The Worst BCS Bowl Teams Ever
It seems that every year there's at least one undeserving team that gets to play in a BCS Bowl. Sometimes it's proven in the bowl itself, while sometimes it's already been established in the preceding games.
It's important to note that this list does not merely include teams that were blown out in their BCS games.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers lost to the Miami Hurricanes in 37-14 in the 2002 Rose Bowl, but they were facing perhaps the best team in college football history, a team that would have blown out almost anyone.
This list is the worst teams that made it to BCS games. Many of them were in fact blown out in January, while some of them did put up good showings in the BCS but are included because they were undeserving of the bids in the first place.
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl)
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Because of their name, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a history of earning BCS bids they don't deserve. In this case, the No. 11 Fighting Irish faced the No. 4 LSU Tigers in the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the result was not pretty.
The Tigers overwhelmed Brady Quinn's crew. The game was tied 14-14 early on, but the Irish offense was completely stifled in the second half, only collecting one first down in the final 30 minutes.
On the other hand, JaMarcus Russell and the Tigers had no problem moving the ball on Notre Dame, as they finished with over 500 yards en route to a 41-14 victory.
7. Florida State Seminoles (2006 FedEx Orange Bowl)
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The Florida State Seminoles took a very unusual route to the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl. The Seminoles lost their last three regular-season games but still backed into the 2005 ACC Championship Game. Once there, they shocked the No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies 27-22.
The Seminoles put up a good showing in the Orange Bowl, taking the No. 3 Penn State Nittany Lions to three overtimes before finally bowing out.
However, playing well in the biggest game of the year after you've had a month to prepare doesn't salvage an entire season. The 2005 Seminoles lost to three ACC opponents that had a combined conference record of 10-14, while also losing to the rival Florida Gators 34-7.
6. Stanford Cardinal (2000 Rose Bowl Game Presented by AT&T)
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Unlike most of the teams on this list, the Stanford Cardinal was not blown out in its BCS Bowl game. The final score of the 2000 Rose Bowl was 17-9 in favor of the Wisconsin Badgers.
However, No. 22 Stanford only came into this game with an 8-3 record, with one of the losses coming against the San Jose State Spartans and another coming to the Texas Longhorns by a score of 69-17.
There were a dearth of good teams in the PAC-10 that season, as only the Cardinal and the Oregon Ducks finished with fewer than five losses.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl)
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Seeing a trend? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were picked to play in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl (back when there were only four BCS games) despite only being ranked No. 11 in the final BCS Standings.
At the time, many thought that the No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies were the more deserving team. The only game the Hokies lost all season was to the No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (in the middle of their dynasty) when Michael Vick was injured.
In the end, the critics were proven right. The Hokies pummeled the No. 15 Clemson Tigers 41-20 in the Gator Bowl, while Notre Dame was embarrassed by the Oregon State Beavers 41-9.
The Fighting Irish only managed 155 yards of total offense in the game, scoring their only touchdown in the fourth quarter once the game was over.
4. Syracuse Orangemen (1999 FedEx Orange Bowl)
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In 1998, the Syracuse Orangemen earned the Big East's automatic bid to the BCS despite being just 8-3. Led by senior quarterback Donovan McNabb, Syracuse finished 6-1 in the Big East.
The No. 15 Orangemen were no match for the Florida Gators. The 1999 FedEx Orange Bowl was not even as close as the 31-10 final score, as Florida took a 28-3 lead into the half.
McNabb, who started every game in his four years at Syracuse, ended his career on an unfortunately sour note.
3. Hawaii Warriors (2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl)
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As it turned out, the first-quarter field goal by the Hawaii Warriors in the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl was just a tease. The Georgia Bulldogs dominated the game on both sides in the trenches.
The Bulldogs defense tormented Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan all night, sacking him eight times and forcing him into giving up two fumbles and three interceptions. He was abused so badly in the game that coach June Jones mercifully pulled him late in the game.
The Warrior defense was just as overwhelmed as the offense. Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno helped the Bulldogs score on each of their first four drives.
Georgia slowed down in the second half, or else this score would have been worse than 41-10. At No. 10, Hawaii was perhaps the most overrated team in BCS history.
2. Connecticut Huskies (2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl)
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Ever since it was ravaged by ACC expansion in 2004, the Big East has made a habit of crowning very mediocre teams as conference champions. Last season, the 8-4 Connecticut Huskies won the tie-breaker over the West Virginia Mountaineers and Pittsburgh Panthers.
The 2010 Huskies lost to four unranked opponents, and consequently were the first unranked team to make it to a BCS Bowl.
Thanks to some timely turnovers by the Oklahoma Sooners, the Huskies kept the 2011 Fiesta Bowl close for a while before getting throttled 48-20. Oklahoma outgained Connecticut by 200 yards in the game, as Landry Jones threw for over 400 yards.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers (2005 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl)
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In 2004, four teams finished tied for first in the Big East. The 8-3 Pittsburgh Panthers won the tie-breaker, and subsequently earned a berth in the 2005 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl despite only being ranked No. 21 in the final BCS Standings.
Their opponent was the first ever non-AQ team to earn a BCS bid, the Utah Utes. The Utes helped pave the way for future mid-major BCS teams like Boise State and TCU, as they jumped out to a 28-0 lead and coasted to a 35-7 victory.
The Panthers, who lost to the likes of the Connecticut Huskies and Syracuse Orangemen that season, looked completely helpless. The offense was completely stagnant in the first half, while the defense allowed Alex Smith to complete 29-of-37 passes with four touchdowns.