We had a very lively discussion yesterday about the BCS and the possibility of going to a four-team or eight-team playoff when the current contract expires after the 2013 regular season. It made me think of some research that I did about a year ago, showing that a four-team playoff would have addressed many of the major controversies that have plagued the BCS since its inception in 1998.
I’ve updated some stuff, but here are what the national championship semifinals would have been for the past 11 years using the BCS formula.
Here is your homework assignment for today. Based on these semifinals, which team would have emerged as the national champion? And which semifinals do you really like?
Example: In 2008 Florida and Alabama, who played one of the best SEC championship games ever, could have won their semifinals and met again for the BCS title. Does Florida win the rematch?
Just look over this list and give me your winners or any thoughts you have about the semifinals and potential championship games.
Here is one thing to keep in mind. A four-team playoff would address a lot of problems, but not all of them. Look at Georgia n 2007. The Bulldogs would have gotten squeezed out of a four-team playoff despite being ranked No. 4 on Championship Saturday. Now how controversial would that have been?
No. 1 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 4 Alabama (12-1)
No. 2 Florida (12-1) vs. No. 3 Texas (11-1)
Note: A four-team playoff this season would have still left a bunch of teams mad. No. 5 Southern Cal (11-1), whose only loss was on a Thursday night at Oregon State (27-21), believed it was the best team in the country. No. 6 Utah (12-0) and No. 7 Texas Tech (11-1), who beat Texas, could also make a claim. I believe that if the voters in the polls had been picking four teams instead of two, they would have voted Southern Cal ahead of Alabama in the final BCS Standings because the Crimson Tide was coming off a loss. I’m not saying I agree with that, but that is what I believe the voters would have done.
No. 1 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (11-2)
No. 2 LSU (11-2) vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech (11-2)
Note: Georgia and its fans would have been fuming. The Bulldogs (10-2) were No. 4 on Championship Saturday but were leapfrogged by conference championship game winners LSU, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma in the final standings and would have gotten squeezed out of the playoff.
No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 4 LSU (10-2)
No. 2 Florida (12-1) vs. No. 3 Michigan (11-1)
Note: Here is where a four-team playoff addresses a couple of problems. After losing a close game to Ohio State (42-39), Michigan thought it deserved a rematch with the Buckeyes in the BCS championship game. Florida jumped over the idle Wolverines by winning the SEC title. Michigan would have gotten its shot if it could beat Florida in the semifinals.
No. 1 Southern Cal (12-0) vs. No. 2 Ohio State (9-2)
No. 2 Texas (12-0) vs. No. 3 Penn State (10-1)
Note: College football fans might have gotten mad if either Southern Cal or Texas had been upset in the semifinals. They were clearly the best two teams in the country this season and played the best BCS championship game ever (at 41-38 win by Texas in the Rose Bowl.)
No. 1 USC (12-0) vs. No. 4 Texas (10-1)
No. 2 Oklahoma (12-0) vs. No. 3 Auburn (12-0)
Note: Urban Meyer’s undefeated Utah (11-0) team, ranked 6th, probably felt like it deserved a shot. Here a four-team playoff would have addressed one of the biggest controversies of the BCS era: An undefeated SEC championship team from Auburn that got left out.
No. 1 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 4 Michigan (10-2)
No. 2 LSU (12-1) vs. No. 3 Southern Cal (11-1)
Note: The four-team playoff would have addressed another major BCS controversy. Southern Cal finished No. 1 in both human polls but finished No. 3 in the final BCS standings. This year made the BCS adjust its formula to give more weight to the human polls.
No. 1 Miami (12-0) vs. No. 4 Southern Cal (10-2)
No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 3 Georgia (12-1)
Note: A four-team playoff would have given a shot to Georgia, whose only loss was to Florida. It would have also given a shot to Southern Cal and Carson Palmer, the Heisman Trophy winner.
No. 1 Miami (12-0) vs. No. 4 Oregon (10-1)
No. 2 Nebraska (11-1) vs. No. 3 Colorado (10-2)
Note: This is a year when the four-team playoff could have saved the BCS a lot of embarrassment. Oregon, the Pac-10 champ, was ranked No. 2 in the human polls but No. 4 in the final BCS standings. Nebraska, which lost its last regular season game to Colorado (62-36) finished No. 2 in the standings and got destroyed by Miami in the BCS championship game in the Rose Bowl.
No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0) vs. No. 4 Washington (10-1)
No. 2 Florida State (11-1) vs. No. 3 Miami (10-1)
Note: Miami was ranked No. 2 in the final human polls and had beaten Florida State (27-24) during the regular season. But when the numbers were crunched, Florida State edged out Miami for the No. 2 spot against Oklahoma in the BCS championship game. A rematch between the Miami and Florida State in the semifinals would have been must-see TV.
No. 1 Florida State (11-0) vs. No. 4 Alabama (10-2)
No. 2 Virginia Tech (11-0) vs. No. 3 Nebraska (11-1)
Note: Nebraska’s only loss during the season was to Texas (24-20 in Austin) and the Cornhuskers later avenged that loss by beating the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship game (22-6). Nebraska might have given Michael Vick and company a pretty good game in the semifinals. It would have been interesting to see how Alabama, the SEC champ, would have fared against Chris Weinke and Florida State.
No. 1 Tennessee (12-0) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (10-1)
No. 2 Florida State (10-1) vs. No. 3 Kansas State (11-1)
Note: Four team playoff would have given another life to Kansas State, which lost to Texas A&M (36-33, double overtime) in the Big 12 championship game and got knocked out of the BCS title game. I don’t think any of these teams were going to beat Tennessee that season