Looking at the final numbers the BCS bats .500 in clean finishes

Take the "finally" out of the BCS finally getting it right. Maybe.

Much was made over the weekend about the BCS getting it "right:" Florida State vs. Auburn. There was a celebratory end to the Bowl Championship Series. That meant that in only three of the 16 seasons of the BCS did the top two differ from the final regular-season AP poll. Only in 2000, 20001 and 2003 did AP and the BCS disagree.

Ah, but there are some huge asterisks if you look at history ...

*The BCS wasn't able to account for the undefeated SEC champion in 2004. Auburn finished No. 3 in the BCS despite going 13-0 in regular season. The difference may have come down to schedule strength with Oklahoma playing Bowling Green and Auburn playing The Citadel in the nonconferfence. Bowling Green's AD the time, Paul Krebs, had scheduled the Falcons to play Auburn but OU offered more money. Krebs had been Oklahoma's ticket manager.

The omission eventually led SEC commissioner Mike Slive to start the ball rolling for a playoff. That year USC and Oklahoma, also undefeated, played in the championship game.

*In 2006, Michigan lost a bitter three-point game to Ohio State slipping from No. 2 to No. 3 in the second-last week of the season. There was talk of Michigan moving back up for a rematch if No. 2 USC lost. That's exactly what happened when UCLA knocked off the Trojans. But the voters and computers conspired to elevate Florida to that No. 2 spot. The Gators benefitted from playing an extra game in the SEC championship while Michigan sat home on the couch.

*2007 may have been the most contentious finish ever. LSU rocketed from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final BCS standings. That, after losing an overtime game at home to Arkansas prior to the SEC championship game.

Missouri and West Virginia were 1-2 going into the final week. However, Mizzou lost by three touchdowns to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game while West Virginia was inexplicably upset by at home by Pittsburgh. That allowed Ohio State and LSU to move up. The Tigers, 11-2, beat out seven other two-loss teams from BCS conferences. The lesson to everyone but LSU: Don't lose late.

*2008 was anything but smooth. Oklahoma got into the Big 12 title game after winning a three-way tiebreaker in the Big 12 South. The Sooners finished above Texas (and Texas Tech) despite losing to the Longhorns. The tiebreaker was the BCS standings at the time. The margin for OU -- .0028 of a point -- might as well be branded into the side of Bevo. That allowed the Sooners to play the extra game in the Big 12 title game that allowed it to move into the top two and play Florida for the championship.

*We didn't know until the final week of the 2010 season whether No. 1 Auburn would have its quarterback. Cam Newton was finally cleared the week of the Iron Bowl after the NCAA determined his father had solicited money for his services at Mississippi State. However, the NCAA concluded Newton had no knowledge of his father's actions. Once cleared, Newton rallied the Tigers from a 24-0 deficit in the Iron Bowl and led a BCS title game win over Oregon,

*In the Grandaddy of Them All, Alabama lost at home in the first week of November to LSU. However, an Oklahoma State loss at Iowa State a couple of weeks later allowed the Tide to climb back into the top two. The final BCS standings led to a further call for a playoff: LSU-Alabama in a rematch that no one but the participants and their fans wanted to see.

So taking those five finishes into account only eight of the 16 BCS seasons were "clean". Not all those seasons were directly attributable to the BCS but it wasn't exactly 13 out of 16.


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
 
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