State of the BCS
As the BCS era closes, how did Texas fare compared to other states?
As the gun sounded on last night’s game in Pasadena, it may have sounded like a nail being driven. That nail: the final one in the coffin of the Bowl Championship Series, the much-reviled system that has chosen college football’s national champion since 1998.
The BCS is a lot like many politicians: you’ve likely never met anyone who likes it, and yet there it is, in control of something we hold very dear.
Of course, as you know by now, the BCS era is officially over. It’s dead, and the new College Football Playoff killed it. Starting next year, college football fans will finally get what they’ve been clamoring for since time immemorial: a four-team playoff, with the national championship – what do you know? – to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
But we come today not to bury the BCS, but to celebrate it, especially the role that Texas teams played in its 16-year reign over college football.
In total, teams from the state of Texas participated in eight BCS bowls over the 16 years, and went 4-4 in those games. The games, in case you forgot any of them:
1999 Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 24, Texas A&M 14
2005 Rose Bowl: Texas 38, Michigan 37
2006 Rose Bowl: Texas 41, USC 38
2009 Fiesta Bowl: Texas 24, Ohio State 21
2010 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 17, TCU 10
2010 BCS National Championship: Alabama 37, Texas 21
2011 Rose Bowl: TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
2014 Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida 52, Baylor 42
So, four different teams – A&M, Texas, TCU and Baylor – made it to a BCS bowl during the BCS era. Not too shabby.
But how do these numbers stack up against the rest of the nation? It’s time to look back – fondly – at the BCS era as a whole, and see which states reigned supreme.
Here are the statewide stats for the BCS era:
A few observations:
-As you can see, Texas fares OK in the grand scheme of things, ranking 6th in BCS appearances (8), 6th in BCS wins (4) and tied for 12th in win percentage (.500). Not as great as one would hope, but not bad.
-The clear winner of the BCS era on a statewide level: Florida. Buoyed by Florida State (8) and Florida (7), the Sunshine State led the way with 20 total BCS bowl appearances. It also had one of the highest winning percentages, winning 13 of those 20 games.
-California, Ohio and Oklahoma also enjoyed themselves in the BCS era, and that’s mostly due to the BCS stalwarts USC (6-1 in BCS bowls), Ohio State (6-4, including a nation’s best 10 appearances) and Oklahoma (4-5). Same goes for the states of Alabama (5-4), Oregon (4-2) and Michigan (3-3).
-Is it better to get there and lose or not to get there at all? It was tough sledding for Indiana – basically because Notre Dame went 0-4 in BCS games – and Illinois (0-3, courtesy of Illinois and Northern Illinois). Also having a bad time at the BCS party: the state of Virginia, and specifically Virginia Tech, as the Hokies went a miserable 1-5 during the BCS era.
-24 states made multiple BCS bowl appearances, and only three of them went undefeated: West Virginia (its eponymous university went 3-0), Idaho (Boise State finishes the BCS era 2-0) and Kentucky (Louisville went 2-0, courtesy in part of new Texas coach Charlie Strong).
-Eight states made just one BCS bowl during the BCS era; only one of them – Iowa’s University of Iowa – won its only BCS appearance.
-Just eight states with FBS programs failed to make a BCS game: Arizona, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Wyoming.