Florida jumps Michigan in final BCS poll, will face Ohio St

Dec 4, 2006 - 1:31 AM MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (Ticker) -- To the joy of fans in Gainesville and to the dismay of those in Ann Arbor, Michigan will not get another crack at Big Ten Conference rival Ohio State in the BCS national championship game.

After heavy lobbying from coach Urban Meyer on his team's behalf, Florida leapfrogged Michigan to finish in the all-important second spot in the final BCS standings Sunday, meaning the Gators and not the Wolverines will oppose the top-ranked Buckeyes for the national title in Glendale, Arizona on January 8.

Even before the Southeastern Conference title game, Meyer had said it would be a shame if Michigan would get a rematch with Ohio State after losing in Columbus on November 18, 42-39.

While Michigan (11-1) sat idle for a second straight week Saturday, the fourth-ranked Gators (12-1) defeated No. 8 Arkansas, 38-28, in a wild SEC championship.

Florida had a BCS average of .9443 - just .011 ahead of Michigan's mark. The teams had identical computer averages of .940, but the Gators were superior in the Harris Interactive Poll (.945-.931) and coaches' poll (.948-.932).

The Buckeyes (12-0), who have won a national-best 20 straight games, had an average of 1.000.

"If you want a true national champion, the only way to do it is on the field," Meyer said.

The Gators and Wolverines only had a chance to sneak into the BCS title game because No. 2 Southern California (10-2) was shocked by UCLA, 13-9. The Trojans instead will meet the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl on January 1. USC beat Michigan in the "Granddaddy of Them All" three seasons ago.

Seventh-ranked Big 12 Conference champ Oklahoma (11-2) will face ninth-seeded Western Athletic Conference winner Boise State (12-0), the nation's only other undefeated team besides Ohio State, in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale on January 1.

The Broncos are only the second school from outside the original six BCS conferences to play in a BCS bowl. The other was the Meyer-coached Utah team, which won the Mountain West Conference in 2004 and routed Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.

Surprising Atlantic Coast Conference winner Wake Forest (11-2), the lowest-ranked of the 10 BCS teams at No. 15, will take on fifth-ranked Big East Conference titlist Louisville (11-1) in the Orange Bowl in Miami a day later.

On January 3, No. 11 Notre Dame (10-2) will oppose No. 4 Louisiana State (10-2) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Sixth-ranked Wisconsin (11-1), which tied for second in the Big Ten Conference with Michigan, is ranked higher than half of the BCS teams but has been relegated to the Capital One Bowl against Arkansas (10-2) because three teams from the same league cannot all go to BCS games.

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