An Evaluation of National Championships 1936-2013

tusks_n_raider

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I agree. I was being facetious, which is why I followed it up with the other points.
Yeah I figured you did and almost added that none of my comments were directed towards you.

I just get fired up when those type of what if notions from people outside of us try to in any way discredit 1992 team or even try to insinuate we were lucky to 'dodge' having to play FSU.

No FSU missed the opportunity to get beat by us because they couldn't beat Miami to even get to the Sugar Bowl.

That what/if rhetoric burned me up then and still does now.....lol....

But it was a notable topic from the talking heads in the aftermath of the season, so I understand why you included it.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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1993 AP POLL
National champion: Florida State 12-1
Undefeated teams: #4 Auburn 11-0
UPI national champion: Florida State

1) Choking on tears, Florida State wins an undeserved national championship


For the sixth straight year, 1993 was finally going to be "the year Florida State wins it all." For the sixth straight year, Florida State lost to a team standing in their way. This time, though, the sports media manipulated the narrative enough to give FSU a "second chance" and the officials in the Orange Bowl - apparently borrowed from the 1972 USA/USSR Olympic basketball game - ensured the desired outcome. Never did a championship of the TV era ever feel more rigged than this one.

It started less than a month after Alabama slaughtered Miami. It was almost as though the sports media as a whole was going to do everything possible to get the ball rolling to 1993. That year was the first year the next season's "preseason poll" came out NOT in July or August but instead in February. The glow wasn't even fully illuminated on Alabama's title but, who cares about those rednecks, right? After six months of priming the pump, the declaration was made in an SI cover story that featured FSU's new kicker, Scott Bentley. After all - if FSU had just had a kicker (so the myth went), they'd be going for a three-peat. (Lost in this crapola was the fact the idiots writing this always forgot about Florida State losing a second game in 1991, to Florida. Screw 'em, it's journalism, and you can just MAKE UP YOUR OWN FACTS if you must! Then came a season-long buildup to the showdown in South Bend against Notre Dame, and the Irish just happened to be pretty good in 1993, too.

That year's "Game of the Century" saw Notre Dame roll out to a 31-10 lead and then hang on to win by seven. After the game, a pathetic loser named Matt Frier (who will go to his grave as Matt Crier) got on national television - tears flowing - and begged the voters for "a second chance," appealing to "every year they say Florida State is playing the best at the end of the year and we will this year." Of course - FSU was like those baseball teams that are 30 games out of first and catch fire in the final two months of the season once hope is lost because there's nothing to lose. Five years earlier, Frier would have been mocked incessantly (as he would today), but this was the brand new "I feel your pain" America, so Frier's "passion" (as opposed to his "whiny, pouty sore losing") was the story. Meanwhile, the media went full apologist and began clamoring for a rematch. For seven days, the media told all of us that "nobody wants to see Florida State-Nebraska again" and disparaged the Huskers as a team that hadn't won a big game in 20 years. So on board was the media that FSU dropped ONLY to number two.

But then Boston College upset Notre Dame, which led to.....

2) The Media 180 Pivot

Within seconds of the Irish losing, ESPN and their willing accomplices across networks flip-flopped like a politician talking to a new audience. All of a sudden, they were banging the drum for "the game everyone wants to see is Florida State-Nebraska." Unspoken in this, of course, were two realities:

1) absolute trembling at the idea of an All Backwater national title game (Nebraska vs W VA)
2) their confidence that Florida State just might lose yet another time with Notre Dame, but they'd kill Nebraska.

For reasons that could never be made clear, Notre Dame's loss to BC miraculously transformed FSU's loss to the Irish into a win, so much so that the Noles were right back at number one. The disparaging of West Virginia's schedule - and WVA played in the same conference as Miami, whose schedule was never permitted to be questioned - began in earnest. The fact WVA played AND BEAT five 9-3 football teams INCLUDING (wait for it) Boston College...didn't matter. No, what mattered was ensuring FSU got to the title game.

And you may regard this particular analysis as cynical, and you should - because it was the most obvious "let's get the outcome we want" that I've ever watched unfold.

3) "Head to Head? Ah, Who Cares!"

As if the debacle unfolding in slow motion wasn't bad enough, you had the spectacle of media mouthpieces trying to tell us that just because a team lost a football game didn't mean the other team was better. Of course, that IS true in an abstract sense. It IS entirely possible that Florida State WAS, in fact, better than Notre Dame.

But using that argument, I would have actually voted for Nebraska for the national championship, too. After all....

Notre Dame beats FSU by 7 - doesn't mean the best team won
FSU beats Nebraska by 2

You can't say the one proves your case, but the other one doesn't count. True, they don't all count equally, but this is why making a case via a poll always was a ludicrous exercise. I'm sure if I had voted for Nebraska (right after drinking a bottle of Drano no doubt), my name would have been paraded all over the media like Corky Simpson's was the year previous. I would have enjoyed burning the villages of Trev Alberts or Chris Fowler or Lee Corso - "But Selma, FSU won the game on the field!" Yes, and so did Notre Dame, so what's your point?

Furthermore, how many of you actually WATCHED the 1994 Orange Bowl? It was so bad and slanted - and remember folks, I DESPISE Nebraska - but it was so bad I almost got the idea that if Bowden needed it, they would reduce FSU's first downs to only seven yards and make their PATs worth 6 points rather than 1 just to make sure they got the outcome. It felt so dirty all the way around.

4) Probation Complication

And speaking of feeling dirty all the way around, we have the Auburn Tigers running the table while serving probation for paying Eric Ramsey to not be an NFL quality player.

And predictably came a few die-hard voters - four, in fact - saying Auburn should be the national champions, an incredible declaration that "ah, that SEC title game doesn't really mean anything anyway" combined with "who needs a bowl game?" Auburn had an exciting year in 1993 (unless, of course, you were an Alabama fan in which case it was a Pepto-level nightmare), so exciting nobody saw it thanks to a TV ban. I can understand the voters of 1984 that chose Florida both as a safe place to hide out AND as a protest against what the system had produced. I can understand the latter, too, in 1993, but the former makes no sense. Auburn's schedule was nowhere in the same solar system of Florida's in 1984, and they didn't beat a single team on the road that had a winning record. They were a good team that had a good year, and their final #4 ranking was probably about where they should have been. But national champions? Get outta here.

5) Did the right team win the national championship?

1993 is apparently what it's like to attend law class or debate and have to defend a position you absolutely DO NOT believe because I'm in the position of absolutely having to defend Notre Dame of all teams for once. This, of course, will not stop me from pausing a moment to laugh my ass off with the observation, "So tell me - HOW DOES IT FEEL to get SCREWED?????"

1993 was wrong all the way around. The wrong teams played for the national title, and the wrong team won it. The national championship game SHOULD HAVE BEEN Nebraska versus West Virginia in the Orange Bowl for the whole bowl of wax. The networks that were so in love and enamored with the FSU/ND rematch should have just sent them to Tempe and hope FSU won to eliminate both teams. They could have even ensured it by sending that clueless officiating crew that helped the Noles win the title in Miami.

Much was made of the fact that FSU "played a tougher schedule than West Virginia." But so what? Once you lose, that argument loses it's cache and can never be a substitute for an actual contest between the teams. Furthermore - and Lou Holtz was absolutely right about this - just four years earlier, his own team was denied a repeat "because of the head to head." NOW, however, the entire narrative flipped, and head to head didn't matter anymore.

There's a cruel irony to the entire thing. Holtz felt short changed in 1977 when Notre Dame leapfrogged ahead of Arkansas (and Alabama) to win the title. Holtz managed to feel it a second time while coaching the Irish. And that leads to...

6) Danny Kanell kills puppies and downloads child porn

I mean, is there anyone who people hate more than someone who does those two things (other than acting on the second one)? I'm sure Kanell, once he takes off the "let me play a moron" character, is a nice guy. When he's not playing a third-level troll with the Ted McGinley vibe, he's an intelligent person. To my knowledge, he's never been caught up in a metoo or other scandal. But Kanell LOVES to bash him some Alabama or - quite frankly - any team that lost a head-to-head game but won the title. I dive bomb this guy on Twitter every single time he goes with that, asking him if he's returning his undeserved ring that he got in 1993 with FSU. He never answers - and his silence is loud.

Florida State MIGHT have been "the best team" in the amorphous elasticity of that word, but they did NOT deserve the 1993 national championship, either.
 

TideEngineer08

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Selma, each of these articles is leading me to believe we need to ditch polls and committees altogether and just straight up go to an 8 team playoff with 4 conferences. 4 champions make it in and 4 wildcards are chosen via BCS rankings. Or something similar. An NFL style playoff, as much as is possible in the disjointed college football world.

Yeah, 1993 was a sham.
 

selmaborntidefan

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Selma, each of these articles is leading me to believe we need to ditch polls and committees altogether and just straight up go to an 8 team playoff with 4 conferences. 4 champions make it in and 4 wildcards are chosen via BCS rankings. Or something similar. An NFL style playoff, as much as is possible in the disjointed college football world.

Yeah, 1993 was a sham.
That year felt dirtier than any year of the 43 I've been watching CFB. There were debates, yes. But the level of "let's make sure this happens" was in the next world, too. This existed up to a point for Nebraska in 1994, but Nebraska didn't lose to Penn State, either, so a certain degree of "this is what we think" while debatable was at least defensible.
 

DzynKingRTR

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1993 AP POLL
National champion: Florida State 12-1
Undefeated teams: #4 Auburn 11-0
UPI national champion: Florida State

1) Choking on tears, Florida State wins an undeserved national championship


For the sixth straight year, 1993 was finally going to be "the year Florida State wins it all." For the sixth straight year, Florida State lost to a team standing in their way. This time, though, the sports media manipulated the narrative enough to give FSU a "second chance" and the officials in the Orange Bowl - apparently borrowed from the 1972 USA/USSR Olympic basketball game - ensured the desired outcome. Never did a championship of the TV era ever feel more rigged than this one.

It started less than a month after Alabama slaughtered Miami. It was almost as though the sports media as a whole was going to do everything possible to get the ball rolling to 1993. That year was the first year the next season's "preseason poll" came out NOT in July or August but instead in February. The glow wasn't even fully illuminated on Alabama's title but, who cares about those rednecks, right? After six months of priming the pump, the declaration was made in an SI cover story that featured FSU's new kicker, Scott Bentley. After all - if FSU had just had a kicker (so the myth went), they'd be going for a three-peat. (Lost in this crapola was the fact the idiots writing this always forgot about Florida State losing a second game in 1991, to Florida. Screw 'em, it's journalism, and you can just MAKE UP YOUR OWN FACTS if you must! Then came a season-long buildup to the showdown in South Bend against Notre Dame, and the Irish just happened to be pretty good in 1993, too.

That year's "Game of the Century" saw Notre Dame roll out to a 31-10 lead and then hang on to win by seven. After the game, a pathetic loser named Matt Frier (who will go to his grave as Matt Crier) got on national television - tears flowing - and begged the voters for "a second chance," appealing to "every year they say Florida State is playing the best at the end of the year and we will this year." Of course - FSU was like those baseball teams that are 30 games out of first and catch fire in the final two months of the season once hope is lost because there's nothing to lose. Five years earlier, Frier would have been mocked incessantly (as he would today), but this was the brand new "I feel your pain" America, so Frier's "passion" (as opposed to his "whiny, pouty sore losing") was the story. Meanwhile, the media went full apologist and began clamoring for a rematch. For seven days, the media told all of us that "nobody wants to see Florida State-Nebraska again" and disparaged the Huskers as a team that hadn't won a big game in 20 years. So on board was the media that FSU dropped ONLY to number two.

But then Boston College upset Notre Dame, which led to.....

2) The Media 180 Pivot

Within seconds of the Irish losing, ESPN and their willing accomplices across networks flip-flopped like a politician talking to a new audience. All of a sudden, they were banging the drum for "the game everyone wants to see is Florida State-Nebraska." Unspoken in this, of course, were two realities:

1) absolute trembling at the idea of an All Backwater national title game (Nebraska vs W VA)
2) their confidence that Florida State just might lose yet another time with Notre Dame, but they'd kill Nebraska.

For reasons that could never be made clear, Notre Dame's loss to BC miraculously transformed FSU's loss to the Irish into a win, so much so that the Noles were right back at number one. The disparaging of West Virginia's schedule - and WVA played in the same conference as Miami, whose schedule was never permitted to be questioned - began in earnest. The fact WVA played AND BEAT five 9-3 football teams INCLUDING (wait for it) Boston College...didn't matter. No, what mattered was ensuring FSU got to the title game.

And you may regard this particular analysis as cynical, and you should - because it was the most obvious "let's get the outcome we want" that I've ever watched unfold.

3) "Head to Head? Ah, Who Cares!"

As if the debacle unfolding in slow motion wasn't bad enough, you had the spectacle of media mouthpieces trying to tell us that just because a team lost a football game didn't mean the other team was better. Of course, that IS true in an abstract sense. It IS entirely possible that Florida State WAS, in fact, better than Notre Dame.

But using that argument, I would have actually voted for Nebraska for the national championship, too. After all....

Notre Dame beats FSU by 7 - doesn't mean the best team won
FSU beats Nebraska by 2

You can't say the one proves your case, but the other one doesn't count. True, they don't all count equally, but this is why making a case via a poll always was a ludicrous exercise. I'm sure if I had voted for Nebraska (right after drinking a bottle of Drano no doubt), my name would have been paraded all over the media like Corky Simpson's was the year previous. I would have enjoyed burning the villages of Trev Alberts or Chris Fowler or Lee Corso - "But Selma, FSU won the game on the field!" Yes, and so did Notre Dame, so what's your point?

Furthermore, how many of you actually WATCHED the 1994 Orange Bowl? It was so bad and slanted - and remember folks, I DESPISE Nebraska - but it was so bad I almost got the idea that if Bowden needed it, they would reduce FSU's first downs to only seven yards and make their PATs worth 6 points rather than 1 just to make sure they got the outcome. It felt so dirty all the way around.

4) Probation Complication

And speaking of feeling dirty all the way around, we have the Auburn Tigers running the table while serving probation for paying Eric Ramsey to not be an NFL quality player.

And predictably came a few die-hard voters - four, in fact - saying Auburn should be the national champions, an incredible declaration that "ah, that SEC title game doesn't really mean anything anyway" combined with "who needs a bowl game?" Auburn had an exciting year in 1993 (unless, of course, you were an Alabama fan in which case it was a Pepto-level nightmare), so exciting nobody saw it thanks to a TV ban. I can understand the voters of 1984 that chose Florida both as a safe place to hide out AND as a protest against what the system had produced. I can understand the latter, too, in 1993, but the former makes no sense. Auburn's schedule was nowhere in the same solar system of Florida's in 1984, and they didn't beat a single team on the road that had a winning record. They were a good team that had a good year, and their final #4 ranking was probably about where they should have been. But national champions? Get outta here.

5) Did the right team win the national championship?

1993 is apparently what it's like to attend law class or debate and have to defend a position you absolutely DO NOT believe because I'm in the position of absolutely having to defend Notre Dame of all teams for once. This, of course, will not stop me from pausing a moment to laugh my ass off with the observation, "So tell me - HOW DOES IT FEEL to get SCREWED?????"

1993 was wrong all the way around. The wrong teams played for the national title, and the wrong team won it. The national championship game SHOULD HAVE BEEN Nebraska versus West Virginia in the Orange Bowl for the whole bowl of wax. The networks that were so in love and enamored with the FSU/ND rematch should have just sent them to Tempe and hope FSU won to eliminate both teams. They could have even ensured it by sending that clueless officiating crew that helped the Noles win the title in Miami.

Much was made of the fact that FSU "played a tougher schedule than West Virginia." But so what? Once you lose, that argument loses it's cache and can never be a substitute for an actual contest between the teams. Furthermore - and Lou Holtz was absolutely right about this - just four years earlier, his own team was denied a repeat "because of the head to head." NOW, however, the entire narrative flipped, and head to head didn't matter anymore.

There's a cruel irony to the entire thing. Holtz felt short changed in 1977 when Notre Dame leapfrogged ahead of Arkansas (and Alabama) to win the title. Holtz managed to feel it a second time while coaching the Irish. And that leads to...

6) Danny Kanell kills puppies and downloads child porn

I mean, is there anyone who people hate more than someone who does those two things (other than acting on the second one)? I'm sure Kanell, once he takes off the "let me play a moron" character, is a nice guy. When he's not playing a third-level troll with the Ted McGinley vibe, he's an intelligent person. To my knowledge, he's never been caught up in a metoo or other scandal. But Kanell LOVES to bash him some Alabama or - quite frankly - any team that lost a head-to-head game but won the title. I dive bomb this guy on Twitter every single time he goes with that, asking him if he's returning his undeserved ring that he got in 1993 with FSU. He never answers - and his silence is loud.

Florida State MIGHT have been "the best team" in the amorphous elasticity of that word, but they did NOT deserve the 1993 national championship, either.
I have been trying to figure out who that former FSU QB reminds me of for years. You have solved the mystery. Freaking Ted McGinley!
 

selmaborntidefan

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1994 AP POLL
National champion: Nebraska 13-0
Undefeated teams: #2 Penn State 12-0
UPI national champion: Nebraska

1) Finally getting even with the Big Ten.


Well, it took forever, but the pollsters FINALLY got even with the Big Ten for all those early years of slanted voting and bias. Of course, it only happened because Penn State was a newcomer and not a long-time Big Ten school, but it was every bit as unjust as what happened to SEC teams back in the day, probably more so since the bias of the 50s and 60s was at least understandable in a way not possible in 1994.

Penn State's 1994 team was good. Very good. And after Auburn knocked off Florida for the second straight year, it was Penn State that rose to the top of the polls. What's funny is that Penn State tore through the opposition the way Nebraska used to do back when they were an overrated bunch of corn fed bullies. For 2 weeks, Penn State was on top in BOTH polls - and never lost. They were on top of the UPI/Coaches Poll for 3 weeks. In theory, it should have been easy. What happened?

a) on October 29, Nebraska thumped Colorado, 24-7. You can't really blame the pollsters. Sure, Penn State blew out #21 Ohio State, 63-14, but it's not like Penn State was actually playing anyone real good.

b) the following week with the game easily in hand against Indiana, Penn State's head coach decided to go all the way down to the fourth string. Indiana scored 15 points against those reserves in the final 2 minutes or so, and because other coaches don't actually watch the games, they thought Penn State had a "struggle win" and dropped them to #2.

Penn State then had the luck of the anti-Irish or more precisely the 93 Irish when they got Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Let's face it - Oregon (then) is NOT USC (whom Penn State absolutely manhandled in September) or UCLA or even Washington. So not only did the Lions fall based on bad luck, they had zero chance to recover in the Rose Bowl.

2) The Three-Car Crash That Wasn't


As the teams came down the stretch, college football had an interesting dilemma on their hands - three unbeaten teams heading into the bowl games when only two (at most) could win a title. Florida's narrow one-point win over Alabama in the SEC title game prevented the debacle, but there was still a debacle remaining.

Lee Corso - God love him - was at it again in 1994. After enraging Aggies fans by saying FSU should be rated higher in 1992 (and then the pollsters doing it), Corso laid out the scenario for Alabama as national champions. Pointing out Alabama had four straight opponents in the Top 16 under the current setup - MSU, Auburn, Florida, and (theoretically) Florida State - Corso said that if Alabama ran the table, you HAD to give them the national championship. He qualified his remarks saying he didn't think it would happen, but he reiterated that if they did, there was no more worthy champion out there.

3) Tom Osborne's First Lifetime Achievement Award

Just to be clear, I had no problem with Nebraska winning a national title. They did what they had to do. Yeah, they played an overrated Miami team and got a double bang for that, but Nebraska DID win every game. No, the problem was that Penn State did absolutely nothing wrong and wound up with nothing based (once again!) on media narrative: "Well, Oregon isn't any good." Yes, the Pac 12 was a white-hot mess in 1994. But was the Big 8 anything other than Nebraska, Colorado, and a pile of garbage?

Penn State beat four times that finished in the top 14 teams in the country. Nebraska beat 3 of the top 19. Yeah, Nebraska's top two were ranked higher, but Colorado was only ranked higher because of a fluke against Michigan, and the Wolverines would be higher but for that one play. No, the press got enamored with the then pristine reputation of Dr. Tom Prichard, er, Osborne. Don James, Gene Stallings, Bobby Bowden - it was now the lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately, they'd give out what should be a once-in-a-lifetime thing to this guy before he headed off to Congress.

4) But did the right team win the national championship?

Yes, in part. Nebraska was certainly deserving. No, the issue was you have two national titles and two unbeaten teams who cannot play each other, and the truly bizarre point was the COACHES - the very same poll that had complained about teams running up the score to impress them - who dropped Penn State after the Indiana "not close call." What the pollsters SEEMED to be saying was a claim they'd made loud and clear - "if you're #1 going into your bowl and win it," you don't drop.

But the Big Ten was going to find out REAL SOON that those rules didn't apply to Nebraska when the Huskers were on the other side of the paradigm.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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1995 AP POLL
National champion: Nebraska 13-0
UPI national champion: Nebraska

1) Did the right team win the national championship?


Of course, this was an easy one. You have two unbeaten teams, both obliterating their foes, and one pancakes the other. They don't come any easier than 1995.

2) So is 1995 Nebraska the greatest team of all-time?

No, because in the sense this argument is brought out, there's NO SUCH THING as "the greatest team of all-time." It's a tired argument for days when a sportswriter or pundit really has nothing of substance to say, so he knows he can get a rise out of folks with references to "the greatest team ever." There's simply no such thing. You cannot compare - fairly anyway - teams across eras because too many things change.

Alabama fans are fond of saying, "But Coach Bryant said that '66 team was his best." Yes, and he said the same about his '79 team, too. And football changed so much in those 14 years, particularly at Alabama, that the 79 team (which gave up 67 points) would probably have skull dragged the 66 team with relative ease. Yeah, Alabama's defense only gave up 54 points in 1966, but Notre Dame's only gave up 38 against a tougher schedule, too. My point isn't to enrage folks to much as point out that CONTEXT is everything, and consequently there can simply be no such thing as a "greatest team of all-time." There CAN be "best team I ever saw," "best team OF THEIR time," or some other similar verbiage. But there's not going to be a playoff between, say, 2001 Miami and 1995 Nebraska, so there's no way to come out a winner. And anyone who wishes to make any point in a team's particular favor is free to do so, but it doesn't make the argument correct.

Nebraska was the best team of 1995, and it wasn't even close. But I would remind you of a few concurrent circumstances as well.

Ask yourself a question: is there/are there common thread(s) with every team touted as "the greatest team ever"? Actually, there are - if people just paid attention

a) a team gets called the "greatest ever" when it wins the national title game in a blowout.
Nebraska 38 Alabama 6 (1971)
USC 42 Ohio St 17 (1972)
Nebraska 62 Florida 24 (1995)
Miami 37 Nebraska 14 (2001)
USC 55 Oklahoma 19 (2004)
Clemson 44 Alabama 16 (2018)
LSU 42 Clemson 25 (2019)

The only real "exceptions" to this are 1968 Ohio State, who won their bowl by a "mere" 11 points, and perhaps 2005 Texas. Of course, 2005 Texas being good is based almost entirely on the notion of 2004 USC being as good as advertised.

There have been a FEW other teams declared great prematurely only to lose title games: 2003 Oklahoma, 2005 USC, 2016 Alabama. All were declared "greatest" if they could just run the table.

b) in almost every case where a team is touted as an all-time great, the parity across CFB is so extensive that it enables the best team to look substantially better than they really are

And it's not difficult at all to prove this, either. Take almost any year where a team was being touted as "the greatest ever" PRIOR to the championship game and then look at the accompanying polls. There will almost always be a larger than normal gap at the top of that poll that enables a team to be in the top three no matter what.

I'm willing to grant that 1971 is an exception, but that was a totally different animal. You have to remember that with schedules filled out AN ENTIRE DECADE in advance back then, 1971 is early enough that Alabama's entire schedule was the return date with USC and a bunch of Southern teams. From the start of the boycotting of segregated schools in the mid-50s until 1977, Alabama played ALL their games in the Southern USA except for 1971 USC (which was agreed to in 1970 as a home/home) and 1975 Maryland - which, okay, is outside the South but barely. My point? It was the national scheduling of teams that really began in earnest in the late 70s as the barriers were wearing away that stopped the stockpile of one-loss teams with a "great" one. That and using the bowls to determine the champion, which turned a bunch of one-loss teams into two-loss teams.

But I stand by my point - IN GENERAL, the times one team is touted as an all-time great, the downforces of parity are largely contributing to the perception.

Look at the 1995 final poll. One unbeaten team. Two one-loss teams - both of which gave up 62 points in the game they lost - and EVERYONE below them with two or more losses. Now click back one year and look at 1994, where NOBODY alleges that Nebraska team was an all-time great. Two undefeated teams (technically three since A/M only had a tie), two one-loss teams, two teams with one loss and a tie. Go forward one year to 1996 and again - the top five teams all have one loss, and NOBODY suggests Florida is the greatest ever, although they probably should. Or look at 2001. One unbeaten, one one-loss team (Oregon) and a pile of hot garbage and two-loss teams starting with #3 and going down the list. In 2003, Oklahoma was assured of the BCS title game even if they lost to K-State because the one loss would not let them drop (in human polls) lower than third because it meant everyone else had two losses. In 2016, yes, Alabama looked good - but then again, no other team in the SEC had fewer than four losses, either.

My point is that the non-stop symphony of "they're great" SEEMS to accompany years where there's not much else (though I will note tha 2019, when 3 teams got into the playoff unbeate is an exception - but I never bought the "this is the greatest team" nonsense for either Clemson in 18 or LSU in 19. And 1983 was an exception, but only because of the bowl nonsense.

c) offense is over-valued, defense is under-valued...prior to 2014.

Defense doesn't seem to have near as much value nowadays, and perhaps we can blame it like so many other unpleasant things in life on Auburn - more precisely, the hiring of Gus "Hurry Up and Run Because We Can't Beat Them In An Actual Football Game" Malzahn. But if you look at all these "great" teams, guess what? They all have high-octane, high-scoring, fast break or whatever you call them offenses. Nebraska punched in 38 ppg in 1971, which would be about like a team averaging 54 nowadays. Consider 1992 Alabama, perhaps the most underrated TEAM of the last 40 years, surprising given they ended a dynasty's 29-game winning streak and blew them out in the championship game which, as I've noted, seems to be a common thread. Alabama's defense in 1992 (along with the special teams) was so good that the Tide would have won 10 of the 13 games without the offense taking a snap or at least gaining a yard. But because defense is based upon PREVENTING scoring and what excites people is watching plays that end in points, the Alabama team with it's adequate at best offense is considered "a great defense" as opposed to a great team. But if those same guys had averaged 40 ppg, gave up 30, and then beaten Miami by the same score, today they'd rank among the all-time greats. The reality is they ARE, but the analysts don't give defense it's proper due. Some of the teams - 71 and 95 Nebraska - DO have good teams, but in the case of the latter, how much of their "great defense" is due to other teams' mediocrity.


Was 1995 Nebraska a very good team? Yes
Were they the best of their time? Not in my view. This whole thing is based on them blowing out a bunch of nobodies (which means absolutely nothing), three teams whose overratedness is due to them playing in the same conference (and also getting blown out by Nebraska), and blowing out Florida. I reiterate - a very good team, capable of not just skull dragging opponents but girlfriends of future coaches right down thre flights of stairs.

But the best ever? Get outta here.
 

selmaborntidefan

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1996 AP POLL
National champion: Florida 12-1
UPI national champion: Florida

1) John Cooper - Every Rose has it's thorns.


In 1985, Cooper was a first-year coach at Arizona State. After a bit of a rough start, he had the Dirt Devils ready for their first-ever berth in the Rose Bowl - ready for prime time! Leading by 3 with six minutes left, Cooper's defense surrenders two Luis Zendejas field goals to send UCLA back to Pasadena to face Iowa.

In 1986, Cooper's undefeated (and once-tied) Devils are in the hunt with a Rose Bowl berth in-hand...and get blown out by arch rival Arizona by 17 points. When the Devils make a great comeback against Michigan in the Rose Bowl to finally win one, the Devils - and the Head Devil - are on the national scene. After a rebuilding year, the Head Devil goes to Columbus, Ohio to replace the guy who replaced the REAL devil.

In 1990 - Cooper's third year - the Buckeyes need only to beat Michigan (yes, arch rival for the third time) - to make the Rose Bowl. Naturally, this being Cooper, they lose...AGAIN by the 16-13 score.

In 1993, Ohio State is fully ensconsed in the Cooper Era. Ranked fifth in the nation with no losses and only a tie to Wisconsin, all it takes is a win over Michigan to make the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes never get off the team bus, a 28-0 blowout, but presumably they enjoy the trip to San Diego since Coop wins his first bowl game since beating Bo in the 1987 Rose Bowl.

In 1995, it all comes together for the Buckeyes and Cooper. They're ranked #2 in the nation with a talented team top to bottom that includes Bobby Hoying, Orlando Pace, Terry Glenn, Mike Vrabel, and Heisman winner Eddie George. All they need for another Rose Bowl is to beat Michigan - and beat USC and maybe stake a claim to the national championship. Naturally, Cooper blows a waiting Rose Bowl with a loss to an arch rival for the fourth time in five tries (and a second title shot).

In 1996, Cooper clinches the Rose Bowl. All he needs to do is beat Michigan and totally mess up the potential national championship game between Nebraska and Florida State. But this IS Cooper, and he proceeds to lose AGAIN to Michigan, 13-9. To make matters more interesting, he beats his old school in the Rose Bowl and ends the year at number four.

In 1997, for the fourth time in five years and sixth overall, Cooper needs only to beat Michigan to make the Rose Bowl and - with a little luck - possibly win a national championship. Was this Michigan team better than Cooper's boys? Yeah, but they weren't in previous years. No matter. Cooper's forces lose yet another rivalry game and watch UM win a Rose Bowl and a national title.

The BCS came along the next year and made the Rose Bowl more a game of chance than it was. But Nebraska, Florida, and Michigan (and Nebraska a second time) need to send championship rings to Cooper because without his folding, maybe none of this happens.

2) Did the right team win the national championship?

In the sense the "best" team won, yes. In terms of the process, no, because a national title game in the BCS era would have been Florida State vs Arizona State. A four-team playoff...well, we sort of had it. The top two seeds would have been FSU and Arizona State, and they would have played the teams they did. The only "real" difference is Ohio State and Florida would have played the title game based on these results.

Of course, would YOU have bet on John Cooper to win the one game that mattered?

The best team DID win, but that doesn't change the reality that the process was a train wreck.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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1997 AP POLL
National champion: Michigan 12-0
UPI Champion: Nebraska 13-0

1) Good-bye, Good Riddance - and one more for the road.


When the 90s began, bowl tie-ins were as much a part of college football as mascots, cheerleaders, and paying players off the books. The formation of the Bowl Coalition in 1992 - consisting of the CFA schools (aka - the major conferences not called the Big Ten or Pac Ten) - gave us a national title game (Miami vs Alabama) and controversy after Penn State was denied any claim to the title in 1994. This was replaced by the Bowl Alliance, but as long as one of those two conferences was clinging to the Rose Bowl like a man overboard clings to a life raft, nothing was going to happen. With conference expansion in the 90s, the conference commissioners became well-known names (Roy Kramer, Jim Delany, etc), and the conferences gave the head honchos the ability to negotiate the best corporate deals they could for the conference as a whole. What stood in the way was the ABC-TV network and their attachment to the Rose Bowl.

To be fair, ABC had a dilemma on their hands: any release of one of their Big Two conferences to play in the national title game might well help their competition since the other bowl games were on other networks. ABC was understandably loathe to hurt themselves and help CBS or NBC. But thanks to empowerment, the big conference commissioners managed to steer through a new monstrosity known as the Bowl Championship Series, a big payday for everyone that managed to help out the lower tier bowls, too, by locking in contracts that set up a selection system where the game new in advance their potential choices and could offer the most attractive game possible. One of the important addenda to the entire negotation process was throwing the Citrus Bowl into the mix and making the game an annual SEC vs Big Ten affair. The two long-time (most of the time) power conferences had rivalries, both real and imagined, that traveled through the entire polling area, right through segregation and - to be blunt about it - was a sort of legalized form of carrying on the Civil War, too. Great programs like Alabama and Ohio State now increased their odds of meeting in the post-season, a cirumstance that lowered the feeling the teams needed to play each other in September. But in 1997, that was still a year away, and it's almost as though the final year of the old nonsense was concocted in a lab somewhere to remind fans of just how screwed up the entire process could be. Apparently, the statute of limitations on "we can't vote for a guy who gives domestic violence a free pass" is some period of time less than two years.

2) Nebraska - More Kickers With Range Than Florida State Can Recruit

The game of the year - indeed, the controversy of the year - happened in the Nebraska vs Missouri game in November, when in desperation to avoid defeat, Nebraska receiver kicked the ball after failing to catch it, and it landed in the hands of his teammate, assuring not only some world class Nebraska arrogance but some even lower class Missouri martyrdom, as they finally found a way to not think of the Fifth Down every Saturday. Nebraska's obvious attempt at skirting the rules - right up there with the later Bush Push in the 2005 USC/Notre Dame game - went back to that notion that high profile programs can get away with almost anything just so long as they're not playing another high profile program with more cache. (Let's be blunt: Alabama could never have tied in Michigan State in 1966 and made out like Notre Dame did; hell, not even Oklahoma could have pulled that one). You can't blame the receiver, he's just trying to win the game. But it was obvious then and now what was going on.

3) Nebraska - where the rules of gravity no longer apply

I like to think "karma" has exacted just retribution for Nebraska's 1997 title by turning them into one of the biggest laughinstocks in college football. Want a good association? Just remember this: five days after Nebraska was given (or Michigan was robbed if you prefer) the title, a young intern named Monica Lewinsky signed an affadavit that she had never had....any kind of affair with the President. It unraveled, of course, kind of like Nebraska's program did, and if you want to chuckle by yourself sometime, just remind yourself that Monica Lewinsky destroyed a President AND a major college football program.

No, I can't prove that. But I don't have to, either.

On a more serious note, however, the issue was not whether Nebraska was a good team, and it wasn't even the specious triumph over Mizzou. The issue was that for years we had all heard about "precedent" being largely the determining factor in which team was selected national champion. Just three years earlier, Penn State got sealed off from consideration. Now? Well, now, all of a sudden, Nebraska could float to the top of the coaches poll like that cockroach you have to flush 3-4 times before he finally rides the river to the local water treatment plant. And bear in mind that AT THAT TIME, the Penn State Head Coach was supposed to be one of the good guys.

4) Did the right team win the national championship?

Well, let's see: the wrong teams won the national title and the wrong moron won the Heisman Trophy, too. The media infatuation with ensuring that Charles Woodson became the "first primarily defensive player" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) to win the Heisman was quite obvious. Indeed, it may have sparked a bit of a backlash among fans against Michigan, it was so damned obvious. It was the same kind of manufactured nonsense that gave Tim Brown his undeserved Heisman a decade earlier and that nearly kept Bo Jackson from winning in favor of Chuck Long in 1985 in what was then the closest vote ever.

Here's the reality: based on the circumstances, a split national championship was just fine. Both teams ran the table against decent foes. The problem with 1997 isn't the problem of 1997, it's the problem of 1994. How can any voter possibly justify a split title one time but not the other? The answer, of course, is that this was the second Tom Osborne Lifetime Achievement Award, and he got it largely on the basis of "well, he was a fine upstanding coach yadda yadda great men something something and dynasty blah blah."

It has zippo to do with how good or bad his team actually was. Hence, the outcome was just but once again the process was not.

In 1998, the BCS began. And for those of you who think you've seen controversy, never underestimate the ability of the people holding the microphone to create narratives disconnected with reality. Within weeks of its first poll, the pundits who beached and moaned for years that the right two teams never met would now shift gears and begin saying....that the right two teams are not in the title game.

The more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
 

selmaborntidefan

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1998 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPION
Tennessee
Undefeated teams: #7 Tulane 12-0

1) Manufactured controversy is both manufactured and not really controversial.


Heading into the 1998 season, it appeared college football was finally - FINALLY - going to have an undisputed champion. Unfortunately, college football was really - for the first team - having to deal with the reality that over 1/2 the country now had the Internet and could discuss things online. Lazy writers could peruse boards that became easier and more accessible by the day to crib thoughts from the online intelligentsia and then pretend they actually had an original thought. And the BCS survived a near plane crash the very first season.

The fact it generated $117 million for college football told the powers that be not to kill this golden goose. With only two teams locked into a national title game, ALL of the other bowls were still rather important. Dilution of the value of those games would come later, but in 1998 everyone accepted the ruse that the games still mattered, it's just one mattered most.

The BCS used a complex formula more secret than the McDonald's secret sauce or the trade ingredients of Coca-Cola. The answer to the trivia question of which team was ranked #1 in the first-ever BCS poll is UCLA. I know, it's not as weird as Mississippi State leading the first CFP poll, but it's still kind of bizarre. But what made it all the more bizarre is that pre-season #1 Ohio State was ranked at two. The following week, UCLA won a close game against a mediocre Stanford team (but they won) and dropped to THIRD despite having done nothing actually wrong. This was something new to most fans. YES, teams HAD dropped previously despite winning, but this was completely different because it actually mattered. Little murmuring would have been heard had UCLA dropped to only #2. Of course, it was only October, right? Not anything to get all wrapped around the axle about. Enter Chris Fowler, who needed a fat lip but doesn't have any lips so good luck.

In 1992, Fowler was one of the ringleaders at the end of October when ESPN disparaged Alabama's schedule and potential for a national championship, noting (accurately) there were still 7 unbeaten teams and that everything would sort itself out. By 1998, however, Fowler had turned his head into the opposite direction and decided - as he looked over the remaining schedules - we were going to wind up with four unbeaten teams the first year of the BCS and an unmitigated disaster. As it turned out, Fowler was only off by 3 teams - and what happened instead was a bunch of whining by the same folks complaining of unbeaten teams as to why it was unfair that a particular one-loss team got selected.

Heading into the conference title games - and UCLA's makeup game with Miami - there was Tennessee, who looked the best, Kansas State with the compelling "underdog narrative", and UCLA, the old school champ with the new looking powder blue uniforms (new back in the day anyway). UCLA and K-State both collapsed, and Tennessee actually only had a 4-point lead with 8 minutes left against the upstarts from Starkville until they pulled through to win. Tennessee was in the title game, but whom would they face?

It wound up - no big surprise - being Florida State. Of course, Ohio State DID have as compelling an argument as the Noles did, but Ohio State hadn't been "next years champs" for the last 11 years, either, and because nobody knew the legend Nick Saban would become, Ohio State's loss at home hurt them worse - and FSU DID play a substantially tougher schedule, too. This, of course, did not stop the ESPN family of networks from suggesting that Ohio State had an outside shot at the national title - if Florida State could beat Tennessee. The Noles were forced to start a backup QB, and FSU never had a chance.

2) The BCS - In Need of some good PR

The BCS was NOT, as was commonly argued, a bad system in any way. If the pro-BCS contingent would have been willing to admit the system's flaws while simultaneously DEFENDING THE SYSTEM, perhaps it would have been better received. The CFP clearly learned from the savaging of the BCS - they learned so well that they will now stand up and lie with a straight face to defend the status quo. But if there had simply been an actual BCS spokesperson made available to explain something beyond cliché level WHY a particular team was chosen, the BCS would have been more accepted even by teams on the short end of the stick. Imagine if Chris Fowler has someone on with an iota of intelligence that can say (in 1998), "Okay, we have several worthy teams here. But the reason FSU was chosen is because they have a "good loss" and strongest schedule." Simple, right?

There were two things the BCS could not prevent from happening, and what exposed the flaws in the system is not that the inevitable happened but rather happened so quickly. A team that lost a head to head game played for the title. A team that got blown out in its last game played for it. A split title resulted. An undefeated team got left out. All these happened in the first seven years of the BCS. All could have been easily explained by a competent spokesperson with a dry wit. By the time the BCS took on Bush Administration flack Ari Fleischer, the death of the BCS was as inevitable the death of anyone else.

3) Did the right team win the national championship?

Well, the "best team" was probably the one saddled with an anchor of misery and incompetence known as John Cooper, so the right team didn't win as in the "best team." However - the team that did what it had to do and ran the table and won all the games and won it ON THE FIELD, Tennessee, was the right team to win the championship based on games and not on votes.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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1999 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPION
Florida State
Undefeated teams: #10 Marshall

1) Pristine and clean


Years don't come much easier than this one. Two unbeatens, an exciting superstar quarterbacking the underdog.

2) Marshall Goes Undefeated....


A compelling story given the program's history, but there's a word for people who think Marshall should have played for the national title or made a four-team playoff: morons. Like Tulane in 1998, who really cares? What is about to happen, though, is a large number of "mid-majors" (which sounds like a tennis or golf tournament that doesn't pay much) are about to complete unbeaten seasons because they: a) have a decent team; b) and don't play any decent teams.

3) Did the right team win the national championship?

Of course. Sure, it was a five-finger discounted national title from Dillard's but who cares? FSU was the best team, and they won it all.

Unfortunately, we all had to wake up 2000, and the failure of the press to defend the process. Say what you want - it was an AGREED UPON PROCESS, so why it disappointed so many remains a mystery.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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2000 BCS CHAMPION
Oklahoma 13-0

1) Washington beat Miami beat Florida State......


Since what I'm about to say contradicts much of what I've written in previous posts, allow me to explain why the elasticity.

Games are better than polls - obviously. And head-to-head contests have to matter because otherwise the games are insignificant. When polls were the ONLY way to determine a champion, one simply could not dismiss head-to-head results no matter how specious one may have been. We will ALL admit - if we are honest - that head-to-head encounters DO OCCASIONALLY throw out the wrong result. Nobody with an active brain cell really believes that Texas A/M was better than Alabama in 2012, even given their fast start out of the gate. Alabama had just won an emotional road game at LSU with a great comeback, got off to a sluggish start, and despite all the hurdles, the Tide was at the Aggie 6 with first and goal in the waning moments. A reasonable person without partisan interest could watch that game and say to themselves that they still thought Alabama was better despite the defeat. The same is true - and was the reason for the selection - in 2016 when Penn State lost to Ohio State in every way possible except the one that mattered. Anyone who saw the game knew it was largely a fluke at home win. Yes, you credit Penn State, but that doesn't change who's good, either.

The point is that a REASONABLE person CAN watch a team beat another narrowly in a head-to-head game and conclude the losing team is STILL the better team without it being a partisan thing. And knowing the specific details helps since games (like 1982 Alabama vs Penn State) can have artificially high or (like Super Bowl 26) artificially low margins. And having said that, we have to deal with Miami's claim to the right to play for the national championship.

The Miami fans had a simple argument: "we beat Florida State, therefore, we should play Oklahoma." It was always amusing to watch them squirm since every single one of them conveniently ignored losing to Washington, who also had only one loss. And Washington lost to an Oregon team that was ranked 20th at the time and wound up at number 7 with two losses, so it's not like they choked against a 3-8 also-ran. Miami fans seemingly wanted to have their cake and eat it, too - using head-to-head when it helped but pretending losing to Washington didn't mean anything at all. Indeed, a number then started going with the next-level transitive property arguments akin to Slippery Rock in the late 30s.

2) Did the right two teams meet for the championship?

The unbeaten and #1 Sooners are obviously a correct choice. Miami would have you believe that the head-to-head is conclusive in and of itself. But was it in this case?

Miami led the game at halftime, 17-0, and wound up winning on the missed kick wide right from 49 yards, 27-24. The Seminoles had 9 more first downs, 117 more total yards, and had a 2+ in the turnover battle on the road. By ALL accounts - and I watched this game when it aired - Miami outplayed FSU the entire first half and then about a 90-second span towards the end of the game, and FSU owned them otherwise. Miami DID beat FSU on the scoreboard, but it was a three-point win at home (the average margin of advantage), so the two teams were evenly matched. If they'd played ten times, they might split of FSU maybe wins 6 of 10.

Washington beat Miami at home by 5 points (34-29), but the difference was that unlike the FSU game, MIAMI NEVER LED THE HUSKIES. Yes, the game was on the road. Miami did have 22 more yards, but they gave 21 of those back in the penalty differential, and they lost the turnover battle (just as they did with FSU). Washington was more dominant in performance over Miami than the Canes were over the Noles. And this was also after (for what it's worth, not much) Miami mocked Washington in the tunnel by barking like dogs and (prior to the game) spoken openly of winning their first national title since 1991. Such probably did contribute to UW's performance, but the bottom line is the Huskies won.

And that presents a problem for the pro-Miami position. Of course, it's at this point that Hurricane defenders pivot and begin talking about how badly they whipped everybody else. Ok, that's a fair point. But there are two problems with making that argument: 1) FSU beat their other opponents by an average of 38.9 ppg, a whopping 8 points more than Miami won theirs; 2) against a MUCH tougher schedule. And the BCS computers took this into account - "yes, Miami, you barely beat Florida State, and you killed everyone else. But Florida State played much stronger everyone elses than YOU did, and they beat them by more points." The BCS worked exactly as it was intended to work.

And what happened? The pundits developed collective diarrhea and blasted the BCS, "this system doesn't even take into account head-to-head contests." Excuse me, but can any of you actually name ANY system of CFB that has EVER REALLY taken those into account EXCEPT for the final game? USC beat Alabama in 1978. Notre Dame beat FSU in 1993. Both of these were under polls, and in BOTH cases the team that lost that game won a national championship at the expense of the team that beat them. What about the CFP? Well, Penn State DID beat Ohio State in 2016, and the committee DID consider it....right alongside Penn State not only losing to Michigan AND Pitt but losing to Harbaugh by THIRTY-NINE points. What the committee said - just like the BCS and just like the polls - was, "Yes, we understand that Penn State barely beat Ohio State, but we also understand that they not only lost but got clobbered by a Michigan team that Ohio State beat, which kind of undoes some of the damage." The positives of both the BCS AND the CFP are they took ALL OF THE GAMES into account, and they assigned appropriate weights to them.

So the answer is, "Yes, the right two teams played for the national championship." But let's go further: "if Miami had actually beaten Washington, they would have played Oklahoma. Don't blame the system that you are only subject to because you lost a game."

I'm thinking the CFP learned from the BCS' failure to have a public advocate such as Jeff Long or Kirby Hocutt, someone to explain the WHY behind their decisions. The public still would have been angry in some cases (2011, hint hint), but at least it would have explained the rationale.

3) Did the right team win the national championship?

Without question. Whether Oklahoma could have beaten Miami (or Washington) is immaterial. You become champions based on who you beat, not who might possibly in an alternative universe beaten you. This was no different than 1992 Alabama's dealing with, "Oh, but Florida State would have beaten the Tide." Maybe Miami would have beaten Oklahoma in 2000, but I'm not so sure why anyone believes this.

After all, they couldn't beat Washington.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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2001 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPION
Miami

1) Another train wreck, another dent in the BCS can.


Because of the mess from 2000, the BCS immediately decided to tinker under the hood. All they had to do was defend the system. But no, they did away with the margin of victory element prior to 2001.

Despite a few murmurs, all was going well in the world until....

The day after Thanksgiving, Nebraska met Colorado in their annual grudge match in Boulder. The Buffaloes had two early season losses but had now risen as high as 14 in the AP poll. Colorado unloaded on the top-ranked Huskers, blowing out to a 35-3 lead en route to a 62-36 bombing of the Big Red that wasn't even as close as the final score suggested. The very next day, 3-7 Oklahoma State shocked the defending champion Oklahoma Sooners at Bedlam in Stillwater while Miami was blasting two-loss Washington, 65-7, and rising to the top of the BCS standings. Entering the December games, the BCS rankings were:

1) Miami
2) Florida
3) Texas
4) Nebraska
5) Oregon

The general consensus was that Florida would beat Tennessee in the make-up game from September 15, beat the winner of the Auburn-LSU game to win the SEC, and the nation would be treated to an all-Florida championship in the Rose Bowl. If only it could have been that easy.

Miami survived a scare with Virginia Tech. Indeed, had the Hokies not had five turnovers, it is likely their 26-24 loss would have thrown another monkey wrench into the BCS. The evening then saw the first stunning development when Tennessee shocked Florida, 34-32. The Florida loss meant Texas was now playing for the Rose Bowl. Naturally, they lost to Colorado, 39-37, in a rematch of a game they'd won in a rout earlier. The Vols win and Longhorns loss suddenly put Tennessee in the catbird seat at number two. Beat LSU, whom they'd already beaten 26-18, and go for your second BCS championship in four years. When the Vols went up 17-7 in the second quarter and LSU's starting quarterback, Rohan Davey, left with an injury, the Vols were halfway to Atlanta. But led by backup QB Matt Mauck, LSU climbed off the mat (pardon the pun) and manhandled the Vols the rest of the way, winning, 31-20.

And now came the eruptions and objections from coast to coast. Nebraska, who had not played a game since November 23 - where they were beaten soundly - cycled through the rankings and back to the number two spot. There were two other teams objecting to this occurence, two-loss Colorado and one-loss Oregon. Oregon, in fact, was number two in both the AP and coaches polls and had the national sentiment, but they were fourth in the BCS polls, not only behind Miami and Nebraska but also behind two-loss Colorado.

So why did Nebraska make the game despite not even winning their division? Well, you can thank the changes the BCS made trying to 'fix' the alleged snub in 2000 for the debacle of 2001. By removing the margin of victory component, the computers now treated Nebraska's 27-point drilling by Colorado as equal to Oklahoma's three-point loss to Okie State or Oregon's seven-point loss to ranked Stanford. This not only put Nebraska at number two, but combined with Oregon's weak strength of schedule put the Buffaloes in third.

2) The controversy that.....really wasn't.


What made the late autumn of 2001 so fun was that it seemed an upset happened almost every week coming down the stretch. (Even Miami's "great" team nearly lost to Va Tech). It was exciting and fun - every Saturday offered something great, and in all honesty it helped with trying to return to normalcy. But there was again the predictable discussions regarding "why someone other than the team that's playing in the game should be playing in the game."

Nobody ever seemed to want to say, "Hey, look, the only reason we're even having this discussion is because THOSE TEAMS LOST GAMES!" No, the discussion - when you get down to it - was really "which team's loss hurts them the least." And for perfectly understandable reasons, people focused on "my God, Nebraska got absolutely killed in that last game." But let's let me don a hat here and show how I would have presented the case AGAINST each team and then tell me this was really a controversy.

a) the case against Nebraska

"The entire case against Nebraska is simple: didn't win their conference, didn't even win their division, and lost by 28 points to arch rival in a game that wasn't even that close.

b) the case against Colorado

"Look, the entirety of the Buffaloes' case is "we killed Nebraska," but implicit in that argument is the assumption that a win over Nebraska is a win over a good team...while simultaneously sayin Nebraska isn't any good. But if a 28-point loss disqualifies Nebraska then why doesn't a 34-point loss (to Texas) disqualify Colorado? Of course, the Buffs partisans pivot and say, "Well, but we undid that by winning the rematch." Only a college football fan can persuade himself that a 2-point win makes up for a 34-point loss as if equal weight should be given to both. Then throw in that the Buffs have ANOTHER loss, this one to Fresno State. It's the WHOLE RECORD that causes the problem for the Buffs. They look much more worthy if you focus on two late-season games than if you focus on the entire year. But it seems specious to me to say Nebraska's 28-point loss is unforgivable but a 34-point loss is okay if you win a rematch. It seems to me we could solve this by letting Oregon play Miami and Nebraska and Colorado have a rematch in the Orange Bowl.

c) the case against Oregon


What's funny is that Oregon gets left out of the argument for no other reason than they had no involvement in the Colorado-Nebraska game. Of course, Oregon has the BEST LOSS of the three teams here, a 7-point loss to 9-3 Stanford at home. But their biggest problem is a schedule - and yes, they tried, how could they know Wisconsin would implode? - but their schedule is by far the easiest of the three. They got to skip Washington this year in Pac 10 play, their OOC was awful, and the Pac 12 was Oregon, Stanford, and Wazzu (some say Washington, but they gave up 65 to Miami and 49 to Oregon State). Oregon's fate is sealed by a schedule nowhere near as tough as CU or Nebraska

3) All we needed was a spokesperson competent enough to make this argument.

Chris Fowl-up: "I'm sure, though, you can understand the reactions of fans who say, 'How can the BCS say every game matters when a team that gets drilled so badly as Nebraska did in their last game gets a playoff berth?'"

Me: "Well, Chris, for starters, it isn't FANS saying that, they have no say in this discussion, it's you guys on television saying this in an effort to draw ratings to your other games, like Colorado vs Oregon. However, since you're saying that a 28-point loss for Nebraska is somehow a disqualifying factor, why isn't a 34-point loss for Colorado - in addition to have twice as many losses as the Huskers do - disqualifying? It seems to me that those of you writing this aren't exactly being consistent with the data, but if you'll allow me to explain, here's what happened: Nebraska made the title game because the Colorado vs Washington State game was never played. Now that's nobody's fault, but that IS why the system produced Nebraska. Our system DOES value EVERY game that is played and - yes - that includes Colorado's win over Nebraska, but it also includes Colorado's LOSSES to both Texas and Fresno State, and it even favors Colorado beating Texas later in the season. But the key for Colorado is those two late-season wins don't offset the two losses. As far as Oregon, I will remind everyone that if that CU/Wazzu game was played and Wazzu won then Oregon would be the one-loss team in the title game. The BCS considers the totality of the data, but they can't take into account games that aren't played, and neither can any other system.

Fowl-up: "Well, I'm sure the Colorado folks would say, but we beat Texas so that offsets one loss."

Me: "Yeah, and I'll say to those folks that the only reason they're even making that argument is that unlike Miami, Colorado lost two games. If Colorado wanted there to be no doubt they belonged, they should have won those two games they lost. The BCS will only run into some serious problems - and this is inevitable - when you have 3 or 4 unbeaten teams for only two spots. Debating the "deserving" among a group of one-loss teams should always be met with the observation that if they'd won the game they lost, there'd be no discussion in the first place."

4) Did the right team win the national championship?

Of course. Nobody was going to beat Miami in 2001.
 

STONECOLDSABAN

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2001 was a wild season. I wonder who out all
Of those teams; Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, and Oregon. Which one would have giving Miami the closest thing resembling a game in the championship? (Whether they deserved to be there or not)
 

selmaborntidefan

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Mar 31, 2000
26,779
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2001 was a wild season. I wonder who out all
Of those teams; Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, and Oregon. Which one would have giving Miami the closest thing resembling a game in the championship? (Whether they deserved to be there or not)
I've always thought if he'd had his mind on his job that Spurrier at Florida would have been the best opponent for Miami.
 
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TideEngineer08

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Selma,
I've always thought if he'd had his mind on his job that Spurrier at Florida would have been the best opponent for Miami.
Agreed.

Also, I had no idea how big of a role the elimination of the margin of victory component of the BCS had immediately after it was removed. They totally screwed up a good thing when they kept adjusting the BCS in an attempt to mediate supposed failures.

Yes there was always going to be a clamor for more than 2 teams playing for the championship. But the original BCS was a good formula. It seems as humans we can never accept a lack of perfection, despite it being literally impossible to obtain, and we always screw things up "fixing" it. Selma you are dead on. There needed to be a spokesman, and there needed to be more transparency.
 

81usaf92

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South Alabama
1999 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPION
Florida State
Undefeated teams: #10 Marshall

1) Pristine and clean


Years don't come much easier than this one. Two unbeatens, an exciting superstar quarterbacking the underdog.

2) Marshall Goes Undefeated....

A compelling story given the program's history, but there's a word for people who think Marshall should have played for the national title or made a four-team playoff: morons. Like Tulane in 1998, who really cares? What is about to happen, though, is a large number of "mid-majors" (which sounds like a tennis or golf tournament that doesn't pay much) are about to complete unbeaten seasons because they: a) have a decent team; b) and don't play any decent teams.

3) Did the right team win the national championship?

Of course. Sure, it was a five-finger discounted national title from Dillard's but who cares? FSU was the best team, and they won it all.

Unfortunately, we all had to wake up 2000, and the failure of the press to defend the process. Say what you want - it was an AGREED UPON PROCESS, so why it disappointed so many remains a mystery.
The right team only won because Michigan and Alabama had two moron coaches. Those probably were the best teams.
 
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TideEngineer08

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The right team only won because Michigan and Alabama had two moron coaches. Those probably were the best teams.
Yes! 1999 was one of the biggest what if seasons in Alabama's history. The loss to Louisiana Tech should have been the firing moment for DuBose. The Tennessee loss was a con job. And of course the Orange Bowl was what it was.