We have reached a rough time in college football on MNC Wednesday as we have some controversy to discuss this time out (surprise). After five seasons of not getting it right while also managing to get it right somehow, somewhat, the Bowl Championship Series really fucked it up in 2003 by not selecting the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll for its faux “championship” game—instead picking a team that lost its conference title game by 28 points.

Sound familiar? So, here we go again, in deconstructing something that was so easy to dissemble even then …

The 2003 MNC: Clear-cut disaster for the BCS, no matter how you dice or slice it!

Here is the Associated Press Top 10, including final record with key bowl results:

1. USC: 12-1-0 — W, Rose, 28-14
2. LSU: 13-1-0 — W, Sugar, 21-14
3. Oklahoma: 12-2-0 — L, Sugar, 14-21
4. Ohio State: 11-2-0 — W, Fiesta, 35-28
5. Miami-FL: 11-2-0 — W, Orange, 16-14
6. Michigan: 10-3-0 — L, Rose, 14-28
7. Georgia: 11-3-0 — W, Capital One, 34-27
8. Iowa: 10-3-0 — W, Outback, 37-17
9. Washington State: 10-3-0 — W, Holiday, 28-20
10. Miami-OH: 13-1-0 — W, GMAC, 49-28

The Trojans, like last year, finished No. 1 in the SRS, and they clearly were the best team in the country in everyone’s eyes—except those of the seemingly rigged BCS, which overlooked USC for the “title” game. Try to argue there was no BCS bias against the Pac-10 at the time, and then contextualize it with what goes on today. Just another reason we are done with college football as a legitimate sport.

But we digress: USC advances here. The Tigers unimpressively won the lame matchup against the undeserving Sooners, so LSU moves along as well. The Buckeyes did not win the B1G, and the Wolverines lost the Rose Bowl (again), so that’s that there. The Hurricanes won the Big East, so they can get some consideration here. And what about the RedHawks? They won the MAC and clearly were thought well enough of to get these AP votes.

Are we missing any team outside of these four? Yes. We’re going to look at 13-1 Boise State and 10-2 Utah, two schools that will become familiar faces on the scene throughout the next decade-plus. The Broncos, however, played the sixth-easiest schedule in the country this time around, while the Utes were legit. So Utah will advance, and we will just pat Boise State on the back for now.

Overall, we now have 5 teams to examine down to the core depths, as we like to do here. These are the respective SOS ratings for our best teams, after applying the analysis above:

  • Utah: 12 Division I-A opponents, 0.34 SOS rating, 65th of 117
  • Miami-OH: 14 Division I-A opponents, -3.29 SOS rating, 83rd
  • Miami-FL: 13 Division I-A opponents, 4.16 SOS rating, 31st
  • LSU: 14 Division I-A opponents, 3.28 SOS rating, 41st
  • USC: 13 Division I-A opponents, 3.60 SOS rating, 36th

Urban Meyer took the Utes to new heights in his first season there, and he would soon launch into the national scene for good. But Utah was not quite there just yet. The RedHawks played a weak schedule, clearly, but only a road loss to No. 8 Iowa in their season opener kept them from a perfect season.

Now, while none of these teams played a great schedule, the Trojans hang on to the top spot with their record and SOS combination. What’s more interesting to us here is that the Hurricanes’ schedule was good enough to overcome their extra loss in a very-close comparison to the Tigers—yet the Tigers were anointed the top team so readily by the BCS. This was perhaps the beginning of the media’s obsession with the most overrated coach ever.

Clearly, Miami-FL was shunted to the back of the pack for some reason we can’t really discern. The BCS “title” game, therefore, very readily could have been—should have been?—USC and Miami-FL. Instead, we all got shafted with a LSU-Oklahoma matchup that no one outside the SEC and the Big XII wanted to see. This will become a recurring theme, based on TV ratings and attendance dollars in the upcoming years of the laughable attempts to determine a mythical champion in this corrupt sport.

As it stands here, though, in the real world, this is the ninth MNC for the Trojans, breaking the tie that Ohio State earned in 2002. Remember, too, that USC won the AP crown this season, so this really isn’t that much of a surprise to anyone who pays attention to contextual reality—then or now.

Congratulations to the 2003 USC Trojans, the mythical national champion!

Check in every Wednesday for a new feature on the mythical national championship on The Daily McPlay!