For seven seasons now on MNC Wednesday we have seen the BCS get every mythical national champion correct, although usually by accident. Many of the years have been messy, of course, and this upcoming season is no different, of course. This is a sport always surrounded by controversy, due to its lack of transparency.
That being said, on with the show!
The 2005 MNC: A shocker, really, for those who pay attention to the important things
Here is the Associated Press Top 11, including final record with key bowl results:
1. Texas: 13-0-0 — W, Rose, 41-38
2. USC: 12-1-0 — L, Rose, 38-41
3. Penn State: 11-1-0 — W, Orange, 24-21
4. Ohio State: 10-2-0 — W, Fiesta, 34-20
5. West Virginia: 11-1-0 — W, Sugar, 38-35
6. LSU: 11-2-0 — W, Peach, 40-3
7. Virginia Tech: 11-2-0 — W, Gator, 35-24
8. Alabama: 10-2-0 — W, Cotton, 13-10
9. Notre Dame: 9-3-0 — L, Fiesta, 20-34
10. Georgia: 10-3-0 — L, Sugar, 35-38
11. TCU: 11-1-0 — W, Houston, 27-24
We went 11-deep for obvious reasons, and we’d like to point out that if the Nittany Lions hadn’t been robbed by the game-clock officials in Ann Arbor, then Penn State would have been undefeated, too, going into bowl season. But we digress: The Longhorns are the top team to advance, after stopping the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak in a Rose Bowl game that itself was not devoid of officiating controversy.
(Welcome to the digital age, when everything is scrutinized beyond sanity.)
The Nittany Lions won the B1G, so they get advanced with Texas. The Mountaineers topped the Big East, with their only loss coming to the Hokies—who lost the ACC title game to Florida State, so West Virginia gets advanced, too. LSU lost the SEC title game to Georgia, so there is no team from that conference to consider here.
The Horned Frogs won the Mountain West, and we will advance them, for respect’s sake. No other team won its conference and finished within shouting distance of Texas in the loss column. So, we now have 4 teams to drill down on the core depths, as we are wont to do here. These are the respective SOS ratings for our best teams, after applying the analysis above:
- Texas: 13 Division I-A opponents, 4.98 SOS rating, 23rd of 119
- Penn State: 12 Division I-A opponents, 6.91 SOS rating, 7th
- West Virginia: 11 Division I-A opponents, 0.71 SOS rating, 60th
- TCU: 12 Division I-A opponents, -1.46 SOS rating, 72nd
So, it looks like the BCS screwed up for real, finally. Texas ended up ranked No. 1 by the SRS, but the Penn State SOS here is enough to overcome its one controversial loss in our analysis, which is retroactive and hard to assess. We give the Mountaineers and the Horned Frogs credit for a great season, but this is between the Longhorns and the Nittany Lions now.
Penn State meets our requirements for using SOS to leap over a team higher on the totem poll, and Texas’ SRS rating was certainly enhanced by beating the Trojans in the bowl game. The Nittany Lions got contractually stuck playing then-No. 22 Florida State in the Orange Bowl, after the Seminoles upset Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. So that partially explains away a lot of the SRS issues.
That’s that: Penn State was screwed by the clock official in Ann Arbor, and it was then screwed by the BCS as well, since the Nittany Lions’ SOS was clearly higher before the bowl game than the Longhorns’ SOS was before bowl season. Case closed, and let the controversy ensue!
For the record, this is Penn State’s fourth MNC from us, after 1982, 1986, and 1994. For the record, Joe Paterno was the head coach for all four of these seasons, cementing his status as one of the best coaches ever. We will do a coaching analysis of all this in the end, of course, which is due to happen before the end of the calendar year.
Congratulations to the 2005 Penn State Nittany Lions, the mythical national champion!