Campus Corner

The best teams and players of the 16-year BCS era

Updated: 2014-01-04T21:31:33Z


The Kansas City Star

Florida State meets Auburn in Monday’s 16th and final national title game in the Bowl Championship Series system.

The era has produced some powerful teams and remarkable performances, and maybe the final game will add to the lists.

Here’s the best of the best from the BCS, which began after the 1998 season.

Best teams

1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes

One of the greatest collections of talent in college football history.

•  Defeated: Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl

•  Coach: Larry Coker

•  Standouts: RB Clinton Portis, RB Willis McGahee, WR Andre Johnson, TE Jeremy Shockey, LT Bryant McKinnie, LB Jonathan Vilma, FS Ed Reed.

2. 2004 Southern California Trojans

The Trojans were stripped of their title for NCAA violations, mostly involving Reggie Bush.

•  Defeated: Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl

•  Coach: Pete Carroll

•  Standouts: QB Matt Leinart, RB Reggie Bush, RB LenDale White, LB Lofa Tatupu, DE Shaun Cody

3. 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide

The first of Alabama’s three national title teams under Nick Saban may be the best.

•  Defeated: Texas 37-21 in the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl

•  Coach: Nick Saban

•  Standouts: RB Mark Ingram, LB Rolando McClain, CB Javier Arenas, WR Julio Jones

4. 2005 Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns won in dramatic fashion on Vince Young’s fourth-down run.

•  Defeated: Southern California 41-38 in the Rose Bowl

•  Coach: Mack Brown

•  Standouts: QB Vince Young, S Michael Huff, DT Rodrique Wright, OT Justin Blalock

5. 2008 Florida Gators

Tim Tebow rallied Florida in the fourth quarter.

•  Defeated: Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS National Championship Game at Miami Gardens, Fla.

•  Coach: Urban Meyer

•  Standouts: QB Tim Tebow, WR Percy Harvin, C Maurkice Pouncey, LB Brandon Spikes

Best title-game performances

Vince Young, Texas vs. Southern California

•  When/where: Jan. 4, 2006, Rose Bowl

•  Comment: One of the single-greatest efforts in the game’s history brought Texas its first national championship since 1970. Young accounted for 467 total yards, and his third rushing touchdown came on fourth down from the 8 with 19 seconds remaining, capping the 41-38 triumph.

Matt Leinart, USC vs. Oklahoma

•  When/where: Jan. 4, 2005, Orange Bowl

•  Comment: The Sooners opened the scoring, then the left-handed Leinart went to work. He threw a BCS title-game record five touchdown passes and 332 yards in the Trojans’ 55-19 romp. Leinart became the first Heisman Trophy winner since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 to win the national championship.

Maurice Clarett, Ohio State vs. Miami, Fla.

•  When/where: Jan. 3, 2003, Fiesta Bowl

•  Comment: Clarett rushed for a mere 47 yards, but he provided the game’s biggest and most clutch moments in the Buckeyes’ 31-24 two-overtime victory for their first national title in 34 years. From the Miami 6, the Hurricanes’ Sean Taylor picked off a Craig Krenzel pass and returned it 28 yards. But Clarett stripped the ball from Taylor and Ohio State got a field goal from the possession. Clarett scored the second of his two rushing touchdowns in the second overtime to give Ohio State the victory.

BCS title game history

Season Result Starting QBs (winner, loser)
1998Tennessee 23, Florida State 16Tee Martin, Marcus Outzen
1999Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29Chris Weinke, Michael Vick
2000Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2Josh Heupel, Chris Weinke*
2001Miami, Fla., 37, Nebraska 14Ken Dorsey, Eric Crouch*
2002Ohio State 31, Miami, Fla. 24, 2OTCraig Krenzel, Ken Dorsey
2003LSU 21, Oklahoma 14Matt Mauck, Jason White*
2004Southern California 55, Oklahoma 19Matt Leinart*, Jason White
2005Texas 41, Southern California 38Vince Young, Matt Leinart
2006Florida 41, Ohio State 14Chris Leak, Troy Smith*
2007LSU 38, Ohio State 24Matt Flynn, Todd Boeckman
2008Florida 24, Oklahoma 14Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford*
2009Alabama 37, Texas 21Greg McElroy, Colt McCoy
2010Auburn 22, Oregon 19Cam Newton*, Darron Thomas
2011Alabama 21, LSU 0AJ McCarron, Jordan Jefferson
2012Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14AJ McCarron, Everett Golson
2013Florida State vs. AuburnJameis Winston* vs. Nick Marshall

*Heisman Trophy winner

BCS records by conference

Includes all BCS games, not just championships, heading into Monday’s title game:

Conference W-L
Big Ten13-15
Big 1210-12
Big East8-7

Most BCS appearances

•  10: Ohio State

•  9: Oklahoma

•  8: Florida State

•  7: Southern California, Florida

•  6: Virginia Tech

Most BCS victories

•  6: Ohio State, Southern California

•  5: Florida

•  4: LSU, Oklahoma

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to Follow him at

Deal Saver Subscribe today!


The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here