We have arrived in the 21st century on MNC Wednesday, and this was the first year (of many) that the Pac-12—the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions—was shafted by the BCS and/or the CFP. Read on to find out why, as we again realize just how imperfect the Bowl Championship Series was.
This was truly a clusterfuck, so hang on to your hats …
The 2000 MNC: So close that you need a microscope to figure it out!
Here is the Associated Press Top 10, including final record with key bowl results:
1. Oklahoma: 13-0-0 — W, Orange, 13-2
2. Miami-FL: 11-1-0 — W, Sugar, 37-20
3. Washington: 11-1-0 — W, Rose, 24-14
4. Oregon State: 11-1-0 — W, Fiesta, 41-9
5. Florida State: 11-2-0 — L, Orange, 2-13
6. Virginia Tech: 11-1-0 — W, Gator, 41-20
7. Oregon: 10-2-0 — W, Holiday, 35-30
8. Nebraska: 10-2-0 — W, Alamo, 66-17
9. Kansas State: 11-3-0 — W, Cotton, 35-21
10. Florida: 10-3-0 — L, Sugar, 20-37
So, the Sooners won the BCS “title” game matchup over the Seminoles, and there was much noise at the time about FSU being chosen over the Hurricanes, as … yes, you guessed it, Miami-FL beat the Seminoles during the regular season. Thus, immediately, we have a problem as the Hurricanes should have been chosen over FSU for the second spot in the “title” game.
But wait … The Huskies beat Miami during the regular season, meaning Washington should have been the team to play the undefeated Sooners in the Orange Bowl. Yet, there was little to no noise about that in the national media. A quick Google search reveals the focus was all about the Hurricanes getting the shaft—most hypocritical and typical, sadly, as we will see in years going forward.
Yet, we digress: Miami-FL is thus eliminated from consideration here, due to its loss to the Huskies. Meanwhile, the Beavers lost to Washington and thus did not win the Pac-10, while the Hokies lost to the Hurricanes and did not win the Big East. See how the dominoes fall?
Meanwhile, did any other school earn a legitimate shot here? Toledo posted a 10-1 record against the third-easiest schedule in the country, so that’s not going to fly here. No other team finished within shouting distance of either Oklahoma or Washington.
Now, that leaves us with only 2 teams to examine more closely, as we do. Here are the respective SOS ratings for our finalists, after analyzing all the context above:
- Oklahoma: 13 Division I-A opponents, 5.32 SOS rating, 14th of 116
- Washington: 12 Division I-A opponents, 7.57 SOS rating, 4th
Well, well, well … it took all this time for it to happen, but the Huskies’ SOS rating is enough to overcome the one loss and even up everything with the Sooners. These two teams actually are tied right now in our estimation, so how do we decide which one earns the MNC?
Washington’s one loss came on the road to No. 7 Oregon by 7 points, so it’s not a bad loss, and the Huskies were actually hurt by a down year in the B1G, as No. 14 Purdue earned the Rose Bowl bid. That meant Washington didn’t have a high-profile opponent to beat on January 1. Those are the breaks.
The SRS suggests OU would have been almost a 5-point favorite on a neutral field over the Huskies, which is kind of significant here. And Washington did lose a game—if the Huskies had gotten a better bowl opponent and finished 3rd in the SOS ratings, they would have won this outright.
As it is, the tiebreak goes to the super sabermetric team—and the team without a loss. This was really fucking close, people, and it just goes to show again that the BCS had no clue what it was doing, even if it did end up getting it right in the end by accident.
For the record, this is just the second MNC nod we’ve given to OU, after the only other one in 1975. We stripped the Sooners of mythical titles in 1950, 1955, and 1956 due to weak schedules, and we took away the mythical title in 1974 due to cheating. The 1985 mythical title also went bye bye because of scheduling. We are cruel, we know, as it is ironic that Oklahoma almost lost another MNC due to the SOS issue.
Congratulations to the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners, the mythical national champion!