Tag:Georgia
Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:52 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 5:34 pm
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Conference champs only in the postseason

Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer advocated taking only conference champions for any kind of postseason structure starting in 2014.

Just for giggles I went back and used only conference champions (or BCS automatic qualifier in the case of ties) in figuring both the current 1 vs. 2 game and a Plus One. Three times in 14 years, the 1 vs. 2 BCS title game would have been different. In 10 of 14 years, at least one team in the top four would have had to be replaced. In 2011, there would have been two – Alabama and Stanford.

Here’s how BCS title games and a Plus One would have looked if only conference champions were allowed, 1998-2011:

 

1998 championship: No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Florida State (same)

1998 Plus One: No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 5 UCLA; No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 4 Ohio State

Not included: No. 3 Kansas State.

 

1999 championship: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Virginia Tech (same)

1999 Plus One: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Alabama; No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 3 Nebraska

 

2000 championship: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Florida State (same)

2000 Plus One: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. Washington; No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Miami

 

2001 championship:  No. 1 Miami vs. No. 3 Colorado

2001 Plus One: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 8 Illinois; No. 3 Colorado vs. No. 4 Oregon

Not included: No. 2 Nebraska, No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Texas

 

2002 championship: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 2 Ohio State (same)

2002 Plus One: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 6 Washington State;  No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia

Not included: No. 4 USC, No. 5 Iowa

 

2003 championship: No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 USC

2003 Plus One: No. 2 LSU vs. No. 7 Florida State; No. 3 USC vs. No. 4 Michigan

Not included: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Texas

 

2004 championship: No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (same)

2004 Plus One: No. 1 USC vs. No. 6 Utah;  No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Auburn

Not included:  No. 4 Texas, No. 5 California

 

2005 championship:  No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas (same)

2005 Plus One: No. 1 USC vs. No. 7 Georgia; No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Penn State

Not included: No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Oregon, No. 6 Notre Dame

 

2006 championship: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Florida (same)

2006 Plus One:  No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Louisville; No. 2 Florida vs. No. 5 USC

Not included: No 3. Michigan, No. 4 LSU

 

2007 championship: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 LSU (same)

2007 Plus One: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma; No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech

 

2008 championship: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Florida (same)

2008 Plus One: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Utah; No. 2 Florida vs. No. 5 USC

Not included: No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Alabama

 

2009 championship:  No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas (same)

2009 Plus One: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU; No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

 

2010 championship: No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 2 Oregon (same)

2010 Plus One: No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 5 Wisconsin; No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 TCU

Not included: No. 4 Stanford

 

 

2011 championship: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State

2011 Plus One: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 10 Wisconsin; No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Oregon

Not included: No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Stanford,  No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Boise State, N. 8 Kansas State, No. 9 South Carolina

 

Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:21 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 1:25 pm
 

My preseason top 25 applied to postseason models

You've got to start somewhere in shaping a new postseason model. Using this humble correspondent's preseason top 25 posted Monday as a template, here are a few possibilties. All of them are among the 50 or so discussed last month in New Orleans.

A seeded Plus One on campus (The Delany Model. Top-four rated teams meet in national semifinals):

No. 4 Oregon at No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 2 USC.

Winners meet this season in the Orange Bowl based on the BCS rotation.

A Plus One in the bowls Oregon vs. LSU in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma vs. USC in the Sugar Bowl. Winners meet in the Orange Bowl.

An unseeded Plus One (Playing a championship game after the bowls. In this model, all six BCS league champions guaranteed a berth. No. 7 Arkansas and No. 9 Georgia are left out. Unranked Rutgers is in as Big East champion. A human committee and/or rankings determine the top two teams after the bowls):

Rose Bowl: USC* vs. Wisconsin*

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma* vs. Oregon

Sugar Bowl: LSU* vs. Clemson*

Orange Bowl:  Rutgers* vs. Alabama

*-conference champs

Two highest-ranked teams after the bowls meet for the national championship. Championship game location TBA.

No automatic qualifiers (No. 1 vs. No. 2 meet in the championship game. Four other major bowls are populated by the remaining teams in the top 10. Ohio State not eligible. In this scenario, five SEC teams are included. Big East and ACC not represented because no teams are ranked in top 10.)

BCS title game (Orange Bowl): LSU vs. USC

Rose: Oregon vs. Wisconsin

Sugar: Alabama vs. West Virginia

Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

Cotton: Georgia vs. Arkansas

Are there any other postseason models? Probably. For now, this is your lump of Play-Doh to shape.

 


Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:21 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 1:25 pm
 

My preseason top 25 applied to postseason models

You've got to start somewhere in shaping a new postseason model. Using this humble correspondent's preseason top 25 posted Monday as a template, here are a few possibilties. All of them are among the 50 or so discussed last month in New Orleans.

A seeded Plus One on campus (The Delany Model. Top-four rated teams meet in national semifinals):

No. 4 Oregon at No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 2 USC.

Winners meet this season in the Orange Bowl based on the BCS rotation.

A Plus One in the bowls Oregon vs. LSU in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma vs. USC in the Sugar Bowl. Winners meet in the Orange Bowl.

An unseeded Plus One (Playing a championship game after the bowls. In this model, all six BCS league champions guaranteed a berth. No. 7 Arkansas and No. 9 Georgia are left out. Unranked Rutgers is in as Big East champion. A human committee and/or rankings determine the top two teams after the bowls):

Rose Bowl: USC* vs. Wisconsin*

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma* vs. Oregon

Sugar Bowl: LSU* vs. Clemson*

Orange Bowl:  Rutgers* vs. Alabama

*-conference champs

Two highest-ranked teams after the bowls meet for the national championship. Championship game location TBA.

No automatic qualifiers (No. 1 vs. No. 2 meet in the championship game. Four other major bowls are populated by the remaining teams in the top 10. Ohio State not eligible. In this scenario, five SEC teams are included. Big East and ACC not represented because no teams are ranked in top 10.)

BCS title game (Orange Bowl): LSU vs. USC

Rose: Oregon vs. Wisconsin

Sugar: Alabama vs. West Virginia

Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

Cotton: Georgia vs. Arkansas

Are there any other postseason models? Probably. For now, this is your lump of Play-Doh to shape.

 


Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:27 pm
 

A plus-one playoff through the years: 2003-2007

In the second installment of our plus-one lookback (2003-2007), USC takes over from Miami to forge a dynasty before the SEC begins to go reticulated python on college football.  Oh, and sorry Texas. That 2005 title never happened.

(All plus-one games played on neutral fields. Here’s how things looked from 1998-2002.)

 

2003

BCS champion: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14

The setup:  By now, epic BCS fails were becoming commonplace. This time Oklahoma blew through the first 12 games of the season winning by an average of more than 32 points. That was before a four-touchdown loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game.

So much for the dangers of losing late.  Not only didn’t No. 1 OU fall out of the top two, it didn’t fall from the top spot! (It dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the human polls.) That was the first problem.  The second, more significant issue, is that USC was a consensus No. 1 in the human polls but No. 3 in the BCS.

Complicating matters, if that was possible, was three major-college, one-loss teams occupying the top three spots in the final BCS (OU, LSU, USC). One of them didn’t win its conference. The BCS commissioners swallowed hard, averted their eyes and tried to explain an LSU-Oklahoma championship game. The final absurdity: That meant the coaches poll would not even be considering its No. 1 team (USC) for the national championship.

Thank goodness for the AP poll.  After USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, AP gave its final No. 1 ranking to the Trojans. For the first time in the BCS era, there was a split national championship. While that was OK with most folks, certain LSU fans couldn’t stomach sharing anything with anyone. Two things wrong with that: Like five other teams prior to the bowls that year, LSU was a one-loss team. By now it was becoming clear that if you lose a game in the BCS system, you lose the right to argue.

Isn’t it enough that national championships are forever? I still get emails from angry Tiger fans who claim they are the true national champs. Who cares?

How a four-team playoff would have changed things:  No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Michigan, No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 USC. OU would have easily mauled Michigan. The Rose Bowl that season proved it. USC outclassed the slower Wolverines by two touchdowns in Pasadena. Oklahoma 35, Michigan 17.

Many would have considered LSU-USC the real championship game. This was the year LSU freshman sensation Justin Vincent ran for 1,000 yards. Defensive tackle Chad Lavalais was the SEC defensive player of the year. USC had Reggie Bush as a freshman, Matt Leinart as a sophomore throwing to the  fantastic Mike Williams. This was the beginning of a Troy dynasty with the Trojans at least playing for three consecutive national championships in the real world. In this alternative universe it would have been a thriller, USC 27, LSU 20.

Championship game: Heisman winner Jason White was beat up for the Sooners at this point in the season. He hung in gamely against LSU but the Tigers defense and the Superdome crowd were too much. USC would have brought a similar kind of hurt. USC 23, Oklahoma 14.

Fantasy quote: “Sure we deserve a championship berth. It wasn’t like we lost to K-State by five touchdowns.” –Bob Stoops.

Who got screwed: Obviously USC, but AP was there to bail it out. That would change after the 2004 season, though, as the news organization rethought its influence on the national championship race and the money that went with it.

 

2004

BCS champion: USC 55, Oklahoma 19

The setup: For the first time in the BCS era, three undefeated teams stood atop the polls at the end. The BCS quickly realized that three don’t fit into two championship berths. Auburn eventually “lost”. There is still the lasting image of Tommy Tuberville working the press box for AP votes at the Orange Bowl after the BCS had kept the undefeated SEC champions out of the BCS title game. While the Trojans and Sooners played, Auburn’s coach was literally glad-handing media, hoping against hope.

It didn’t happen for Auburn which finished third in the BCS and second in the final human polls. SEC types were outraged that their undefeated champion wasn’t worthy of playing for it all. As you might have noticed, things would change quickly for the SEC.

The difference was Auburn’s non-conference schedule and perhaps an Oklahoma-friendly Bowling Green AD.  Elsewhere, both the Trojans and Sooners were in the middle of historic runs. OU played in its third championship game since 2000. USC was in the middle of its own 34-game winning streak. Only Stanford, Cal and UCLA came within a touchdown of the Trojans that season.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 USC vs. No. 4 Texas, No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Auburn.  Texas wasn’t quite there yet despite 1,000-yard rushing seasons from both Cedric Benson and Vince Young. Meanwhile, USC sported a Heisman winner (Leinart) as well as three other consensus All-Americans. This was arguably the best Trojan team of the Pete Carroll era. USC 37, Texas 24.

Would have loved to see the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (Auburn) against No. 8 in total offense (Oklahoma). Using LSU’s D in 2003 as evidence, OU doesn’t show up offensively in a plus-one against a quality SEC defense. Auburn 25, Oklahoma 21.

Championship game: Auburn gets its title shot but just can’t overcome perhaps the team of the decade. USC 26, Auburn 13.

Fantasy quote: “How many voters does a commissioner have to bribe for the SEC to get to the championship game?” – Mike Slive

Real quote: “Where’s Your God Now?” – sign taunting BYU fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the final seconds of Utah’s 52-21 win over the Cougars that clinched the Utes’ first BCS berth.

Who got screwed: Cal. With one BCS bowl berth left, the No. 5 Bears lost a propaganda war with No. 4 Texas. Both were 10-1 on pick ‘em day. Knowing that finishing at No. 4 guaranteed his team a BCS bowl, Mack Brown had no problem campaigning for his Longhorns while Cal’s Jeff Tedford pretty much refused to engage.

Cal would have been the obvious Pac-10 replacement in the Rose Bowl with USC playing for the national championship. But Texas’ bum rush created feelings that what Bevo wants, Bevo gets long before the Longhorn Network.

“"I guess we didn't run up the score at the end, or beg for votes after the game," Cal’s Aaron Rodgers said. "I thought it was [wrong] for coach Brown to beg for votes.”

AP withdrew its poll from the BCS after the controversy.



2005

BCS champion: Texas 41, USC 38

The setup: On paper USC never won a game this season. On the field, it ravaged the field. We would find out years later that Bush competed the entire 2005 season while ineligible having taken cash and benefits from two would-be agents.

Dismiss that from your mind considering how these Trojans were completing that 34-game winning streak. They failed to score less than 34 in any game. They scored at least 50 in seven games. They scored 60 twice and 70 once. This was the team that couldn’t be outscored -- until it was, by Vince Young.

On the night of Jan. 5, 2006 Texas’ quarterback proved himself to be the best player in the school’s glorious history. Completing a game in which he had almost 500 yards in total offense, Young pulled it down and scored the winning touchdown with 19 seconds left.

USC was denied a third straight national championship. Texas won its first in 35 years because of a singular talent.

"Without question that was the best [performance] by one guy [I've seen]," Pete Carroll said.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 USC vs. No. 4 Ohio State, No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Penn State. Anyone else have a letdown here? Ohio State was a year away in 2005 having lost to Texas and Penn State in the regular season. JoePa rebounded from downturn to begin the century to grab a share of the Big Ten. It is interesting that two Big Ten teams would have been in a plus-one. Does it matter, though, given the greatness at the top?

USC 42, Ohio State 20. Texas 44, Penn State 17.

Championship game: With his defense gassed and resting on the sidelines, this time Carroll decides to use Bush on fourth down. In the real game he didn’t. That allowed Texas to stop LenDale White on fourth down which led to the Horns’ winning drive. USC 38, Texas 35.

Fantasy quote: “I’m predicting two Super Bowls for Vince Young.” – Beano Cook

Who got screwed:  USC players who gave their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears for the program only to have the season ripped away in disgrace because of Bush’s selfishness. In case you forgot, the NCAA vacated USC’s 2005 season as part of the Bush penalties.

 

2006

BCS champion: Florida 41, Ohio State 14

In the latest BCS game ever played (Jan. 9), the system began to take different turns. Double-hosting debuted. A few days before the Gators swamped the Buckeyes, Boise beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in one of the sport’s greatest upsets. A player proposed to a cheerleader. The Broncos proved they could play with the big boys, a cry that still is ringing in our ears today.

Oh yeah, and the SEC started a streak for the ages. The first of six consecutive titles by the Strength Everywhere Conference began with Florida thrashing Ohio State.

That year the immortal Chris Leak was backed up at Florida by some kid named Tebow. During the season we were treated to the jump pass, winning a game by a fingernail and first of two national championships by Urban Meyer.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 LSU, No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Michigan. The Buckeyes blitzed through the regular season setting up Jim Tressel for his second national championship in five years. Les Miles was just getting going, posting his second straight 11-2 season. We were going to see LSU-Ohio State in 2007 anyway. In a playoff, the Buckeyes arrived a year early with Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and company winning a close one. Ohio State 31, LSU 27.

Denied a rematch with Ohio State by the pollsters and computers, Michigan would have welcomed a playoff. Coming off one of the most emotional games in Michigan history (losing to Ohio State the day after Bo Schembechler’s passing), there was a chance to sneak in the back door for a national championship. Florida’s D would have denied it. Florida 37, Michigan 21.

Championship: We’re assuming that Ginn Jr. doesn’t injure his foot celebrating a kickoff return. We still can’t assume Ohio State would have an answer for Florida’s team speed. Florida 31, Ohio State 21.

Fantasy quote: “We got tattooed.” – Tressel.

Who gagged: USC. Needing only to win over sliding UCLA to play for another title, the Trojans coughed up one of the program’s largest hairballs. The 13-9 loss to the Bruins on the last day of the regular season remains inexplicable to this day except to then-UCLA defensive  coordinator DeWayne Walker. He helped hold the Trojans to less than 20 points for the first time in 64 games

 


2007

BCS champion: LSU 38, Ohio State 24

Let’s see … LSU in New Orleans? Again? Call it another unintended consequence of the BCS. The commissioners probably never imagined the Tigers being good at the exact same time the Superdome was hosting the big game. Call it purple and gold serendipity.

And luck. In the fastest and more furious finish of the BCS era, both No. 1 (Missouri) and No. 2 (West Virginia) lost on the last day of the season allowing  the Buckeyes and Tigers to move up. A week earlier, LSU had lost at home, giving up 50 to Arkansas. After beating Tennessee in the SEC championship game, the Tigers moved from No. 7 to No. 2.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma. No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech. This was an unspectacular Oklahoma team that lost to Colorado and Texas Tech before being smoked by West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State 31, Oklahoma 23.

In a plus-one, the ACC champion would have played for a national championship in a rematch we didn’t need to see. In the second week of the season, the Tigers smoked the Hokies 48-7 in Baton Rouge. Play it again, Les? LSU 33, Virginia Tech 14.

Championship game: What hurt Buckeye pride is that LSU was the last comic standing in 2007 in a wild finish to the season. The Tigers were the first two-loss team to win a national championship in 47 years. And still, LSU was able to score 31 unanswered to bury the Bucks. By now, the jokes and labels associated with Ohio State were beginning to leave a mark.

“Yeah, and that hurts," said Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, "just because the media really builds it up like we are slow and all that stuff."

The Bucks football reputation was in tatters after two straight championship losses. In a few years, that rep was about to get a whole lost worse. LSU 42, Ohio State 17.

 Fantasy quote: “Next?” – SEC

Who got screwed: The fans. Hawaii was non-competitive against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl got three-loss Illinois to match against USC. West Virginia lost Rich Rod, then promoted Bill Stewart before a rout of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The average margin of victory in the five BCS bowls (20 points) was second only to 2002 (22.5 points).

Plus-one champions, 2003-2007: USC, USC, USC, Florida, LSU.

Tomorrow: A plus-one from 2008 to 2011.   

Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:35 am
 

A plus-one playoff through the years: 1998-2002

Who exactly is against a plus-one playoff at this point?

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is willing to consider it. SEC commissioner Mike Slive is predicting major changes to the current system. NCAA president Mark Emmert would support a four-team playoff.

OK, there a few. But it’s clear, the times they are a-changin’. While a four-team playoff isn’t a panacea, the idea has become as trendy as skinny jeans lately. No. 1 vs. No. 4, No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the BCS standings facing off in two national semifinals. The two winners meet for all the Tostitos.  Or whatever corporate sponsor wins the rights.

Emmert even used the term “Final Four approach.” Think of the possibilities. Even more corporate sponsors.

We digress. Nothing actually changes until the 2014 season. The BCS commissioners will hash things out over the next six months. Before we get there, we’ve got a chance to look back at what would have been. Using the BCS standings as a template, CBSSports.com went back and matched up the top four teams in each of the 14 years of the BCS.

Some years it was wonderful. Some years it wasn’t needed. Every year it was fun to fantasize. We kick off today with the first five years of the BCS (1998-2002). What emerged, at least in this space, was an extension of the Miami dynasty.

 

1998

BCS champion: Tennessee, 23-16 over Florida State.

The setup: Back when the BCS was young and it made sense there was little controversy over Florida State and Tennessee meeting in the first championship game. FSU was on a 10-game winning streak since losing the second game of the season to N.C. State. No opponent had come within of the Noles 11 points during the streak.

Tennessee was a no-brainer as the other half of the first BCS title game. The undefeated SEC champs were a foreshadowing of how college football’s postseason would be dominated. The difference was Bobby Bowden having to rely on backup quarterback Marcus “Rooster” Outzen because of a neck injury to Chris Weinke.  Rooster, a former high school option quarterback, completed only nine of 22 while throwing two picks. The formerly explosive FSU offense was held to 253 yards by a great Tennessee defense led by Dwayne Goodrich (54-yard interception for a touchdown).

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 4 Ohio State, No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Kansas State. Ohio State’s John Cooper was on a run of four straight seasons with at least 10 wins. The Buckeyes only loss was to a Nick Saban-coached Michigan State team that finished 6-6. Tennessee’s superior defense would have ruled the day. Tennessee 20, Ohio State 16.

A four-team playoff would have saved Kansas State which was coming off the most devastating loss in program history. Like UCLA that season, the Wildcats were a win away from a national championship berth. They led Texas A&M by 15 in the fourth quarter in the Big 12 championship game. K-State lost in double overtime dropping from the title game to the Alamo Bowl after suffering its first loss.

The collapse was so sudden and complete that Bill Snyder called it the worst of his career. “The pain that comes from this,” he said, “is obvious.” The guy who scored the winning touchdown for A&M, Sirr Parker, had a movie made about him.

It is still considered by some the best K-State team ever. Given a second chance, Michael Bishop and the Wildcats would have rebounded against FSU. Kansas State 27, Florida State 20.

Championship game: Kansas State vs. Tennessee. Because of FSU’s injuries, K-State would have been a much better opponent for the Vols. Watching Bishop and receiver Darnell McDonald try to break down the Tennessee defense would have been a treat. In the end, Bishop, prone to turnovers, would have given the Vols at least one short field. Plus, he wasn’t the best thrower. Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis would have attacked those two weaknesses all night. Tennessee 30, Kansas State 23.

Fantasy quote:
 "We'd play 'em again tomorrow in a parking lot in shorts and T-shirts. That would be Indiana State, not Tennessee." -- Bill Snyder

Who got screwed: UCLA found out it’s when you lose, not if you lose. A lot of the blame goes on coach Bob Toledo. With a berth in the title game hanging in the balance, Toledo chose to travel to Miami the day before the final regular-season game in early December. The Bruins weren’t acclimated to the South Florida heat and lost a shootout, 49-45. UCLA dropped from second to fifth in the final BCS standings meaning the Bruins wouldn’t even have made a four-team playoff.

The “consolation” for the Bruins was the Rose Bowl, won by Wisconsin 38-31.

 


1999

BCS champion: Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29

The setup: No controversy here. Florida State and Virginia Tech were the only two undefeated major-college programs. Tech had a team for the ages – at least in Blacksburg -- in Michael Vick’s first year as a starter. The only thing that slowed FSU’s Peter Warrick’s that season was the receiver’s suspension for getting a significant discount from a friendly clerk at a local department store. The Noles went wire-to-wire at No. 1 in AP.

In the championship game, Tech rebounded from 21 down to take a 29-28 lead going into the fourth quarter. Vick accounted for 322 yards in total offense but couldn’t play defense. FSU scored 18 unanswered in the final 15 minutes, winning 46-29.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Alabama, No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 3 Nebraska: This was probably a year when a plus-o
ne would have been worthless. Virginia Tech and FSU had nothing to prove except to play each other. A playoff would have allowed Nebraska (11-1) and Alabama (10-2) in. The Huskers would have earned a semifinal spot with what is now their last team to win a conference title. Nebraska got even for its only regular-season loss by beating Texas in the Big 12 title game.

Even though Nebraska posted two shutouts that year, Vick was a force of nature that season. Virginia Tech 29, Nebraska 22.

Meanwhile, it was hard to believe a Mike Dubose-coached team that lost to Louisiana Tech would have been able to play for a national championship. Despite winning the SEC that year, Bama wasn’t national championship caliber. Florida State 32, Alabama 20.

Championship game: Little would have changed. Noles 35, Virginia Tech 24.
 
Fantasy quote:  "When's the Miami game next year?" -- Bobby Bowden.

Who got screwed: Really, no one. For the second straight year, No. 6 Kansas State lost only once in the regular season but didn’t get close to a BCS bowl after Nebraska won the Big 12. No. 5 Tennessee actually beat Alabama during the season but finished second in the SEC East. But as we would see in a couple of years, winning your division was no prerequisite to playing for the national championship.

 


2000

BCS champion: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2

The setup: plus-one matchups would have addressed one of the great BCS injustices. No. 2 Florida State played No. 1 Oklahoma for the title despite losing to No. 3 Miami by three in Wide Right III. FSU eventually got the No. 2 spot over the Canes by .32 of a point.

While Miami was in the process of kicking off a 34-game winning streak that season, FSU was at the end of an incredible 14-year run in which it finished in the top four. Despite Weinke winning the Heisman that year, the Noles were dominated in a defensive snoozer of a championship game.

While the season felt unfulfilling in South Florida, Oklahoma had a season for the ages. Juco quarterback Josh Heupel made a run at the Heisman running something called the zone-read option. Bob Stoops’ defense was suffocating, allowing 14 or fewer points nine times. With its championship, the Sooners finally crawled out of bomb crater caused by crippling NCAA penalties 11 years earlier.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Washington, No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Miami. A Florida State-Miami rematch would have been a championship game in itself. The issue was further complicated because the Canes only loss that season came to Washington in the second week of the season.

It’s hard to beat a team twice in a season but by the end of the 2000, Miami might have been the best team in the country. Miami 28, Florida State 24.

In the other semifinal, Oklahoma was a much more complete team. The Huskies won six of their games by a touchdown or less. Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo was the spark on a team not loaded with a ton of NFL talent. Oklahoma 38, Washington 25.

Championship game: Miami vs. Oklahoma. A matchup for the ages. Two programs, full of swagger, reborn before our eyes. Think of the talent on that field – Jeremy Shockey, Santana Moss, Bryant McKinnie, Ed Reed, Rocky Calmus, Heupel, J.T. Thatcher, Torrance Marshall, Quentin Griffin.

In what would have been Butch Davis' final game, the Canes have bit more speed and athleticism. Miami 27, Oklahoma 23.

Fantasy quote:  
"Someone from the Cleveland Browns on Line 1, coach." --Davis' secretary 

Who got screwed: In the real world, it was Miami. With a plus-one it would have been Virginia Tech. In Vick’s last season, the Hokies went 10-1 in the regular season, losing only to Miami, but were nosed out for the No. 4 spot by  Washington. Tech was actually better than the Huskies in the computers but was hurt by its schedule strength.

 

 

2001

BCS championship game: Miami 37, Nebraska 14

The setup: If there was ever a year for a four-team playoff,  2001 screamed for it. The Miami-Nebraska game was one of the great BCS traveshamockeries. The Huskers played for the championship despite failing to win the Big 12 North and getting blown out in the final regular-season game by Colorado.

It was considered a further scandal when the Big 12 champion Buffs finished at No. 3, .05 of a point behind Nebraska. And you thought the Rematch of the Century was controversial? Oregon also had a beef, finishing No. 4 in the BCS but was consensus No. 2 in both human polls.

Two outsiders to the Pasadena tradition – Huskers and Canes -- were made to feel like they had to wipe their feet before stepping foot on the hallowed Rose Bowl turf.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things:  No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Oregon, No. 2 Nebraska vs. Colorado.  Miami would have easily handled Oregon. This was one of the best UM teams of all time. Miami 34, Oregon 16.

A Nebraska-Colorado rematch would have been tasty. The 62-36 regular-season CU win signaled the beginning of a long, slow decline for Nebraska football. Would the Huskers have had to suffer the same indignity again? Yes. Colorado 32, Nebraska 30.

Championship game:  This season kicked off a streak in which CU’s Gary Barnett got to the Big 12 championship game in four of five years. Nothing, though, would have stopped Miami which won the national championship in Larry Coker’s first season after taking over for Davis. Miami 30, Colorado 17.
 

Fantasy quote: "How hard can this be?" -- Larry Coker
 
Who got screwed: College football? The more BCS fathers think about the 2001 season, the more they want to induce vomiting. Colorado beat Nebraska, played a tougher schedule and won the conference yet still didn’t get to play for it all. The thing is, no one in Nebraska would have said a word if the Huskers would have been left out.

 

2002

BCS champion: Ohio State 31, Miami 24, 2 OT

The setup: No need to even discuss a playoff this year. What was left to determine after one of the best games in history? Ohio State’s double-overtime title game win over Miami had everything – dozens of future pros, points, penalties and Porter. Actually, Terry Porter, the official who made the infamous call in the end zone that turned a Miami celebration into more overtime.

You know what happened next. A molecular biology major named Craig Krenzel studiously led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind win. In the end the Canes couldn’t believe they lost. Somewhere beneath the Fiesta Bowl stands that night Miami’s Kellen Winslow II muttered, “The best team didn’t win.”

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 USC, No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia. A Miami-USC semifinal would have had plenty of brand-name value. Carson Palmer won the Heisman that year but his Trojans lost twice before the second week of October and couldn’t recover in the rankings. Miami 24, USC 23.

An argument could be made that Georgia was one of the great one-loss teams in BCS history. In Mark Richt’s second season, the Dawgs went 13-1, losing only to Florida. A Georgia team that included Jon Stinchcomb, Boss Bailey and David Greene would have been a fine semifinal opponent for the Buckeyes. But based on nothing more than mojo, Ohio State would have won because it was a team of destiny winning half of its 14 games by a touchdown or less. Ohio State 23, Georgia 19.

Championship game:  Miami, an 11 ½-point favorite, blew the real meeting to Ohio State because it took the Buckeyes lightly and committed five turnovers. In a playoff, it's hard imagining the 2002 Canes being that bad. Miami 24, Ohio State 17.

Fantasy quote:  
"Beers in my room after the game. Media invited." -- Terry Porter 

Who got screwed: In a four-team playoff, perhaps it would have been No. 5 Iowa. Brad Banks led the nation in pass efficiency that year. The defense was fifth against the run. The scoring offense was top 10. The Hawkeyes finished .28 of a point behind No. 4 USC.

Iowa finished third in both human polls. But the Trojans – fifth in both polls – at least won their conference while playing the toughest schedule in the country.

 

Plus-one champions, 1998-2002: Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, Miami, Miami.

Tomorrow: A plus-one from 2003 to 2007. 

Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Heisman Badger whips Dawgs

ATLANTA -- It was bordering on the ridiculous.

For two months since that slop of Game of the Century we’ve had to listen to SEC loyalists argue about the defensive aesthetic value of its top teams. For the first half of the SEC championship game the Strength Everywhere Conference had lost the benefit of the doubt. It shamed itself. It shamed football. It shamed the No. 1 ranking.

At least the top two BCS remain intact. Or so it seems after No. 1 LSU did enough in the second half Saturday to beat Georgia in the SEC title game thanks to a kid renamed Heisman Badger.

His real name, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, not only saved the game for the Tigers, in one stunning afternoon-turned-night that turned Georgia into goo. At the same time he saved the SEC’s rep and legitimized, somewhat, the BCS national championship game.

Mathieu returned one punt 62 yards and set up another score with a 47-yard in the third quarter. Somewhere, Johnny Rodgers was giving props. Everywhere crotchety gray-haired Heisman voters conditioned to write “Andrew Luck” on the top line over the top few weeks had to scramble.

Spelling lessons – no, it’s not Tyrone Matthew – and a highlight package were in order for the uninitiated. A cornerback for Heisman is an acquired taste. Ask Charles Woodson. Can Mathieu get to New York? Debatable. Should he win the Heisman? No question.

With apologies to Robert Griffin III, this might have been as big a Heisman Moment as there has been on the last Saturday in recent years.  

That was all a mostly punchless LSU offense needed. It had tortured its coach and LSU fans for most of the game, but particularly in the first half. The Tigers had 12 yards and no first downs at halftime. The only reason they any points was Mathieu’s punt return.

The defense took over in the third quarter, giving LSU field position that led to 21 points. That’s all the Tigers needed to (we think) secure a spot in the BCS title game for the third time in eight years. Believed to be accompanying LSU is Alabama which waited on the sidelines Saturday for the Tigers to rubber-stamp things.  

That would be a matchup of the No. 31 (Alabama) and No. 62 (LSU) offenses. But on defense those teams are 1-2 in total defense. But there is only one Honey Badger which was the only original nickname stuck on the sophomore from New Orleans when he began making play after play.

For those of you not caught up on the Honey Badger saga, watch this. You too will see why the Honey Badger takes what he wants.

In the season opener against Oregon, Mathieu led all LSU tacklers with 10 accenting that with a strip and score of Duck Kenyon Barner. At the end of the season, in his 25<sup>th</sup> career game, Mathieu has averaged one big “Badger play” per game. That would be four career interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and two punt returns for touchdowns. Total: 25.

The SEC as a whole really couldn’t lose Saturday. LSU could have lost and possibly opened the door for the best postseason day in SEC history. Three teams – LSU, Alabama and Georgia – would have stood a chance of getting an unprecedented three BCS bids.

Turns out it doesn’t matter who lost that Nov. 5 Game of the Century. If it was LSU, Alabama would have been here causing Georgia to tap out. One was going to be No. 1 and the other was going to be No. 2. That is all but assured now. Right?

 

  

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, BCS, Georgia, LSU, SEC
 
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Les Miles does not answer The Question

ATLANTA -- Les Miles wouldn’t go there when The Question was asked.

It’s obvious that No. 1 LSU can afford to lose Saturday and still play for the national championship. That has led to the anti-climatic nature of the SEC title game here on Saturday. But LSU’s coach obviously didn’t want to consider the option of losing Friday when asked if a team that hasn’t won its conference should be allowed to play in the big game.

“I have a very strong opinion,” said Miles who then paused a few seconds. “It will be something I will share with you some other time in my life.”

Unspoken answer: You’re damn right we should be in the championship game. We’ve beaten seven ranked teams, three in the top three including Alabama.

The question was phrased another way during Friday’s pre-game press conferences: Should LSU be in the BCS title game win or lose?

“I have given little thought to that,” Miles said. “I do know that that is an issue out there for other folks. It’s not one for us. We’ve talked about it several times but not about the ‘What ifs.’ It’s about what we’ve accomplished at this point.”

Miles has an ally in Georgia coach Mark Richt. The Bulldogs were fourth going in the BCS going into the final weekend of the 2007 season behind Ohio State, West Virginia and Missouri. Missouri and West Virginia lost, leaving a bunch of two-loss teams (and one-loss Kansas which had completed its season) to compete for the other top-two spot.

LSU jumped Georgia that year, vaulting from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final BCS standings after winning the SEC title game over Tennessee. At that point Georgia was 10-2 having lost only to South Carolina and Tennessee. The Dawgs won their final seven regular-season games, finishing fifth in the BCS behind Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, LSU and Ohio State.

So much for a non-conference winner playing for it all. It has actually happened twice in BCS history -- Nebraska (2001) and Oklahoma (2003). Georgia did have a nice consolation prize that year, beating the snot out of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

“The bottom line is when you play a game or have a season or have a system there’s certain rules that you abide by,” Richt said. “If the rules say you must be conference champion then that’s the way it is. If the rules don’t say that then I don’t you have to be the conference championship to play in that [BCS title] game.

“ … Why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it’s not?”

When told he had tap-danced nicely around the issue Friday, Miles told CBSSports.com, "Best I can do." 

 

 

 

Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:31 pm
 

National notes: What now Missouri?

What now Missouri?

While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.

"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.

As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.

Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.

"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.

The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.

Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?



Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.

 


It's been discussed before
but Slive also said there would be discussions about rescinding the two-team limit per conference for BCS bowls. Now that the SEC is the first major conference to grow to 13, it may think it deserves more BCS access.

"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."




Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.

The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit

Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."

The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.

The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.

The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.

What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.



There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.

That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.

Rubbish.

A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.

A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.

There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.

Alabama
LSU
Florida
Arkansas
Texas A&M
Auburn
South Carolina
Georgia
Tennessee
Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Kentucky
Vanderbilt



The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.

Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.

Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.

Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game): 

Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.

If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.



Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.

Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.

David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.

Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.

Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.

Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.

Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.

David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com