BCS berths: OU tied with USC, Ohio State
We were talking on the Sports Animal on Friday about Georgia football coach Mark Richt and how much trouble he could be in. The answer, surely not much. Georgia is 90-27 in nine years under Richt, with three Sugar Bowl appearances. Good luck finding a coach who can match that record.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. Three BCS bowl berths in the decade of the ’00s. That seems pretty solid for a program like Georgia. So how does it rank. You can judge a program’s success in a lot of ways, starting with national championships, of course. Or BCS title game appearances. Or conference titles. Or raw wins.
But BCS bowl berths is not a bad way, either. Wouldn’t we all agree that a BCS bowl berth signifies a program had a good season? Make the Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl or Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl, and while some teams could consider that a disappointment, no way it can be construed as anything but successful. Ten teams a year make a BCS bowl; that’s basically a top-10 season.
Anyway, here are the decade leaders in BCS bowl berths:
7: Oklahoma, USC, Ohio State.
4: Miami, Texas, Florida State, LSU.
Those figures make sense, don’t they? OU, USC, Ohio State, Florida and LSU have been the dominant programs of the 21st century. Florida and LSU don’t have quite the BCS appearances because of the strength of the Southeastern Conference, but each has two national titles in the 2000s.
The surprises on the list are Miami and Florida State. Maybe you thought Miami was long-removed from national contention, but the Hurricanes played in BCS bowls the first four years of the 00′s. And while it seems forever since the Seminoles were relevant under now-retired Bobby Bowden, Florida State played in three BCS games after its 13-2 Orange Bowl loss to OU in the 2000 national title game: 2002, 2003, 2005 seasons.
So who’s next? With three each is Georgia, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
Do the Irish surprise you? They shouldn’t. Notre Dame’s parameters for making the BCS are softer than others. Notre Dame can make a BCS bowl easier than conference-affiliated schools, so don’t judge this as some kind of evidence that Notre Dame’s decade was better than we thought. It wasn’t. Notre Dame was 70-52 in the ’00s.
For comparison, Michigan was 81-45 in the ’00s, Georgia was 98-31 and Virginia Tech was 99-32.
The list of schools that made two BCS bowls in the 2000s also is interesting. Alabama, Oregon, Penn State, West Virginia, Boise State, Utah, Cincinnati, Iowa and Illinois.
Stew on that list. A floundering program like Illinois made the BCS as often as did Alabama. Boise State and Utah, which come from non-automatic qualifying conferences, made the BCS as often as Penn State. Old pal Bill Hancock at the BCS always trumpets the accessability of the BCS, and who can argue with him here?
Boise State and Utah made as many BCS bowls as Alabama and Penn State. In the 1990s, the national titles were won by Florida State (twice), Miami (twice), Nebraska (thrice), Michigan (shared with Nebraska), Colorado/Georgia Tech (shared), Tennessee and Alabama.
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