AUBURN, Ala. — The Bowl Championship Series made official Sunday night what Auburn fans had known for more than a day: the Tigers will play for the national title.
No. 1 Auburn (13-0) will play No. 2 Oregon (12-0) for the crystal football at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.
"There's really no other feeling like it," said head coach Gene Chizik, who played in the 2006 title game while with Texas. "There's something different about playing in a natl championship game. It's a great time."
It's the first time either school has qualified for the championship game in the 13-year history of the BCS.
Neither has a storied history of championships. Auburn shared the 1957 title with Ohio State, but has not won it since, despite finishing undefeated in 1993 and 2004. Oregon has never won a national championship in football.
Both climbed their way up the polls to get into the game. Oregon was ranked 11th in the preseason Associated Press poll. Auburn was 23rd. It's the first time both title game participants started outside the AP top 10.
They did it with high-powered offenses. Oregon ranks first nationally in scoring (49.3 ppg) and second in total offense (537.5 ypg). Auburn is sixth in scoring (42.7 ppg) and seventh in total yards (487.7 ypg).
Auburn solidified its spot with a 56-17 thrashing of South Carolina in the SEC championship game Saturday, the most complete game the Tigers played all season.
"We felt like that game was a long time coming," Chizik said.