College Football: Ranking the 3 Best BCS Championship Teams of All Time
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The argument over who is the best BCS Championship team in history has created conflicting opinions and ill feelings from one end of the country over the past few years.
Created in the 1998 season to settle who was the best team among the two top ranked squads in the final poll, there are actually two different eras of the BCS Championship competition.
One, from 1998 through the 2005 season, matched the two top ranked teams in one of the so-called "Big Four Bowls" on a rotating basis.
The first "BCS Championship Game" was actually just the Fiesta Bowl of the '98 season, matching Tennessee against Florida State.
The following year the Sugar Bowl was the setting for Virginia Tech and Florida State to compete for the BCS Championship.
The 2000 season saw the Orange Bowl host Oklahoma and Florida State, and then 12 months later the nation was witness to the first Rose Bowl game to host the BCS title contest.
A full cycle later, after the 2005 season championship was settled between Texas and Southern California in the Rose Bowl, a new plan emerged concerning the host site.
In the following pages we will dig deeper into the BCS Championship Game and the three greatest teams to come out of this era.
The Coming of the Separate BCS Championship Game in the 2006 Season
Quarterback Chris Leake Led The Florida Gators To Victory In The Initial BCS Championship Game Played As A Separate Bowl Game
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Beginning with the 2006 season, changes resulted in the creation of an entirely new bowl game.
This contest would be the actual BCS Championship Game, and it would be played on the site of one of the "Big Four Bowls" on a yearly rotating basis.
Additionally, that site would actually host two bowl games in one week as the creation of this fifth bowl game allowed city fathers to continue to present their "traditional postseason contest" be it Rose, Orange, Sugar or Fiesta.
From 1998 to the final season before expansion of 2005, the Big 12 and SEC won two BCS titles, while the ACC, Big East, Big 10, and PAC-10 each secured one championship.
Pretty well balanced as far as it goes.
Since the inception of the separate championship game in the 2006 season, no conference has been the home of BCS Champions other than the SEC.
Because of this immediate and sudden change in conference balance representation, there is a belief the new system is biased and favors the team that has sufficient time to recover from a grueling conference championship contest.
True or false. We may never know.
On July 15 of this year, Rivals.com attempted to add clarity to this situation by ranking the best BCS Championship teams. Their strategy involved not only the title performance, but the efforts during the regular season as well.
Please join us as we review the top three BCS Champions presented by Rivals.com and offer analysis, opinion, and practical alternatives to their selections.
3. 2005 Texas Longhorns
Possibly The Most Powerful Team In the History Of College Football, The 2005 Texas Longhorn Juggernaut Deserves Their Place In History
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Our source of reference immediately spotlights the Texas Longhorn powerhouse of 2005 as No. 3 all time among BCS Champions.
Rivals proclaims as follows:
No. 3: 2005 Texas Longhorns
Title Game Performance: Defeated USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl
"Although this team was overshadowed by USC up until it upset the Trojans in the Rose Bowl, Texas dominated just about everyone it faced during the 2005 season. Texas won 25-22 at Ohio State in its second game of the season, then won 10 consecutive games by double digits, including a 70-3 demolition of Colorado in the Big 12 championship game. Texas ended up outscoring foes 652-213."
There is no denying the impressive nature of this team, averaging 50 points a game and giving up only 16 per outing for a winning margin of 34 points a game.
Add to this the sensational 6'6" quarterback Vince Young (see picture), and the fact they broke the 32 game winning streak of defending national champion Southern California in their backyard of Pasadena, CA.
When you sum it up, No. 3 all time may be a little low.
2. 2004 Southern California Trojans
Coach Pete Carroll of the Southern California Trojans Enjoyed Many Victory Celebrations
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Rivals spares no praise for the crown jewel of the Pete Carroll era at USC.
They describe the events concerning this powerful team as follows:
No. 2: 2004 Southern California Trojans
Title Game Performance: 55-19 over Oklahoma in Orange Bowl
"This team featured extraordinary talent at the skill positions. The offensive backfield featured 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart and 2005 Heisman recipient Reggie Bush...Leinart's receivers included Dwayne Jarrett, who ended his college career as the Pac-10's career leader in touchdown catches (41)."
"This team did have a few close calls in the regular season. The Trojans won 31-28 at Stanford, 23-17 against California, 28-20 at Oregon State and 29-24 at UCLA. But, they ended up outscoring opponents 496-169 and delivered one of the most dominant championship game performances in college football history."
Without question the most dominant performance of any BCS Champion in the title game itself, but what of the narrow wins during the regular season?
It appears there could be some inconsistency to this outfit that did not exist in the 2005 Texas Longhorns, and this underpins a nagging belief that No. 2 all time is a ranking just a little too high.
1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes
The 2001 Hurricanes Were A Team Of Talented Players
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Rivals.com confirms the common belief that the 2001 Miami Hurricanes are the greatest BCS Championship team of all time with the following description:
No. 1: 2001 Miami Hurricanes
Title Game Performance: 37-14 over Nebraska in Rose Bowl
"There might not have been a more star-studded roster in college football history than this one. Miami's starting lineup for its Rose Bowl rout of Nebraska included 11 eventual first-round picks (CB Phillip Buchanon, WR Andre Johnson, DT William Joseph, DE Jerome McDougle, RB Willis McGahee, OT Bryant McKinnie, S Ed Reed, CB Mike Rumph, TE Jeremy Shockey, LB Jonathan Vilma and LB D.J. Williams).
The Hurricanes' starting lineup that night also featured second-round pick Clinton Portis at running back and Maxwell Award winner Ken Dorsey at quarterback. Frank Gore (a two-time Pro Bowler) was a backup tailback. Miami's starting center, Brett Romberg, would win the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center the following season.
No wonder they breezed to a 12-0 record while outscoring teams 512-117. Miami eked out a 26-24 win at Virginia Tech in its regular-season finale, but the Hurricanes won all the rest of their games by double digits. Miami allowed more than seven points in just four games all season."
Averaging 43 points a game while giving up 10 gives a winning margin of 33 points a contest. Impressive, but 2005 Texas did them one point better against a more difficult regular season schedule and a far more powerful championship game opponent.
At the risk of heresy, it seems to this writer the 2001 Miami squad may not be the best BCS Championship squad, and these Hurricanes may be ranked a little too high.
Once a Champion, Always a Champion
Florida State Lost The First BCS Championship Game But Won The BCS In The Second Season Of Existance
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Time and technicalities cannot take away from the great teams who have won national championships.
In the all-important BCS era teams from 1998 on, we are presented with an an interesting question as a result of the Rivals.com ranking of the all-time champions.
Why has there been a radical alteration to the balance among the conference affiliation of BCS Champions since the invention of the separate title game in the 2006 season?
It is worth noticing of all the championship teams available, Rivals.com selected their top three from the era prior to the expansion to the fifth BCS Bowl Game following the 2005 season.
Until we can come to peace with this quandary, we may never agree on who are the three best BCS Champions of all time.
Of the three teams selected by Rivals.com as the greatest BCS Champions, Texas is the most impressive, followed by Miami and Southern California.