We have less drama this week on MNC Wednesday … or do we?! Nothing is ever as it seems when it comes to determining a mythical national champion in college football, and discussed ad nauseam, it’s the both the beauty and the horror of the sport—and our reason for doing what we do here every week!
Now, on to the madness for this next season.
The 1993 MNC: Head-to-head always matters, except to the AP voters?
Here is the Associated Press Top 10, including final record with key bowl results:
1. Florida State: 12-1-0 — W, Orange, 18-16
2. Notre Dame: 11-1-0 — W, Cotton, 24-21
3. Nebraska: 11-1-0 — L, Orange, 16-18
4. Auburn: 11-0-0 — NONE (probation)
5. Florida: 11-2-0 — W, Sugar, 41-7
6. Wisconsin: 10-1-1 — W, Rose, 21-16
7. West Virginia: 11-1-0 — L, Sugar, 7-41
8. Penn State: 10-2-0 — W, Citrus, 31-13
9. Texas A&M: 10-2-0 — L, Cotton, 21-24
10. Arizona: 10-2-0 — W, Fiesta, 29-0
11. Ohio State: 10-1-1 — W, Holiday, 28-21
Hey, the Seminoles finally beat their rivals from Miami-FL this time around … by a 28-10 score. However, Florida State turned around five weeks later and lost to the Fighting Irish on the road. The Notre Dame loss came late to Boston College, and the Cornhuskers are out due to their loss in the bowl game. What this means is that of our Top 3 teams, only the Fighting Irish advance to our final round of consideration.
That sucks for FSU, but those are the breaks—even if the Seminoles were the No. 1 team in the SRS by more than a field goal on a neutral field. The Tigers are out, due to their probation status, but the Gators will be in as the SEC champ and the Sugar Bowl victor. They lost to both the Seminoles and Auburn, but through the lucky side of the same breaks, Florida gets consideration here.
In a fun twist, both Ohio State and Wisconsin get to be considered as co-champs of the B1G, as the Badgers got the Rose Bowl slot since it had been longer for them since the last trip to Pasadena. The two teams tied each other, which is why there is this unique situation there.
This was the Nittany Lions’ first year in the B1G as well, so they do not get advanced. Meanwhile, the Wildcats lost to the Pac-10 champion UCLA Bruins, who finished 8-4, so we can’t consider Arizona here, which is unfortunate. That would have been a nice surprise, as the Wildcats beat the Hurricanes in that Fiesta Bowl win noted above.
There are no small schools to consider this time around, either, so that leaves us with four teams this year to assess overall. Here are their respective SOS ratings, after analyzing all the information above:
- Ohio State: 12 Division I-A opponents, 5.93 SOS rating, 18th of 106
- Wisconsin: 12 Division I-A opponents, 4.29 SOS rating, 32nd
- Florida: 13 Division I-A opponents, 5.07 SOS rating, 25th
- Notre Dame: 12 Division I-A opponents, 6.07 SOS rating, 15th
Well, this leaves the Fighting Irish on top, as the schedule strength is there. The Buckeyes were better than the Badgers, but Ohio State—with that tie—needed to be on top of Notre Dame by at least 5 spots in the SOS rankings. And even if we do not penalize Florida for losing to a team on probation, the overall SOS is not there for the Gators, either.
This could have been a lot more complicated with a few minor twists here and there, but it is not. And remember, at the time, Notre Dame Head Coach Lou Holtz made a stink about his team being ranked below the team it beat. This de-valuation of head-to-head results would often be embraced by the Associated Press voters in the upcoming years before sense and sensibility kicked in … eventually.
For the record, this is the sixth MNC for Notre Dame—which ties Ohio State and trails only USC (8) for the most nods in our column’s history. Alabama fans, take note: The Fighting Irish mythos is legit, while yours is not. It is what it is.
Congratulations to the 1993 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the mythical national champion!
Check in every Wednesday for a new feature on the mythical national championship in college football on The Daily McPlay.