College football may have a deeply flawed system for choosing a national champion, but those flaws sure make for an exciting first weekend of December every year. Since the Big Schools That Want To Keep All The Money To Themselves conspired with the bowls to form the Alliance -- what, SPECTRE was taken? -- in 1996, some form of zaniness has ensued just about every year during the final weekend of games. Today, we'll look at the wildest final weekends in the BSTWTKATMTT era.
5. 1996: Florida State defenders had pummeled Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel a week earlier to take over the No. 1 ranking. The Seminoles probably already had begun planning to defend Nebraska's option in the Sugar Bowl when Texas quarterback James Brown took the snap for "Roll Left," the play that introduced the Big 12 title game as the epicenter of weirdness for the Alliance/BCS. The Longhorns shocked the Cornhuskers, Florida beat Alabama in the SEC championship game and FSU got stuck in a rematch nobody wanted except the Gators, who would roll to a 52-20 win that, thanks to an Arizona State win against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, gave Florida the national title.
4. 2007: Never, ever doubt the power of the Wannstache. Championship Saturday began with Missouri and West Virginia atop the BCS standings. No one really believed the Tigers would beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, but it seemed a pretty safe bet dozens of couches would be set ablaze to celebrate WVU's Backyard Brawl win against Pitt in Morgantown. Then Pat White hurt his finger, LeSean McCoy went wild and the 'Stache worked its terrible, terrible magic. After the BCS computers stopped calculating, two-loss LSU faced one-loss Ohio State in the title game.
3. 2001: A week before the SEC title game, Tennessee shocked Steve Spurrier's best Florida team in Gainesville, leaving only LSU -- a team the Vols had whipped earlier that season -- standing in the way of a Rose Bowl pummeling by a Miami team that wouldn't have lost to the 2001 AFC All-Pro team. Instead, Matt Mauck led Nick Saban's Tigers to a win, which should have opened the door for Texas to play for the title, except the Longhorns had lost to Colorado in the Big 12 title game. The BCS then sent Nebraska -- which didn't even win the Big 12 north -- to Pasadena for a beatdown.
2. 2003: BCS junkies stayed up well into Sunday morning watching the Hawaii-Boise State game, trying to figure out how that result -- combined with Oklahoma's stunning loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game -- would affect the final BCS standings. USC and LSU each had finished their seasons with only one loss, but Oklahoma's lead was so wide going into the day that even the Sooners' loss couldn't drop them to No. 3. That meant the strength of schedule component of the BCS would determine the champ. Notre Dame, one vanquished USC foe, lost to Syracuse, but if Hawaii, another USC victim, could beat Boise State, the Trojans would play Oklahoma for the title. A couple hours before sunrise on the east coast, the Broncos beat the Warriors, sending LSU to the title game. Under the present system, LSU would have played USC.
1. 2006: This year probably would be ranked lower if not for this YouTube clip:
All USC had to do to cinch a BCS title game matchup against undefeated Ohio State was beat a mediocre UCLA team at the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Bruins played the game of their lives. Florida's SEC championship matchup against Arkansas was at halftime, which is why all these Florida fans were in the men's room at the Georgia Dome when UCLA's Eric McNeal intercepted John David Booty to seal a UCLA win.
One can only surmise that many of these Gators fans had been imbibing heavily, because, after only about 15 seconds of celebrating their team's likely ascension to the title game, nature calls.