Alabama vs. Notre Dame played in the 15th championship game of the BCS era on Jan. 7, 2013. Alabama emerged victorious with its third title in four years and the SEC's seventh in a row.
From the inaugural game that saw the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Florida State Seminoles to the Alabama vs. Notre Dame battle of heavyweights, there have been varying degrees of quality in our nation's champion.
While some teams made it to the title game with offensive firepower, others were content to keep teams out of the end zone in order to walk away victorious. From the 1998 to 2012 seasons, here are the BCS champions ranked from weakest to strongest.
* Scoring offense, scoring defense, margin of victory in the title game, win-loss record and the Sagarin rating were all used in the analysis. The teams were ranked one through 15 in each category, except the Sagarin rating.
Fifteen points were awarded to the first-place finisher in each category and stepped down to one point awarded to the team in 15th place. That point total was then multiplied by the Sagarin rating to obtain the total point value for each team.
BCS title game's final score: LSU 38, Ohio State 24
Points scored per game: 38.64
Points allowed per game: 19.93
Sagarin rating: 94.21
Total points: 1,978.41
LSU's infamous two-loss national championship simply has to come in last on any such list. You can't ignore the fact that the Tigers had apparently stocked up on all of Notre Dame's unused "luck of the Irish" since the 1980s.
LSU averaged close to 40 points per game, but allowing almost 20 is something that only one other team on this list managed to get away with. SEC fans are thankful the Tigers backed into this game, though, or the streak would be two championships shorter.
BCS title game's final score: Tennessee 23, Florida State 16
Points scored per game: 33.15
Points allowed per game: 14.54
Sagarin rating: 98.49
Total points: 2,659.23
This is a great example of exactly what Tennessee expects out of any coach it hires. In the Vols' dream world, the orange and white always contend for a national title. Hailing from the SEC, that's not an unreasonable demand.
Tennessee racked up a 13-0 record at the expense of the entire SEC East, the SEC West champion and Florida State in 1998, and it was not a bad start to the new era of college football.
BCS title game's final score: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
Points scored per game: 33.93
Points allowed per game: 11
Sagarin rating: 98.21
Total points: 2,749.88
LSU's other title came under then-head coach Nick Saban. He built LSU into the monster that Les Miles took over and has successfully sustained with his own brand of excellent coaching.
The margin of victory may not be what some of these other games produced, but that's the point. If the teams are truly deserving of the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings, there should be little risk of a blowout.
The Oklahoma vs. LSU title game was one of the closest of the era.
BCS title game's final score: Florida 41, Ohio State 14
Points scored per game: 29.71
Points allowed per game: 13.5
Sagarin rating: 103.02
Total points: 2,884.56
The 2006 Florida Gators were led by Chris Leak at quarterback and Urban Meyer at head coach. The Gators blasted the Ohio State Buckeyes in the title game by nearly four touchdowns.
Through the season, the Gators averaged more than double the points they allowed while wading through one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
BCS title game's final score: Ohio State 31, Miami (FL) 24
Points scored per game: 29.28
Points allowed per game: 13.07
Sagarin rating: 105.16
Total points: 3,049.64
If you'll notice, the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes averaged fewer points and gave up more points than the 2003 LSU Tigers from two slides ago. That's not a mistake. There are two major advantages that this 2002 squad has over the 2003 Tigers:
1. Ohio State earned a perfect 14-0 record.
2. Ohio State had a tougher schedule.
Ohio State would appear in two more BCS title games in the next five years, but the Buckeyes would not win either of them. Now that Urban Meyer is at the Horseshoe, that luck appears to be changing already.
BCS title game's final score: Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29
Points scored per game: 38.17
Points allowed per game: 16.92
Sagarin rating: 102.07
Total points: 3,062.1
Florida State followed its losing effort against Tennessee with a second straight national-championship appearance. This time, the Seminoles would emerge victorious against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Riding a defense that allowed just less than half the points the offense was scoring, Florida State cruised through its schedule to a perfect season.
A three-point victory over the Clemson Tigers in the middle of the season was the only speed bump on Florida State's cruise to the 1999 title.
BCS title game's final score: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
Points scored per game: 37
Points allowed per game: 14.92
Sagarin rating: 101.63
Total points: 3,150.53
The Oklahoma Sooners demolished the competition in 2000 on the way to a perfect season that nearly ended with a shutout in the BCS title game.
The Sooners defeated then-No. 2 Kansas State and then-No. 1 Nebraska in back-to-back weeks before landing in the Big 12 championship bout. There, they defeated Kansas State for a second time to earn the trip to Miami against the Florida State Seminoles.
BCS title game's final score: Auburn 22, Oregon 19
Points scored per game: 41.21
Points allowed per game: 24.07
Sagarin rating: 106.21
Total points: 3,186.3
Gene Chizik found a diamond in Cam Newton, and the Auburn Tigers knocked off the Oregon Ducks to win the SEC's fifth national championship in a row.
Newton had the uncanny ability to figure out a defense and simply outscore the offense in the second half. Alabama found this out after being up 24-0 in the first half of 2010's Iron Bowl, as Newton would guide his offense down the field to a 28-27 victory to remain unbeaten.
As the stats show, the defense is the least effective on this list. A perfect season speaks for itself, though.
BCS title game's final score: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
Points scored per game: 43.64
Points allowed per game: 12.93
Sagarin rating: 95.76
Total points: 3,447.36
The 2008 Florida Gators got by an undefeated Alabama squad in the conference championship game to punch their ticket to Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow conspired to defeat the mighty Nick Saban and cashed that accomplishment in at the front desk for a shot at the national title.
After defeating Oklahoma by 10 points, the crystal football was theirs.
This team rode a high-flying offense to the national championship game and used a stifling defense to take the title home.
BCS title game's final score: Texas 41, USC 38
Points scored per game: 50.15
Points allowed per game: 16.38
Sagarin rating: 107.36
Total points: 3,542.88
The Texas Longhorns provided us with one of the most entertaining, nail-biting championship games of the BCS. It was an epic clash between quarterbacks Matt Leinart of USC and Vince Young of Texas.
While Leinart was the passing leader of the day, Young was the game's rushing leader. The game-winning play was a Vince Young rush of eight yards to rip the victory away from USC with only 19 seconds left in the game.
BCS title game's final score: Alabama 21, LSU 0
Points scored per game: 34.84
Points allowed per game: 8.15
Sagarin rating: 106.06
Total points: 3,606.04
No team in the BCS era held teams to fewer points than the 2009 Tide. Even in the lone loss to LSU, the Tigers had to score in overtime to beat Alabama 9-6.
Since equal priority was placed on offense and defense for this article, the relatively low offensive output hurt Alabama like porous defenses hurt some of the other members on the list.
Alabama fielded the BCS's stingiest defense but fell just short of claiming a top-three spot on this list.
BCS title game's final score: Alabama 37, Texas 21
Points scored per game: 32.07
Points allowed per game: 11.71
Sagarin rating: 103.11
Total points: 3,918.18
The 2009 Tide exacted revenge on the Florida Gators in the SEC title game. Both teams entered the game undefeated for the second season in a row, and the winner went on to face Texas in the national championship game.
Throughout the 2009 season, Marcell Dareus earned the nickname "Quarterback Killer" after knocking many a signal-caller to the sideline during battle. He did the same in the title tilt against the Texas Longhorns.
After that, it was a stout defense against a true freshman quarterback.
BCS title game's final score: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14
Points scored per game: 38.71
Points allowed per game: 10.93
Sagarin rating: 97.38
Total points: 4,284.72
Alabama's best squad statistically was the 2012 unit that just beat the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish to claim back-to-back national championships. Alabama is the only program to repeat as national champions in the BCS era.
Alabama rolled through a tough season and scraped out two major close victories against LSU and Georgia. The only man who was able to outplay the Crimson Tide was Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
Alabama extended the SEC's national-championship streak to seven, and the Tide won their third national championship in four seasons. This unit is among the elite in the history of college football, and they are sitting at No. 3 in the power rankings as a result of the season they put together.
BCS title game's final score: USC 55, Oklahoma 19
Points scored per game: 38.15
Points allowed per game: 13
Sagarin rating: 105.32
Total points: 4,634.08
The 2004 USC Trojans' national title was vacated, but that doesn't mean the season didn't actually happen.
The season saw the West Coast powerhouse blaze a trail through the season on the way to the title match against the Oklahoma Sooners. To this day, there has not been a title-game blowout as lopsided as this 36-point debacle.
The closest was the Alabama vs. Notre Dame game that just took place on Monday, Jan. 7.
BCS title game's final score: Miami 37, Nebraska 14
Points scored per game: 42.67
Points allowed per game: 9.75
Sagarin rating: 106.36
Total points: 4,998.92
The 2001 Miami Hurricanes squad simply ripped through anything in its path, staying as true to its mascot as possible on the national-championship run.
Miami posts some of the best scores in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Since offense, defense and record were all equally important in this ranking system, Miami is the clear winner by over 300 points.
The 2001 Hurricanes have stood as the apex of BCS schools, with elite marks in every measurable facet of victory. The Hurricanes' strength of schedule was elite, and the defense is only bested by the 2011 Alabama squad.
Miami did something that the 2011 Tide couldn't do: keep a perfect record. That was the difference-maker, and 2001 Miami claims the crown as the king of the BCS era.
There's only one season left to knock the Hurricanes down. Who do you think can do it next season?
Leave your answer in the comments.