CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 19 2007 LSU
How do the 20 national champions in the College Football Playoff & BCS rank based on how good their seasons were?
CFN, College Football Playoff & BCS Era National Champions Ranking: No. 19, 2007 LSU
CollegeFootballNews.com is turning 20 this season, coincidentally starting in 1998 when the Bowl Championship Series era kicked off.
With the BCS, no matter how the teams got there, it was finally No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the national title – that wasn’t a given before – and eventually, it all morphed into the College Football Playoff starting in the 2014 season.
Based on the tried, true, tested and tweaked CFN Historical Season Ranking Formula (criteria breakdown at the bottom of all this), welcome to the ranking of all 20 national champions in the era.
This isn’t about who the most talented or the best national champions were since 1998 – that’s debatable. This is about who had the best and most impressive seasons – the more wins over great teams, the higher the score.
2007 LSU Season
2007 was really, really weird.
No one wanted to be No. 1.
USC started out in the top spot, but it lost to a bad Stanford team and later to a great Oregon squad. While two losses normally means a national title deathblow, 2007 was no normal year.
LSU moved up into the No. 1 ranking after USC’s first loss, but it dropped an overtime thriller to Kentucky and fell back a bit putting Ohio State up into the top spot.
The Buckeyes stayed there until late in the year, but they suffered a tough loss to a strong Illinois team. But with a win over Michigan, they finished 11-1 – which was eventually good enough to get them into the BCS Championship.
LSU worked its way up into the BCS No. 1 slot following OSU’s loss, but all appeared lost two weeks later with a wild 50-48 overtime loss to Arkansas. Even so, the Tigers were off to the SEC title game vs. Tennessee.
All of a sudden, Missouri was BCS No. 1, West Virginia No. 2, and LSU was way, way out of it down to No. 7.
Got all that? It got weirder.
Even with the national title hopes gone, LSU was destined for a very good bowl, while head coach Les Miles was rumored to be gone for the vacant Michigan job,
The Tigers needed a perfect storm to even be teased by the hope of getting near a top two spot for the BCS Championship, and that’s exactly what they got.
No. 1 Mizzou would’ve played for the national title if it could’ve beaten Oklahoma, but it lost to the Sooners for the second time in the season, but this time, it was in the Big 12 title game.
On the same weekend, No. 2 West Virginia had everything in place to play for it all, but inexplicably flopped to a mediocre Pitt team.
LSU did its part with a 21-14 win over BCS No. 13 Tennessee, and then everything else fell into place.
BCS No. 3 Ohio State moved back into the top spot, and despite the two losses, LSU caught a break by moving past ACC champion Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia to rocket up five spots into No. 2.
And the Tigers took advantage of it.
With the decisive 38-24 win over Ohio State, LSU became the only team so far over the BCS/CFP era to win a national championship with two losses.
– Despite being outgunned 353 yards to 326, LSU had no issues with Ohio State in the BCS Championship after the first few minutes.
The Buckeyes got out to a 10-0 lead helped by a big touchdown run by Beanie Wells, but then it was all about Flynn and the Tiger O.
LSU scored 31 straight points, with Matt Flynn putting the game away with his fourth touchdown pass of the game for a 38-17 lead, finishing up with a 38-24 win and the national title.
– Even though the Tigers replaced No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell with Flynn at quarterback, the offense turned out to be better and more effective. It started out red hot – going 3-0 by a combined score of 137 to 7 – and was consistently solid. LSU only scored fewer than 30 points three times, with the low point the 21 scored on Tennessee in the SEC Championship.
– What became one of the biggest wins of the 2007 season? The early blowout over Virginia Tech. The BCS computers loved that once the final tally came in, and the 48-7 blowout turned out to be a huge deal in the argument about whether or not the Tigers or Hokies – who finished third in the final BCS rankings – should get into the No. 2 spot.
– Yes, LSU was the first and only two-loss team to win a national title in the BCS/CFP era, but it was also the first school to win two national championships in the era, too.
– Injuries played a big role in the season. LSU always seemed to have big injuries at the worst of times, and it showed with the consistency struggles. For example, QB Matt Flynn might have been the star of the BCS Championship, but he was hurt for the SEC Championship – Ryan Perrilloux started and was the gam’e MVP.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Aug. 30 LSU 45, at Mississippi State (8-5) 0
Sept. 8 LSU 48, Virginia Tech (11-3) 7
Sept. 15 LSU 44, Middle Tennessee (5-7) 0
Sept. 22 LSU 28, South Carolina (6-6) 16
Sept. 29 LSU 34, at Tulane (4-8) 9
Oct. 6 LSU 28, Florida (9-4) 24
Oct. 13 at Kentucky (8-5) 43, LSU 37 (3 OT)
Oct. 20 LSU 30, Auburn (9-4) 24
Nov. 3 LSU 41, at Alabama (7-6) 34
Nov. 19 LSU 58, Louisiana Tech (5-7) 10
Nov. 23 Arkansas (8-5), LSU 40 (3 OT)
Dec. 1 LSU 21, Tennessee (10-4) 14
Jan. 7 LSU 38, Ohio State (11-2) 24
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 12 (at Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Middle Tennessee, South Carolina, at Tulane, Florida, Auburn, at Alabama, Louisiana Tech, at Ole Miss, SEC Championship vs. Tennessee, BCS Championship vs. Ohio State)
Losses: 2 (at Kentucky, Arkansas)
Quality Wins: 7 (at Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn, at Alabama, SEC Championship vs. Tennessee, BCS Championship vs. Ohio State)
Elite Wins: 1 (BCS Championship vs. Ohio State)
Point Differential: Tennessee 541 – Opponents 279
Winning %: 0.833
TOTAL SCORE: 21.703
The Season Formula’s Components
If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
If you lose, everything stinks. Each loss counts as -1.
3. Quality Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each Quality Win counts as 1.
4. Elite Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each Elite Win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5.
Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn’t added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game also gets counts as 1.
5. Bad Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a loss to an FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
6. Bad Win
The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a an FCS (D-IAA) team. Each win counts as -0.25
7. Elite Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
8. Point Differential
Points for minus points against divided by 100.
9. Winning Percentage
Created as a sort of tie-breaker, the winning % is added to the total score.
CFN 20th Anniversary lists compiled by Rich Cirminiello, Pete Fiutak, Phil Harrison & Russ Mitchell
Photo Credit: LSU Athletic Department