Throughout June and July and to commemorate the final year of the BCS era, Jerry Palm will be taking a year-by-year look at the machinations and controversies of the postseason system unleashed upon college football in 1998. Previous installments of the series can be found HERE.
Format: The championship game was the Orange Bowl. The regular Orange Bowl wasn't played.
Number of bowls: 25. New bowls: GalleryFurniture.com, Silicon Valley.
Number of Division I-A teams: 115. New schools: UConn (Independent)
Conference realignment: Nevada moved from the Big West to the WAC.
Formula changes: None. Since there was no controversy over the 1999 title game selections, no changes were made to the formula. That doesn't mean there wasn't controversy surrounding the formula. During the season, it was discovered that the Dunkel Index broke ties in its rankings alphabetically. In response, Wyoming changed its name to Aardvark U (not really).
This was the first year that the selection of the teams for the championship game caused a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Oklahoma finished first, and as the only unbeaten team, that was a no-brainer. However, the No. 2 team in the polls, Miami, finished third in the BCS behind poll No. 3 Florida State. As if finishing behind an in-state rival wasn't bad enough, the Hurricanes beat the Seminoles in the regular season. Florida State overcame the poll standing with superior strength of schedule and computer rankings.
Ironically, fourth ranked Washington beat Miami during the regular season as well, completing a circle behind the Sooners. However, I'm the only person outside the Pacific Time Zone who thought the Huskies deserved consideration for the title game spot as well. UW finished behind in the polls because they lost latest, but they also didn't fare as well in the computer rankings. At that time, seven of the eight computers considered margin of victory, and UW didn't win by big numbers.
Oklahoma beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl that year for its only BCS title. Miami was left to stew about what might have been.
If the soon to be launched four-team playoff were in place:
This is one of the rare seasons that a four-team playoff fits, as was just explained above. Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami and Washington can just duke it out. Again, the Big East takes up the spot reserved for the non-major leagues, although at this point in time, the league was powerful at the top. The highest rated true non-major in 2000 was 14th-ranked TCU, which finished the year 10-1.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Washington
Peach Bowl*: No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Florida State
Rose Bowl: Purdue vs. Oregon State
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Kansas State
Cotton Bowl: Nebraska vs. Oregon
*- The Peach Bowl became the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2006.