Bcs Controversies Revisited: 1998 - Welcome To The Bcs

Discussion in 'College Sports Forum' started by TedSlimmJr, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    THE PRECONCEPTION OF THE BCS

    The BCS was the result of a series of controversial national championship winners that culminated in an agreement to permit the teams ranked one and two in the final regular season poll to meet on the field in a bowl game to determine the winner. (Well, actually it was the result of a Congressional threat but I digress). After the AP/UPI split titles of 1973 - when Alabama won the title prior to the game and then lost to Notre Dame, who claimed the AP title - there was a 25-year series of controversial champions, split champions, and champions that should have been split but were not. Indeed, in the 25 years between the 1973 Sugar Bowl and the BCS, there was a controversy over the team that ultimately won the championship no less than THIRTEEN times, more than half. And in a number of other instances (1981, 1985, 1988), college football was bailed out by good fortune that prevented controversy. But the real impetus was found in a number of endings to the season that were perpetually unsatisfying.

    1990 - Colorado, aided in part by a controversial Fifth Down decision against Missouri, splits the national championship with Georgia Tech

    1991 - Miami and Washington, unable to play one another, split the championship. The most relevant controversy was Miami's refusal to play higher-ranked Florida in the New Orleans Sugar Bowl and opting to rout unheralded Nebraska on their own Orange Bowl turf.

    1993 - Florida State wins the consensus national championship despite having lost head-to-head to Notre Dame, with a better record.

    1994 - Nebraska wins both titles because Penn State is obligated to play unknown Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

    1996 - a four-team car crash at the top of the standings winds up settled in favor of the Florida Gators

    1997 - Nebraska and Michigan end the year undefeated, the Cornhuskers assisted by an illegal kick play that keeps them alive to beat Missouri.

    In 1992, as a response to three consecutive controversial finishes, the Bowl Coalition was born. This was a grouping of Notre Dame and all the major conferences except the two tied to the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten and the Pac Ten. The agreement was to allow the Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange Bowls to bypass conference tie-ins on a rotating basis to set up ultimate 1 vs 2 matchups. The system worked perfectly in 1992 and saw Alabama upset Miami in the Sugar Bowl to the win the championship. It had problems in 1993 with disputes about the rankings; however, Florida State did meet (and beat) Nebraska on the field to win the championship. And just as has happened in every case, the Coalition fell apart in 1994, when there were two unbeatens and one was the Rose Bowl-obligated Penn State. Nebraska won the title and Penn State was left to seethe.

    In 1995, the Bowl Alliance replaced the Bowl Coalition. Once again, the Rose Bowl obligated conferences were left out. And once again, disaster struck the determination of a champion. Only Michigan's upset win over Ohio State spared a disaster the very first year. In 1996, the Alliance shattered when Arizona State completed their season unbeaten and left a train wreck at the top of the standings. Combined with the perceived snubbing of 14-1 BYU, the Alliance was on life support before it even began. The call to the coroner came when Michigan and Nebraska split the 1997 national championship, the third split in eight years and seventh controversy in the previous nine. Furthermore, the success of BYU in a mid-major in 1996 opened up a Congressional investigation as to whether or not the Bowl Alliance violated anti-trust laws.

    THE BCS BEGINS

    To satisfy Congress, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was created. Unlike the previous attempts, this grouping would permit participation by mid-major conferences that met certain criteria and also included the Rose Bowl-obligated conferences. (To be fair - part of the concern on the part of the conferences was that the ABC television contract for the Rose Bowl might necessitate a lawsuit). The Tournament of Roses Association agreed to release their champions from obligation if necessary but in the typical sop thrown to the Rose Bowl, they were set up last in the rotation of the Big Four bowl games to host the championship.

    The BCS as originally designed set up a four-point plan: the AP poll results plus coaches poll results (as one block), several computer rankings (including Sagarin and Seattle Times), strength of schedule (quartile), and number of losses. There was one immediate flaw in the BCS plan despite all its assets: what if there were THREE equally deserving teams that had gone unbeaten and won their conference? This was a rarity, of course and so naturally - college football being as insane as it is - it damn near happened the first year.


    The very first BCS rankings were issued on October 26, 1998 and were as follows:
    1) UCLA
    2) Ohio State
    3) Tennessee
    4) Kansas State
    5) Florida State (with a solitary loss)
     
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  2. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    PART 2:




    Ohio State was the concurrent number one in the AP poll, with UCLA second and media darling Kansas State in third. Succeeding - and even shellacking - powerhouse Nebraska in November gave an urgency to underdog K-State's rise to prominence. The rankings continued to shuffle among the top three. Ohio St and Tennessee both jumped UCLA in the second poll. The Buckeyes shocking loss to Michigan State dropped them out of the hunt. (This was the game where Nick Saban discovered "the Process" while trailing, 17-3). Tennessee, with a difficult schedule, headed up the BCS rankings while Kansas State was making converts to their sudden rise with more votes as the AP number one. When the regular season - mostly - ended, the BCS rankings looked thus:

    1) Tennessee
    2) UCLA
    3) Kansas State
    4) Florida State
    5) Ohio State

    The AP rankings, meanwhile, looked a little different:
    1) K State
    2) Tennessee
    3) UCLA
    4) Florida State
    5) Ohio State (with a first-place vote)

    The BCS was on the verge of a major disaster in its first year. The AP number one and fan favorite appeared to be on the outside looking in. But fate - or more precisely Mother Nature - intervened. In September, UCLA had been scheduled to play Miami in the Orange Bowl stadium, but the game was moved because of Hurricane Georges. It should hardly have mattered. UCLA had a Heisman candidate at quarterback, Cade McNown, and the Hurricanes were coming off an embarrassing 66-13 blowout loss to Syracuse. A win by UCLA would clinch them a spot in the first-ever BCS title game.

    Naturally, the Bruins lost.

    This was welcome news in Manhattan - both of them, in fact. Wins by K-State and Tennessee in their conference title games would christen the BCS an immense success and set the table for years to come for college football.

    Naturally, Kansas State blew a two-touchdown lead and lost in overtime to Texas A/M. The virtual semi-finals were turning into a disaster quickly. With only eight minutes left in their game against over-achieving upstart Mississippi State, the Volunteers only led by the narrow margin of 14-10. They asserted their ability in closing the game, however, and clinched their spot in the BCS title game.

    After plugging in all the computer rankings, etc, Florida State benefited by virtue of not having the additional game to play. It didn't matter as Tennessee finished off the Seminoles to win the BCS inaugural title game.

    CONTROVERSY REVISITED

    It is forgotten how near close to utter disaster the BCS was in its very first year. What if K-State as the AP number one had run the table and UCLA beat Miami to play Tennessee? The AP was NOT obligated (witness the 2003 debacle) to vote for the BCS winner, and we might very well have had a split champion in the very first year of the new format. Indeed, the eventual disaster that would undermine the BCS in 2011 was basically what occurred in 1998 only worse. At least in the case of 2011, the issue was teams who had lost a game. These could be dismissed with "you should have won your game," but this argument would not have worked with three unbeaten teams.

    And there was another unfortunate wrinkle to the system exposed by K-State's sudden loss to ATM - the Wildcats did not even appear in a BCS bowl. The Sugar Bowl chose one-loss Ohio State and the Orange Bowl took the Florida Gators. Despite being #3 in the BCS poll, K-State wound up losing the Alamo Bowl.

    But would the AP have done this? We will never know the answer to that question. K-State did have the weakest schedule among the top five teams in the rankings so their margin for error was nil. The other controversy did not even exist - even the coach of 11-0 Tulane, Tommy Bowden, said that having coached in the SEC before that he could not in good conscience say that his team had faced the challenges that the big conferences had.

    One year of the BCS was now in the books. They survived a potential disaster but the warning flag was out and flying.
     
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  3. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Dammit Slimm, why the hell did you have to bring that God Forsaken game against Tennessee up? ****ing Rooster, our third string QB, completely blew the national championship all by himself. I still hate Tee Martin and Peerless Price because of that habe game. That game hurt my soul.
     
  4. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    Outzen was Weinke's backup.

    Dwayne Goodrich completely shutdown Peter Warrick in the first half of that game. Warrick was probably the best player in the country that year in my opinion. I think Goodrich missed the 2nd half due to an injury. It didn't matter though, he'd done enough by that point to convince the NFL he was going to be worth a 1st round pick.

    More interestingly, Arkansas had Tennessee beat that year - Arkansas was leading 24-22 with 1:47 remaining when Clint Stoerner fumbled trying to catch his balance after getting his foot stepped on by one of his offensive lineman. Vols would score the winning TD by giving the rock to Travis Henry 4 or 5 carries in a row. To this day it's still one of the top 3 or 4 craziest finishes to a football game I've ever seen.
     
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  5. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    I was thinking that Jared Jones was his backup but got hurt or something. Either way, that game sucked badly for me and I'd just moved to Nashville a few months before. I was a good sport for a while but Tennessee fans are straight obnoxious... I figure you know this as well as anybody. I damn near choked one guy at work that just wouldn't leave it alone months later. I never touched him but scared the **** out of him.

    I remember that Arkansas game, it was absolutely crazy. That fumble was an act of God or something.
     
  6. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    Absolutely.
     
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  7. BobDole

    BobDole Suck it Trebek Finheaven VIP

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    I just started to really pay attention to college football at this point. Couldn't believe they got the FSU rematch. Has another #1 team that everyone assumed would get the title been beaten so horribly in the championship? They didn't even belong in that game.

    Wuerfel to Hilliard and Anthony is what I remember most. You got the impression they couldn't be stopped after watching them play. What'd they put up, 50 points a game? Now I'm happy if they break 20.
     
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  8. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Damn, y'all dragging up some pain for a brother! First, the rematch was complete and utter bullshit and should have never happened. Second, they got 50 because Spurrier whined so incessantly about FSU nearly killing Wuerffel in Tallahassee that FSU defense was neutered by the referees against one of the best college passing offenses ever...on turf... in the sugar bowl. That game was 100% set up for Florida to win because they were never supposed to lose in Tallahassee and ruin their story book season. I still hate ****ing Spurrier to this day, whiny little bitch! Seeing him throw his pansy little visor and stomp around like an unhinged toddler was pure elation for me.

    Can you tell I'm still a little raw?
     
  9. BobDole

    BobDole Suck it Trebek Finheaven VIP

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    You are mis-remembering that game. The referees didn't neuter the Noles, the shotgun did. Spurrier installed it to prevent another 20+ QB hit disaster. And they only lost the first game by like a field goal. FSU couldn't do anything to stop the gun that day. I doubt the 2001 Canes could, either.

    The rematch was pretty iffy (see ya BCS) but it's hard to say the Gators weren't the best team in the country after watching that Sugar Bowl.
     
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  10. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    The Gators were absolutely the best team in the country that year which is why it was such a f****** travesty that they got a mulligan after losing at Florida State fair and square. The refs absolutely neutered Florida State and called a couple of personal fouls right off the bat in the first quarter. That's all Spurrier talked about from the time he left Tallahassee throughout all of the threw out all of the pressers before the Sugar Bowl. He even met with the referees before the game to talk about it. The fact of the matter is, Florida should have never been in that ball game, ever. They lost the last game of the season and someone else should have been in that title game. I will be bitter about that forever.

    With all that being said, I do agree with you that that situation highlighted the problem with the BCS. They chose the highest ratings game rather than who really deserve to be in the championship game. I don't even blame Spurrier or the Gators as they just lobbied for their own best interests like anyone would. Bottom line is, FSU got f*****.
     
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  11. BobDole

    BobDole Suck it Trebek Finheaven VIP

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    FSU got screwed but by losing ... not by being kept out like Ohio St. Does FSU beat teams not called the Gators in the sugar bowl that season? Probably. But did they get screwed out of a title? Nah. They lost to a better team that day.

    To your point ... “If Texas hadn’t beaten Nebraska, if Ohio State hadn’t beaten Arizona State, we wouldn’t be here – we ought to send Cooper and Mackovic a ring or something, because without them we don’t have a chance.” - Spurrier
     
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  12. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    If these threads are jogging everyone's memories and accessing all the little compartments stowed away in our memory banks, they're serving their purpose - generating discussion.

    Well done boys.
     
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  13. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    The situation screwed FSU as the chances of beating that Florida team twice was slim to none. Only one other rematch I remember was Alabama-LSU and they played way earlier in the season. I honestly can't remember another team that went to the national championship game after losing their final regular season game and certainly not a rematch, though it's probably happened at some point.
     
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  14. BobDole

    BobDole Suck it Trebek Finheaven VIP

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    Agreed. The BCS seemed to have that problem on repeat. Much better system now with the 4 team playoff.


    Is Francois ready to pick up where he left off? Team still has a ton of talent, even if recruiting has taken a hit.
     
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  15. Buddy

    Buddy Right Wing Nut Job Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    From what I've heard he and Blackmon both look really good. Apparently, a freshman, Bailey Hockman, is pushing them both though. They are all young, Francois is the oldest as a RS sophomore. It should be a much improved team this year and I really expect to make some serious noise next year. Our defense should be a lot better since jettisoning that dipshit Kelly. I never really liked Jimbo and honestly believe Willy will make us forget Jimbo quickly.

    How are the Gators looking this year? I have to believe that y'all will also be markedly improved.
     
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