PROTEST PLAYOFF '01: Selection Sunday

A fan of a rival school made a smarmy comment about my having Kansas State and Texas A&M meet again in the 1998 playoff, and I of course fired back a smarmy retort of my own, but it got me to thinking: What about those rematches?

I have been setting things up so teams from the same conference cannot meet in the 1st round, but I began to wonder if that was enough. Already, in 3 years, we have seen the following rematches of games played earlier in the season:

  1. Florida 27, Tennessee 17 (1998) - reversal of earlier outcome
  2. Kansas State 41, Texas A&M 3 (1998) - reversal of earlier outcome
  3. Nebraska 17, Oklahoma 13 (2000) - reversal of earlier outcome
  4. Florida State 37, Miami 14 (2000) - reversal of earlier outcome

All but the last were conference rematches. Additionally, possible rematches that were avoided include Florida-Florida State (1999), Alabama-Tennessee (1999), Kansas State-Nebraska (1999), and Florida-Florida State (2000), among others.

The truth is that the conferences would scream bloody murder if this was actually happening. Think about it - the Big 12 gets three teams in, and one knocks another out? They would pitch a fit! If these things were truly seeded, they would "pod" those 3 teams separately so the earliest they could meet would be the Final Four, not the Elite Eight. It's skewing my conference win-loss records, as well, and not in a good way.

Changing this state of affairs, even though you lose satisfying revenge matches like what K-State did to Texas A&M the second time around, makes things more interesting. Inter-sectional match-ups are half the fun of postseason play, as we finally get to see the best teams from each conference play each other instead of Sun Belt patsies. (Well, once you get past the 1st round sacrifices, anyway.)

So, from now on, I will endeavor to seed so that teams that played each other earlier in the season or that are in the same conference will meet as late as possible, should they meet.

Additionally, I took the time to reseed the 1998, 1999, and 2000 fields, so on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I will post encores of those three playoffs so you can see what they should have looked like had I not seeded them like a dumbass. The results probably won't change too much, though.

I won't write up recaps for the "new" games as I just don't have the time, but I'll link the box scores as always and the helmets and brackets and everything will be the same. You'll just have to use your imagination for the rest. (As if this whole exercise isn't a flight of fancy anyway...)

How does this new seeding procedure look in action? Well, read on.

Going off a straight seeding procedure yields the following:

  1. Miami
  2. Nebraska
  3. Colorado
  4. Oregon
  5. Florida
  6. Tennessee
  7. Texas
  8. Illinois
  9. Stanford
  10. Maryland
  11. LSU
  12. Louisville
  13. BYU
  14. Toledo
  15. Louisiana Tech
  16. North Texas

Miami and North Texas are fine (although that game will be a slaughter).

Nebraska and Louisiana Tech are fine, although they present a slight helmet problem that I will deal with on Thursday.

Seeding Colorado 3rd would create a potential Final Four rematch with Nebraska (and who wants to see that massacre again?), so I swapped them with No. 4 Oregon so that the Buffaloes and Cornhuskers cannot meet until the title game, if at all. This also conveniently solves helmet incompatibility between Colorado and Toledo.

So, the hippies will play the Mormons (fun!), and the Ducks will host the Rockets (weird!).

The same problem exists with Texas and Tennessee. Seeding Texas 7th creates an expected 2nd round match with No. 2 Nebraska. They didn't play each other in the regular season in 2001, but the conference office would still pitch a fit, so I swapped them with Tennessee and now the Longhorns and the Huskers can't meet until the Final Four.

That also prevents what would have been a 1st round game between LSU and Tennessee, and no one wants to see Part Three of that one. And it means that Colorado and Texas would not be able to play a third time until the title game, instead of in the Final Four. I'd rather have Texas play Nebraska for the first time in the 3rd round than Colorado for the third time.

Illinois and Stanford have helmet incompatibility, but I have a new explanation for that I will trot out tomorrow, and no, it isn't throwback helmets.

Hopefully I don't come off like an egomaniac when I say this, but I think this is the best seeding job I have done yet. 2001 was the first year I really, really paid attention to college football. I mean, I watched K-State before that, but 2001 is when I went to college and started reading ESPN.com every day and watching lots of other games (I didn't have cable TV at home) and really immersing myself in the sport, thus producing the crazy individual who now makes these brackets for fun.

So, I remember that season quite well, and it was a weird one. There should be some interesting surprises in this field, although 2001 Miami was so damn powerful that they should run the table, realistically. That may have been one of the best college football teams ever - click their link and see just how many pros they put into the league. It's crazy.

Even though the Wildcats are not in this field, I hope you will keep reading. If nothing else, you can always root for Darrell Ray and his Mean Green to pull the upset tomorrow. (Yeah, right!) 2001 was a year that just begged for a playoff, or at least a plus-one game, and now we shall see what might have happened.

 

2001: The Field

No. 1 seed Miami Hurricanes (11-0; BCS #1): Big East Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #15 Washington
Losses: none
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Ken Dorsey
Running Backs: Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee
Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson and Ethenic Sands
Tight End: Jeremy Shockey

 

No. 2 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-1; BCS #2): Big 12 North Co-Champion (at-large bid)
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 1st round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2000: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #11 Oklahoma
Losses: BCS #3 Colorado
Head Coach: Frank Solich (1-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Eric Crouch
Running Backs: Dahrran Diedrick and Thunder Collins
Wide Receivers: Wilson Thomas and John Klem
Tight End: Tracey Wistrom

 

No. 3 seed Oregon Ducks (10-1; BCS #4): Pac-10 Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #12 Washington State
Losses: BCS #9 Stanford
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti (0-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Joey Harrington
Running Backs: Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith
Wide Receivers: Keenan Howry and Jason Willis
Tight End: Justin Peelle

 

No. 4 seed Colorado Buffaloes (10-2; BCS #3): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #2 Nebraska, BCS #7 Texas
Losses: Fresno State, BCS #7 Texas
Head Coach: Gary Barnett
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Bobby Pesavento
Running Backs: Chris Brown and Bobby Purify
Wide Receivers: D.J. Hackett and Derek McCoy
Tight End: Daniel Graham

 

No. 5 seed Florida Gators (9-2; BCS #5): at-large bid
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 2nd round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2000: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #13 LSU, BCS #14 South Carolina
Losses: Auburn, BCS #6 Tennessee
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (1-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Rex Grossman
Running Backs: Earnest Graham and Robert Gillespie
Wide Receivers: Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell
Tight End: Aaron Walker

 

No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns (10-2; BCS #7): Big 12 South Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #3 Colorado
Losses: BCS #11 Oklahoma, BCS #3 Colorado
Head Coach: Mack Brown
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Chris Simms
Running Backs: Cedric Benson and Ivan Williams
Wide Receivers: Roy Williams and B.J. Johnson
Tight End: Bo Scaife

 

No. 7 seed Tennessee Volunteers (10-2; BCS #6): SEC East Champion (at-large bid)
3rd playoff appearance
- 1998: 2nd round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #13 LSU, BCS #14 South Carolina, BCS #5 Florida
Losses: Georgia, BCS #13 LSU
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer (1-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Casey Clausen
Running Backs: Travis Stephens and Troy Fleming
Wide Receivers: Kelley Washington and Donte Stallworth
Tight End: Jason Witten

 

No. 8 seed Illinois Fighting Illini (10-1; BCS #8): Big Ten Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Michigan
Head Coach: Ron Turner
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Kurt Kittner
Running Backs: Antoineo Harris and Rocky Harvey
Wide Receivers: Brandon Lloyd and Walter Young
Tight End: Brian Hodges

 

No. 9 seed Stanford Cardinal (9-2; BCS #9): at-large bid
2nd playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #4 Oregon
Losses: BCS #12 Washington State, BCS #15 Washington
Head Coach: Tyrone Willingham (0-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Randy Fasani
Running Backs: Brian Allen and Kerry Carter
Wide Receivers: Luke Powell and Teyo Johnson
Tight End: Brett Pierce

 

No. 10 seed Maryland Terrapins (10-1; BCS #10): ACC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Florida State
Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Shaun Hill
Running Backs: Bruce Perry and Marc Riley
Wide Receivers: Guilian Gary and Jafar Williams
Tight End: Matt Murphy

 

No. 11 seed LSU Tigers (9-3; BCS #13): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #6 Tennessee
Losses: BCS #6 Tennessee, BCS #5 Florida
Head Coach: Nick Saban (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Rohan Davey
Running Backs: LaBrandon Toefield and Domanick Davis
Wide Receivers: Josh Reed and Michael Clayton
Tight End: Robert Royal

 

No. 12 seed Louisville Cardinals (10-2; Sagarin #27*): C-USA Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #8 Illinois, TCU
Head Coach: John L. Smith (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

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

 

No. 13 seed BYU Cougars (12-1; Sagarin #28*): Mountain West Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Hawai'i
Head Coach: Gary Crowton
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Brandon Doman
Running Backs: Luke Staley and Brian McDonald-Ashford
Wide Receivers: Reno Mahe and Soren Halladay
Tight End: Doug Jolley

 

No. 14 seed Toledo Rockets (9-2; Sagarin #54*): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Ball State, Bowling Green
Head Coach: Tom Amstutz
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Tavares Bolden
Running Backs: Chester Taylor and Antwon McCray
Wide Receivers: Donta Greene and Carl Ford
Tight End: Chris Holmes

 

No. 15 seed Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-4; Sagarin #64*): WAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Oklahoma State, Fresno State, Auburn, Kansas State
Head Coach: Jack Bicknell, Jr.
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Luke McCown
Running Backs: Joe Smith and John Simon
Wide Receivers: Delwyn Daigre and D.J. Curry
Tight End: Major Richmond

 

No. 16 seed North Texas Mean Green (5-6; Sagarin #103*): Sun Belt Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: TCU, BCS #11 Oklahoma, Texas Tech, USF, UL Monroe, Troy State
Head Coach: Darrell Dickey
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Scott Hall
Running Backs: Kevin Galbreath and Patrick Cobbs
Wide Receivers: George Marshall and Ja'Mel Branch
Tight End: Jeff Muenchow

 

*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.

 

2001: What Really Happened

2001 was the year of weirdness. Weird title game match-up, weird teams in the BCS (Maryland and Illinois?), rematch-upsets in the Big 12 and SEC Championships, North Texas somehow getting a bowl despite a losing record, K-State's first flirtation with the suckitude to come after eight years of unmitigated success, and so on and so forth. Should make for a fun playoff.

Anyhow, in reality, Miami absolutely annihilated the fraudulent Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-14 in the Rose Bowl to win the national championship. You may remember that the Huskers somehow backed into that game, despite losing to Colorado 36-62 the last week of the regular season.

Either Colorado or Oregon would have been more deserving, and Nebraska proved that when they went into halftime trailing the Hurricanes 0-34. What an ungodly mismatch. The BCS changed its formula yet again, but no formula could explain how Eric Crouch somehow won the Heisman Trophy.

Oregon's consolation prize was to beat up on Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl. My lasting memory of that game was being down in Phoenix for our own crappy bowl game that we would gladly kill for now, and staying up until 3 AM in the hotel lobby listening to drunk Ralphie handlers tell us some pretty crazy stories. Good times. Anyhow, #1 beat #4 (according to the AP Poll) in the Rose Bowl and #2 beat #3 in the Fiesta Bowl. Can we say plus one?

Florida absolutely exposed Maryland 56-23 in the Orange Bowl and sent Steve Spurrier out a winner. Maryland football pretty much ceased to be relevant after that. Hope they enjoy their playoff appearance this year because they won't be coming back.

Tennessee whooped the snot out of Michigan 45-17 in the Citrus Bowl, losing out on a BCS bid to Florida despite beating them and winning the SEC East, all because they lost by one point to an LSU team they dominated earlier in the season when they met the Tigers again in the SEC Championship. Explain to me again how this fraking system makes any sense?

Texas mailed in another ho-hum performance in the Holiday Bowl, coming from behind to beat an inspired Washington squad 47-43, probably because like Tennessee, they were forced to watch an inferior Nebraska squad claim an at-large BCS berth and play for a national championship while they missed out on the BCS entirely, all because they lost by two points to a Colorado team they dominated earlier in the season when they met again in the Big 12 Championship. Explain to me again how this fraking system makes any damn sense?

Illinois lost to the upstart LSU Tigers 34-47 in the Sugar Bowl. (Man, did anyone play defense in the BCS that year?) That was pretty much the modern nadir of Illinois football, too (2007's Rose Bowl butt-whooping by USC notwithstanding), but LSU would go on to bigger and better things, of course.

Stanford nearly won the Pac-10 and their reward was the crappy Seattle Bowl, relocated from Hawai'i after title sponsor Jeep got bought out by German engineering. Anyhow, they predictably lost 14-24 to Georgia Tech, freeing Ty Willingham up to go run two other storied programs into the ground.

If you're wondering where defending champion Oklahoma is, well, finishing #11 in the BCS when the last at-large team in is #10 is tough titty, ain't it? Despite beating Texas, their weak-ass losses to Nebraska (that stupid TD catch won the Heisman for Crouch by itself) and losing-record Oklahoma State (one of only two Stoops losses in Norman) really screwed their computer numbers up. Bet they would have gotten in under the new formula. Anyhow, they beat Arkansas 10-3 in one of the most boring Cotton Bowls ever.

Louisville beat BYU 28-10 in one of the better Liberty Bowl match-ups I've seen. Ragone vs. Staley - that was some good stuff.

Toledo beat Cincinnati 23-16 in a typical Motor City Bowl.

Louisiana Tech lost to Clemson 24-49 on the blue turf in the Humanitarian Bowl.

North Texas, predictably, lost to Colorado State 20-45 in the inaugural New Orleans Bowl, created for the winner of the newly-formed and crappy-as-hell Sun Belt Conference. Bet they never saw that match-up coming. Seriously, North Texas has to be the single-worst team that we will ever see in this playoff. Could Miami beat them 100-0? Tune in tomorrow to find out...

Wikipedia's 2001 season summary

 

Tomorrow's Games

#16 North Texas @ #1 Miami
Miami Orange Bowl
Miami, Fla.

#13 BYU @ #4 Colorado
Folsom Field
Boulder, Colo.

#12 Louisville @ #5 Florida
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Gainesville, Fla.

#9 Stanford @ #8 Illinois
Illinois Memorial Stadium
Champaign, Ill.

 

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

2000: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Orange | Data

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