More head-to-head controversies
Texas beat OU 45-35 on Oct. 11, and now it’s the Sooners who are in the Big 12 championship game, thanks to the BCS. That’s not historically unique.
Of course, as has well-documented, the three-way tie of the Big 12 South creates head-to-head issues with every school.
And several times in college football history, the polls have disregarded head-to-head without the nuances of a three-way tie. I’ve already written about Miami-Florida State-Washington in 2000. Miami beat Florida State, but Washington beat Miami. UW lost to Oregon. Miami, FSU and UW all finished 10-1. You would think the pollsters would have it easy in ranking teams behind unbeaten OU: 2. Washington; 3. Miami; 4. Florida State. But no. The pollsters went 2. Miami; 3. Florida State; 4. Washington. The computers jumped Florida State ahead of Miami.
Here are two other seasons in which head-to-head was discounted.
1993:On Nov. 13, No. 2 Notre Dame beat No. 1 Florida State 31-24 in South Bend. So the teams swapped places. The next week, Notre Dame lost at home to No. 17 Boston College 41-39. Florida State went back to No. 1 and Notre Dame fell to fourth.
By the time the bowls arrived, Florida State was still No. 1 and Notre Dame had dropped to fifth, but both were 10-1. In the Orange Bowl, Florida State beat unbeaten Nebraska 18-16. Notre Dame beat Texas A&M 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl.
Final poll: 1. Florida State; 2. Notre Dame.
1978: On Sept. 23, No. 7 Southern Cal beat No. 1 Alabama 24-14 in Tuscaloosa. Bama fell to seventh and USC rose to third.
In October, USC lost to Arizona State 20-7. The Trojans fell back to seventh, Alabama rose to fourth.
OU and Penn State spent most of the rest of the season ranked 1-2, but OU lost 17-14 at Nebraska, and Penn State went to No. 1, followed by Nebraska, Alabama and OU. Then Missouri upset Nebraska.
Alabama beat Penn State 14-7 in the Sugar Bowl and finished 11-1. OU beat Nebraska in an Orange Bowl rematch and finished 11-1. USC beat Michigan 17-10 in the Rose Bowl and finished 11-1.
Final poll: 1. Alabama; 2. USC; 3. Oklahoma.
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