While the BCS Rankings are ultimately meant to create the fairest possible bowl scenarios, we find out just about every year that the system isn't perfect. That was especially apparent during this season's slate of bowl games, as only one BCS contest was decided by fewer than 10 points.
In other words, the 2012-13 college football season may best be known for its chasm between the "haves" and "have nots." Good teams ascended during their long layoffs prior to bowl games, while other teams descended to mediocrity.
Which teams were the most exposed during bowl season? Here is a breakdown of a few notable squads that stuck out above the rest.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Final BCS Ranking: No. 1)
When talking about teams that got exposed during the bowl season, it's impossible to not start with Notre Dame's embarrassing 42-14 loss to Alabama.
There were plenty of squads that got trounced over the past few weeks, but there were very few games that felt over quicker than the BCS National Championship Game. From start to finish, Notre Dame was outclassed in every facet of the game. Simple as that.
The Irish's vaunted front seven was no match for Chance Warmack and the Alabama offensive line, and their secondary made Nick Saban's proclamation that A.J. McCarron could be the best quarterback in the nation look very real.
Just don't allow anyone to convince you Notre Dame didn't deserve to be in the national championship game. Anyone who attempts to make that argument is exercising laughable revisionist history. The Irish were the only eligible FBS program to go undefeated this season and deserved to be recognized for their great accomplishment.
Sure, it's true that Notre Dame's schedule wasn't that tough. Victories over Michigan and Michigan State look shrug-worthy in retrospect and another one of its other wins against a ranked opponent came against an Oklahoma squad we may or may not discuss later in this space.
Did the Irish get absolutely eviscerated? Yes. Would Oregon have given a better matchup against Alabama? Almost certainly.
But the Irish deserved the opportunity. They just weren't good enough.
Northern Illinois Huskies (Final BCS Ranking: No. 15)
There were a couple of cringe-worthy conference winners to make BCS bowl games this season, but no at-large team's resume packed less punch than Northern Illinois'. The Huskies had merely one win this season against a Top 25 opponent, which was a Kent State squad that lost to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
In other words, there was an understandable reason that the Orange Bowl reportedly didn't want Northern Illinois playing in its game (per CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman).
Though it wasn't the prettiest win of Florida State's season, it was clear from the opening whistle that the Orange Bowl official had a point—at least talent-wise. The Seminoles overwhelmed a less talented Northern Illinois squad from start to finish, especially offensively.
After his brilliant performance in the MAC Championship Game, some wondered whether Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch deserved Heisman consideration. We found out very quickly that Lynch wasn't a Johnny Manziel-level playmaker who could make plays against any level of competition.
The Huskies signal-caller finished the Orange Bowl with arguably his worst performance of the season. Lynch went 15-of-41 passing for 176 yards, a touchdown and an interception while adding just 44 rushing yards on 23 carries.
I say "arguably" his worst performance because Lynch had an equally poor start to his regular season against Iowa, Northern Illinois' only other major-conference opponent.
As they found out in Week 1, the Huskies cannot compete without Lynch being elite. He wasn't in the Orange Bowl and Northern Illinois took massive lumps from a motivated Florida State squad as a result.
Oklahoma Sooners (Final BCS Ranking: No. 11)
Unlike the previous two teams, no one is going to argue that Oklahoma didn't deserve to be in the Cotton Bowl. In fact, many were of the position that the Sooners were robbed of a chance at BCS glory by Northern Illinois.
So perhaps it was a team-wide disappointment that led to Bob Stoops' squad getting wiped off the field, 41-13, by the Texas A&M Aggies in Friday's Cotton Bowl.
However, based on the performance we saw from the Johnny Manziel-led bunch, I highly doubt it.
The 2012 Heisman winner was once again spectacular, becoming the first quarterback (and second overall) since Vince Young to rush and pass for over 200 yards, per ESPN Stats & Information. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, on the other hand, had a frustrating performance that ended with his longest completion going for 19 yards.
Beyond the quarterbacks, perhaps the most interesting facet of Friday's game was Texas A&M's dominance at the line of scrimmage.
Defensive end Damontre Moore consistently wreaked havoc in the Sooners' backfield, against both the run and pass, while offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews mauled Oklahoma on the other side of the ball.
It was a shocking exercise in pure domination—especially considering Oklahoma's 41-25 pounding of the Aggies a season ago. It just goes to show how much Manziel and Kevin Sumlin have done to change the culture in College Station.
Either way, with two straight three-loss seasons under his belt, Bob Stoops has to be feeling a little pressure in Norman going into next year.
Final BCS Standings
|24||San Jose State|