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Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Updated: January 9, 1:55 PM ET
Page 2 ranks the BCS championship games

By Page 2

The second decade of BCS championship games is here, and while the current system hasn't totally alleviated the question of split titles and championship snubs, it has provided us with some memorable matchups.

With that in mind, Page 2 ranks the 10 previous BCS title games, starting with the mediocre and working our way down to the historic:



10.  2004: USC (12-0) vs. Oklahoma (12-0)

Orange Bowl; Jan. 4, 2005; Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1) 7 3 0 9 19
No. 1 USC (13-0) 14 24 10 7 55

Point spread: Oklahoma by 1

Synopsis: It was the first matchup of Heisman winners in college football history: USC quarterback Matt Leinart (2004 winner) and Oklahoma QB Jason White (2003). Sooners tailback Adrian Peterson and Trojans tailback Reggie Bush were also Heisman finalists in 2004. After the Sooners opened the game with a touchdown pass from White, the Trojans scored four unanswered TDs in the next 10:10 to take a 28-7 lead. Leinart threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns. Steve Smith set an Orange Bowl record with three TD catches, and LenDale White ran for 118 yards and two TDs. The only tense moments were before the game when one Simpson (O.J.) said he was coming and another (Ashley) got lustily booed during a halftime performance.

Where are they now? Leinart, the No. 10 pick in '06, is carrying the clipboard for Cardinals starter Kurt Warner, although he seems to be making the best of his situation in Arizona. … Jason White went undrafted and was unable to parlay a tryout with the Chiefs into a contract. He never played a down in the NFL and now owns and operates an Athlete's Foot franchise. A statue of him adorns the Oklahoma campus. Seriously. … O.J. Simpson is currently enjoying a nine-year comped stay in Nevada courtesy of the state's taxpayers.

Who got snubbed? Auburn and Utah were both undefeated. Auburn beat Virginia Tech 16-13 in the Sugar Bowl to finish 13-0. The Tigers likely would've won by a much larger margin, but quarterback Jason Campbell went through four offensive coordinators in the first half alone. Meantime, Utah romped past Pitt 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 12-0, as Alex Smith set a BCS bowl record for touchdown passes by a small-handed quarterback (four).




9.  2006: Florida (12-1) vs. Ohio State (12-0)

BCS National Championship Game; Jan. 8, 2007; University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 2 Florida (13-1) 14 20 0 7 41
No. 1 Ohio State (12-1) 7 7 0 0 14

Point spread: Ohio State by 7

Synopsis: Buckeyes speedster Ted Ginn Jr. gave Ohio State early momentum by returning the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Then he gave Florida the momentum by injuring his foot during the ensuing celebration, forcing him to miss the remainder of the game. The Gators sprinted to a 34-14 halftime lead and never looked back. Ohio State was held to a paltry 82 yards of total offense for the game, and Heisman winner Troy Smith completed just four passes for 35 yards, with one pick. Florida quarterback Chris Leak had a career game (finally), throwing for 213 yards and a TD on 25-of-36 passing, and Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey had two sacks and forced a fumble. Superfrosh Tim Tebow also threw for a TD and ran for another -- a hint of things to come.

Where are they now? Leak is playing with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL. Harvey is a starting defensive end with the Jaguars. Tebow, of course, is successfully piloting the Gators and apparently is a man of many diverse interests. … Smith is now looking up the Ravens depth chart at a former Division I-AA QB. … Ginn is a starting wideout and kick returner for the Dolphins -- and hasn't injured himself celebrating any of his four NFL TDs.

Who got snubbed? Michigan had a decent gripe -- considering its only loss came by three points to No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus -- until the Wolverines got whacked 32-18 by USC in the Rose Bowl. … Louisville also had cause to grumble: The Cardinals' only loss came by three points at Rutgers, which ended the season 12th in both major polls.




8.  2001: Miami (11-0) vs. Nebraska (11-1)

Rose Bowl; Jan. 3, 2002; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 1 Miami (12-0) 7 27 0 3 37
No. 2 Nebraska (11-2) 0 0 7 7 14

Point spread: Miami by 8½

Synopsis: This is what happens when a fight about the BCS happens and a game breaks out. Only it turned out the fights were more interesting. Nebraska's controversial selection (see below) was the highlight of the game. Miami blasted out to a 34-0 halftime lead. Hurricanes tailback Clinton Portis rushed for 104 yards, and QB Ken Dorsey threw for 362 yards and three TDs. Nebraska's Eric Crouch (the 2001 Heisman winner) had a couple of electric runs on his way to 114 rushing yards, but threw for only 62 yards on 5-of-15 passing. In the end, it was validation for Miami coach Larry Coker, who had taken over a year earlier when Butch Davis bolted to the NFL.

Where are they now? A former seventh-round pick by the 49ers, Dorsey saw some playing time in '08 with the Browns, but only after Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Tim Couch, Spergon Wynn, Mike Pagel and Todd Philcox were lost to injury. … After starting his head coaching career with a 24-0 record, Coker lost the BCS title game to Ohio State after the '02 season, and the Canes went into decline. He was fired in 2006, one day after telling the press corps he was sure he would return in '07. … Crouch was drafted by the Rams but became the first Heisman winner to retire from the NFL twice (also with the Packers) without playing a single down.

Who got snubbed? Nebraska earned a championship berth despite failing to win the Big 12 North, ranking No. 4 in the last AP poll of the regular season and losing 62-36 to Colorado in its Big 12 finale. … Pac-10 champ Oregon was passed over after going 10-1 in the regular season -- the only loss a 49-42 defeat against Stanford. Oregon beat Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl to finish No. 2 at 11-1. Joey Harrington threw four TDs in that game, cementing his status as the future ex-quarterback of the Detroit Lions.



7.  1999: Florida State (11-0) vs. Virginia Tech (11-0)

Sugar Bowl; Jan. 4, 2000; Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 2 Virginia Tech (11-1) 7 7 15 0 29
No. 1 Florida State (12-0) 14 14 0 18 46

Point spread: Florida State by 5

Synopsis: FSU coach Bobby Bowden was criticized for letting Polish-born kicker Sebastian Janikowski play despite missing curfew on New Year's Eve. "We're playing under international rules," Bowden said. "I do have a Warsaw rule in place." Peter Warrick, perhaps pleased that Dillard's wasn't the game's title sponsor, put on a show with two long touchdown catches, a punt return touchdown and a two-point conversion. Chris Weinke threw for 329 yards for the Seminoles (12-0). Redshirt freshman Michael Vick dazzled for Virginia Tech (11-1), passing for 225 yards and rushing for 97, but it wasn't enough.

Where are they now? Weinke captured the Heisman in 2000 and won his NFL debut in 2001 -- then lost his next 17 starts en route to NFL anonymity. … Warrick was drafted No. 4 overall by the Bengals but never had a 1,000-yard receiving season in an underwhelming NFL career. He reportedly owns an Applebee's in Sarasota, Fla. … Vick is incarcerated at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for dogfighting. … Janikowski was killed by his own troops in Vietnam plays semi-pro ball for the Oakland Raiders.

Who got snubbed? No other BCS conference team went undefeated, but Marshall went 12-0, including wins over BCS schools Clemson and Temple (not a snarky Page 2 quip -- the Owls were actually in the Big East at the time). The Thundering Herd beat BYU in the Motor City Bowl to finish 13-0.




6.  2007: LSU (11-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1)

BCS National Championship Game; Jan. 7, 2008; Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 2 LSU (12-2) 3 21 7 7 38
No. 1 Ohio State (11-2) 10 0 7 7 24

Point spread: LSU by 3½

Synopsis: The Buckeyes looked as if they were going to atone for their performance in the previous season's title game by jumping out to a 10-0 lead. But the Bayou Bengals roared back with 31 unanswered points to drop Ohio State to 0-9 in bowl games against SEC opponents. Matt Flynn threw four TD passes as LSU became the first two-time champion of the BCS era.

Where are they now? Obviously, the majority of them are still in college. … Notably, Flynn is a backup with the Packers, patiently waiting for the retirement of incumbent Aaron Rodgers, who has started 16 consecutive games.

Who got snubbed? Hawaii was 12-0 in the regular season, but struggled to beat teams such as San Jose State, Nevada and the last-place team in the Pac-10, Washington. The Warriors got trounced 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.




5.  2000: Oklahoma (12-0) vs. Florida State (11-1)

Orange Bowl; Jan. 3, 2001; Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 2 Florida State (11-2) 0 0 0 2 2
No. 1 Oklahoma (13-0) 3 0 3 7 13

Point spread: Florida State by 11

Synopsis: Although the Sooners were undefeated, the Seminoles were heavily favored. But Oklahoma's stout defense trumped Florida State's feted offense in Mark Richt's last game as offensive coordinator before becoming head coach at Georgia. After three quarters, the Sooners clung to a 6-0 lead. Oklahoma running back Quentin Griffin scored the only touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. Florida State avoided its first shutout in more than 12 years by getting a safety with less than a minute to play. "It was like a nightmare," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said afterward. "If you dreamed a nightmare of what was happening, it happened." Sooners linebacker Torrance Marshall was named the game's MVP.

Where are they now? Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel has served as a Sooners assistant coach since 2004. … Marshall last played pro football in '07 -- with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena League, as a linebacker/running back and set a franchise record with 17 rushing touchdowns that season. Isn't that reason enough to bring back the AFL in '09?

Who got snubbed? Miami also lost just once, but had beaten Florida State 27-24 in the third installment of the "Wide Right" serial. The Hurricanes beat Florida 37-20 in the Sugar Bowl to finish 11-1. … Not to be outsnubbed, Washington had lost just once, but beat visiting Miami 34-29 early in the season. The Huskies beat Purdue 34-24 in the Rose Bowl to finish 11-1.




4.  2003: LSU (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)

Sugar Bowl; Jan. 4, 2004, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 1 Oklahoma (12-2) 0 7 0 7 14
No. 2 LSU (13-1) 7 7 7 0 21

Point spread: Oklahoma by 6½

Synopsis: Oklahoma came in with the top-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 45.2 points per game. But Nick Saban and LSU had the blueprint to shut down the Sooners and their Heisman winner, Jason White. White threw for just 102 yards on 13-of-37 passing with two interceptions, and the Sooners -- who came in averaging 461.4 yards per game -- accumulated only 154 yards on 70 plays from scrimmage. Oklahoma scored its two touchdowns after a blocked punt and an interception gave them great field position. LSU's Justin Vincent rushed 16 times for 117 yards and a TD, and Tigers defensive end Marcus Spears scored on a 20-yard interception return.

Where are they now? Vincent is on the Steelers' practice squad, and Spears is a starting defensive end with the Cowboys. After a layover with the Dolphins, Saban is back in the SEC at Alabama -- and will probably need extra security for the rest of his life every time he sets foot in Louisiana. … Oklahoma wideout Mark Clayton is starting for the Ravens.

Who got snubbed? USC. The Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, and their only loss came in triple overtime at Cal. Meantime, Oklahoma received a championship invite despite getting drubbed 35-7 by Kansas State in the Big 12 title game -- four years after Kansas State lost its championship invite for losing the Big 12 title game in overtime. USC beat Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl to finish 12-1.




3.  1998: Tennessee (12-0) vs. Florida State (11-1)

Fiesta Bowl; Jan. 4, 1999; Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 1 Tennessee (13-0) 0 14 0 9 23
No. 2 Florida State (11-2) 0 9 0 7 16

Point spread: Tennessee by 5½

Synopsis: It was the first BCS title game, the first national title in 47 years for the Vols … and the first of many retirements for broadcaster Keith Jackson. Both teams elected to avoid the week-long pregame party scene, with Tennessee wideout Peerless Price proudly declaring he was in bed at 10:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. It must have helped -- Price had four receptions for 199 yards, including an epic 78-yard bomb from Tee Martin. Seminoles star Peter Warrick was held to one catch for seven yards and one run for 11 yards, but Florida State made a game of it late when Tennessee tailback Travis Henry (original starter Jamal Lewis was hurt early in the season) fumbled. But Florida State gave the ball right back on Marcus Outzen's second interception. Game over.

Where are they now? After four unglamorous years in the NFL, Martin now operates a series of quarterback training camps. … Price had a few flashes of greatness with the Bills but was, in fact, hardly without peer. Neck surgery in '07 has apparently ended his career. … Travis Henry is still only halfway through opening his 2008 Father's Day cards; he's also facing a federal charge of "knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine."

Who got snubbed? Kansas State was 11-0 entering the Big 12 title game but lost to Texas A&M 36-33 in overtime. Then, despite finishing third in the BCS standings, Kansas State wasn't invited to a BCS bowl. With most other bowls already booked, the Wildcats fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl, where they lost in uninspired fashion to unranked Purdue, 37-34.




2.  2002: Ohio State (13-0) vs. Miami (12-0)

Fiesta Bowl; Jan. 3, 2003; Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT1 OT2 Total
No. 1 Ohio State (14-0) 0 14 3 0 7 7 31
No. 2 Miami (12-1) 7 0 7 3 7 0 24

Point spread: Miami by 12

Synopsis: You might already be thinking, "How can a double-overtime game not be No. 1 on this list?" Three reasons: (a) Had this game not gone to overtime, it would be considered a memorable, close game, but not a classic; (b) a controversial pass interference call was crucial to the outcome; and (c) Buckeyes quarterback Craig Krenzel was 7-of-21 passing for 122 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions yet shared the MVP award. Ohio State compiled only 267 total yards, but its defense repeatedly rose to the occasion against a Miami offense that featured Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee and Kellen Winslow II. McGahee suffered a gruesome injury early in the fourth quarter, tearing all three knee ligaments on a hit by Buckeyes defensive back Will Allen. Ohio State star tailback Maurice Clarett was held to 47 yards on 23 carries, but scored two touchdowns on the ground, as did Krenzel.

Where are they now? Clarett is serving a 7½-year term at The Ohio State Penitentiary after "a run-in with police" involving a sword, several loaded firearms, police, a Taser, pepper spray and a sweater vest body armor. … McGahee recovered to enjoy a productive NFL career, despite blaming Hurricane Ike for stealing his bye week this season. … After his honorable discharge from Miami, Winslow was picked No. 6 overall by Cleveland in the 2004 draft. He made the Pro Bowl in '07 but has underperformed for the most part as a member of the Browns staph staff. Many future successful NFL players enjoyed large roles in this game, including Chris Gamble, Matt Wilhelm and Michael Jenkins of Ohio State and Johnson, Jonathan Vilma and Sean Taylor of Miami.

Who got snubbed? No other Division I-A teams were undefeated, proving that the BCS system works just fine.




1.  2005: Texas (12-0) vs. USC (12-0)

Rose Bowl; Jan. 4, 2006; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
No. 1 USC (12-1) 7 3 14 14 38
No. 2 Texas (13-0) 0 16 7 18 41

Point spread: USC by 7

Synopsis: Texas rallied from a 12-point deficit with less than seven minutes left, as quarterback Vince Young put on perhaps the greatest performance in a college football championship. Young threw for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns -- the last one coming on fourth-and-5 from the USC 8 with 19 seconds left. USC put on a dazzling offensive display in defeat. Matt Leinart threw for 365 yards. Reggie Bush gained 177 yards from scrimmage. LenDale White ran for 124 yards and three TDs. Dwayne Jarrett had 121 receiving yards and a TD. But it wasn't enough to overcome Young, who completed 75 percent of his passes and averaged 10.5 yards per rush.

Where are they now? Contrary to reports, Bush, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, didn't take a pay cut by leaving USC early to play for the Saints. … Young, the No. 3 pick in '06, endured a turbulent '08 season with the Titans, but owner Bud Adams insists Young will indeed play a prominent role with Tennessee, even though Kerry Collins led the team to the top seed in the AFC playoffs. … Texas' Aaron Ross and USC's Steve Smith were members of last season's Super Bowl champion Giants team.

Who got snubbed? No other Division I-A teams were undefeated, proving once again that the BCS works beautifully.

Kieran Darcy, Thomas Neumann and Mike Philbrick wipe down the monitors on Page 2's BCS computers.