Title Game Live: In-game chat wrap

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
The BCS went out with a bang. After one of the most dramatic fourth quarters in title-game history, Florida State beat Auburn 34-31 and ended the SEC's streak of seven straight national championships.

We were discussing it with you during all of the drama in yet another entertaining BCS game chat. Relive it all here, along with our postgame analysis and videos/pics from the field in Pasadena.

Controversy will not leave with BCS

December, 11, 2013

On paper, it looks as easy as 1, 2, 3 … 4.

Florida State. Auburn. Alabama. Michigan State.

Were the College Football Playoff selection committee actually deliberating this season, though, it's hard to imagine the top four teams would align as easily as they did in this year's final BCS standings. There was no drama, no controversy, no undefeated team locked out of the sport's biggest game. As Auburn wrapped up its SEC title and Florida State finished the season as the only undefeated team remaining in the BCS, college football had its answer for a national championship game before it was officially revealed.

Expect a little more debate next year.

The computers have their formulas. The 13 committee members have their opinions. With subjectivity added to the equation, trying to pinpoint the top four teams in the country would have added far more intrigue to this year's selection process. Fans stuck in the mindset of the current system -- one filled with objective weightings and data -- are going to be disappointed, because that's not the committee's approach. Whether or not Auburn is better than Alabama will come down to a vote. While the No. 1 team in the country might not have been a question this year, there are now three more spots to argue about.

It was only a week ago that nobody could agree on No. 2.

If you think Auburn's improbable run to the national title was more luck than it was leverage against lesser opponents -- a deflected Hail Mary pass to beat Georgia and a 109-yard field goal return to beat Alabama -- odds are at least one person on the committee might think so, too. Don't think a two-loss Stanford team has an argument over a one-loss Big Ten champ? Think again. Go ahead and throw Baylor and Ohio State into the mix, too.

To continue reading, click here.


BCS: Noles close gap on Alabama

November, 17, 2013

Off the field, it was a dizzying week of distractions for No. 2 Florida State, with quarterback Jameis Winston's potential role in an alleged sexual assault the topic of numerous news stories. On the field, however, Florida State’s claims to a berth in the BCS Championship Game only got stronger.

The Seminoles routed Syracuse 59-3, their second straight win over a conference foe by that identical score. No team in the country has been so emphatically dominant on both sides of the ball (at least 59 points scored and no more than three allowed) in consecutive games since 1988, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Seminoles rank in the top eight nationally in total offense, total defense, scoring offense and scoring defense, and FSU has an average margin of victory in its 10 games of 42 points. Each win has been by at least two touchdowns.

In other words, for all the criticism of Florida State’s mediocre schedule, its performances have been nothing short of spectacular. Accordingly, FSU added two more first-place votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and moved into a tie with Alabama atop the computer averages. Overall, Florida State closed the gap on No. 1 Alabama to a mere .0253 points.

While the Seminoles solidified their position near the top of the BCS standings, Duke crept into the bottom of the Coaches Poll with a win over Miami that has the Blue Devils poised to earn a berth in the ACC title game if they win out. Duke is now ranked for the first time since 1994, but it wasn't enough to crack the top 25 in the BCS standings. In reality, Duke would likely need a win over Florida State in the ACC championship game to have any shot at a BCS bowl, but the Blue Devils have already pulled off their share of surprises this season.

The ACC’s best shot at a second BCS bid comes from No. 7 Clemson, which continues to chug along without a hint of national spotlight. The air came out of the Tigers’ balloon with a midseason loss to FSU, but Clemson is 3-0 since that game (and 9-1 on the season), including last week’s 55-31 win over Georgia Tech. South Carolina looms in the regular-season finale, and a win at home against their in-state rivals would likely punch a ticket to a BCS game for the Tigers.

Metrics can help the CFP committee

November, 13, 2013

The 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee met in Washington, D.C., this week, and it was announced that it will reveal four interim rankings before the inaugural selection weekend in 2014.

Of course, a little light bulb immediately fizzled to life -- bizzz-fizzzz! -- over the heads of many in the ESPN offices in lovely Bristol, Conn. Interim rankings? Why wait until 2014? Let's do it now. As in right now.

That's what everyone wants, right? The playoff to start this year, not next. Or so you think.

The committee will be made up of 13 human beings, ready-made with their own ideas about evaluating and ranking college football teams. Many of them will be old-school, laboriously reviewing hours of game tape and giving teams their fearsome "sight test." Some will embrace the sabermetric revolution that has unceremoniously stomped on cherished sporting ideas such as clutch play, momentum and locker room chemistry.

For our purposes, the 2013 College Football Playoff Selection Committee will be made up of the guys who made A's in calculus in 10th grade and then moved on to the Jacobian conjecture: ESPN Stats & Information geniuses.

Those folks have devised an all-encompassing metric -- Championship Drive Ratings -- that measures the résumés of college football teams, putting a heavy emphasis on strength of schedule, as the CFP committee is expected to do. It measures how difficult it is for an average FBS team to achieve the team in question's results.

So, the season ends today, and based on Championship Drive Ratings -- drumroll, please -- the four-team playoff would go: 1. Alabama; 2. Stanford; 3. Florida State; 4. Ohio State.

That's right, unbeaten Baylor, you are eclipsed by Stanford, which lost to now-4-5 Utah on Oct. 12.

Got a feeling ESPN's Stats & Info's Q-rating just dropped precipitously in Waco.

The good news, of course, is the season doesn't end today.

To continue reading, click here.

Does the eye test deceive us?

October, 30, 2013

Jimbo Fisher hates the computers.

The Florida State coach doesn't claim to have much understanding of the formulas the BCS computers use, but he knows enough not to trust them. They're faceless, emotionless automatons programmed to chew up data and spit out rankings without much logic mixed into the recipe along the way.

Football, he believes, requires instincts and passion and perspective.

Sure, Fisher backtracked a tad when the first BCS standings of 2013 had his team at No. 2, but that was short-lived. Florida State dipped to third this week, and Fisher was back on the human-voter bandwagon.

"You have to come back to the eye test," Fisher said. "People are so important in this poll. People watch teams."

Fisher has watched his BCS competition, and the eye test tells him Florida State is not No. 1 -- at least not yet. He has a vote in the USA Today coaches' poll, and while he declined to reveal the entirety of his ballot, he strongly hinted that Alabama owned the top spot.

The Crimson Tide, Fisher said, pass the eye test.

"Alabama's playing great defense, they've got playmakers that can run the football, they're very physical," Fisher said.

He's right on all counts, but Fisher's take on Alabama -- his eye test -- is as much about the perception of the program as it is about the reality of how the Tide have played this season.

To continue reading, click here.

3-point stance: UCLA's growing pains

October, 29, 2013
1. UCLA started eight true freshmen against Oregon, including three on the offensive line, and played 18 overall against the Ducks. If you are looking for a reason that Oregon scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, it might be physical (how long can 19-year-olds play guys two or three years older?) and it might be mental (close game, big stakes, who’s been there before?). Either way, the Bruins will get a dividend on this investment in, oh, 2015.

2. If you congratulate No. 3 Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher for voting his conscience on his USA Today ballot -- he sounded as if he voted Alabama No. 1 -- and if you applaud him for sitting his starters in the second half against North Carolina State after leading 42-0 at halftime, you may as well congratulate him for getting his team on the field for the opening kickoff. That’s how a coach should act. As the saying goes, Fisher is acting as if he has been there before. Which he has, as an assistant under Nick Saban.

3. Kentucky is 1-6, 0-4 in the SEC, and Wildcats first-year head coach Mark Stoops is trying to remain patient. Only the 48-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama could be considered a blowout. “I think we all see us resembling a good football team from time to time,” Stoops said at his press conference Monday, “but that’s not going to cut it and win you a lot of games in the SEC. You’ve got to be good top to bottom, and you’ve got to be good in critical situations, and most importantly when you’re under pressure situations, our habits, bad habits, come right to the surface.”

FSU's Fisher: No emotion in ballot

October, 28, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- One day after Florida State dropped a spot to third in the latest BCS standings, head coach Jimbo Fisher said he believes his Seminoles are as good as any other team in the country -- but he didn't vote them No. 1, either.

Fisher, who has a vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll, which makes up one-third of the BCS formula, didn't put FSU atop his ballot. Emotion, he said, shouldn't figure into the decision.

"That's a job I have," Fisher said. "I don't look at it through our team. You can't let emotion get into it. You have to do what you think, from your study, evaluation, opinion and expertise, where you should fit in that poll."

Florida State did not earn any first-place votes in the latest coaches' poll.

While Fisher didn't reveal his full ballot, he strongly suggested Alabama took the top spot.

"Alabama's been very consistent, playing great defense right now, they have playmakers that can run the football, they're very physical, and they've done it and earned it for two years," Fisher said.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Live chat: GameDay Friday

October, 12, 2012
Join our college football experts as they preview Week 7.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at noon ET.

Don't forget to send us your best tailgate pictures of your food, friends and family all week long @ESPNCFB and get your photos in our GameDay Live chat Saturday morning. Here are our previous tailgates.

Live chat: GameDay Thursday

October, 11, 2012
Join our college football experts as they preview Week 7.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Don't forget to send us your best tailgate pictures of your food, friends and family all week long @ESPNCFB and get your photos in our GameDay Live chat Saturday morning. Here are our previous tailgates.

Live chat: GameDay Thursday

August, 30, 2012
Take a look back at what our college football experts had to say as they examined the top 25, the Heisman darkhorses, conference power rankings and what to watch this opening weekend of college football.

Friday mailblog: ACC and the BCS

June, 29, 2012
On Thursday, I asked you guys to submit your best and worst memories of the ACC and the BCS as we bid farewell to the old system (well, in two years, anyway) and welcome a four-team playoff. Thanks for playin'. Oddly enough, Virginia Tech got some love for both the best AND the worst of the BCS. Here's a sampling of your comments:

The good ...

Jose in Charlotte, NC writes: I would say the best is Virginia Tech's performance in the 2009 Orange Bowl against Cincinnati. It was the first ACC BCS win since '99 and the hokies played a great game on both sides of the ball: Forcing 4 interceptions on defense and Darren Evans rushing for 153 yards. The best moment of the game was the defense stopping Tony Pike on four consecutive QB sneaks at the goal line. I was at that game and it was just thrilling to watch.

matt in nyc writes: Sadly the runner up for best BCS moment (behind fsu in 1999) was VT's win over Cinci...ouch! Bring on the playoffs!

Not a Terp fan in Bethesda Maryland writes: ... The Best.... Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl! Without the BCS a great little program like Wake would never have made it!

Shaun in Leesburg, Georgia writes: The 2006 Orange Bowl was a great game. They say there is no such thing as a "good loss," but that was a game the ACC could be proud of. It was the 10-1 Big Ten Champions -- whom had just run rampant through their league -- going up against an 8-4 group that had backed their way into their league's inaugural championship game. The Seminoles put up a helluva fight en route to a triple-overtime loss. It was an instant classic!

Wayne in tallahassee, Florida writes: I think the best and worse of the BCS happened at the same time. 98-2000 when FSU went to three straight was probably the best of the BCS for the ACC. At the same time it is the worse as FSU lost two of those games, hurts me to say that too as I am a Nole.

The bad ...

Jeremy in Columbia, SC writes: Granted Clemson's defensive performance last year was quite embarrasing for the Tigers, but even worse for the ACC as a whole is the overall 2-13 record in BCS games fueld by FSU and VT's 1-5 performances.When all is said and done and the ACC looks back on the BCS, they will spend less time thinking less about Clemson's single game, and more time thanking the stars that the disastrous BCS era and the embarrassing conference record that went along with it has come to an end. So to answer your question: The worst thing about the BCS for the ACC as a conference? EVERYTHING.

Trenton Tovar in Nashville, TN writes: I think a close 2nd to the Clemson debacle was Stanford's thrashing of VT the previous year.

Brad in Clemson, SC writes: A very close second has to be VT vs. Stanford. At least Clemson put some points on the board. Clemson also gave up just one offensive TD longer than 30 yards. VT gave up 4

kevin in Memphis, TN writes: 2000 Miami BCS snub by FSU. A team they beat in the regular season. Worst. Could have been back to back titles for the Canes.

Steven in Huntsville, Alabama writes: Heather, I believe you got it completely right regarding the best and worst of the BCS for the ACC. I believe that Florida State set a standard with that wire to wire #1 championship season, which I believe still, applies today. They showed that if you are the favorite at the beginning of the season, prove all the way through and leave no doubt in anyone?s mind that you deserved it. I think that Clemson's loss to West Virginia was the absolute worse. When I first heard the score at half time, I thought it was a joke. I mean after the season they had, winning the ACC Championship game, and getting matched up with West Virginia, I thought the set up was excellent for the ACC. Well we know how that ended.

Best and worst of the BCS

June, 28, 2012
It’s time to say farewell to the BCS as we know it. I know, I know ... sniff, sniff. Before we move on and officially embrace a four-team playoff, though, let’s reflect on the best and the worst of the BCS for the ACC:

ACC’s best of the BCS: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden used to keep an empty picture frame in his office, a spot reserved for his first perfect season. Following the 1999 season, which ended with a 46-29 win over Virginia Tech for the national title in the Sugar Bowl, Bowden put a photo of his 12-0 Seminoles in the frame.

The 1999 team became the first in the history of The Associated Press poll to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the nation. It was the first perfect season of Bowden’s career and included his 300th win. Quarterback Chris Weinke threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns, and receiver Peter Warrick got the final word over Michael Vick and helped the Noles to their second national title. Warrick set a Sugar Bowl record of 20 points.

According to The Associated Press, Bowden received a call from President Bill Clinton after the game, and the first thing he asked the president was, “How come you’re not working tonight?” Bowden is no longer working the sidelines for the Noles, but he set the standard in Tallahassee, and this game confirmed Florida State’s status as college football’s team of the 1990s.

ACC’s worst of the BCS: West Virginia. The jokes are still running with the Mountaineers’ offense. Clemson’s defense in the 2012 Orange Bowl was without a doubt the ACC’s worst moment in the history of the BCS. West Virginia set a bowl scoring record in the 70-33 win over Clemson. That’s right --seventy points more than Virginia Tech, Florida State and Wake Forest scored in their bowl games combined. Geno Smith tied the record for any bowl game with six touchdown passes. Tavon Austin tied a record for any bowl game with four touchdown catches. Clemson’s defense allowed 589 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in West Virginia's seven trips to the red zone.

West Virginia scored 49 points ... in the first half.

Embarrassed? More like “ass-kicked,” according to former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele (note the word former). This was a monumental collapse on the ACC’s biggest stage, and it came at a time in which the ACC was ridiculed by many for having two teams in BCS games for the first time in league history. With Clemson’s loss, the ACC finished with a 2-6 record in its bowl games and dropped to 2-13 in BCS bowls. Instead of celebrating Virginia Tech’s at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, the ACC and its fans were left cringing after Clemson’s performance, which did absolutely nothing to validate the conference’s place in the BCS.

Vote: ACC's first playoff team?

June, 27, 2012
Virginia Tech has been the ACC’s best team since it joined the league in 2004, but it’s hardly the league’s only hope at a national title contender. For those of you who follow the blog regularly, you might have heard me predict 2012 as the year of the Noles and 2013 the year of the Tigers.


Should a four-team playoff be approved, which ACC team will be the first to represent the conference?


Discuss (Total votes: 7,001)

Beyond that? Your guess is as good as mine (or at least I’ll let you think so today).

On that note, let’s have a little fun with our predictions today. With the BCS commissioners and university presidents gathering in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to determine the future of college football, let’s look at the future of the ACC. Should a four-team playoff be approved as early as this week, which program in the ACC is in the best position to represent the league in the first national semifinal in January 2015?

If you look back at the final BCS standings, the ACC’s top-ranked teams have included Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Wake Forest and Maryland. The highest ranking was Virginia Tech at No. 3 in 2007, the lowest was No. 14 (Georgia Tech 2008, Wake Forest 2006, Florida State 2002). I’m not convinced Maryland and Wake Forest can recruit well enough to build a national title contender, so I’ve taken the liberty of narrowing the field to six candidates for you. Cast your votes now for which program you think will be the first to represent the league in college football’s first playoff.


A new era of college football has begun, but for the ACC, the task remains the same: Win big or go home. On Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., the presidential oversight committee approved a four-team playoff proposal that will go into effect for the 2014 season.

Will any ACC teams be in contention to play in the first national semifinals in January 2015? Will the conference benefit from the new format?

By having the top four teams instead of the top two, the ACC’s chances will automatically increase, but so will everyone else’s. And if a selection committee gets the final word, there’s no telling how the perception of the conference will factor into the process. Those who have been paying attention to the league, though, should see it is getting stronger. The recruiting has been going well, particularly for Florida State and Clemson, but also at schools like Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina.

The bottom line, though, is this: Even the ACC’s best team hasn’t been good enough.

Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC for the 2004 season, coach Frank Beamer has compiled a record of 84-24 (.778), the highest winning percentage in league history. During that time, the Hokies have won four ACC championships (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010) and had 10 or more wins in each of the past eight seasons, the only school in the nation to have done so.

Yet the Hokies have finished in the top five of the final BCS standings once since joining the league.

If you look back at the history of the final BCS standings, the ACC has had two teams finish in the top five: No. 3 Virginia Tech (11-2) in 2007, and No. 2 Florida State in 2000. Miami and Virginia Tech were also top-five teams in 2000, 2001 and 2002, but that was before they joined the ACC.

It doesn’t matter what system college football decides on. In order for the ACC to stand a chance at playing for the national title, it needs to produce more undefeated and/or one-loss teams. Here’s a look back at the ACC’s top finishers in the final BCS standings under the current system:

2011: No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2)

2010: No. 13 Virginia Tech (11-2)

2009: No. 9 Georgia Tech (11-2)

2008: No. 14 Georgia Tech (9-3)

2007: No. 3 Virginia Tech (11-2)

2006: No. 14 Wake Forest (11-2)

2005: No. 8 Miami (9-2)

2004: No. 8 Virginia Tech (10-2)

2003: No. 7 Florida State (10-2)

2002: No. 14 Florida State (9-4) (No. 1 Miami)

2001: No. 10 Maryland (10-1) (No. 1 Miami)

2000: No. 2 Florida State (11-1) (No. 3 Miami, No. 5 Virginia Tech)

I know, I know … 2000 would have been a great year for the ACC. If it happened once, it can happen again, right?


The problem with the ACC’s history in the BCS is that you have to go back to Maryland in 2001 to find the last one-loss team. The ACC has gone an entire decade without producing a one-loss team heading into the bowl season. According to David Teel at the Daily Press, the SEC has had 12 undefeated or one-loss teams during that span, the Big Ten has had 11, and the Pac-12 and Big 12 followed with 10 each.

A four-team playoff isn’t going to change that, but maybe Florida State, Virginia Tech and Clemson can.

ACC's lunchtime links

June, 25, 2012
Don't forget about the BCS chat today, guys!



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