Tigers To Play Virginia Tech In Sugar Bowl

Auburn finds itself on the outside looking in as USC and Oklahoma head for the Orange Bowl.

New York, NY--Sunday the news that Auburn has been fearing became official as the final BCS standings placed the Tigers third behind USC and Oklahoma and out of the national championship game. Instead, Coach Tommy Tuberville and his team will face the 10-2 Virginia Tech Hokies in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Tuberville said that his team is obviously going to be disappointed, but looking forward to playing in the BCS game.

"There's no perfect way to do this," Tuberville said. "We've been tweaking it every year. All the coaches have gotten together and tried to help as much as we can. Unless you have a full-fledged playoff you're going to have problems like this.

"I'm disappointed in 125 young men back in Auburn right now because they've played their hearts out," Tuberville added from the ABC studio. "To play through our conference and go undefeated is almost a miracle. I'm proud for what they've done and how they've done it."

After rolling through the Southeastern Conference undefeated and winning the championship game 38-28 over Tennessee Saturday night, Auburn stands as the first team to go through the SEC without a loss since the Vols in 1998. Unlike that team, Auburn won't have a shot at the national title though. Tuberville said that despite the news this team has plenty to be proud of this season.

"It means so much, not just to our conference, but to college football for guys like Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown to come back for last year. Jason Campbell, what a story he has made with his comeback. He's really playing well. It's just tough, but we'll accept it and look forward to playing in the Sugar Bowl.

"It's not a perfect system and if it was we would all be happy today," Tuberville added. "We wanted to search for the two best teams at the end of the year and whether right or wrong, whether we are or are not one of them, you never know. This will be a great game in the Orange Bowl and we're looking forward to playing a great Virginia Tech team in the Sugar Bowl.

Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall leads a balanced Hokie attack.

The Tigers will face a hot Virginia Tech team in the Nokia Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m., their first appearance in the game since Jan. 1 1989 when they lost 13-7 to Florida State. With losses to just USC and North Carolina State this season, the ACC Champion Hokies will be a formidable opponent for the Tigers. Coach Frank Beamer said his team is excited about playing in New Orleans.

"We're a very proud group today to represent the ACC," Beamer said. "We've earned our way there. We started out not ranked and we ended up winning the ACC. I am very proud of this football team."

There is little question that the BCS system is still flawed and needs further adjustments to help in situations such as this down the road. Last season the complaints should not have been as loud because every team had at least one loss and USC got left out of the mix. Winning every game is all a team can do, but it wasn't enough to help the Tigers this season. Big 12 Commissioner and the head of the BCS Kevin Weiberg said that the system worked as it was designed to this season, get the top two teams in the Orange Bowl. Unfortunately for Auburn they'll have no chance to prove that statement wrong.

"We had several outstanding teams in college football this year," Weiberg said. "Five unbeaten teams. Four of them playing in BCS bowl games. These are all great teams. We had some great one-loss teams too, but in this system we started the year knowing that there are only two spots in the Orange Bowl for number one and number two and that those positions would be determined by our standings formula.

"This happens to be a year when, not only do we have a consensus one and two in the human polls, but we also have all six of the computer rankings having these teams at one-two as well. That's really the limited objective we set out to do through the BCS."

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