On behalf of Place To Be Nation, college football and its flawed B.C.S. era get the ultimate do-over
For B.C.S. Busters Volume One, click here
B.C.S. Top Ten: 1. Miami, 2. Nebraska, 3. Colorado, 4. Oregon, 5. Florida, 6. Tennessee, 7. Texas, 8. Illinois, 9. Stanford, 10. Maryland
A.P. Top Ten: 1. Miami, 2. Oregon, 3. Colorado, 4. Nebraska, 5. Florida, 6. Maryland, 7. Illinois, 8. Tennessee, 9. Texas, 10. Oklahoma
Andrew Riche: A lot to explain here, as we officially have our first case of the B.C.S. crazies with this season. This one was basically one king and whole lot of Humpty Dumpties, as Miami reached the #1 ranking in early September and stayed there for the rest of the year with nary a scare (The only close games they had were at Boston College and at Virginia Tech). They played two teams in consecutive weeks that were ranked in the top 15 at the time (Syracuse and Washington) and beat them both by a combined score of 124-7. But after that, let the chaos begin! The other top teams going into Thanksgiving were Nebraska, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and defending national champion Oklahoma. Nebraska took down OU in a clash where Eric Crouch sealed his Heisman Trophy win in the eyes of many. Then for the next three weeks, down went the contenders to almost a comical degree. The Big XII got upended as two-loss Colorado pillaged Nebraska at Boulder 62-36 and Oklahoma lost at home to Les Miles’ Oklahoma State team that same week. The next team up was Texas, but Colorado smoked them, too, in the Big XII title game. In the SEC, Florida had their alley to #2 now, but they lost to Tennessee in a game that was supposed to be played the weekend of 9/11 but got postponed. Going into the SEC Championship game, the Vols were #2, but they lost 31-20 to LSU. Pac-10 Champion Oregon was creeping up the standings all year, but got sidetracked by a 49-42 loss to Stanford in late October. This was going to be the first B.C.S. title game without Florida State, who finished at 8-4 and did not even win the ACC (Maryland did).
THE COMMITTEE SAYS…
Andrew: Well, #1 is a pretty big “no duh.” The 2001 Miami Hurricanes go down as perhaps the most dominant college football team since the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers. The B.C.S. decided to pit Miami against a not-as-great Nebraska team, but you could have easily made a case for Oregon even before they thrashed Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl. The fact that Colorado had 2 losses always bothered me even when they won the really tough Big XII because they lost to Fresno State, lost by 34 earlier in the season to Texas, and did not even play Oklahoma. They got rewarded for being a hot team late, but I would have barely had them at #4 to play against the Canes. Florida and Tennessee were awesome teams, but their final games of the season were losses, so that nips their chances. That would pit Joey Harrington against Eric Crouch in the Rose Bowl. Nebraska did not play in the Big XII title game, but they deserve a spot in the top 4, at least.
(1. Miami, 2. Oregon, 3. Nebraska, 4. Colorado)
Scott Criscuolo (of the Place To Be Podcast): I thought even with the ugly loss to Colorado that Nebraska was the most talented team. I saw from a mile away that Joey Harrington was a paper tiger (as his NFL career indicated) so I never thought Oregon had the chops to play for the National Championship. I loved Miami that year, as Ken Dorsey was a beast and the defense was the best it looked since the early 1990’s. Colorado? The Fresno State loss was bad and regardless of the late run they were slightly overrated. I’m going to beat down to the committee that talent needs to win out, and to me that means both SEC teams belong there. (1. Miami, 2. Nebraska, 3. Tennessee, 4. Florida)
Nick Duke (of the Hard Traveling Fanboys): Like Andrew, it’s pretty easy to pick a number one. Miami was loaded with NFL talent that year, and didn’t really play many close games all year. Easy number one. Next up, you have the Big 12 teams to consider. The conference was absolutely loaded that year, and you have to consider both Nebraska and Colorado deserving of spots in the playoff, what with Tennessee and Florida both suffering late losses. Colorado, despite the win over Nebraska, had two losses. I’ll slot them at number four, with Nebraska taking the two spot. The only spot left is the third slot, with one-loss Oregon getting my vote as a one-loss Pac-10 champion.
(1. Miami, 2. Nebraska, 3. Oregon, 4. Colorado)
The Decision: Miami is easily at the top, but surprisingly, despite the controversy, Nebraska retains its #2 ranking with the second highest amount of votes. Scott makes a great case for the two SEC schools he chose, but Oregon and Colorado were voted by Nick and Andrew, so they go in. Colorado barely goes behind Oregon as the last team in.
THE FINAL FOUR
#1 Miami vs. #4 Colorado in Sugar Bowl, #2 Nebraska vs. #3 Oregon in Rose Bowl
Andrew: We get a Pac-10 team in the Rose Bowl as Oregon faces off with Nebraska. Oregon won out as the season went along, but none of their wins were terribly impressive and their running game was a struggle at times. Nebraska’s defense against the run was a problem all year and I think Onterrio Smith and Maurice Morris would have done just enough to win a close on over Nebraska.
I know Colorado was red hot going into the bowl season, but I mean, come on. Miami was not to be stopped. I think they would have beaten the Buffs by at least three touchdowns. Too many weapons on offense, and Colorado’s mediocre QB play would have succumbed to their front four.
Scott: I think Miami would work Colorado’s defense over with a combination of Ken Dorsey and the impressive running game. Miami wins 31-3. In Pasadena, Nebraska (led by Heisman winner Eric Crouch) would control time of possession and keep Harrington off the field. Nebraska wins 24-13.
Nick: There are plenty of years during the BCS era where the separation between No. 1 and No. 4 wasn’t all that great. 2001, however, was not one of those years. 2001 Miami is one of, if not the, most talented teams we’ve ever seen in college football history. They cruise over Colorado, no matter how well the Buffs played down the stretch. In the Oregon-Nebraska matchup, it’s easy to view 2001 through the prism of today’s pass-happy offenses, but the fact remains that Nebraska’s running attack was dominant at that time. Eric Crouch probably couldn’t have won the game with his arm, but he probably wouldn’t have had to. 31-10, Nebraska.
NATIONAL TITLE GAME
#1 Miami vs. #2 Nebraska
Andrew: We saw this one come to life, and… it wasn’t pretty. Miami rolls to finish off one of the most dominant seasons in college football history.
Scott: Ken Dorsey throws for 311 yards and 3 TD, and the Canes defense shuts down Eric Crouch. FINAL SCORE: Miami 31, Nebraska 13
Nick: This is the title game we got, and the results would have been largely the same. Not much to see here. Miami rolls to the national title.