BCS Era 2009-2012
2009 Alabama 32, Florida 13 SEC Championship
BCS Championship: Alabama 37, Texas 21
After several crazy years, the BCS was easy.
Unless something else wacky happened, and as long as the main players kept winning, it was going to be the the SEC champion vs. Texas for the national title. Defending national champion Florida was everyone’s No. 1, Texas was everyone’s No. 2 or 3, and Alabama was everyone’s No. 2 or 3.
Texas never blinked in the regular season, but it needed to survive Ndamukong Suh and an epic performance by Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns got an ultra-clutch walk-off game-winning 46-yard field goal from Hunter Lawrence to get by the Huskers 13-12 for a spot in the BCS Championship, despite being No. 3 in the standings for most of the year.
The loser of the SEC Championship between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama was almost certainly going to be out.
Alabama destroyed the Gators – outscoring Florida 13-0 in the second half – to win 32-13. It was Tim Tebow’s shot at a repeat national title, Urban Meyer had health issues, and it was the moment when Nick Saban’s Bama dynasty got rolling.
The amazing Gators went on to destroy an unbeaten Cincinnati team 51-24 in the Sugar Bowl, and Alabama got by Texas 37-21 – helped by knocking out Texas QB Colt McCoy early on – for the national title.
2010 Oregon 52, Stanford 31
BCS Championship: Auburn 22, Oregon 19
From out of nowhere, Auburn went from 8-5 one to national champion-great the next. It all happened thanks to the emergence of a fantastic defensive front, along with the one-year wonder of QB Cam Newton, who won the Heisman while putting together one of the greatest all-around statistical seasons of all-time.
It also helped that the SEC was just okay, with Alabama having its worst year in the Nick Saban era – going 10-3 – but the Tigers still came up with a tough 28-27 win over the Tide, and beat terrific LSU and Arkansas teams to be the BCS No. 1 seed.
Chip Kelly’s Oregon team went to the Rose Bowl in 2009 – losing to Ohio State – and then it all clicked in 2010. The offense was unstoppable, scoring 42 points in ten games on the way to the Pac-10 title and the BCS No. 2 seed – after being No. 1 until Auburn beat Alabama – for a shot at the national title.
The explosion came through when Oregon needed it the most, overcoming a 21-3 first quarter deficit against Stanford with 49 points over the final three quarters for a wild 52-31 win. Andrew Luck threw for 341 yards and two scores for the Cardinal, and he ran for a score, but the Ducks ran for close to 400 yards highlighted by LaMichael James’ 257-yard, three touchdown day.
That was Stanford’s only blip, bouncing back to beat USC and winning its final eight games including a blowout win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl for a 12-1 season. Oregon lost the national title to Auburn on a walk-off field goal.
2011 Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31 2OT
BCS Championship: Alabama 21, LSU 0
Alabama got a whopper of a break.
LSU survived a 40-27 fight with Oregon to start the season, and ripped through the rest of its regular season schedule. It won the SEC title, blasting Georgia 42-10 to be the wire-to-wire BCS No. 1 seed.
Alabama was also dominant, destroying everything in its path on the way to an 8-0 record with a defense that ended up allowing 14 points or fewer in every game against FBS teams. LSU rolled into Tuscaloosa, and left with a gut-check 9-6 overtime win on a 25-yard Drew Alleman field goal.
That was the only time all year anyone came within ten miles of the Tide, but they didn’t win their conference, didn’t win their division, and lost at home to a team that was off to play for the national title.
Oklahoma State was rolling, too … offensively. The defense was suspect, but the high-powered attack put up 37 or more in every game but one.
In an odd weeknight matchup coming a day after the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach was killed in a plane crash, the 10-0 Cowboys went into Ames to deal with a solid Iowa State team – and they couldn’t stop screwing up.
They cranked up 536 total yards, but they turned the ball over five times – including a key pick in overtime – committed ten penalties, and the defense couldn’t come up with a meaningful stop after the O got out to a huge early lead. Even so, there was a chance to win in regulation, but sure-thing star kicker Quinn Sharp barely missed a late 37-yard field goal.
The Cowboys blew away a great Oklahoma team two weeks later, and went on to beat Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl because the BCS set up an LSU-Bama rematch for the national title as the Tide moved up into the No. 2 spot.
Alabama didn’t miss on its second chance, destroying LSU 21-0 for the national title.
2012 Alabama 32, Georgia 28 SEC Championship
BCS Championship: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14
Defensive national champion Alabama was the easy No. 1 in the first round of the BCS Standings, getting out to a dominant 9-0 start. And then came Johnny Manziel.
The eventual Heisman-winner led Texas A&M to a thrilling 29-24, but the Tide only fell to No. 4 in the next round of the BCS rankings.
Kansas State was No. 1, but it was a soft No. 1 – it was obliterated by Baylor right after getting up to the top spot, and ended up losing 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl to Oregon. The Ducks were No. 2 after Bama’s loss, but suffered their only defeat on the same week as the K-State loss in a 17-14 loss to Stanford.
That allowed Alabama to rise up to No. 2, Notre Dame – the only unbeaten team remaining – to take the No. 1 spot, and for Georgia – who was whacked by South Carolina 35-7 earlier in the year – to get up to No. 3.
The Fighting Irish kept on winning. They got by the Stanford team that beat Oregon, then blew out a terrific Oklahoma squad, and with a 22-13 win over USC, Manti Te’o and company were the easy No. 1 in the BCS Championship.
The other spot came down to the SEC Championship with No. 2 Alabama taking on No. 3 Georgia. In a see-saw game, Alabama answered a Todd Gurley touchdown run with a 45-yard Amari Cooper scoring catch for a 32-28 lead.
Georgia roared back down the field, but stalled in the final moments as an Aaron Murray completion to Arthur Lynch got the offense down to the eight as time was running out. With no timeouts remaining, Chris Conley caught a tipped pass, was tackled short of the goal line, and time ran out.
That allowed Alabama to destroy Notre Dame 42-14 for the national title.
2013 Auburn 34, Alabama 28
BCS Championship: Florida State 34, Auburn 31
Things probably would’ve been much, much, much different had there been a four-team College Football Playoff. Instead, another powerhouse Alabama team – that allowed ten points or fewer in ten of the first 12 games – was knocked out of a chance to win a third straight national title.
Auburn got whacked by LSU 35-21 early in the year, but got the offense moving in an epic run complete with a few miraculous moments – including an amazing tipped touchdown pass to beat Georgia 43-38 – to get to 11-1 with a chance to play for the SEC title. And then it came up with an all-timer of a special moment.
Alabama was the BCS No. 1 team from the start of the standings, but Florida State and eventual Heisman-winner Jameis Winston destroyed everyone their path on the way to the BCS No. 2 spot and a 12-0 record before the conference championship season.
On the same day the Seminoles were busy destroying Florida 37-7, Alabama and Auburn were playing out a thriller.
Early in the fourth quarter, AJ McCarron connected with Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown pass and a 28-21 lead, but Auburn was able to rally back in the final moments in one of the most forgotten clutch moments ever. Nick Marshall hit Sammie Coates for a 39-yard touchdown with 32 seconds remaining to tie the game, but Bama had one more shot.
TJ Yeldon took off for a few big runs to give the Tide a shot at a 57-yard game-winning field goal, but Adam Griffith missed, Auburn’s Chris Davis caught it, and returned the “kick-six” for a touchdown and the amazing 34-28 win.
The Tigers went on to beat Missouri in a wild shootout to get into the final BCS Championship, but lost in the final moments 34-31 to Winston and the Seminoles.