7 Things That Changed Since the Last Time the SEC Did Not Win the BCS Title
The SEC’s reign of BCS National Championships came to an end on Jan. 6 when Florida State took down Auburn.
Apparently, even the great SEC dynasty falls at some point.
Florida State’s win doesn’t overshadow a remarkable stretch of seven consecutive national championships, however.
Much can—and did—change over seven years.
It seems that every time contrasts are measured between the start and end of an era, gas prices are always mentioned. On Jan. 8, 2007—the day Florida beat Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game to start the streak—gas prices across the country averaged $2.306 per gallon. The day Florida State ended the SEC’s run by knocking off Auburn in the Rose Bowl, gas prices averaged $3.332 per gallon.
In the spirit of the SEC’s seven consecutive national titles, here are seven major changes that have taken place from when a team from another conference could last call itself “champion” until now.
7. College Football Implemented a Playoff
In one of the biggest surprise moves, the decision-makers composing the NCAA decided to finally give college football fans what they want—a playoff.
The College Football Playoff, set to launch at the end of the 2014 season, will feature four teams. From now on, college football teams must win two postseason games to bring home college football’s most important hardware.
6. Multiple SEC Heisman Trophy Winners Graduated High School
Chris Huston of CBS Sports ranked Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith’s woeful night in the BCS National Championship Game as the worst performance by a Heisman Trophy winner.
While Smith endured arguably the worst post-Heisman performance, several future SEC Heisman winners were still in grade school.
Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel each graduated from high school and won a Heisman Trophy from the start to the finish of the SEC’s championship run.
5. Tommy Tuberville, Rich Rodriguez Coached 3 BCS Conference Programs
Tuberville was the only coach to beat Florida during its championship season in 2006. Auburn upset the Gators 27-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in mid-October. Under Tuberville, Auburn won the Cotton Bowl over Bill Callahan’s Nebraska team. Oh, and the Cotton Bowl was played—get this—inside the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The game has since moved to AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington, Texas.
Tuberville led the Tigers to the Chick-fil-A Bowl before his tenure at Auburn ended following a tumultuous 2008 season. After taking the year off, Tuberville accepted the Texas Tech job. Three forgettable seasons led to Tuberville, under mild pressure, leaving Lubbock for Cincinnati.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, coached a powerhouse West Virginia program until the end of the 2007 regular season when he left for the Michigan job.
His controversial tenure in Ann Arbor lasted just three seasons and featured 15 wins against 22 losses.
Michigan fired Rodriguez after the 2010 campaign. He didn’t stay unemployed long, getting hired by Arizona in 2011.
4. ESPN’s “College GameDay” Crewmembers Earned Thousands of Airline Miles
Between the time Florida won the 2006 national championship and Florida State ended the SEC’s streak, ESPN filmed 119 “College GameDay” broadcasts in 55 locations.
The Rose Bowl, the site of Florida State’s 34-31 win over Auburn, hosted the most shows during that time with nine.
Which campus hosted the show the most times during that stretch? Oregon, which hosted Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and company seven times.
The SEC-dominated host-site duties as a conference, though. During its BCS reign, 25 broadcasts aired live from 10 SEC campuses.
ESPN’s team traveled to LSU five times, Alabama and Auburn four times and Florida thrice.
The GameDay team also visited Atlanta seven times—all for games involving SEC teams, including four SEC Championship Games.
3. Stanford Went from Pac-10 Basement to Pac-12 Penthouse
Perhaps no program has undergone a greater change since the start of the SEC’s run than Stanford.
The Cardinal finished 1-11 in 2006, firing Walt Harris in the aftermath of a last-place season in the then-Pac-10.
Stanford made a wise decision from there, selecting Jim Harbaugh as its next coach on Dec. 18, 2006.
Harbaugh didn’t perform immediate miracles. His team didn’t reach a bowl game until qualifying for the Sun Bowl in 2009.
Andrew Luck and the Cardinal finished No. 4 the following season, which they capped with an Orange Bowl victory. Harbaugh left to coach the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers that year.
Coach David Shaw took the program to the next level. In each of Shaw’s three seasons, Stanford reached BCS bowl games and won at least a share of its division. The Cardinal has also won the last two Pac-12 titles.
2. Conference Realignment Shifted Nearly One-Third of FBS Teams
Back in 2006, the Big 12 had 12 schools, the Big Ten featured 11 schools and the Pac-10 and the Big East went by those names.
Ironically, the Big 12 now has 10 programs and the Big Ten includes 12 schools. The league now known as the Pac-12 added Utah, Colorado and a conference championship game, and the Big East is now the American Athletic Conference.
Conference realignment saw 29 teams play musical chairs across the country. Seven of those teams went from one BCS conference to another.
Oh, and the entire WAC football conference dissolved.
The moves haven’t completely finished, either. During the SEC’s run of championships, 10 more programs announced future moves.
1. More Coaches Have Been Hired Than There Are Teams in FBS
Fittingly, Florida coach Urban Meyer lifted the BCS crystal ball trophy to start the SEC run and left the program for a one-year hiatus before taking over at Ohio State.
A staggering 101 college football programs hired coaches during the SEC’s seven-year championship streak. Fifty-three of those teams hired more than one coach during that span.
In total, programs across the NCAA FBS hired 164 new coaches between Florida’s 2006 national championship and Florida State’s title in 2013.
Both of the coaches in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game—Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn—were hired more recently than 2006.
Alabama hired coach Nick Saban days before the 2007 BCS National Championship Game, meaning he doesn’t count in this list. Saban, the winner of three of the SEC’s seven BCS titles during the recently concluded stretch, did make his debut after the Gators topped Ohio State, though.
Arkansas State actually hired four coaches over the seven years, including Malzahn before the 2012 season. Malzahn left Arkansas State after one year to take over at Auburn.