PROTEST PLAYOFF '00: Selection Sunday

It's time to unveil the 2000 Protest Playoff field, and there are a few nasty hurdles for the Cats to climb before they can add a third Sears Trophy to the case in Vanier.

This is one of the most loaded fields yet - only 3 of the 16 teams lost more than two games, and one of those is K-State, who lost twice to #1 Oklahoma and was pretty darn salty. As the two-time defending national champion, No. 10 seed K-State is a nasty "reward" for Florida.

The Pac-10 was top-heavy, producing three Top 10-caliber teams in Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington - all newbies to the playoff. Miami and Oklahoma are making the first of many, many appearances. Florida State and Virginia Tech are pissed off at their Final Four upsets last season. And recent national champions Florida (winner of a really weak SEC) and Nebraska (victims of the Snyder coaching tree) have underachieved lately and are looking to prove their mettle.

On the other side, the Big Ten was way down, producing a pretty average Purdue team, while Louisville and Colorado State had solid coaching but are unknown variables at this point. That leaves returnees Boise State, Marshall, and TCU as the biggest threats to pull more upsets, although Marshall was definitely in rebuilding mode after losing Pennington, and their MAC title run was completely unexpected, given their record (kind of like Buffalo this year).

As for seeding, straight seeding would have yielded:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Florida State
  3. Miami
  4. Washington
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Oregon State
  7. Florida
  8. Nebraska
  9. Kansas State
  10. Oregon
  11. TCU
  12. Purdue
  13. Louisville
  14. Colorado State
  15. Boise State
  16. Marshall

Obviously Priority #1 was avoiding the Kansas State-Nebraska rematch, so I swapped K-State and Oregon. The Boise State-Florida State rematch is unfortunate, but them's the breaks for the Big West boys. Maybe they'll get their revenge in Tallahassee.

Colorado State, Louisville, Miami, and Washington all have reversible helmets (for the most part), so some shuffling was done because Oregon State and TCU were incompatible, as were Purdue and Virginia Tech.

Besides, for a BCS squad, Purdue's computer numbers were terrible - they weren't even in the BCS rankings. Your seed has to suffer for that, even if it also penalizes TCU slightly. Colorado State benefited most from this switching, but I predict they will still be the first No. 12 seed to lose in the playoff. Virginia Tech is just too good to fall prey to the same mistakes as UCLA and Tennessee did.

 

2000: The Field

No. 1 seed Oklahoma Sooners (12-0; BCS #1): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #12 Texas, BCS #9 Kansas State (x2), BCS #8 Nebraska
Losses: none
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Offensive Style: West Coast

Quarterback: Josh Heupel
Running Backs: Quentin Griffin and Renaldo Works
Wide Receivers: Antwone Savage and Curtis Fagan
Tight End: Trent Smith

 

No. 2 seed Florida State Seminoles (11-1; BCS #2): ACC Champion (automatic bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 3rd round elimination
- 1999: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #13 Georgia Tech, BCS #15 Clemson, BCS #7 Florida
Losses: BCS #3 Miami
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden (4-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Chris Weinke
Running Backs: Travis Minor and Jeff Chaney
Wide Receivers: Marvin Minnis and Anquan Boldin
Tight End: Ryan Sprague

 

No. 3 seed Miami Hurricanes (10-1; BCS #3): Big East Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #2 Florida State, BCS #5 Virginia Tech
Losses: BCS #4 Washington
Head Coach: Butch Davis
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Ken Dorsey
Running Backs: James Jackson and Clinton Portis
Wide Receivers: Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne
Tight End: Jeremy Shockey

 

No. 4 seed Washington Huskies (10-1; BCS #4): Pac-10 Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #3 Miami, BCS #6 Oregon State
Losses: BCS #10 Oregon
Head Coach: Rick Neuheisel
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Marques Tuiasosopo
Running Backs: Rich Alexis and Willie Hurst
Wide Receivers: Todd Elstrom and Justin Robbins
Tight End: Jerramy Stevens

 

No. 5 seed Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1; BCS #5): at-large bid
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1999: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #3 Miami
Head Coach: Frank Beamer (2-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Michael Vick
Running Backs: Lee Suggs and Andre Kendrick
Wide Receivers: Emmett Johnson and Andre Davis
Tight End: Browning Wynn

 

No. 6 seed Oregon State Beavers (10-1; BCS #6): Pac-10 Co-Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #10 Oregon
Losses: BCS #4 Washington
Head Coach: Dennis Erickson
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Jonathan Smith
Running Backs: Ken Simonton and Patrick McCall
Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson
Tight End: Martin Maurer

 

No. 7 seed Florida Gators (10-2; BCS #7): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 3rd round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Mississippi State, BCS #2 Florida State
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (2-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Jesse Palmer
Running Backs: Robert Gillespie and Earnest Graham
Wide Receivers: Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell
Tight End: Kirk Wells

 

No. 8 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-2; BCS #8): Big 12 North Co-Champion (at-large bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 1st round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #11 Notre Dame
Losses: BCS #1 Oklahoma, BCS #9 Kansas State
Head Coach: Frank Solich (0-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Eric Crouch
Running Backs: Dan Alexander and Correll Buckhalter
Wide Receivers: Matt Davison and Bobby Newcombe
Tight End: Tracey Wistrom

 

No. 9 seed Oregon Ducks (9-2; BCS #10): Pac-10 Co-Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #4 Washington
Losses: Wisconsin, BCS #6 Oregon State
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Joey Harrington
Running Backs: Maurice Morris and Allan Amundson
Wide Receivers: Marshaun Tucker and Keenan Howry
Tight End: Justin Peelle

 

No. 10 seed Kansas State Wildcats (10-3; BCS #9): Big 12 North Co-Champion (at-large bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: National Champion
- 1999: National Champion

Notable Wins: BCS #8 Nebraska
Losses: BCS #1 Oklahoma (x2), Texas A&M
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (8-0 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Jonathan Beasley
Running Backs: Josh Scobey and David Allen
Wide Receivers: Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett
Tight End: Shad Meier

 

No. 11 seed Louisville Cardinals (9-2; Sagarin #27*): C-USA Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #2 Florida State, ECU
Head Coach: John L. Smith
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Dave Ragone
Running Backs: Tony Stallings and T.J. Patterson
Wide Receivers: Deion Branch and Arnold Jackson
Tight End: Ronnie Ghent

 

No. 12 seed Colorado State Rams (9-2; Sagarin #33*): Mountain West Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Arizona State, Air Force
Head Coach: Sonny Lubick
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Matt Newton
Running Backs: Cecil Sapp and Rashaan Sanders
Wide Receivers: Pete Rebstock and Frank Rice
Tight End: Cory Woolstenhulme

 

No. 13 seed TCU Horned Frogs (10-1; BCS #14): WAC Co-Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1999: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: San Jose State
Head Coach: Dennis Franchione (1-1 playoff record)/Gary Patterson**
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Sean Stilley
Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson and Kenny Hayter
Wide Receivers: Tim Maiden and Cedric James
Tight End: B.J. Roberts

 

No. 14 seed Purdue Boilermakers (8-3; Sagarin #19): Big Ten Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #11 Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State
Head Coach: Joe Tiller
Offensive Style: West Coast

Quarterback: Drew Brees
Running Backs: Montrell Lowe and Jacob Rowe
Wide Receivers: Vinny Sutherland and John Standeford
Tight End: Tim Stratton

 

No. 15 seed Boise State Broncos (9-2; Sagarin #36*): Big West Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Arkansas, Washington State
Head Coach: Dirk Koetter (0-1 playoff record)/Dan Hawkins***
Offensive Style: unavailable****

Quarterback: unavailable****
Running Backs: unavailable****
Wide Receivers: unavailable****
Tight End: unavailable****

 

No. 16 seed Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5; Sagarin #76*): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 1st round elimination
- 1999: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Michigan State, North Carolina, Western Michigan, Toledo, Ohio
Head Coach: Bob Pruett (1-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich
Running Backs: Butchie Wallace and Chanston Rodgers
Wide Receivers: Nate Poole and David Foye
Tight End: Gregg Kellett

 

*BCS rankings only went from #1-15 from 1998-2002, so I used Sagarin rankings to seed all teams not listed in the BCS Top 15.

**Dennis Franchione departed before the Mobile Bowl, in which the team was coached by Gary Patterson. It is reasonable to hypothesize, however, that Franchione would have remained at TCU until the team was eliminated from the playoff.

***Dirk Koetter departed before the Humanitarian Bowl, in which the team was coached by Dan Hawkins. It is reasonable to hypothesize, however, that Koetter would have remained at Boise State until the team was eliminated from the playoff.

****The database for Boise State only goes back to 2001. Since they will most likely lose to No. 2 seed Florida State anyway, I will use the 2001 team for simulation purposes.

 

2000: What Really Happened

2000 was a very memorable season for me personally. Although I did not attend the Oklahoma game (but I wanted to very badly), I was in Manhattan the day before for a campus visit during my senior year of high school. I attended a pep rally and witnessed for the first time the buzz and fervor of College GameDay and the Top 10 showdown that was about to take place.

I vividly remember a banner hanging out of an apartment window: "Welcome Back, Traitors - Undefeated Ends Here!" Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. As we know all too well, "Sooner Magic" ran over K-State not once, but twice, on its way to an undefeated 13-0 season, a 13-2 win over #2 Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl, and a national championship, OU's first since 1985. Bob Stoops still lingers in the shadow of that season, in many ways, unable to completely match it since, even with better personnel.

I remember how surprised I was to hear we received a bid to the Cotton Bowl - we were so used to being screwed the previous two seasons on bowls, and we had more losses in 2000 than the previous two seasons combined, yet somehow we got a New Year's bowl against a team that won the championship only two seasons before. And I remember when we took Tennessee out "behind the woodshed," 35-21.

Meanwhile, the great controversy was who would play the Sooners. Florida State ended up having the best claim, said the BCS, but we beat them, said Miami, but we beat them, said Washington. It was the second of many BCS cluster-fraks to come.

Anyhow, Miami helped Butch Davis get a nice, shiny new Cleveland Browns job and set Larry Coker up for the most inherited championship run ever by pounding Steve Spurrier and the Stoops-less Florida Gators 37-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

Washington, who beat Oregon State, who beat Oregon, who beat Washington, got to go to the Rose Bowl (I assume because it had the highest BCS ranking, but with Slick Rick in charge, who knows?) and beat Purdue, who totally backed in with a 6-2 record in a three-way tie (but they beat Michigan and Northwestern, with whom they tied), 34-24.

Michael Vick played his final game (as a redshirt sophomore - hm, I see where the maturity problem may have started...) against Clemson in the Gator Bowl, beating the Tigers 41-20.

Oregon State's consolation prize was to lay a whooping on those perennial bowl choke artists, Notre Dame, in the first of their many BCS flops, 41-9. (Notice how the Domers aren't even in this playoff? Yeah, exactly...)

Nebraska won one of the most lopsided bowl games ever, annihilating Big Ten Co-Champion #18 Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl 66-17 and setting up their crimes against college football in 2001 (more on that next week).

Oregon beat Texas in a typical Holiday Bowl thriller, 35-30.

Colorado State beat Louisville 22-17 in the Liberty Bowl.

Southern Miss upset TCU and its new head coach/future object of K-State fans' affection 28-21 in the Mobile Alabama Bowl, sending LT out on a sour note. Maybe he'll have a better run in the playoff.

Boise State hosted yet another bowl home game, defeating WAC Co-Champion UTEP 38-23 in the Humanitarian Bowl. (See, this was back in the "good ol' days" where the little guys actually had to win or tie for their conference title to get a bowl. Not sure if that is better or worse than the bowl proliferation we are seeing now...)

Surprise 5-loss MAC champ Marshall defeated Cincinnati 25-14 in the Motor City Bowl.

Wikipedia's 2000 season summary

 

Tomorrow's Games

#16 Marshall @ #1 Oklahoma
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Norman, Okla.

#13 TCU @ #4 Washington
Husky Stadium
Seattle, Wash.

#12 Colorado State @ #5 Virginia Tech
Lane Stadium
Blacksburg, Va.

#9 Oregon @ #8 Nebraska
Nebraska Memorial Stadium
Lincoln, Neb.

 

BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives

1998: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Fiesta | Data

1999: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Sugar | Data

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