beat Virginia Tech (10-2) in the first Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. Florida State will play in the Orange Bowl, perhaps against Penn State, setting up a matchup of Bobby Bowden and Paterno, major college football's two winningest coaches.

West Virginia (10-1) already had earned the Big East's BCS bid before capping its season Saturday with a 28-13 victory at South Florida.

The Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowl pairings will be announced today along with the two teams to receive at-large bids.

Notre Dame is expected to get one of those at-large bids, with Ohio State the front-runner for the other and Oregon a possibility.

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