2006 was an interesting year. Ohio State was the team to beat from start to end, but they weren't killing teams like previous "teams to beat" (i.e. USC, Texas) did. They defeated Michigan in the last week of the season to solidify the #1 slot, but in a tourney structure Michigan would survive to fight for the national title. That would take a little bit off of what was a historic #1 vs #2 matchup, but...oh well.
Conference Champions: Boise State, BYU, Central Michigan, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Troy (winning the tie-break via a dramatic 1-point road win over MTSU), USC
At-Large Bids: Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin
Biggest Snubs: Auburn, Rutgers
Rutgers' best season in eleventy billion years lands them just outside the tourney bracket, but there are a ton of big-time teams (and Big Ten love) in this wide-open tourney.
1 Ohio State def. 16 Troy in Columbus
8 Boise State def. 9 Arkansas in Boise
5 USC def. 12 BYU in LA
4 LSU def. 13 Georgia Tech in Baton Rouge
6 Wisconsin def. 11 Oklahoma in Madison
3 Florida def. 14 Houston in Gainesville
7 Louisville def. 10 Notre Dame in Louisville
2 Michigan def. 15 Central Michigan in Ann Arbor
You know how sometimes in the NCAA basketball tourney, the first round is relatively boring (chalk, chalk, chalk) but it opens the door for a crazy second round? Hello, crazy second round.
8 Boise State def. 1 Ohio State in Columbus
4 LSU def. 5 USC in Baton Rouge
3 Florida def. 6 Wisconsin in Gainesville
7 Louisville def. 2 Michigan in Ann Arbor
In a postseason where Ohio State lost Teddy Ginn and laid a big, fat egg in the national title game, while Boise State pulled the biggest BCS upset ever in the Fiesta Bowl, you knew I'd have Boise winning this game. Granted, Ian Johnson probably doesn't propose to his cheerleader girlfriend on the sidelines at The Horseshoe after the game, but all the other dramatics apply. The #1 seed is gone, and Boise is two games from the national title.
Oh yeah, and #2 Michigan bows out as well, meaning all three Big Ten teams bow out before the semis...and two of them will have to play each other in the BCS consolations. Ohio State and Wiscy didn't play each other in '06, so it would make sense for them to play each other, but with USC sitting out there ready for a big-time, old-school Rose Bowl matchup, it's USC-tOSU there.
4 LSU def. 8 Boise State in the Sugar Bowl
3 Florida def. 7 Louisville in the Orange Bowl
5 USC def. 1 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl
6 Wisconsin def. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl
I reeeeally wanted to pick Boise over LSU here but couldn't. This LSU team finished the season with seven straight wins (including back-to-back wins over 10-win teams--Arkansas and Notre Dame), and I think Boise's bag of tricks would be empty after the epic win in Columbus. LSU advances to the finals...against fellow SEC-er Florida.
3 Florida def. 4 LSU in Glendale, AZ
The way Florida played for real in Glendale, I don't think they'd be denied. In nine BCS Tourney seasons, we've officially had five different champions.