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Ranking the greatest team/game in BCS Championship history


The longest month of the year has to be the eternity between the Big 12 Championship and the BCS Championship.

It seems like it will be forever — Dec. 5 to Jan. 7 — until No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas square off for the biggest prize in college football.

There's outside factors that help pass the time as quickly as possible: Other bowl games, for one. Non-conference college hoops, where the Big 12 looks unstoppable right now with Kansas University and Texas atop everyone else. The NFL/fantasy football. The season finales of Dexter and Californication (can't wait for Sunday!). Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's.

Still, it's a long time until Mack Brown and Nick Saban's squads face each other, and I want it to be tomorrow.

In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on the BCS era, which started in 1998 when Tennessee defeated Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship. In the 11-year history of the BCS era, there have been plenty of memorable BCS title games. I remember watching most of them.

Here's how many BCS championships each conference has won in the past:

SEC: 5 (Tennessee 1998, LSU 2003, Florida 2006, LSU 2007, Florida 2008).
Big 12: 2 (Oklahoma 2000, Texas 2005).
ACC: 1 (Florida State 1999).
Big East: 1 (Miami, Fla. 2001).
Big Ten: 1 (Ohio State 2002).
Pac-10: 1 (USC 2004).

I have two questions:

  1. Who is the best champion of the BCS era?

  2. What is the most memorable championship game from the BCS era?

Here are my answers:

1. Best BCS champion: Miami Hurricanes, 2001

This team should have been illegal. ESPN recently came out with a list of the best college football teams of all-time. This 2001 Miami team was No. 5, which I don't quite understand.

This was the greatest college football team I've ever seen. By a long shot, actually.

The 2001 Miami roster produced an absurd 38 NFL Draft picks, 17 of whom were selected in the first round. The Hurricanes pummeled teams by an average of 32.9 points per game.

Just for kicks, take a look at the running backs on that roster: Clinton Portis (jr.), Willis McGahee (fr.), Najeh Davenport (sr.), Frank Gore (fr.). All have had solid careers playing on Sundays.

Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL not named Larry Fitzgerald. He was on that team, along with other big-time targets like Jeremy Shockey. Roscoe Parrish and Kellen Winslow Jr. were backups.

You then had Ed Reed, a future Hall of Fame safety, anchoring a secondary that included Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph and James Lewis. The late Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle and Kelly Jennings were freshmen backups. Insane.

I know it's difficult to compare teams from different eras, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm still trying to figure out how the Army team from 1945 was ranked on that ESPN list above Miami. If this doesn't make me the most popular guy amongst the old-timers, then so be it, but Miami 2001 would handle Army 1945 by 30 points, at bare minimum.

In the 2002 Rose Bowl, Miami built a 34-0 halftime lead on Nebraska and won, 37-14. Here are the highlights, with comical, yet intense music in the background:

2. Most memorable BCS Championship game: Texas 41, USC 38

Simply put, the greatest college football game I've ever seen.

The 2005 Longhorns defeated a favored USC team that boasted Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White, all of whom won the national title the year before in resounding fashion (55-19) over Oklahoma.

But Vince Young put on a show for the ages, going 30-of-40 for 267 yards through the air, and racking up an additional 200 yards and three scores on the ground.

Of course, the game-winning 8-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left sealed it for Texas, and was summed up in one of the most memorable calls by Keith Jackson: "Vince ... Young ... scores."

Young led an incredible comeback that saw UT down 12 with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter.

Leinart lost for only the second time in his college career. Texas won its first national championship since 1970.

Here are the highlights:

As always, discuss.


Jake Dale 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm biased, but you simply cannot go wrong with the '01 Canes pick, although they did need a little divine intervention at Boston College.

But for the best game, you could easily argue for the '02 game between the U and Ohio State (I refuse to say "The Ohio blah blah"), which, of course, went two OTs. I will grant OSUfan the win, as long as they grant that the Pass Interference call was BS. Big 12 official.

And oh yeah... "Doug Flutie" = irrelevant

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