BCS standout games and moments

Originally Published: August 14, 2013
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

The controversial Bowl Championship Series won't see its 17th birthday, as it's scheduled to be replaced by college football's new four-team playoff starting in 2014.

It's a good thing, because the BCS' checkered past shows it hasn't matured enough since 1998 to be faced with bigger and more important decisions in the future.

As we prepare for the final season of the BCS, here's a look back at its highs and lows:

Highs of the BCS

[+] EnlargeVince Young
Harry How/Getty ImagesNo one will forget Vince Young's run to glory in the 2006 BCS National Championship Game.

1. Texas quarterback Vince Young's magic knocks off USC in 2006 Rose Bowl: With No. 2 Texas trailing No. 1 USC 38-33 at the Rose Bowl, Young scored on an 8-yard run on fourth-and-5 with 19 seconds to go and then ran for a two-point conversion to give the Longhorns a 41-38 victory. Young passed for 267 yards, ran for 200 more and scored three touchdowns, helping UT win its first national championship since 1970. The loss ended USC's 34-game winning streak and ended its bid for three consecutive national titles.

2. Boise State's bag of tricks vs. Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl: After the No. 10 Sooners rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, No. 8 Boise State trailed 35-28 and faced fourth-and-18 at midfield. On the final play from scrimmage during regulation, quarterback Jared Zabransky threw a 15-yard pass to Drisan James, who flipped the ball to Jerard Rabb on a hook-and-lateral play. Rabb ran 35 yards for a touchdown and the extra point sent the game into overtime. OU's Adrian Peterson ran for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime, but then Boise State scored on Vinny Perretta's halfback pass to Derek Schouman on fourth-and-2. The Broncos went for a two-point conversion and won 43-42 after Ian Johnson ran into the end zone on a Statue of Liberty play.

3. Ohio State upsets Miami in 2003 Fiesta Bowl: Defending national champion Miami was riding a 34-game winning streak, and the No. 2 Buckeyes were 11½-point underdogs after a handful of narrow victories during the regular season. But Miami needed a 40-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force overtime, and then the Buckeyes converted on fourth-and-14 and fourth-and-3 (see below) to force a second overtime. OSU tailback Maurice Clarett scored on a five-yard run in the second overtime that eventually gave the Buckeyes a 31-24 victory.

4. Peter Warrick saves Florida State against Virginia Tech in 2000 Sugar Bowl: After blowing a 28-7 lead against Michael Vick and the Hokies, Warrick put them away for good when he hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from Chris Weinke for a 46-29 victory. Warrick also caught a 64-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 59 yards for another score, helping coach Bobby Bowden win his second national championship.

5. Tee Martin's bomb to Peerless Price leads Tennessee to first BCS championship: After losing quarterback Peyton Manning to the NFL, the Volunteers weren't supposed to do much in 1998. But Martin guided them to an undefeated regular season and they faced No. 2 Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl with a national championship on the line. Price broke the game open by hauling in a 79-yard touchdown pass from Martin in the Vols' 23-16 victory.

[+] EnlargeWes Byrum
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsWes Byrum kicked Auburn to the 2011 BCS title.

6. Wes Bynum kicks Auburn to a national title in 2011 BCS Championship Game: What was supposed to be a shootout between the No. 1 Tigers and No. 2 Ducks turned out to be a defensive struggle until the final minutes. Trailing 19-11 late in the fourth quarter, Oregon tied the score after LaMichael James caught a 2-yard shovel pass, and then Darron Thomas threw a two-point conversion pass to Jeff Maehl with 2:33 to go. Auburn's Michael Dyer ran for 37 yards, after he and Oregon's defenders stopped because they thought he was down, setting up Bynum's 19-yard field goal on the final play of a 22-19 victory.

7. Fake punt secures West Virginia's victory over Georgia in 2006 Sugar Bowl: Playing in Atlanta's Georgia Dome after the Louisiana Superdome was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Mountaineers nearly blew a four-touchdown lead in the first half and led by only a field goal with less than two minutes to go. Facing fourth-and-5 at the UGA 48, Mountaineers punter Phil Brady ran for 10 yards and a first down on a fake. West Virginia ran out the clock for a 38-35 victory in UGA's backyard.

8. TCU linebacker Tank Carder bats down Wisconsin's dreams in 2011 Rose Bowl: The undefeated Horned Frogs were the first team from a non-BCS conference to play in the Rose Bowl, and Carder made sure they went home winners by batting down Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien's two-point conversion pass with two minutes to play. The Horned Frogs held on for a 21-19 victory and became the eighth team in the BCS era to finish undefeated and not win a national title.

9. Young's Rose Bowl debut against Michigan in 2005 Rose Bowl: Although Young saved his best for USC, he was just as explosive against Michigan in 2005, running for 192 yards, passing for 180 and accounting for five touchdowns in the Longhorns' 38-37 victory. Young led the drive that set up Dusty Mangum's winning 37-yard field goal as time expired. UT proved it belonged in the Rose Bowl, after coach Mack Brown's lobbying helped them leapfrog California in the final BCS standings.

10. Oklahoma State kicks Stanford in 2012 Fiesta Bowl: After the Cowboys and Cardinal combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense and 76 points, the game's outcome came down to their kickers. Stanford's Jordan Williamson missed a 35-yard field goal wide left as time expired in regulation, and then missed again from 43 yards to open overtime. Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp made a 22-yarder in overtime to give the Pokes a 41-38 victory, a small consolation after they were left out of the BCS Championship Game.

Lows of the BCS

[+] EnlargeUSC
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesUSC rolled in the 2004 Rose Bowl, but the Trojans probably should have been playing for a national title that season.

1. No. 1 USC left out of 2004 national championship game: The 2003 regular season ended with three one-loss teams: USC, LSU and Oklahoma. The Trojans were ranked No. 1 in both the AP poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll at regular season's end, and their only defeat came in triple overtime at California. LSU's only loss was a 12-point home defeat against Florida, and Oklahoma was routed 35-7 by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game. So what matchup did the BCS computers spit out for the title game? LSU vs. Oklahoma, of course. USC defeated Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl and finished No. 1 in the final AP poll. LSU beat Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl to win the BCS national title.

2. Nebraska backs into 2002 championship game: Nebraska looked like one of the country's two best teams in 2001, until the Cornhuskers were throttled 62-36 in their regular-season finale at Colorado, which knocked them out of the Big 12 championship game. Nebraska finished No. 4 in both human polls, behind No. 1 Miami, No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Colorado. But the BCS computers still matched the Cornhuskers against Miami in the national championship game, and the Hurricanes whipped them 37-14 at the Rose Bowl. Oregon crushed Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl.

3. USC stomps Oklahoma in 55-19 in 2005 Orange Bowl: After undefeated Auburn was left out of the BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2004 regular season, the Sooners proved to be no match for the Trojans, who scored 38 points in the final 20 minutes of the first half. Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart threw a record five touchdown passes, while completing 18 of 35 passes for 332 yards. Auburn defeated Virginia Tech 16-13 in the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 2 in the final AP Top 25 poll.

4. Controversial pass interference call in 2003 Fiesta Bowl: In the first overtime, Ohio State trailed Miami 24-17 and faced fourth-and-3 at the Hurricanes' 5-yard line. Quarterback Craig Krenzel threw to the right corner for Chris Gamble, who was being covered by freshman cornerback Glenn Sharpe. Sharpe broke up the pass, and the nearest official ruled an incomplete pass. But field judge Terry Porter waited a few seconds before throwing a flag, ruling Sharpe grabbed Porter's shoulder pads. OSU was given a first down at the 1, and then Krenzel scored three plays later to force a second overtime. The Buckeyes won 31-24 to win their first national title in 34 years.

5. Alabama knocks Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of 2010 BCS Championship Game: With Texas seemingly driving for an early touchdown against Alabama at the Rose Bowl, Tide defensive lineman Marcell Dareus smashed McCoy on an option keeper at the Bama 11. McCoy was knocked out of the game and lost feeling in his throwing shoulder. Freshman Garrett Gilbert was forced to finish the game and threw four interceptions before trying to rally the Longhorns back in a 37-21 loss. Alabama ran for 205 yards and won its first national title since 1992.

[+] EnlargeDana Holgorsen
Douglas Jones/US PresswireWest Virginia squashed a hapless Clemson defense in the Orange Bowl.

6. West Virginia scores 70 against Clemson in 2012 Orange Bowl: Trailing 17-14 at the start of the second quarter, West Virginia erupted for 35 points before halftime en route to a 70-33 pasting of the Tigers at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The Mountaineers set bowl records with 10 touchdowns, 70 points in a game, 35 points in a quarter and 49 points in a half. Quarterback Geno Smith set a bowl record with seven total touchdowns and completed 32 of 43 passes for 407 yards with six touchdowns. Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was fired eight days later.

7. Ohio State uses suspended players to beat Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl: After Ohio State officials and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany lobbied the NCAA to delay the suspensions of five Buckeyes players until the following season, OSU ended a nine-game losing streak to SEC opponents in bowl games by beating Arkansas 31-26 in New Orleans. Five OSU players sold memorabilia to a Columbus tattoo artist for cash and free tattoos and were suspended five games by the NCAA. But the NCAA ruled the players wouldn't be suspended until the start of the 2011 regular season because they weren't properly educated about the rules. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, tailback Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas played significant roles in beating the Hogs. OSU later vacated its victory after it learned former coach Jim Tressel wasn't forthcoming about his knowledge of the players' violations.

8. Three-loss Pittsburgh makes the BCS in 2005: The Panthers were ranked No. 21 in the final BCS standings after the 2004 regular season but still earned a spot in the Fiesta Bowl by winning the Big East. The Panthers were routed by undefeated Utah, which ran away with a 35-7 victory in coach Urban Meyer's final game. Utes quarterback Alex Smith completed 29 of 37 passes for 328 yards with four touchdowns.

9. No. 3 Kansas State left out of BCS in 1999: Once-beaten Kansas State finished No. 3 at the end of the 1998 regular season but was inexplicably passed over in the BCS selection process. The Sugar Bowl used an at-large selection to choose No. 4 Ohio State to play Texas A&M, and the Orange Bowl chose No. 8 Florida (with two losses) to play Syracuse. The Wildcats were left to play in the Alamo Bowl and lost 37-34 to Purdue. The BCS rules were tweaked the next year to ensure a spot for the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the final BCS standings.

10. Missouri gets shunned in 2007: The 2007 edition of the Border War was perhaps the most anticipated contest in the 120-year history of the series. No. 2 Kansas was 11-0; No. 4 Missouri was 10-1. The Tigers won 36-28 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City in the regular-season finale, and then moved to No. 1 in the BCS standings. But the Tigers lost to Oklahoma 38-17 in the Big 12 championship game, their second loss to the Sooners that season, and fell to No. 6 in the final BCS standings. The Sugar Bowl picked No. 5 Georgia with its at-large selection, and then the Orange Bowl chose No. 8 Kansas, even though the Jayhawks had lost to Missouri two weeks earlier. The Tigers whipped Arkansas 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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