History repeats itself in this year’s BCS

In just his third year at the school, Brian Kelly has Notre Dame poised for its first national title since 1988.
  • Notre Dame, Alabama back where they so often have been, battling for national title.
  • Northern Illinois gets the biggest breakthrough, giving MAC its first BCS team.
  • Big 12 co-champion Oklahoma left on the outside.
  • For as much as college football evolves and its postseason format changes, this is still a sport ruled by tradition and exclusivity. Over the past 75 years, only 30 different schools have claimed at least a share of the national title.

    In that span of time, two programs have won it all more often than anyone else, combining for 17 championships: Alabama and Notre Dame. On Jan. 7, they’ll meet at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., For the BCS national title.

    “It’s a real historic game, two historic teams, great traditions,” Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “We have to make sure we play our type of football and try to block out all the clutter.”.

    And there will be plenty of clutter between now and then, given the myriad storylines at play. Among the most prominent: Alabama coach Nick Saban trying to solidify a dynasty with three championships in the last four years (and fourth overall, which would put him just two behind Bear Bryant), the Southeastern Conference aiming for its seventh consecutive BCS title and Notre Dame roaring back from a slump that consumed most of the last two decades.

    Explore more:  Police use Taser on 11-year-old girl accused of stealing from supermarket

    “The tradition of Alabama and Notre Dame bring a special attention to it but we’re just trying to be the best team on Monday, Jan. 7,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “All of that tradition, what happened in the past, isn’t going to help us,”.

    Though numerous BCS controversies over the years helped build momentum for a four-team playoff, which will begin in 2014, the only uproar this year involved the inclusion of Northern Illinois. By finishing 15th in the BCS standings (comfortably above the top-16 cutoff) and ahead of the Big East (Louisville) and Big Ten (Wisconsin) champions, Northern Illinois earned the Mid-American Conference’s first-ever BCS bid and will face Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.

    That development knocked Oklahoma, which won a share of the Big 12 title with Kansas State but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker, out of the BCS and into the Cotton Bowl. It also moved Louisville from the Orange Bowl to the Sugar Bowl, where it will play Florida.

    And though Northern Illinois’ presence won’t sit well with the power conference set, given the Huskies lost their season opener to an Iowa team that finished 4-8, it was a momentous occasion for the school in DeKalb, Ill. When it won the MAC last year, Northern Illinois earned a trip to the GoDaddy.Com Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

    “All of us have known since the inception of the BCS, this is the framework we all work through and it’s a great story,” Orange Bowl executive director Eric Poms said. “As we saw in 2007 when Boise State played Oklahoma (in the Fiesta Bowl), those matchups bring out the theatrics.”.

    Explore more:  As number of Airbnb hosts surges, 45% say extra income helps them stay in their homes

    Even with the longshot Northern Illinois story, this will be remembered as a year for the bluebloods.

    Notre Dame, a unanimous No. 1 in the human polls, finished 12-0 and was the only undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision eligible for the postseason this year. (Ohio State, which also went 12-0, played under a bowl ban this year for NCAA rules violations under former coach Jim Tressel.).

    And though Alabama was among five teams with one loss, its selection for the championship game was never in question after beating Georgia in Saturday’s SEC championship game, 32-28. Last year, the Crimson Tide barely edged out Oklahoma State for the No. 2 position in the BCS standings and then beat LSU, 21-0, to win its ninth national title.

    Despite failing to win the SEC East, Florida ended up No. 3 in the standings, which automatically qualified the Gators for a BCS bowl and knocked out Georgia because of the BCS rule that only two teams from the same conference are allowed into the system.

    “I’ve been on both ends of this,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “We all sit there before the season and agree on all these rules and this is what (happens). But we sit down and agree with something and then at the end of the day want to complain about the rules. We started the season understanding the rules. It is what it is and it’s going to change in two years. I am frustrated in playing in our league and being limited to only two teams getting in.”.

    Explore more:  Afghan leader backs away from Taliban talks

    In addition to the SEC, the Pac 12 was a clear winner this year. Not only did Pac 12 champion Stanford fill its traditional Rose Bowl slot, the Fiesta Bowl took Oregon as an at-large team. The Ducks will play Kansas State in a game that looked like it might have been the national championship matchup when they were ranked 1-2 last month.

    “Once again, the BCS has delivered exactly what it was designed to do,” executive director Bill Hancock said. “We’re very proud the BCS got it right.”.

    Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Rits Blog by Crimson Themes.