Bcs Controversies Revisited: 2005 - What Might Have Been


Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ
Jul 28, 2008
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Compared with the debacles of four of the previous five years, 2005 was extraordinarily mild. The loudest controversy, in fact, came from the fans of LSU, who continued to insist that USC was NOT playing for a three-peat national championship.

The pre-season coaches poll was simple:
1) USC
2) Texas
3) Tennessee
4) Michigan
5) Oklahoma
6) LSU

The early thought was that USC would roar to the title game and probably face the winner of Texas-OU. All 62 first-place votes went to the top two teams, 60 of them to USC.

Naturally - if you'll pardon the pun - a hurricane once again played a role in the season. This time it was Hurricane Katrina, the devastating storm that wiped out the Gulf Coast just prior to the start of the season. The result was that LSU moved their home game with Arizona State to Tempe (and won on the final play) to stay in the hunt. Tulane played in 11 different venues after the Superdome was rendered unusable for the season.

But there wasn't much to the year anyway. The first domino fell in the Cotton Bowl stadium when Texas routed Oklahoma, 45-12. The Sooners were as good as dead at that point while Virginia Tech began to pick up recognition as a possible title contender. LSU blew a huge lead to Tennessee and lost, leaving Alabama and Georgia as the prime SEC contenders. The Tide was undone during a blowout of Florida when star wide receiver Tyrone Prothro snapped his leg and ended his college career. Except for overmatched foe Utah State and a garbage time TD against Auburn, Alabama's offense would never top 13 points in the final seven games and yet would go 5-2 thanks to a phenomenal defense led by DeMeco Ryans, Mark Anderson and Roman Harper.

USC showed vulnerability in South Bend on October 15, when an illegal play known as the "Bush Push" gave the Trojans a stunning 34-31 win over the Irish. Notre Dame blew several chances to win the game, most notably surrendering a 61-yard completion on fourth down with the game on the line. This was the last game before the BCS standings were released on October 17:

1) USC
2) Texas
3) Va Tech
4) Georgia
5) Alabama

They remained that way for two weeks but in the third week the predictable happened when Georgia somehow once again lost to Florida. To be fair, they had lost their quarterback for the game but that never seemed to matter anyway. Georgia was done for the year and UCLA moved into the top five for a week - until Arizona drilled them, 52-14, putting Alabama at number three, followed by Miami and Penn State. And the bills for Alabama's anemic offense finally came due.

Alabama tore out to a 10-0 lead on LSU - and then didn't move the ball at all the rest of the game. LSU eventually overcame the Tide's tiring defense and left with a 16-13 overtime win and a number five ranking in the BCS. Miami was next to fall as Ga Tech finished them off with a 14-10 win. The defeat of Miami raised Va Tech's hopes once again. The teams remained the same until the final weekend of the season, when FSU beat Va Tech in the ACC title game (they had just expanded) and Georgia upset LSU in the SEC title game.

And we now had the predicted matchup from before the season. USC and Texas put on a classic won by the Longhorns in Vince Young's finest hour. It was the final national game called by ABC sports legend Keith Jackson. Two yards short of a three-peat, the Trojans could only wonder. Several years later, they were stripped of the 2004 BCS title when a investigation showed illegal benefits paid to Heisman winner Reggie Bush.

2005 was a stellar year for college football and mostly free of controversy. But controversy was about to rage in full force - and that coming of force would give rise to the most dominant conference period in the history of NCAA football, the Southeastern Conference of 2006-2013.
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