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Chris Dufresne By keeping this formula, trouble could still follow

This is the sixth in a seven-part series on story lines to look for during the upcoming college football season:

August 03, 2008

Coaches lost their jobs last season, unemployment nationally is on the rise, but the Bowl Championship Series got a contract extension?

Last April, in a commissioners' cage match, status quo pinned hell-bent-for-change and the controversial BCS system lives, at least, through the 2014 bowl season.

It was rotten eggs for purists aching for a playoff but a governor's reprieve for columnists nourished by what many have called "nonsense."

The BCS was conceived to match No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a sport that doesn't have a playoff, yet the decade-old formula has often produced unintended consequences.

No one can predict what's going to happen this year, but based on BCS history, chances are decent there could be another ruckus.

Our ranking of the biggest BCS controversies to date:

5: Year, 2000. No beef with Oklahoma at No. 1 in the final BCS standings. But Florida State edged Miami for No. 2 even though Miami beat Florida State in the regular season.

4: Year, 2006. No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan in an epic regular-season thriller and the talk afterward was whether Michigan, with one loss, deserved a rematch in the BCS title game. The BCS standings, instead, promoted one-loss Florida to No. 2, and the Gators took advantage by beating Ohio State to win the BCS title.

3: Year, 2004. USC and Oklahoma finished 1-2 in the final BCS standings with the Trojans winning the national title game, 55-19.

Problem: Auburn, champion of the Southeastern Conference, finished undefeated and didn't get a crack at the national title.

Problem II: Texas lobbied poll voters hard to finish No. 4 in the standings ahead of No. 5 California, denying the Golden Bears their first Rose Bowl trip since 1959.

This led to the Associated Press' pulling out of the BCS formula.

2: Year, 2003. USC finished No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches' poll yet ended up No. 3 in the BCS standings behind Oklahoma and Louisiana State.

Even though USC defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl, 34 coaches who had USC No. 1 switched their first-place votes to LSU after the Tigers beat Oklahoma in the BCS title game.

LSU won the BCS championship, with USC earning the AP title.

1: Year, 2001. Colorado thrashed BCS No. 1 Nebraska, 62-36, the day after Thanksgiving. Yet, Cornhuskers players left crying in their locker room in Boulder were smiling again days later when Nebraska rebounded to No. 2 in the final BCS standings behind undefeated Miami.

Colorado, which had just handed Nebraska a brutal defeat, finished No. 3 ahead of No. 4 Oregon, which finished No. 2 in both the AP and coaches' polls.

Result: Miami hammered Nebraska, in the Rose Bowl, on a Thursday night, two days after the parade, to win its fifth national title.

It couldn't get crazier than that.

Or, could it?


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