Saturday, June 23, 2012

BCS Final Four matchups since '98

With a new era of college football upon us and true playoff expected to begin in 2014, it's natural to think what could have been during the BCS era.

The BCS was created with one goal: to pit No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a national championship game. Under what's expected to be the new format - beginning in 2014 - of seeding the top four teams in the country and playing it off, the world of college football would have potentially been even more chaotic.

Look at what would have been the Final Four matchups since 1998:

1998: (1) Tennessee vs. (4) Ohio State; (2) Florida State vs. (3) Kansas State

1999: (1) Florida State vs. (4) Alabama; (2) Virginia Tech vs. (3) Nebraska

2000: (1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Washington; (2) Florida State vs. (3) Miami (Fla.)

2001: (1) Miami (Fla.) vs. (4) Oregon; (2) Nebraska vs. (3) Colorado

2002: (1) Miami (Fla.) vs. (4) USC; (2) Ohio State vs. (3) Georgia

2003: (1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Michigan; (2) LSU vs. (3) USC

2004: (1) USC vs. (4) Texas; (2) Oklahoma vs. (3) Auburn

2005: (1) USC vs. (4) Ohio State; (2) Texas vs. (3) Penn State

2006: (1) Ohio State vs. (4) LSU; (2) Florida vs. (3) Michigan

2007: (1) Ohio State vs. (4) Oklahoma; (2) LSU vs. (3) Virginia Tech

2008: (1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Alabama; (2) Florida vs. (3) Texas

2009: (1) Alabama vs. (4) TCU: (2) Texas vs. (3) Cincinnati

2010: (1) Auburn vs. (4) Stanford; (2) Oregon vs. (4) TCU

2011: (1) LSU vs. (4) Stanford; (2) Alabama vs. (3) Oklahoma State

Five teams not ranked in the top 2 would have had a great shot at winning a four-team playoff since 1998. They are:

1998 Ohio State: The Buckeyes were No. 1 for most of the season until a loss to unranked Michigan State at home (coached by Nick Saban, by the way). Led by QB Joe Germaine, OSU's offense was scary good and would have played eventual national champion Tennessee in a Final Four game. The Buckeyes would have had a great shot at knocking off the Volunteers and the winner of Florida State-Kansas State.

2000 Miami (Fla.): Coach Butch Davis and his Hurricanes beat Florida State in the regular season, but the Seminoles played in the title game against Oklahoma, which baffled fans across the country. The U was loaded with QB Ken Dorsey, RB Clinton Portis and TE Jeremy Shockey, and hammered Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

2002 USC: The Trojans, led by Heisman-winning QB Carson Palmer, were playing as well as any team late in the season, but two losses early in the season to Kansas State and Washington State, sunk USC's hopes for a national championship. The new format is perfect for a team such as this, one that is mega-talented, lost a game or two early, but playing well at the right time.

2004 Auburn: The Tigers weren't flashy that year with QB Jason Campbell, and a tough defense, but they were the SEC champions and as we've all witnessed during the BCS era, that means a lot.

2010 Stanford: QB Andrew Luck led his team to a 12-1 mark and an easy win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Had there been a four-team playoff that season, we would have seen a Final Four matchup pitting Auburn and Cam Newton against the Cardinal and Luck. Sign me up for that.

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo


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