5 Reasons Why BCS Worked in 2013
In Its Final Year, 5 Reasons Why the BCS Worked
For the entirety of its existence, college football fans have wanted to bash, berate and eliminate the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Even in years where the title game was obvious, people would use examples from the other major bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar) as examples of why the system didn't work. This happened even though the system was only really designed to put the top two teams together in the championship game. Where the other teams all filtered in was up to the bowls and the conferences.
The detractors of the BCS finally have their wish starting in 2014, as a four-team playoff will decide the national champion. But in 2013, the BCS is going out with a bang, and the matchup for the final BCS championship is one that few can have any argument with. Beyond that, the major BCS-aligned bowls also did an excellent job picking their teams, leaving a lineup of five very entertaining games to enjoy after all the New Year's Eve partying has come to an end.
The undefeated Florida State Seminoles earned their place in the championship game by mauling just about every opponent they played, including the upstart Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Championship Game last Saturday. Led by freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, the Seminoles' offense has been unstoppable at times. Their opponents, the 12-1 Auburn Tigers, won back-to-back games against the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide in miraculous fashion, then ran over the Missouri Tigers to win the SEC Championship Game. There aren't any teams that have an argument better than Auburn's to go against Florida State in this national title game.
Here's a look at five reasons why the BCS got it right in 2013.
5. UCF Brings New Blood to BCS
Champions of the American Athletic Conference, the Central Florida Knights parlayed a mid-season upset of the Louisville Cardinals into their first BCS bowl bid. The Knights are 11-1 and their only loss came by just three points to the South Carolina Gamecocks, an SEC team that will be playing in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. Thought not a "BCS Buster" since the AAC had an automatic bid this season, the Knights once again offer new blood to the BCS the likes of which we've seen previously from Northern Illinois, TCU, Boise State, Utah and Hawaii.
It doesn't hurt that in the Fiesta Bowl, the Knights will play one of the most exciting teams in the country in the Baylor Bears. Baylor made a regular habit this season of scoring better than 60 points and amassing more than 700 yards in games. They might not do that against UCF, but the battle of quarterbacks Blake Bortles (UCF) and Bryce Petty (Baylor) is worth the price of admission.
4. Michigan State & Stanford Offer Traditional Football in Rose Bowl
Unlike the Fiesta Bowl and what is likely to be an aerial show, the Rose Bowl offers old-school football fans a big dose of exactly the kind of football they crave. The Big 10 champion Michigan State Spartans and Pac-12 champs Stanford Cardinal will meet in a physical, defensive contest that will be a football purist's dream.
Stanford knocked out assumed Pac-12 champion Oregon earlier in the season to take control of the Pac-12 North, then demolished Arizona State, 38-14, in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Cardinal's two losses (to Utah and Southern California) were by a total of nine points. Stanford hasn't allowed more than 20 points in its last seven games.
If Stanford has been good on defense, Michigan State has been great. The Spartans were perfect in the Big 10 this season, holding five of their eight conference opponents to less than 10 points each. That included the Michigan Wolverines, who the Spartans trounced, 29-6, in their annual rivalry game. Remember, that same Wolverines team scored 41 points against Ohio State in nearly beating the Buckeyes at the end of the regular season. In the Big 10 Championship Game, Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 34-24, ending the Buckeyes' hopes of a national championship and stopping OSU's 24-game winning streak.
3. Clemson's Tajh Boyd Gets Another Chance to Shine
The Clemson Tigers are surely sick of hearing about what happened the last time they played in the Orange Bowl. Two years ago, Clemson was pulverized by the West Virginia Mountaineers, 70-33. Deep in the West Virginia mountains, locals say they can still hear their blue-and-gold heroes scoring touchdowns against Clemson to this day. But much has changed since then. Clemson, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, is back in the Orange Bowl now while WVU went 4-8 and 2-7 in the Big 12. Boyd is one of the country's top all-around players and this game vs. Ohio State is a final chance for the senior to shine.
Ohio State enters this game probably wishing they were somewhere else. Their loss to Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship Game cost the Buckeyes any chance at the national championship. Now, they take the Orange Bowl as a consolation prize, but one that the BCS folks probably couldn't be happier about, given how great a matchup this is. Both teams should be able to put up points and the game should be quite entertaining.
2. No Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game
Ohio State losing in the Big 10 Championship Game was the best thing that could have possibly happened to the BCS. There were more than a few people who smartly were questioning the Buckeyes' credentials for the title game, even if they had beaten Michigan State last week. Ohio State beat nobody of note in their non-conference schedule and the Big 10 as a whole wasn't as strong this season as it has been in past years.
Auburn making it through a tougher SEC schedule with just one loss (by 14 at LSU) made them a more viable candidate for the national championship game, even if Ohio State had won last week. Whether the BCS would have given us that matchup under that scenario, we will never know, but as it is, it turned out right.
1. Final BCS Title Game is Best Possible Matchup
In watching the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles this season, how could you not want to see these teams battle it out for the national championship? Sure, Alabama, Florida and Miami fans probably aren't too happy about it. But for neutrals, this is an exciting matchup with stars on both sides of the ball for both teams, and there are multiple storylines to keep track of.
This will probably be FSU's closest game of the season. Boston College is the only team to stay within 14 points of the Seminoles this season, and Florida State has beaten its last five opponents by an average of 49.2 points per game. They are a dominant team in college football, much like the Nebraska teams of the mid-1990s.
You can argue Auburn is lucky to be here, what with the late touchdown on a deflected pass to beat Georgia, then the length of the field missed field goal return to beat Alabama as time expired. But great teams make their own luck and the Tigers have certainly done that this season. With running back Tre Mason in top form (303 yards rushing vs. Missouri), Auburn has plenty in the tank to challenge Florida State in what should be one of the best BCS Championship Games we've seen. It will be a grand finale for the BCS, no doubt.