PROTEST PLAYOFF '03: Selection Sunday

After some reflection (and zero reader feedback on the subject), I decided not to expand the field beyond 16. I think it's a sound number as is, and I don't really have time to write the extra recaps, track the extra stats, etc.

Obviously, 2003 was simultaneously one of the greatest seasons in K-State history and one of the most painful. A team which could have played for a national championship instead had to settle for a Big 12 Championship (and oh, what a sweet title it was...) due to injuries, midnight escapades in hotels and, frankly, a rash of underachievement.

Maybe now we'll find out just how good that 2003 team really was. I still feel like the 2002 defense (which featured standouts who moved on to the NFL after that season like Terence Newman and Terry Pierce) was stouter, but it's hard to argue with what the '03 defense did down the stretch: 45-0 in Ames, 38-9 in Lincoln and, of course, 35-7 in Kansas City.

The 2003 offense, however, was a finely honed beast (other than that Marshall game), with Roberson, Sproles and Terry producing some of the most spectacular highlights we had seen yet. And it all culminated on that cold December night with four touchdown passes.

Hit the jump to see the last Protest Playoff field to feature the Cats...

Like 1998 and 2001, 2003 was an extremely controversial year in the life of the BCS. USC was ranked No. 1 in both polls, yet was passed over by an Oklahoma team that was still in traction from the 28-point ass-whipping we had just laid on them.

Of course, Big Game Bob began his long string of choke-jobs in BCS games and USC split the title with LSU, which was the exact sort of situation this retarded system was supposed to prevent. It precipitated the AP's withdrawal from the BCS formula, clearing the path for an even more asinine poll - the brilliantly flawed Harris Poll. Oh, joy.

Thus, this will be a rewarding playoff for people like me who thought that the Cats were a legitimate national championship contender that year (preseason No. 5, you might remember) and who were completely unsatisfied by a split championship farce.

Joining those four teams are BCS participants Michigan and Ohio State, as well as playoff veterans Florida State, Miami (FL), Tennessee and Texas. Boise State, Georgia and North Texas return from last year's field, and Southern Miss and Utah return from playoffs further back in the past. Only Miami (OH) is new to the field, making this the most experienced and cutthroat group of 16 we have seen yet. Ben Roethlisberger has been pretty good in the NFL Playoffs, but will he be good enough to help his team survive this murderer's row of championship contenders?

Going off a straight seeding procedure yields the following:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. LSU
  3. USC
  4. Michigan
  5. Ohio State
  6. Texas
  7. Florida State
  8. Tennessee
  9. Miami
  10. Kansas State
  11. Miami University
  12. Georgia
  13. Boise State
  14. Utah
  15. Southern Miss
  16. North Texas

Seeds 1-4 are fine. Ohio State could not be the No. 5 seed, as that would put them on Michigan's side of the bracket. Nor could Texas fill that spot, since Oklahoma is the top seed on the that side. Thus, Florida State was moved up to No. 5, while Ohio State and Texas fell to 6 and 7, respectively. Tennessee remains unaffected at No. 8.

Miami already lost to Tennessee, and Kansas State cannot play them because a win would likely rematch the Wildcats with Oklahoma in the 2nd round, so Miami University slides up to the No. 9 seed. This is probably the only conceivable scenario in which Miami (OH) could ever get a higher seed than Miami (FL).

Miami and Kansas State then slide down to 10 and 11. Georgia will be one nasty No. 12 seed, while Boise State pops in at No. 13 for the second consecutive season. Utah probably deserves to be a 14 seed, but I figured since OU, LSU and USC were all roughly equivalent that it didn't matter too much, and I used them to resolve helmet incompatibility instead.

So, Utah slides down to No. 15, while Southern Miss slides down to 16 to face Oklahoma because North Texas cannot play them again. Instead, the Mean Green head out west to get destroyed by the Trojans.

 

2003: The Field

No. 1 seed Oklahoma Sooners (12-1; BCS #1): Big 12 South Champion (at-large bid)
3rd playoff appearance
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 4th round elimination
- 2002: National Champion

Notable Wins: BCS #6 Texas, BCS #21 Oklahoma State
Losses: BCS #10 Kansas State
Head Coach: Bob Stoops (7-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Jason White
Running Backs: Kejuan Jones and Renaldo Works
Wide Receivers: Mark Clayton and Brandon Jones
Tight End: Lance Donley

 

No. 2 seed LSU Tigers (12-1; BCS #2): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 2001: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #12 Georgia (x2), BCS #19 Ole Miss
Losses: BCS #15 Florida
Head Coach: Nick Saban (1-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Matt Mauck
Running Backs: Justin Vincent and Joseph Addai
Wide Receivers: Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson
Tight End: Eric Edwards

 

No. 3 seed USC Trojans (11-1; BCS #3): Pac-10 Champion (automatic bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2002: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #16 Washington State
Losses: Cal
Head Coach: Pete Carroll (2-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Matt Leinart
Running Backs: LenDale White and Hershel Dennis
Wide Receivers: Mike Williams and Keary Colbert
Tight End: Gregg Guenther

 

No. 4 seed Michigan Wolverines (10-2; BCS #4): Big Ten Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 1999: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #25 Minnesota, BCS #14 Purdue, BCS #5 Ohio State
Losses: Oregon, BCS #13 Iowa
Head Coach: Lloyd Carr (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: John Navarre
Running Backs: Chris Perry and David Underwood
Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards and Jason Avant
Tight End: Tim Massaquoi

 

No. 5 seed Florida State Seminoles (10-2; BCS #7): ACC Champion (automatic bid)
5th playoff appearance
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 3rd round elimination
- 1999: 3rd round elimination
- 2000: National Champion
- 2002: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #23 Maryland, BCS #15 Florida
Losses: BCS #9 Miami, Clemson
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden (8-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Chris Rix
Running Backs: Greg Jones and Leon Washington
Wide Receivers: Craphonso Thorpe and P.K. Sam
Tight End: Paul Irons

 

No. 6 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2; BCS #5): at-large bid
3rd playoff appearance
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: 4th round elimination
- 2002: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #24 Bowling Green, BCS #13 Iowa, BCS #14 Purdue
Losses: Wisconsin, BCS #4 Michigan
Head Coach: Jim Tressel (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Craig Krenzel
Running Backs: Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall
Wide Receivers: Michael Jenkins and Santonio Holmes
Tight End: Ben Hartsock

 

No. 7 seed Texas Longhorns (10-2; BCS #6): at-large bid
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2001: 4th round elimination
- 2002: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #10 Kansas State, BCS #20 Nebraska, BCS #21 Oklahoma State
Losses: Arkansas, BCS #1 Oklahoma
Head Coach: Mack Brown (3-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Chance Mock
Running Backs: Cedric Benson and Brett Robin
Wide Receivers: Roy Williams and B.J. Johnson
Tight End: Bo Scaife

 

No. 8 seed Tennessee Volunteers (10-2; BCS #8): SEC East Co-Champion (at-large bid)
3rd playoff appearance
- 1998: 2nd round elimination
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2001: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #15 Florida, BCS #9 Miami
Losses: Auburn, BCS #12 Georgia
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer (1-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Casey Clausen
Running Backs: Cedric Houston and Jabari Davis
Wide Receivers: Mark Jones and Tony Brown
Tight End: Victor McClure

 

No. 9 seed Miami University RedHawks (12-1; BCS #11): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #24 Bowling Green (x2)
Losses: BCS #13 Iowa
Head Coach: Terry Hoeppner
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
Running Backs: Calvin Murray and Mike Smith
Wide Receivers: Martin Nance and Michael Larkin
Tight End: Matt Brandt

 

No. 10 seed Miami Hurricanes (10-2; BCS #9): Big East Co-Champion (automatic bid)
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 2000: 3rd round elimination
- 2001: 3rd round elimination
- 2002: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #15 Florida, BCS #7 Florida State
Losses: Virginia Tech, BCS #8 Tennessee
Head Coach: Larry Coker (2-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Brock Berlin
Running Backs: Jarrett Payton and Tyrone Moss
Wide Receivers: Ryan Moore and Roscoe Parrish
Tight End: Kellen Winslow

 

No. 11 seed Kansas State Wildcats (11-3; BCS #10): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
5th playoff appearance
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1998: National Champion
- 1999: National Champion
- 2000: 2nd round elimination
- 2002: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #20 Nebraska, BCS #1 Oklahoma
Losses: Marshall, BCS #6 Texas, BCS #21 Oklahoma State
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (11-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Ell Roberson
Running Backs: Darren Sproles and Danny Morris
Wide Receivers: James Terry and Antoine Polite
Tight End: Brian Casey

 

No. 12 seed Georgia Bulldogs (10-3; BCS #12): SEC East Co-Champion (at-large bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2002: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #8 Tennessee
Losses: BCS #2 LSU (x2), BCS #15 Florida
Head Coach: Mark Richt (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: David Greene
Running Backs: Kregg Lumpkin and Tyson Browning
Wide Receivers: Reggie Brown and Damien Gary
Tight End: Ben Watson

 

No. 13 seed Boise State Broncos (12-1; BCS #17): WAC Champion (automatic bid)
4th playoff appearance
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2000: 1st round elimination
- 2002: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Oregon State
Head Coach: Dan Hawkins (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Ryan Dinwiddie
Running Backs: David Mikell and Donny Heck
Wide Receivers: Tim Gilligan and T.J. Acree
Tight End: Trent Lundin

 

No. 14 seed North Texas Mean Green (9-3; Sagarin #73*): Sun Belt Champion (automatic bid)
3rd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2001: 1st round elimination
- 2002: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #1 Oklahoma, Air Force, Arkansas
Head Coach: Darrell Dickey (0-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Scott Hall
Running Backs: Patrick Cobbs and Kevin Moore
Wide Receivers: Johnny Quinn and Ja'Mel Branch
Tight End: Andy Blount

 

No. 15 seed Utah Utes (9-2; BCS #22): Mountain West Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Texas A&M, New Mexico
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Running Backs: Brandon Warfield and Mike Liti
Wide Receivers: Paris Warren and Steve Savoy
Tight End: Ben Moa

 

No. 16 seed Southern Miss Golden Eagles (9-3; Sagarin #51*): C-USA Champion (automatic bid)
2nd playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #18 TCU
Losses: Cal, BCS #20 Nebraska, Alabama
Head Coach: Jeff Bower (0-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Dustin Almond
Running Backs: Tim Blackwell and Sherron Moore
Wide Receivers: Marvin Young and DaRon Lawrence
Tight End: Terrell Browden

 

*BCS rankings only went from #1-25 from 2003-present, so I used Sagarin rankings to help seed all teams not listed in the BCS Top 25.

 

2003: What Really Happened

I've already covered the major controversy of 2003, so I'll just recap the bowl outcomes briefly:

LSU beat Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl to claim the BCS National Championship in the coaches' poll.

USC beat Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl to claim the national championship in the AP poll.

Ohio State beat Kansas State 35-28 in the Fiesta Bowl thanks to Ell Roberson's horny lack of self-control. K-State will get a chance to "avenge" that loss in its 1st round game.

Texas lost out on a Fiesta Bowl thanks to us and thus mailed it in, losing the Holiday Bowl to Washington State 20-28.

Miami beat Florida State for the second time that season, 16-14 in the Orange Bowl.

Tennessee was upset by Clemson in the Peach Bowl, 14-27.

Miami University beat Louisville 49-28 in the GMAC Bowl.

Georgia beat Purdue in overtime in the Capital One Bowl, 34-27.

Boise State beat TCU 34-31 in the Fort Worth Bowl in TCU's own stadium. TCU avenged that loss in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.

Utah beat Southern Miss 17-0 in the Liberty Bowl.

North Texas lost the New Orleans Bowl to Memphis, 17-27.

Wikipedia's 2003 season summary

 

Tomorrow's Games

#16 Southern Miss @ #1 Oklahoma
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Norman, Okla.

#13 Boise State @ #4 Michigan
Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor, Mich.

#12 Georgia @ #5 Florida State
Doak Campbell Stadium
Tallahassee, Fla.

#9 Miami University @ #8 Tennessee
Neyland Stadium
Knoxville, Tenn.

 

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

2002: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Fiesta | Data

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