Thursday, June 28, 2012
ND's best and worst BCS moments
By Matt Fortuna
The BCS is no more. Starting with the 2014-15 season, college football will decide its champion with a four-team playoff. In the meantime, let's look back at the best and worst of Notre Dame in the BCS.
Best: 2006 Fiesta Bowl versus Ohio State
Yes, we know Notre Dame lost this game. And we know the Irish are 0-3 all time in BCS bowls. But bear with us. It may seem like eons ago, but Charlie Weis' first season in South Bend was all Irish fans could have hoped for. Notre Dame routed then-No. 23 Pitt in Week 1, upset then-No. 3 Michigan a week later and went on to a surprising 9-2 regular season, finishing No. 6 in the final BCS standings. The campaign ended with a 34-20 loss to the Buckeyes in Tempe, Ariz., but the tables were set for another BCS-bowl season the following fall. (We'll spare you the rehashing of details from the rest of the Weis years.)
Worst: 2002 regular-season finale at USC
Coming off a 42-0 senior day victory over Rutgers, coach Tyrone Willingham entered L.A. carrying a 10-1, seventh-ranked team through his debut season. But the Irish were routed by the sixth-ranked Trojans, 44-13, with eventual Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer throwing for 425 yards and four touchdowns. The loss knocked Notre Dame to No. 9 in the final BCS standings two weeks later, and the Irish went on to the Gator Bowl, losing to NC State, 28-6. The loss marked the beginning of a stretch of dominance by USC over its chief rival, as the Trojans have won all but one meeting with Notre Dame since, losing in 2010. (USC's 2005 win was eventually vacated because of NCAA sanctions.)