College football crossed the Rubicon in 2007 when it came to openly corrupt selectivity for the mythical national championship, and as MNC Wednesday moves into its final phase of this series that started way back in March 2020, the next few months will be tedious for us, sorting through all the bullshit the powers that be foisted upon the American sporting public.
That’s our lament, our mission, and our sorrow as we take on another year of retroactive MNC analysis.
The 2008 MNC: The BCS cuts and runs, again, in favor of the money … and blows it, of course
Here is the Associated Press Top 10, including final record with key bowl results:
1. Florida: 13-1 — W, BCS, 24-14
2. Utah: 13-0 — W, Sugar, 31-17
3. USC: 12-1 — W, Rose, 38-24
4. Texas: 12-1 — W, Fiesta, 24-21
5. Oklahoma: 12-2 — L, BCS, 14-24
6. Alabama: 12-2 — L, Sugar, 17-31
7. TCU: 11-2 — W, Poinsetta, 17-16
8. Penn State: 11-2 — L, Rose, 24-38
9. Ohio State: 10-3 — L, Fiesta, 21-24
10. Oregon: 10-3 — W, Holiday, 42-31
Remember when an undefeated Utah team beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? The BCS did, and that’s why it overlooked the undefeated Utes for the “title” game, instead choosing to slide in Oklahoma—again—as the fodder for Florida. The Gators’ underwhelming win showed the BCS preference for avoiding a big school losing to a smaller school—and in the process, once again, compromised the integrity of the sport.
The Gators and the Utes get moved forward to our final analysis below, along with the Trojans—of course, once again shunted to the side by the BCS for financial motives—and the Longhorns, who actually beat the Sooners head to head. Yes, try explaining this piece of shenanigans to your grandkids. The kicker here was there was a three-way tie for the Big XII South Division between Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech, and the BCS basically got to pick.
So, Oklahoma got the nod, of course, and the Sooners won the Big XII title game to further enhance their profile for the BCS “title” game. Meanwhile, the Longhorns got shunted to the Fiesta Bowl. For our purposes, though, we will consider Texas a “league champion” because of this asinine contrivance by the BCS—and to a lesser extend, the Big XII—to make the most money.
Alabama had been undefeated and No. 1 until losing in the SEC title game to the Gators, and Alabama once again lost to the Utes in the Sugar Bowl. Utah beat the Crimson Tide by a wider margin than Florida did, to demonstrate the BCS fears were real. The Utes were very capable of beating the Gators, and the BCS knew it.
Did we mention the BCS also ignored an undefeated Boise State team? The Broncos were sent to the Poinsetta Bowl (really?) to take on TCU, and the Horned Frogs did the BCS a favor by squeaking out a one-point win there to “prove” that Boise State wasn’t ready for the big time. However, TCU can get some consideration here after that bowl win.
Are we missing any other teams? Nope. That’s it, although it’s a fucking mess, as you can see above. In the final analysis, however, we have these 5 teams to scrutinize more closely, as we do here. These are the respective SOS ratings for our best teams, after applying the criteria above:
- Texas: 13 Division I-A opponents, 6.05 SOS rating, 3rd of 119
- Utah: 12 Division I-A opponents, -2.06 SOS rating, 80th
- USC: 13 Division I-A opponents, 3.86 SOS rating, 18th
- Florida: 13 Division I-A opponents, 5.58 SOS rating, 5th
- TCU: 12 Division I-A opponents, -1.23 SOS rating, 74th
TCU and Utah do not have the SOS , of course, and at this point, each school was hurt by the fear that scheduling them could result in a loss, and both schools also had small-college opponents, burying their respective SOS marks even more. The same goes for Boise State, and at this juncture, these schools had shown they could beat the big boys in a one-off bowl matchup, so there is no way the BCS would let them anywhere near the title game.
That being said, the Trojans played a much weaker schedule than either Florida or Texas, so USC does not get consideration here, but what makes us laugh is this: The Longhorns edge out the Gators in SOS, and therefore, Texas is getting crowned here as our MNC. Florida scheduled one small-school opponent—The Citadel—and if the Gators had just played a normal FBS opponent, even a bad one, they probably would have kept their crown.
We find that to be just karma for the times: Schedule a cupcake for an extra payday or whatever, but watch your SOS take a serious hit. And that is what cost Florida a second MNC in three years by our analysis. The Longhorns truly got the shaft here, as with that amazing SOS, there is no way the BCS should have chosen Oklahoma in that three-way tiebreak in the Big XII.
(The Sooners did end up with the 2nd-ranked SOS, but that’s because they played the extra game—the Big XII title tilt—and then got Florida in the bowl game. Texas had the higher SOS at the end of the regular season, but then the Longhorns got a lesser bowl opponent and no extra game to boost their SOS numbers.)
This is the Longhorns’ third MNC in our book, and the first since 1981. And yes, it comes as a big surprise to us, too. But it just goes to show that the more the BCS tried to tighten its grip on the sport, the more obvious its corruption became to anyone paying attention to the data and the facts.
Congratulations to the 2008 Texas Longhorns, the mythical national champion!