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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
12/01/2007 12:17:00 AM

Championship Saturday: A Look Back

Missouri fans
Colt Brennan and unbeaten Hawaii will hold the BCS hostage until the conclusion of their game against Washington, which kicks off at 11:30 p.m. EST.
Jordan Murph/Icon SMI

Championship Saturday.

In only nine years’ time, this new-age college football “event” has become synonymous with suspense and controversy. Surely there will be more by the time this Saturday is through.

What will it be this year? Ohio State sliding into the national title game? UCLA pulling out an improbable Rose Bowl berth? Hawaii going into quadruple overtime and making us stay up until sunrise to find out if they’re going to the BCS?

I can’t wait to find out. In the meantime, a quick look back at the four most chaotic Championship Saturdays to date:

1) Dec. 5, 1998: It was the first year of the BCS, and no one knew what exactly to expect with three teams -- Tennessee, UCLA and Kansas State -- all entering the day undefeated. But first Miami stunned the 10-0 Bruins in a game rescheduled by Hurricane Georges, then Texas A&M shocked 11-0 K-State in the Big 12 title game, allowing 11-1 Florida State -- its season completed two weeks earlier -- to rise up to No. 2 and a Fiesta Bowl date with the SEC champion Vols.

2) Dec. 1, 2001: A string of upsets that a week earlier claimed No. 1 Nebraska (to Colorado) and No. 3 Oklahoma (to Oklahoma State) continued when first No. 2 Florida fell at home to Tennessee, then No. 3 Texas suffered the infamous “Chris Simms meltdown” against Colorado in the Big 12 title game. Miami wrapped up one spot in the Rose Bowl with a win over Virginia Tech, while Nebraska rose back up to claim the other a week later when the No. 2 Vols slipped up against LSU in the 9/11-delayed SEC title game.

3) Dec. 6, 2003: The day began with No. 2 USC (10-1) wondering whether it could fend off No. 3 LSU (11-1) for a Sugar Bowl date against unstoppable No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0). But then the craziest thing happened: While the Trojans cruised past Oregon State and the Tigers handled Georgia in the SEC title game, Kansas State inexplicably stomped the Sooners 35-7 in Kansas City. USC rose to No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls, but Oklahoma-LSU wound up 1-2 in the BCS standings, paving the way for a split title.

4) Dec. 2, 2006: No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) had wrapped up one half of the BCS Championship Game two weeks earlier against Michigan, and USC (10-1) figured to join the Buckeyes with a win over 6-5 UCLA. But the Bruins stunned the Trojans 13-9 in a game that ended around halftime of the SEC championship game between No. 4 Florida (11-1) and Arkansas. The Gators wound up running away from the Razorbacks 38-28 and passed the Wolverines for No. 2 in the final standings the following day.

If all goes to form this Championship Saturday, we’ll wind up with a Missouri-West Virginia clash in New Orleans on Jan. 7. If it winds up anywhere near as tumultuous as those four … maybe not.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 12:28 PM   by SOS
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 12:30 PM   by SOS
If all goes well this weekend, we could end up with the most interesting and enjoyable bowl season of the BCS era. A BCS title game featuring Mizzou and WVU would be more entertaining and watchable than any previous BCS title game. A possible (don't drop the ball Fiesta Bowl, do what is right) Fiesta Bowl featuring Kansas and Hawaii would be must see TV and a threat to the recently reset scoring record. A Va Tech vs. Georgia Orange Bowl would be a good game as would pitting two talented but underperforming Tiger squads (Clemson and LSU) in the Sugar Bowl and finishing with the Grand Daddy featuring a traditional Big Ten vs Pac Ten Rose Bowl, and this one won't be a complete stinker unlike the last few. It has been a long time since we have had a good traditional Rose Bowl. The icing on the cake will be watching a thoroughly horrible Michigan team sending out Lloyd Carr with a thirty plus point defeat at the hands of the Gators.
Posted: 12:38 PM   by SOS
By the way, I don't really think that the Capital One Bowl would be dumb enough to invite Michigan knowing what the outcome would be before hand. But you never know, if Illinois can sneak into the BCS, this might happen.
Posted: 12:52 PM   by Greg
Is there any way that LSU could play USC in the Rosebowl, if LSU wins SEC Championship and USC wins PAC 10? Does LSU have to go to the Sugar Bowl (presumably against #12 Hawaii, if they win), or could LSU go to Rose Bowl and Georgia go to Sugar Bowl. LSU fans would love to have a matchup with USC, and I think it would be a fabulous game. And LSU and USC would pack the seats.
Suffering Tiger Fan
Posted: 1:04 PM   by SOS
The SEC is contractually obligated to play in the Sugar Bowl unless selected to play in the BCS title game.
Posted: 1:27 PM   by Omagus
Why would Missouri vs WVU be more entertaining and watchable than Texas vs USC?
Posted: 2:06 PM   by larrywp
It wouldn't be more watchable, Omagus, but SOS clearly enjoys the idea of seeing the underdog win. Unfortunately, if he had his way, it would be all underdogs playing underdogs, so that he will be dissapointed no matter who wins, because the underdog would lose...do you have that? By the way, to equate the Clemson Tigers with the LSU Tigers is a real stretch. Clemson is actually the Aggies in drag. They try and try, but there is no way they can be who they are not.
Stewart, any thoughts on the insanity concerning Les Miles? Would you pay money to see a Herbstreit/Miles interview? I would.
Posted: 2:18 PM   by Andy Tabbo
What happens when WVU loses to Pitt today? And Mizzou goes down to OU? And VaTech loses? And LSU loses again to Tennessee? And USC destroys UCLA? Wouldn't it be funny if USC got into the mix after being proclaimed dead and gone? Or do we get a 'great' Georgia/Ohio St BCS to forget? Please, just keep OU out of it. I don't want to see Stoops get embarrassed again in a championship game.
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Andy
I would love to see Miles and Herbstreit go head to head. I think Herbstreit would lose control of his bodily functions. GEAUX TIGERS!!!
Posted: 4:00 PM   by shane
Does anyone else see the irony in Les Miles adamantly denying any interest in other jobs leading up to a big game? It reeks of the way he left Oklahoma State--deny, deny, deny amid all the rumors. If there's an agreed upon contract--sign it. Put it all to rest and really proove it.
Posted: 4:07 PM   by reid
Posted: 4:10 PM   by reid
Coming from a usc fan, who has no loyalty for lsu or michigan, I thing Les Miles would be making a huge mistake to leave LSU for Michigan. USC and LSU are the two powerhouses in college football right now and Michigan is definitely falling. They don't get the athletes that LSU can get. Leaving LSU for Michigan would be like leaving flordia for unlv in basketball.
Posted: 4:23 PM   by skittles
My predicition for the NC title game this weekend is Missouri loses to Oklahoma 38-31, and WV beats Pitt. 52-17 setting up a matchup between WV and OSU in the title game.What I want to know is if WV and Missouri loses who do you think will go to the NC title game (4. Georgia 10-2, 6. Virginia Tech 10-2, 7. LSU 10-2 8. USC 9-2 9. Oklahoma 10-2. I took out Kansas who is #5) and who do you think should go to the NC title game. To anyone
Posted: 4:31 PM   by dariggy
What happens to the Rose Bowl if SC wins, Mizzou loses and Ohio State plays in the NCG? Many are saying that the Rose bowl committee will do everything they can to preserve the Big-10/Pac-10 matchup. However, right now the Illini are ranked 15th in teh BCS and not eligible for a BCS game. If that stands, who would SC play? Georgia, Kansas, Mizzou, Oklahoma?
Posted: 4:59 PM   by Michael
It would be nice to see teams that go to the championship game because they DESERVE to, not because of their name (cough cough Ohio State USC). I am looking forward to seeing Mizzou and West Virginia - if Mizzou loses, then I think Georgia should go. Ohio State played one team all year - big deal..
Dear Les Miles:

Congratulations on your contract extension and raise. If it is indeed for the $3.5 million that is rumored, good luck justifying that salary over the next 2-3 years when you don't win a national title. The only coaches that should earn that money have national title rings, and that's how it is now: Saban, Tressel, Stoops and Meyer all have rings. What do you have?

In 2 years LSU fans will be screaming for your head, so it's a good thing you're getting a lot of money.
Posted: 5:21 PM   by Kelly
Michael, Ohio State has played plenty of teams, they just were not very good. Illinois, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State are solid teams, the rest are average at best.
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