Flashback Friday: BCS Controversy of 2000

Miami_Orange_Bowl

The Orange Bowl was the scene of the 27-24 University of Miami win over Florida State on October 7, 2000

Florida had two major electoral controversies in 2000 – one was settled by the Supreme Court and the other other by computers. The computer controversy was thanks to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) which allowed Florida State to play for the National Championship against Oklahoma despite losing to Miami earlier in the season and like the Hurricanes only having a single loss.

As Wikipedia described it:

Florida State (11–1, ACC Champions) was chosen to play undefeated Oklahoma (12–0, Big 12 champions) in the Orange Bowl for the national championship, despite their one loss coming to another one-loss team, the Miami Hurricanes (10–1, Big East champions), who were ranked No. 2 in both human polls. Adding to the controversy, Miami’s one loss came to yet another one loss team, the Pac-10 champion Washington Huskies, leaving three teams with a legitimate claim to play Oklahoma in the National Championship game. Florida State lost to Oklahoma 13–2, while Washington and Miami both easily won their BCS games, adding more fuel to the fire. As a result of the controversy, the BCS was tweaked in the off-season: a “quality-win” bonus was added to the formula, giving extra credit for beating a top ten team.

The decisive moment of the season might well have been this very weekend in 2000. While the nation’s attention was on Florida and I was personally was working the recount in Palm Beach County two important games were going on. #2 Miami traveled to Syracuse to take on the Orangemen and #3 Florida State hosted #4 Florida in Tallahassee.

Miami raced out to a 23-0 lead in Syracuse but much like a game against then #2 Virginia Tech two weeks earlier, the Hurricanes under coach Butch Davis took the air out of the football in the second half, coasting to a 26-0 win over a mediocre team. In the Virginia Tech game, Miami led 35-0 at halftime but only won the game 41-21 thanks to playing a lot of backups in the second half. At the time, BCS computers factored in margin of victory. Florida State crushed Florida 30-7 and then jumped Miami in the BCS poll. Florida State had led the Gators only 14-7 at halftime but had turned on the style points in the second half.

Florida State playing in the national title game created a stir around the country. The Seminoles seemed to many to be less deserving than Miami, Washington, Oregon State and maybe even Virginia Tech (whose profile was boosted by Miami taking it’s foot off the pedal when the two met in early November). Still FSU got the call and faced off against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl game played at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Sooners won and the controversy soon faded away – however had FSU won, the controversy would have raged because Miami would have claimed the AP title and FSU the BCS one, leaving two in-state rivals to dispute who was truly the national champion.

One comment

  1. Dave Trotter · · Reply

    Yep, I can relate…nine years later when my Utes were screwed by the BCS, and the Gators were given the spot again. Interestingly, the Gators played Oklahoma….in Miami!

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