PROTEST PLAYOFF '05: Selection Sunday

OK, kids, listen up: It's time for me to make an Easter resolution.

Come hell or high water, I'm going to stay on schedule from here on out. No more missed deadlines, no more half-entries, no more weeks off. I'm gonna finish this project, on time, even if it kills me.

The key, of course, is to work ahead so I have margin for error when the unexpected occurs - and my experience over the past few weeks is that I should be expecting the unexpected. Indeed, it seems the unexpected likes to lurk around the corner and pounce on me at the worst times.

So, here's my plan of action:

Step 1: Catch Up

I've gone back and filled out the missing information for the 2004 Protest Playoff - fake AP stories, some analysis, the tables, etc. Enjoy:

Step 2: Drink a Beer

Hey, that was hard work! Plus, I gave up booze for Lent, so I'll be damned if I'm not going to enjoy a cold one at the first opportunity.

Step 3: Seed the 2005 Field

What's that, you say? You don't see a field? Well, you'll have to click the jump for that, silly...

As in 2004, seeds 1-11 are all 0-, 1- or 2-loss teams, making for another strong field.

First, the regulars. Boise State, Georgia and USC are each making their fourth straight appearance, and the Trojans seek to defend their championship, as well. Texas is making its fifth straight appearance, while Auburn is back for its second straight playoff.

Some veterans are also back after hiatuses of varying length: Florida State (6th appearance), Miami (5th), Notre Dame (2nd), Ohio State (4th), Oregon (3rd) and TCU (3rd).

Like 2001, this field also features some fresh faces. Joe Paterno finally makes his playoff debut, as does Rich Rodriguez. Akron, Arkansas State and Tulsa are all new, too.

Going off a straight seeding procedure yields the following:

  1. USC
  2. Texas
  3. Penn State
  4. Ohio State
  5. Oregon
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Georgia
  8. Miami
  9. Auburn
  10. West Virginia
  11. TCU
  12. Florida State
  13. Tulsa
  14. Boise State
  15. Akron
  16. Arkansas State

The top four seeds are fine, but neither Oregon or Notre Dame can be No. 5 because they both lost to USC earlier in the season. Thus, I moved them each down a spot and jumped Georgia up to No. 5. Miami was able to remain unchanged at No. 8.

Moving Georgia forced me to move Auburn from No. 9 to No. 10, and West Virginia was swapped into their place. TCU remains at No. 11, but Florida State presented a problem.

None of the bottom four seeds have reversible helmets, and neither does No. 5 seed Georgia. Florida State is the only available team that is compatible, and they are also an attractive matchup due to both teams' previous playoff history.

Another complication is that I try to, wherever possible, keep sets of four teams together (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16), and none of the bottom four were really worthy of jumping Florida State in terms of an S-curve.

So, I violated my personal rule and put Florida State and Miami on the same side of the bracket in order to solve all these other problems. Hopefully, Georgia will win its 1st round game and prevent an ACC rematch.

 

2005: The Field

No. 1 seed USC Trojans (12-0; BCS #1): Pac-10 Champion (automatic bid)
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 2002: 3rd round elimination
- 2003: 2nd round elimination
- 2004: National Champion

Notable Wins: BCS #5 Oregon, BCS #6 Notre Dame, BCS #16 UCLA
Losses: none
Head Coach: Pete Carroll (7-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Matt Leinart
Running Backs: Reggie Bush and LenDale White
Wide Receivers: Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith
Tight End: Dominique Byrd

 

No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns (12-0; BCS #2): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
5th consecutive playoff appearance
- 2001: 4th round elimination
- 2002: 1st round elimination
- 2003: 2nd round elimination
- 2004: 3rd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #4 Ohio State, BCS #23 Oklahoma, BCS #15 Texas Tech
Losses: none
Head Coach: Mack Brown (6-4 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Vince Young
Running Backs: Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young
Wide Receivers: Limas Sweed and Billy Pittman
Tight End: David Thomas

 

No. 3 seed Penn State Nittany Lions (10-1; BCS #3): Big Ten Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #25 Northwestern, BCS #4 Ohio State, BCS #18 Wisconsin
Losses: BCS #20 Michigan
Head Coach: Joe Paterno
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Michael Robinson
Running Backs: Tony Hunt and Austin Scott
Wide Receivers: Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood
Tight End: Isaac Smolko

 

No. 4 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2; BCS #4): Big Ten Co-Champion (at-large bid)
4th playoff appearance
- 1998: 4th round elimination
- 2002: 2nd round elimination
- 2003: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #25 Northwestern, BCS #20 Michigan
Losses: BCS #2 Texas, BCS #3 Penn State
Head Coach: Jim Tressel (1-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Troy Smith
Running Backs: Antonio Pittman and Maurice Wells
Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn
Tight End: Ryan Hamby

 

No. 5 seed Georgia Bulldogs (10-2; BCS #7): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 2002: 2nd round elimination
- 2003: 1st round elimination
- 2004: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #24 Georgia Tech, BCS #12 LSU
Losses: BCS #17 Florida, BCS #9 Auburn
Head Coach: Mark Richt (1-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: D.J. Shockley
Running Backs: Thomas Brown and Danny Ware
Wide Receivers: Mohamed Massaquoi and Bryan McClendon
Tight End: Leonard Pope

 

No. 6 seed Oregon Ducks (10-1; BCS #5): at-large bid
3rd playoff appearance
- 2000: 1st round elimination
- 2001: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #1 USC
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti (0-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: West Coast

Quarterback: Kellen Clemens
Running Backs: Terrence Whitehead and Jonathan Stewart
Wide Receivers: Demetrius Williams and James Finley
Tight End: Tim Day

 

No. 7 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2; BCS #6): at-large bid
2nd playoff appearance
- 2002: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #20 Michigan
Losses: Michigan State, BCS #1 USC
Head Coach: Charlie Weis
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Brady Quinn
Running Backs: Darius Walker and Travis Thomas
Wide Receivers: Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall
Tight End: Anthony Fasano

 

No. 8 seed Miami Hurricanes (9-2; BCS #8): at-large bid
5th playoff appearance
- 2000: 3rd round elimination
- 2001: 3rd round elimination
- 2002: 1st round elimination
- 2003: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #10 Virginia Tech
Losses: BCS #22 Florida State, BCS #24 Georgia Tech
Head Coach: Larry Coker (2-3 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Kyle Wright
Running Backs: Tyrone Moss and Charlie Jones
Wide Receivers: Sinorice Moss and Ryan Moore
Tight End: Greg Olsen

 

No. 9 seed West Virginia Mountaineers (10-1; BCS #11): Big East Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #19 Louisville
Losses: BCS #10 Virginia Tech
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Patrick White
Running Backs: Steve Slaton and Owen Schmitt
Wide Receivers: Brandon Myles and Darius Reynaud
Tight End: Josh Bailey

 

No. 10 seed Auburn Tigers (9-2; BCS #9): SEC West Co-Champion (at-large bid)
2nd consecutive playoff appearance
- 2004: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #7 Georgia, BCS #13 Alabama
Losses: BCS #24 Georgia Tech, BCS #12 LSU
Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (1-1 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Brandon Cox
Running Backs: Kenny Irons and Tre Smith
Wide Receivers: Ben Obamanu and Devin Aromashodu
Tight End: Cooper Wallace

 

No. 11 seed TCU Horned Frogs (10-1; BCS #14): Mountain West Champion
3rd playoff appearance
- 1999: 2nd round elimination
- 2000: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #23 Oklahoma
Losses: SMU
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Jeff Ballard
Running Backs: Robert Merrill and Aaron Brown
Wide Receivers: Cory Rodgers and Quentily Harmon
Tight End: Chad Andrus

 

No. 12 seed Florida State Seminoles (8-4; BCS #22): ACC Champion (automatic bid)
6th playoff appearance
- 1998: 3rd round elimination
- 1999: 3rd round elimination
- 2000: National Champion
- 2002: 1st round elimination
- 2003: 2nd round elimination

Notable Wins: BCS #8 Miami, BCS #21 Boston College, BCS #10 Virginia Tech
Losses: Virginia, NC State, Clemson, BCS #17 Florida
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden (9-4 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Drew Weatherford
Running Backs: Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington
Wide Receivers: Chris Davis and Willie Reid
Tight End: Matt Henshaw

 

No. 13 seed Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-4; Sagarin #44*): C-USA Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Minnesota, BCS #23 Oklahoma, Houston, UTEP
Head Coach: Steve Kragthorpe
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Paul Smith
Running Backs: Uril Parrish and Tarrion Adams
Wide Receivers: Ashlan Davis and Idris Moss
Tight End: Garrett Mills

 

No. 14 seed Boise State Broncos (9-3; Sagarin #46*): WAC Co-Champion (automatic bid)
6th playoff appearance
4th consecutive playoff appearance
- 1999: 1st round elimination
- 2000: 1st round elimination
- 2002: 2nd round elimination
- 2003: National Champion
- 2004: 1st round elimination

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #7 Georgia, Oregon State, Fresno State
Head Coach: Dan Hawkins (5-2 playoff record)
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Jared Zabransky
Running Backs: Lee Marks and Ian Johnson
Wide Receivers: Jerard Rabb and Drisan James
Tight End: Derek Schouman

 

No. 15 seed Akron Zips (7-5; Sagarin #94*): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Purdue, Central Michigan, Miami University, Army, Ball State
Head Coach: J.D. Brookhart
Offensive Style: West Coast

Quarterback: Luke Getsy
Running Backs: Brett Biggs and Dennis Kennedy
Wide Receivers: Domenik Hixon and Jason Montgomery
Tight End: Kris Kasperek

 

No. 16 seed Arkansas State Indians (6-5; Sagarin #121*): Sun Belt Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Missouri, Oklahoma State, UL Monroe, Mid Tenn State, Army
Head Coach: Steve Roberts
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Nick Noce
Running Backs: Antonio Warren and Shermar Bracey
Wide Receivers: Levi Dejohnette and Joe Smith
Tight End: Manuel Burton

 

*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.

 

2005: What Really Happened

2005 lacked the controversy of previous seasons, as USC and Texas went wire-to-wire as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and were indisputably the best teams in the nation. A season-long debate about which team was better was finally settled in the epic Rose Bowl, which Texas won in thrilling fashion, 41-38. It is widely considered one of the best college football games of all time.

Penn State had to settle for the Geriatric Bowl - I mean, Orange Bowl - and a 26-23 triple overtime win over Florida State.

Ohio State became only the latest team to expose Notre Dame's BCS unworthiness in embarrassing fashion, winning the Fiesta Bowl 34-20.

Freshman-laden West Virginia announced its ascension to the ranks of the football powers and made Pat White and Steve Slaton into household names with a stunning 38-35 upset of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Oregon somehow lost to the worst Oklahoma team of this decade in the Holiday Bowl, 14-17. The win was later vacated but then reinstated. Be sure to shop at Big Red Imports for all your Mitsubishi needs!

The long march to Larry Coker's demise began with an appalling 3-40 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl. The pregame fight presaged things to come; the Hurricanes found using helmets as weapons and beating on FIU players more to their liking in the days to come.

Auburn capped a decent follow-up season to 2004's undefeated campaign with a disappointing 10-24 loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

TCU beat probably its highest-profile bowl opponent yet, Iowa State, by a score of 27-24 in the Houston Bowl, but their signature victory of the 2005 season came at the beginning, not the end, when they rolled into Norman and left as only the second (and to date, the last) team to ever win there against Bob Stoops.

Tulsa finished an excellent season with a 31-24 victory over Thugsno State in the Liberty Bowl.

Boise State "suffered" through something of a rebuilding season (by their standards, anyway), losing three regular-season games and dropping a 21-27 decision to Boston College at home in the MPC Computers Bowl, and then lost its coach to Colorado afterward. Of course, they only followed all that up with the most successful season and the most significant victory in school history.

Memphis beat Akron 38-31 in the Motor City Bowl.

Arkansas State claimed one-third of the Sun Belt championship and came out on top of a three-way tiebreaker that makes the Big 12's look intelligent by comparison. That got them a New Orleans Bowl berth, which they proceeded to justify by losing to Southern Miss 19-31.

Wikipedia's 2005 season summary

 

Tomorrow's Games

#16 Arkansas State @ #1 USC
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, Calif.

#13 Tulsa @ #4 Ohio State
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio

#12 Florida State @ #5 Georgia
Sanford Stadium
Athens, Ga.

#9 West Virginia @ #8 Miami
Miami Orange Bowl
Miami, Fla.

 

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

2003: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Sugar | Data

2004: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Orange | Data

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