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The unusual is usual in BCS race

There's only one more shot at putting the top two teams in the title game, and history says something strange is going to happen to make it happen.

October 30, 2013|Chris Dufresne
  • Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde celebrates a touchdown in Saturday's blowout win over Penn State. Will Ohio State fans be satisfied with the BCS bowl game the Buckeyes draw this season?
Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde celebrates a touchdown in Saturday's… (Adam Cairns / MCT )

Mark this down as we whitewater-raft through the final weeks of the final BCS rapids: Something is going to happen, give, buckle or burst.

Some team is going to be robbed and maybe ripped off.

Grownups are going to scream, sulk, petition, lobby and sweat the small stuff because, as unpopular as the Bowl Championship Series has been, nothing will ever replace its lunacy.

Fifteen champions have been crowned in this zany BCS system, with a dozen other schools thinking it should have been them.

So what's it going to be this season?

November beckons with four top teams (maybe more) vying for two available spots in the title game.

Alabama is No.1, but fans of Florida State and Oregon are already at each other's throats, with undefeated No. 4 Ohio State wondering, "Hey, what about us?"

The good news is that the BCS top 10 is going to be put through the ringer the next 10 days. No. 7 Miami plays at No. 3 Florida State on Saturday before next Thursday's doubleheader featuring No. 5 Stanford at No. 2 Oregon and No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor.

You never know what may affect the delicate BCS ecosystem and, in fact, may have already happened.

The season-ending injury Stanford star defensive end Ben Gardner suffered might now allow Oregon runners enough wiggle room to win a close game in Palo Alto.

Or, it may be Stanford will be emotionally charged after hearing what Oregon linebacker Boseko Lokombo said after the Ducks' win against UCLA.

"I feel a lot of people follow in our footsteps," he said. "We have been dominating the Pac-12. ... People will try and emulate our program, but we are the top dog."

Actually, Stanford defeated Oregon last year to claim the Pac-12 North before winning the Pac-12 title and then the Rose Bowl.

The BCS title game may have been decided last week when unranked Duke knocked Virginia Tech out of the top 25.

Alabama had been counting Virginia Tech as a quality nonconference victory, and Florida State was hoping to use a win over Virginia Tech (in the ACC title game) to bolster its BCS computer numbers.

What if Duke's upset is the difference in Oregon edging out Florida State for the second BCS spot?

BCS history is replete with hairpin turns that changed everything.

You don't think so?

Last year, in Eugene, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota streaked down the right sideline headed for an early touchdown against Stanford. He had speedy De'Anthony Thomas leading interference.

Thomas, though, failed to block the only Cardinal defender who had a chance to catch Mariota, who was knocked out of bounds after gaining 79 yards.

Oregon failed to score on the drive and lost by three in overtime.

That missed block probably sent Alabama to the title game instead of the one-loss Ducks.

So what's it going to be this season?

In 1998, the first BCS year, Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner fumbled without being touched, allowing Tennessee to win, advance to the title game, and win it.

Same year, UCLA needed one tackle against Miami to play for the championship. Same game, UCLA receiver Brad Melsby fumbled at the Miami 26 after being hit by someone named … Ed Reed. Miami recovered and scored the winning touchdown. Melsby's knee was actually down, but that was before instant replay could have reversed the call.

UCLA lineman Andy Meyers said after the game that "it took all the self-control I had not to punch the official."

Same year, Kansas State missed the BCS title game when a completed Hail Mary pass against Texas A&M fell a few feet short of the goal line. Kansas State lost the Big 12 title game in overtime.

A Texas A&M player joked that the air-conditioning vents at the TWA Dome in St. Louis may have contributed to the victory.

In 2000, Miami defeated Florida State in the regular season, but Florida State earned the title shot against Oklahoma only because the BCS standings spit out 5.37 for the Seminoles and 5.69 for the Hurricanes.

In 2002, Cincinnati receivers dropped two passes in the end zone in a September game that would have upset Ohio State, which finished at 14-0. Ohio State also needed a fourth-down conversion that year to beat Purdue.

In 2003, USC and Louisiana State should have played for the title after No. 1 Oklahoma was clobbered, 35-7, by Kansas State in the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma stayed at No. 1 in the BCS, however, because pollsters could drop the one-loss Sooners only to No. 3. Every team below that had multiple losses, which allowed Oklahoma's No. 1 computer strength to prevail.

In 2004, USC went undefeated but only by stopping California four times inside the 10-yard line in a 23-17 victory at the Coliseum.

Cal's quarterback had completed 29 of 31 passes before being shut down. His name was Aaron Rodgers.

In 2006, Florida squeezed Michigan out of the title game by the BCS margin of .9445 to .9344. You'll have to trust the numbers were accurate, because BCS computer operators don't reveal their formulas.

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