How college football would have been different with a plus-one format

by Gina Mizell Published: January 10, 2012

— Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy continued to make his case for his Cowboys Monday night, saying that the potent OSU offense would have at least scored a couple touchdowns on the dominant defense of Alabama or LSU and provided a different kind of game.

Had the “plus-1” system been in place, we would have gotten to see the Cowboys go head-to-head with the Crimson Tide, the team that edged out OSU for the No. 2 spot in the final BCS standings by a mere .0086 points.

BCS officials met Tuesday to discuss the future of the system, and adopting a plus-1 has been widely discussed for years.

Here's a look at how using the plus-1 could have affected the BCS, and college football's national champion, the past 11 seasons.


No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Stanford

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State

We still could have ended up with a rematch in the national championship game. But all the one-loss teams from BCS conferences would have had a shot at the title. And, as mentioned above, this would have pegged OSU's high-powered offense against Alabama's stingy defense.


No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 4 Stanford

No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 TCU

Cam Newton versus Andrew Luck in the semifinals? Oregon's offense versus TCU's defense? Sign me up.


No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

It was pretty clear that Alabama and Texas were the top two teams in the nation in 2009, especially after Cincinnati was throttled by Florida in the Sugar Bowl. But this would have been the first time a non-AQ team got a shot at the title. And maybe Colt McCoy would have stayed healthy.


No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Alabama

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Texas

Remember the madness of the OU-Texas-Texas Tech triangle in 2008? The Longhorns would have been invited to the party with a plus-1. Yet we could have ended up with an all-SEC or all-Big 12 championship game featuring teams that had already played each other.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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