As I sit here listening to Archie and Edith sing " Those Were the Days", I can't help but look back on the pre-BCS era with a certain sense of nostalgia.
Gone are the Bowl Alliance, and the Bowl Coalition. Gone are the days when the bowls meant something.
Back in those days, the talk was all about needing a better way to decide a champion. We lambasted the current system. We needed a way to have a true #1 face a true #2, so we could have a true national champion.
Now added to the talk is a need for a playoff system. We've got to have an eight team playoff, a four team playoff, we'll even take a plus one for chrissake!
Well guess what oh whiners for a better system, we already had a defacto playoff system in place!
In the old system, I'm starting with the 1974 season in which both polls were released after the bowls,the #5 team in the nation was crowned champion three times!
How does that sound TCU? Cincy?
I bet it sounds better than your current predicament. The-only-one-bowl-matters-the- rest-are-consolation-prizes BCS.
This is what makes me sick as a fan, nobody gives a rat's behind who plays in the other BCS bowls. Does it really matter who wins the Orange Bowl this year? What bearing will it have on the end of the season? None.
Wasn't it a lot more fun when you didn't know which of the 5 major bowls(that's right, the Cotton meant something too) was the actual national championship game?
Here's some highlights.
1974- In the first season that both the AP and the UPI released their final polls after the bowls, we have a split champion. #5 USC upsets #3 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, while #2 Bama loses a heartbreaker to the Irish. The Trojans take the UPI, while Oklahoma, unbeaten and sitting home because of probation takes the AP.
1977-#5 Notre Dame vaulted to the top after trouncing #1 Texas in the Cotton. The #2 and #4 teams helped out by losing, while #3 Bama blasted an overmatched #9 Ohio State. In the end it was the Irish first in the polls, followed by the Tide.
1979-#1 Ohio State loses a close one in the Rose Bowl to #3 USC.#2 Bama rolls over Arkansas in the Sugar to take the crown.
1983-#5 Miami beat #1 Nebraska in a game for the ages in the Orange Bowl. The #2 and #4 teams lost, with #3 Auburn barely edging #9 Michigan. The Hurricanes are voted unanimous #1.
1984-#1 BYU beat an unranked Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl, while #2 Oklahoma falls to Washington. This is the one the little guys hang their hat on.
1985-#3 Oklahoma beat #1 Penn State 25-10 in the Orange Bowl, while the "Sugar Vols" blasted #2 Miami in, you guessed it, the Sugar Bowl.
1989-#2 Miami outlasts #7 Bama 33-25 in the Sugar. #1 Colorado falls victim to #4 Notre Dame, allowing Miami to claim it's third title in the 80's.
1990- A two loss Miami team did have an outside chance at another championship if it beat #4 Texas coupled with Colorado and Georgia Tech losses. Miami upheld it's end with a 46-3 drubbing of the Longhorns, but Tech and Colorado held serve and thus split the title.
1991-We split them again as #2 Washington prevails over #4 Michigan in the Rose, as #1 Miami beats Nebraska in the Orange.
1996-The great rematch game. #3 Florida takes down #1 Florida State, and with some help from #4 Ohio State beating #2 Arizona State, wins their first national title.
1997-Our very last hoorah splits the title. #1 Michigan slipped past #8 Washington State 21-16 to claim the AP. #2 Nebraska absolutely demolished the #3 Volunteers 42-17 in the Orange Bowl to claim the Coaches Poll.
How exciting was that? As you can see, and probably well remember, if you were hanging around near the top of the polls, you had a shot. One or two things to fall your way and you were the champs!
Now, granted there have been some great matchups in the BCS title game. Texas vs. USC comes to mind.
And there have been some really bad ones too. Say, Miami vs. Nebraska, Ohio States last couple of trips, Oklahoma and USC( yea you got screwed Aubie).
Overall, I've been underwhelmed.
I don't know about you, but as convoluted as it was, with all it's imperfections, I'd take the many bowl system over the one bowl system any old day.
I bet there are some teams out there now that would.
I'll get down off the soap box now, but remember.
The next time you get fired up on your favorite playoff rant, just think about what we got last time we just had to have change, and be real careful what you wish for.
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