The 2000 season brought us the first big "The BCS chose Team A over Team B" controversy, as 10-1 Florida State, led by Heisman winner Chris Weinke and the immortal Snoop Minnis, was chosen to face undefeated Oklahoma in the title game over 10-1 Miami-FL. While Miami's loss had come on the road to an 11-1 Washington team the second week of the season, Florida State managed to top Miami in the rankings despite a midseason road loss to...Miami. FSU had a tougher strength of schedule, and Miami had started much lower in the rankings (FSU had won the title in '99, while Miami had only gone 9-4), and that allowed FSU to sneak into the Orange Bowl...where they lost 13-2 to Bob Stoops' Sooners.
Needless to say, people would have loved a playoff this season.
Conference Champions: Boise State, Colorado State, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Miami-FL, Oklahoma, Purdue, TCU, Washington, Western Michigan
At-Large Bids: Kansas State, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, Virginia Tech
Biggest Snubs: Notre Dame, Texas
For the second straight season, Texas is one of the biggest snubs--the "No 3-team conference limit in the tourney!" outcry is loud in Austin. Texas is a victim of the fact that this is the Big 12 North's heyday. KSU and NU are both outstanding teams, and Colorado is about to briefly turn the corner.
Meanwhile, Dennis Erickson leads Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeah, and the cinderella Oregon State Beavers (and their 38 personal fouls a game) into the tourney just a year after snapping a 28-year streak of losing seasons.
1 Oklahoma def. 16 Western Michigan in Norman
9 Oregon def. 8 Florida in Gainesville
5 Virginia Tech def. 12 Purdue in Blacksburg
4 Washington def. 13 Louisville in Seattle
6 Nebraska def. 11 TCU in Lincoln
3 Miami-FL def. 14 Colorado State in Coral Gables
7 Oregon State def. 10 Kansas State in Corvallis
2 Florida State def. 15 Boise State in Tallahassee
The country's top tier of teams was pretty much set in 2000, resulting in only one minor first round upset--Oregon upending favored Florida in Gainesville. The top teams--OU, FSU, Miami, Washington, VT, NU--all advance with little to no problem, but the still-lingering buzz from #15 Marshall's victory over #2 K-State in '98 tamps down any "Not every conference champ should make the tourney" outcry.
1 Oklahoma def. 9 Oregon in Norman
4 Washington def. 5 Virginia Tech in Seattle
3 Miami-FL def. 6 Nebraska in Coral Gables
7 Oregon State def. 2 Florida State in Tallahassee
An OUTSTANDING bunch of quarterfinals here. OU has to fight to take out Joey Harrington and the Ducks. Washington and their "horrible people" win an instant classic over Michael Vick (before he was seen as a horrible person) and Virginia Tech. Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, Najeh Davenport, James Jackson, Ed Reed, Dan Morgan, and a ridiculous Miami team has to fight and scrap to take out a still-confident-in-Frank-Solich Nebraska squad in south Florida. Oh, and Beaver-Mania strikes America as Dennis Erickson's cocky cinderella's upset Erickson's old rival in Tallahassee.
All of this results in by far the best slate of BCS bowls since the BCS's inception.
1 Oklahoma def. 4 Washington in Rose Bowl
3 Miami-FL def. 7 Oregon State in Orange Bowl
2 Florida State def. 9 Oregon in Sugar Bowl
6 Nebraska def. 5 Virginia Tech in Fiesta Bowl
Strangely enough, in a matchup of OU and Washington, the Sooners are the good guys, and their resurgence continues as they take out the Huskies in an exciting Rose Bowl that, I'm sure, sees Jerramy Stevens dropping a key pass at some point. Meanwhile, OSU's run ends as the Beavs run into a buzzsaw in the Orange Bowl. I don't want to belabor the point here or anything, but...in 2000, Najeh Davenport was Miami's 3rd-leading rusher. Jonathan Vilma? Their 10th-leading tackler. Andre Johnson? He only caught three passes while stuck low on the depth chart.
3 Miami-FL def. 1 Oklahoma in Miami
I'll be honest--I really wanted to pick OU here, but I just couldn't. Despite the fact that Torrance Marshall was one of the scariest players OU has ever had, this was a relatively likeable OU team, and all they did in 2000 was continuously do exactly what was needed to win. They made timely takeaways, played smart offense, and most importantly, they stayed mostly healthy all season. But...after that September loss to Washington, Miami was untouchable. They beat an 11-1 Virginia Tech team by 20. They beat a 10-win Florida team by 17 in the Sugar Bowl. They were not seriously challenged over the last ten games of the season, other than a 3-point win over FSU. OU's smart play would have made this a hellacious game, but I just think the 'Canes would have pulled it out.
2000 BCS Tournament Champion: Miami-FL
Three BCS Tournaments, three different champions from Florida.