As we enter the last season of the current BCS formula and bid farewell, we look back over the good, the bad, and the ugly of the BCS era.
Not only is this the greatest game in BCS history but many believe this to be the greatest college football game of all time.The majority thought undefeated Boise State was a joke and were only in the Fiesta Bowl due to them playing ‘nobodies’ on their schedule. Everyone expected the Oklahoma Sooners to stomp them in a blowout, but the Broncos had other ideas. Boise State jumped out to a 28-10 lead late in the third quarter only to see Oklahoma come back and tie the game. With a little over a minute remaining, Boise State quarterback, Jared Zabransky, throws an interception that gets taken back to the house for an Oklahoma touchdown. Ball game, right? Wrong.
What ensued were three of the most memorable plays in football history. With only 18 seconds to play, facing a 4th and 15 at midfield, Zabransky passed to Drisan James at the 35 yard line. With the majority of Oklahoma defenders playing a “prevent” defense to prevent a long conversion, James lateraled the ball to an in-stride Jerard Rabb, who ran the ball all the way for a touchdown sending the game into overtime. It didn’t stop there either.
Facing 4th and 2 in the first overtime, down 35-42, Boise ran the wildcat formation, sending Zabransky in motion while receiver Vinny Perretta lined up as a back, took the snap and lobbed the pass to the tight end, Derek Schouman, for a touchdown. Knowing their chances of going blow for blow with the Sooners was bound to eventually fail, the Broncos decided to go for the two point conversion and the win. Boise ran the ‘Statue of Liberty’ resulting in an Ian Johnson conversion, giving the Broncos the win. Then if that wasn’t enough, Ian Johnson proposes to his girlfriend on national television. It sounds like something out of a movie.
The 2006 Rose Bowl is the best national championship game in BCS history and to some considered the most anticipated game of all time. There was no controversy on determining who the two top teams were during that season. USC and Texas were hands down the nation’s most dominant teams and stayed ranked No.1 and No.2 the entire season. No.1 USC was coming off back-to-back national championships and featured two Heisman winners in Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. Texas featured star quarterback, Vince Young, who was named MVP of the Rose Bowl the previous season.
Down 38–26, Texas took the ball with just 6:42 to play in the game. Young marched down the field for all 69 yards of a Longhorns’ scoring drive that took a little over two minutes to complete, cutting the deficit to five with a little under four minutes remaining. On the next possession, USC reached Texas’ 44 yard line but faced 4th and 2 with 2 minutes remaining. USC coach, Pete Carroll opted to try and convert the first down and put the game away instead of punting deep into Texas’ territory. Texas stopped USC’s LenDale White and took over on downs. Young moved the Longhorns down to USC’s nine yard line before facing a 4th and 5 with 26 seconds left to play. With the national title on the line, Young dropped back to pass, looked to his left, and then immediately tucked the ball and ran to the right corner of the endzone for the game winning touchdown. It was all roses for the ‘Horns as they won their fourth national championship.
Miami entered the national championship against Ohio State as overwhelming favorites, carrying a 34 game win streak. Although their roster wasn’t as impressive as the previous season, the Canes were stacked. Leading the way on offense was QB Ken Dorsey (38-2 as a starter), running back Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson as a star wide out and Kellen Winslow as a beast at tight end. On defense they had future NFL stars, Vince Wilfork, Jonathan Vilma, Sean Taylor, and Antrel Rolle. No way could the Buckeyes, with no real star power, beat this squad, right?
The Hurricanes’ offense looked nothing like it did throughout the season as the Buckeyes were able to cause five turnovers. Despite the lack of offense, Miami was still able to send the game into overtime after kicker, Todd Sievers nailed a 40 yard field goal as time expired.
However, the real drama came at the end of the first overtime. After a Kellen Winslow touchdown, Ohio State faced a 4th and 3 on the five yard line. Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel under pressure, attempted a pass to receiver Chris Gamble that bounced off his hands after Miami defender, Glenn Sharpe, broke up the play. The Miami coaching staff and players rushed the field and started to celebrate until official Terry Porter threw a flag for pass interference FOUR SECONDS AFTER THE PLAY ENDED! As a result, Ohio State would tie the game up a few plays later and win the national championship in double overtime.
It was a terrible call in 2003 and it is still a terrible call in 2013.
This was one of the most cowardly acts of the BCS committee; two non-BCS schools go undefeated and reach college football’s biggest state in hopes of knocking off the ‘big boys’ and proving they belong. But what does the BCS do? They rob Boise State and TCU of that opportunity, and instead, pin them against each other. The truth is they were placed in the same bowl to make sure they didn’t have a chance to humiliate two AQ (automatic qualifying) conference representatives in two BCS bowl games.
In 2003, three teams finished with one-loss records; USC, LSU, and Oklahoma. USC finished No.1 in both the Coaches poll and the AP poll after winning the PAC 10 championship. LSU did their part in winning the SEC championship. Oklahoma? Well, that’s a different story.
Going into the Big 12 championship game against Kansas State, Oklahoma was ranked No.1. The Sooners and Heisman winner Jason White proved to be unworthy of that honor after getting trampled 7-35 in the conference title game.. Common sense would say Oklahoma would be the odd man out in the national title game. Wrong! The BCS computers spit out an Oklahoma Vs LSU national title match-up while leaving USC feeling like an ugly sister.
LSU would eventually beat Oklahoma with no problem for their share of the title while USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl getting the AP share of the national championship. Split national championships are one of the main reasons college football has the worst postseason in sports.
This was controversial when it happened and I’m sure due to the outcome of the national title game, this will be controversial here as well. In 2011, Alabama edged out Oklahoma State in the BCS rankings to get a rematch with undefeated SEC Champion, LSU. The Crimson Tide lost to LSU earlier in the season 6-9 in overtime and it was one of the ugliest games ever witnessed in college football. Oklahoma State was in line to play for the national title until losing to a mediocre Iowa State team in double overtime but finished the season strong by winning the Big 12 conference championship with a dominant performance over Oklahoma. So both Alabama and Oklahoma State finished the regular season with one loss but who gets the nod? Bama!
The 2006 regular season ended with undefeated No.1 Ohio State taking on undefeated No. 2 Michigan for the Big 10 championship and the right to go to the BCS National Championship game. Ohio State won but a lot of fans pushed for Michigan to get a rematch over the SEC champion, one-loss Florida, because they were obviously the best one loss team remaining in the country. Going into the final BCS rankings, Michigan was ahead of Florida but Florida surpassed them with a slim margin due to the small difference in the human polls who claimed you had to win your conference to play in the title game. So why change tunes and include Alabama?
Oklahoma State had a better strength of schedule and more wins against ranked opponents but it did not matter. Alabama’s main argument was that they played LSU really tough and their only loss was to No. 1 LSU while Oklahoma State lost to a 6-6 Iowa State team. Many of the Tide supporters in the media said they used the ‘eye test’ in determining who was the better team. Regardless, Alabama got the nod and dominated LSU the second time around, winning the national championship while Oklahoma State went on to win the Fiesta Bowl. Once again, we had three different teams with legitimate claims for a national title.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter@JoshuaCaudill85 or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty