PROTEST PLAYOFF '02: Selection Sunday

The Cats return!

It's time for Ell Roberson, Darren Sproles, James Terry, Josh Buhl, Terry Pierce, Terence Newman, and the rest to restore K-State to its rightful place: dominating the FBS Playoff!

2002 remains probably my favorite season ever. Yes, we won the Big 12 in 2003, but Ell's injury, the Marshall loss, and some other bad memories at the end sour that season just enough to drop it to #2 or #3 in my mind. Other than the two very respectable losses to Colorado and Texas (by a total of a touchdown!), 2002 was about as perfect a season as you can have.

Who can forget how we dominated USC and how we crushed Seneca Wallace's Heisman "campaign?" Or the legendary 64-0 schooling of the Phlock? The first true "the-tables-are-turned" beat-down of the Huskers in K-State history? The thrilling comeback in the Holiday Bowl?

Yes, after the disappointment that was 2001, my sophomore year was a much better experience. It was the first time that I truly felt I was part of the K-State football family I had been watching on TV for so many years.

This week will have particular meaning for me, because I and many others feel that K-State was one of the best teams in the country at the end of the 2002 season, along with the USC team that they beat. The defense was phenomenal, the offense was putting up staggering numbers, the special teams were sick (Darren was Terence's backup at returner!), and nobody wanted to play us at the end of the season.

Yet, despite all our lobbying (which clearly was not equal to whatever Lewcifer did to buy a bid in 2007), we were shortchanged on the Orange Bowl and denied a BCS berth for the fourth time.

Now it's time to see what the Cats might have done in a fair system where their solid play down the stretch gives them a chance to prove they are the best. There will be some significant hurdles to climb, however, as this is perhaps the strongest field I have assembled yet.

Miami and Texas, possibly the two most potent teams in the 2001 Playoff, are back for more. Florida State, Kansas State, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, four teams that have already played for a playoff title (and in some cases, won), make for dangerous challengers.

Making their playoff debut this week (in what will certainly not be their last appearance) are Georgia and USC. In fact, USC is in every field from here on out, I believe, as they have won at least a share of the Pac-10 title in every season Pete Carroll has been coach, except 2001.

Boise State, Colorado State, and Marshall are returning after a one-year hiatus to vex the high seeds again. North Texas is making the second of several straight appearances. And rounding out the field are Cincinnati, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Washington State, many of who are making their sole appearance in playoff action.

Going off a straight seeding procedure yields the following:

  1. Miami
  2. Ohio State
  3. Georgia
  4. USC
  5. Iowa
  6. Washington State
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Kansas State
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Texas
  11. Florida State
  12. Boise State
  13. Colorado State
  14. Marshall
  15. Cincinnati
  16. North Texas

A nice change of pace is that this field features the most reversible helmets yet (10 of 16), which stands in stark contrast to the last few seasons and allows me greater flexibility in seeding.

That's good, because several non-conference games played during the season (Ohio State-Washington State and Kansas State-USC being the key ones) constrained me quite a bit.

The Top 8 seeds can be divided into two groups, which I will call A and B. Group A consists of Miami, Iowa, Washington State, and Kansas State. Group B consists of Ohio State, Georgia, USC, and Oklahoma.

I arrived at those groupings because:

  • As the only undefeated teams in the field, Miami and Ohio State could not be on the same side of the bracket.
  • As the only two Big Ten teams in the field, Iowa and Ohio State could not be on the same side of the bracket (even though they did not play in the regular season).
  • Since they played in the regular season, Ohio State and Washington State could not be on the same side of the bracket.
  • As the only two Pac-10 teams in the field, USC and Washington State could not be on the same side of the bracket.
  • Since they played in the regular season, Kansas State and USC could not be on the same side of the bracket.
  • As the only two Big 12 teams in the top half of the field, Kansas State and Oklahoma could not be on the same side of the bracket (even though they did not play in the regular season). I toyed with the idea, since both teams played Texas but did not play each other, and thus I would rather have K-State and Oklahoma meet in the Final Four instead of K-State-Texas or Oklahoma-Texas, but doing so resulted in five teams in one group and three in the other, so I had to let it go. Texas is a lower-half seed and probably will not advance to the Final Four anyway, so I am not too worried about it.

Once that was done, seeding fell into place fairly quickly. Seeds 1-3 and 7-8 stayed the same, while USC fell down to the No. 6 seed and Iowa and Washington State moved up to fill the spots thus vacated. This actually has some validity, since USC had two losses, while Iowa only had one and Washington State had two, but beat USC head-to-head.

Kansas State and Notre Dame are compatible, and I hope we knock the Domers out in their only playoff appearance. The Cats have already beaten Ty Willingham at home once in this thing. Dare to dream, since Notre Dame will never consent to come to Manhattan in real life.

Oklahoma cannot be rematched with Texas, so the Longhorns slide down to No. 11 to play USC, while Florida State moves up to No. 10 for a rematch with the Sooners, who they beat for the 2000 national title.

Boise State and Washington State have incompatible helmets, so the Broncos were switched with Colorado State and now will vex Iowa from the ever-troublesome No. 13 spot. Watch out, Hawkeyes...

Georgia-Marshall is fine, but Cincinnati and Ohio State already played in the regular season, so the Bearcats head to Miami and spare North Texas a second straight ass-kicking by the Hurricanes (not that playing in the Horseshoe is any better). Again, this has some face validity because even though Cincinnati has a higher Sagarin rating, their 7-6 record is by far the worst in the field. (And, ironically, they lost to North Texas that year in the New Orleans Bowl).

North Texas does have a slight conflict with Texas, a team to whom they already lost, and both teams are on the south side of the bracket. It's an extremely minor issue, though, as both are low seeds in separate regions and, even if Texas advances to the Final Four, I have a really hard time seeing the Mean Green winning in Columbus and waiting for them there. It's far more important to avoid the Cincinnati-Ohio State rematch, and any other solution would involve dropping other seeds and rewarding North Texas unjustifiably.

 

2002: The Field

No. 1 seed Miami Hurricanes (12-0; BCS #1): Big East Champion (automatic bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 3rd round elimination
- 2001: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #14 Florida State, BCS #15 West Virginia
Losses: none
Head Coach: Larry Coker (2-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Ken Dorsey
Running Backs: Willis McGahee and Jarrett Payton
Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson and Kevin Beard
Tight End: Kellen Winslow

 

No. 2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0; BCS #2): Big Ten Co-Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 1998: 4th round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #6 Washington State, BCS #12 Penn State, BCS #11 Michigan
Losses: none
Head Coach: Jim Tressel
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Craig Krenzel
Running Backs: Maurice Clarett and Lydell Ross
Wide Receivers: Michael Jenkins and Chris Vance
Tight End: Ben Hartsock

 

No. 3 seed Georgia Bulldogs (12-1; BCS #3): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Florida
Head Coach: Mark Richt
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: David Greene
Running Backs: Musa Smith and Tony Milton
Wide Receivers: Terrence Edwards and Fred Gibson
Tight End: Ben Watson

 

No. 4 seed Iowa Hawkeyes (11-1; BCS #5): Big Ten Co-Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #12 Penn State, BCS #11 Michigan
Losses: Iowa State
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Brad Banks
Running Backs: Fred Russell and Jermelle Lewis
Wide Receivers: Maurice Brown and C.J. Jones
Tight End: Dallas Clark

 

No. 5 seed Washington State Cougars (10-2; BCS #6): Pac-10 Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #4 USC
Losses: BCS #2 Ohio State, Washington
Head Coach: Mike Price
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Jason Gesser
Running Backs: Jermaine Green and John Tippins
Wide Receivers: Jerome Riley and Devard Darling
Tight End: Troy Bienemann

 

No. 6 seed USC Trojans (10-2; BCS #4): Pac-10 Co-Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #9 Notre Dame
Losses: BCS #8 Kansas State, BCS #6 Washington State
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Carson Palmer
Running Backs: Sultan McCullough and Justin Fargas
Wide Receivers: Mike Williams and Keary Colbert
Tight End: Alex Holmes

 

No. 7 seed Oklahoma Sooners (11-2; BCS #7): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 2000: 4th round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #10 Texas, BCS #13 Colorado (x2)
Losses: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State
Head Coach: Bob Stoops (3-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Nate Hybl
Running Backs: Quentin Griffin and Kejuan Jones
Wide Receivers: Will Peoples and Antwone Savage
Tight End: Trent Smith

 

No. 8 seed Kansas State Wildcats (10-2; BCS #8): at-large bid
4th playoff appearance
- 1998: National Champion
- 1999: National Champion
- 2000: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #4 USC
Losses: BCS #13 Colorado, BCS #10 Texas
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (9-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Ell Roberson
Running Backs: Darren Sproles and Ayo Saba
Wide Receivers: Taco Wallace and James Terry
Tight End: Thomas Hill

 

No. 9 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2; BCS #9): at-large bid
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #11 Michigan, BCS #14 Florida State
Losses: Boston College, BCS #4 USC
Head Coach: Tyrone Willingham (0-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Pat Dillingham
Running Backs: Ryan Grant and Rashon Powers-Neal
Wide Receivers: Arnaz Battle and Omar Jenkins
Tight End: Gary Godsey

 

No. 10 seed Florida State Seminoles (9-4; BCS #14): ACC Champion (automatic bid)
4th playoff appearance
- 1998: 3rd round elimination
- 1999: 3rd round elimination
- 2000: National Champion

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Louisville, BCS #1 Miami, BCS #9 Notre Dame, NC State
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden (8-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Chris Rix
Running Backs: Greg Jones and Nick Maddox
Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin and Talman Gardner
Tight End: Patrick Hughes

 

No. 11 seed Texas Longhorns (10-2; BCS #10): Big 12 South Co-Champion (at-large bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2001: 4th round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #8 Kansas State
Losses: BCS #7 Oklahoma, Texas Tech
Head Coach: Mack Brown (3-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Chris Simms
Running Backs: Cedric Benson and Selvin Young
Wide Receivers: Roy Williams and B.J. Johnson
Tight End: Brock Edwards

 

No. 12 seed Colorado State Rams (10-3; Sagarin #40*): Mountain West Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 2000: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #13 Colorado
Losses: UCLA, Fresno State, UNLV
Head Coach: Sonny Lubick (0-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Bradlee Van Pelt
Running Backs: Cecil Sapp and Rashaan Sanders
Wide Receivers: Chris Pittman and Joey Cuppari
Tight End: Joel Dreessen

 

No. 13 seed Boise State Broncos (11-1; Sagarin #18*): WAC Champion (automatic bid)
3rd playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2000: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Arkansas
Head Coach: Dan Hawkins
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Ryan Dinwiddie
Running Backs: Brock Forsey and David Mikell
Wide Receivers: Billy Wingfield and Lou Fanucchi
Tight End: Rocky Atkinson

 

No. 14 seed Marshall Thundering Herd (10-2; Sagarin #53*): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
4th playoff appearance
- 1998: 1st round elimination
- 1999: 3rd round elimination
- 2000: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Virginia Tech, Akron
Head Coach: Bob Pruett (2-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Byron Leftwich
Running Backs: Brandon Carey and Butchie Wallace
Wide Receivers: Denero Marriott and Josh Davis
Tight End: Jason Rader

 

No. 15 seed North Texas Mean Green (7-5; Sagarin #63*): Sun Belt Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2001: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #10 Texas, Alabama, TCU, Arizona, USF
Head Coach: Darrell Dickey (0-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Andrew Smith
Running Backs: Kevin Galbreath and Patrick Cobbs
Wide Receivers: George Marshall and Ja'Mel Branch
Tight End: Randy Gardner

 

No. 16 seed Cincinnati Bearcats (7-6; Sagarin #59*): C-USA Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #15 West Virginia, BCS #2 Ohio State, Miami University, Tulane, Southern Miss, Hawai'i
Head Coach: Rick Minter
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Gino Guidugli
Running Backs: DeMarco McCleskey and Richard Hall
Wide Receivers: LaDaris Vann and Jon Olinger
Tight End: Dennis Hart

 

*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.

 

2002: What Really Happened

Jim "Sweater Vest" Tressel jumped onto the scene in a big way, as Ohio State upset the favored Miami Hurricanes 31-24 in double overtime in the Fiesta Bowl, one of most exciting BCS championship games ever. After blowing his knee out in gruesome fashion, Willis McGahee went on to become an NFL starting running back, while Maurice Clarett went on to become a criminal and a trivia answer.

The student surpassed the master as former Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Richt led his Georgia Bulldogs to a 26-13 victory over his old boss, Bobby Bowden, in the Sugar Bowl.

USC announced its arrival as a perennial power under Pete Carroll with a dominating 38-17 win over Heisman runner-up Brad Banks and the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Orange Bowl.

Oklahoma got back on track after a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2001, becoming the first Big 12 team in modern history to claim a Rose Bowl title by beating Washington State 34-14. Of course, that was the last BCS game Oklahoma ever won, so I guess you can't really say they were back on track...

As usual, K-State got the shaft and had to settle for a 34-27 come-from-behind victory over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. It remains the only K-State bowl win I have witnessed in person.

Notre Dame continued their pitiful performance in bowl games by losing to NC State 6-28 in the Gator Bowl.

(A little irony: If the 5-game BCS system had existed in 2002, Kansas State and Notre Dame might have played for real. They were the two most prominent teams left out of the BCS in 2002.)

Texas dominated LSU in the Cotton Bowl, 35-20.

Colorado State lost to C-USA Co-Champion TCU in the Liberty Bowl, 3-25.

Boise State won yet another Humanitarian Bowl in its home stadium, this time over Iowa State, 34-16.

Marshall beat Louisville 38-15 in the GMAC Bowl. Seems like those two met in bowl games a lot. Also, this was a rare occasion where the MAC champ did not play in the Motor City Bowl.

And finally, as I mentioned previously, North Texas beat Cincinnati 25-19 in the New Orleans Bowl.

Wikipedia's 2002 season summary

 

Tomorrow's Games

#16 Cincinnati @ #1 Miami
Miami Orange Bowl
Miami, Fla.

#13 Boise State @ #4 Iowa
Kinnick Stadium
Iowa City, Iowa

#12 Colorado State @ #5 Washington State
Martin Stadium
Pullman, Wash.

#9 Notre Dame @ #8 Kansas State
KSU Stadium
Manhattan, Kan.

 

BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives

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

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

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

2001: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Rose | Data

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bring On The Cats

You must be a member of Bring On The Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bring On The Cats. You should read them.

Join Bring On The Cats

You must be a member of Bring On The Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bring On The Cats. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker