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Computer Rankings And National Titles


National Champion Prediction: Texas
Predicted Participants (BCS Championship): Texas (13-0) vs. USC (12-0)
Actual Participants (BCS Championship): Ohio St. (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1)
Computer Line: Ohio State by 10.01
Final: Florida 41, Ohio State 14
National Champ: Florida
Comment: For the first time ever, the BCS Championship was separate from any of the pre-existing bowls. It essentially created a fifth BCS bowl game in addition to the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls.

Both of the Congrove Computer Rankings' projected national championship participants played their way out of the title game for the first time since 2001.

Texas lost early to Ohio State, climbed back up to number 5 in the BCS Standings, but fell to Kansas State and Texas A&M in their final two regular season games. The Longhorns finished 10-3 with a 26-24 win over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.

USC was poised to play for the title before falling to arch-rival UCLA on the final week of the regular season, 13-9. They blew past Michigan 32-18 in the Rose Bowl to finish 11-2.

A one-loss Florida team jumped over a one-loss Michigan team in the voter polls after the final week of the season. The Wolverines had suffered a heartbreaking 42-39 loss to Ohio State in both teams' regular season finale, and the prevailing sentiment of pollsters was that they didn't want a rematch. Michigan's poor showing against USC seemingly proved the voters made the right choice.

Before the bowls began, few cared that Boise State was ranked 8th in the BCS, even though they joined Ohio State as the only other team left unbeaten at the end of the regular season. But its complete dismissal from the national championship discussion became an issue when Boise State defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl 43-42 in overtime in one of the most memorable games in college football history.

In the end, Florida's 41-14 romp over Ohio State earned the Gators a title that still went largely undisputed. But Boise State's Fiesta Bowl performance gave playoff proponents more ammunition and left others wondering "what if?".

See: 2006 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: USC
Predicted Participants (BCS Championship): USC (12-0) vs. LSU (13-0)
Actual Participants (BCS Championship): Ohio St. (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)
Computer Line: LSU by 2.42
Final: LSU 38, Ohio State 24
National Champ: LSU
Comment: The craziest, and most exciting college football season in memory, ended with a 2-loss LSU battling a 1-loss Ohio State for the national championship and, for the second straight year, the Buckeyes came up empty against an SEC team.

The Congrove Computer Rankings' projection of a USC-LSU matchup almost materialized, but so did a handful of other possibilities as only one team went undefeated (Hawaii), two teams lost just one game (Ohio State and Kansas), and ten teams had lost two games after the completion of the regular season and conference championships.

Hawaii, the only undefeated team, was routed 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech, which was ranked No. 1 by the BCS computer components heading into the bowl games, was edged 24-21 by Kansas in the Orange Bowl.

USC, the computer's pick to meet and defeat LSU in the title game, beat Illinois 49-17 in the Rose Bowl to finish 2nd in the Coaches Poll and 3rd in the AP Poll.

The season may best be remembered as the one that opened with Appalachian State pulling off a shocking win at Michigan. It set the scene for a year of upsets and a constant reshuffling of the rankings.

See: 2007 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: Ohio State
Predicted Participants (BCS Championship): Georgia (13-0) vs. Ohio State (12-0)
Actual Participants (BCS Championship): Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)
Computer Line: Florida by 1.36
Final: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
National Champ: Florida
Comment: For just the fifth time in 16 years, the Congrove Computer Rankings' preseason forecast missed on picking at least one of the national championship game participants. Like most, the CCR pegged Georgia and Ohio State to advance to the title game. Oklahoma was preseason ranked No. 9 and Florida was No. 6.

The season was marked by tight conference races, including a Big 12 South division battle that left three teams 11-1 overall, and 7-1 in the conference - Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. The Longhorns defeated the Sooners, but lost to the Red Raiders; and the Sooners beat the Red Raiders to leave all three schools with a 1-1 mark against each other. Since none of them lost to any other conference teams, the BCS Standings had to be used as the tie-breaker to determine which of the three would advance to the conference championship game. That nod went to Oklahoma, which then advanced to the BCS Championship game by defeating Missouri to win the conference title.

In the SEC, Alabama was the only team to navigate the entire regular season without a loss. But the Crimson Tide fell to Florida in the conference championship game to give the Gators a crack at their second national title in three years, and the Gators prevailed 24-14. Alabama lost 31-17 to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

While the computer's forecast missed on its' preseason prediction of the title game matchup, it amazingly tabbed the winners of five conferences - ACC, Big Ten, Mountain West, PAC-10, and WAC - and nailed the division winners of the ACC Coastal and CUSA West. Nine more conferences or divisions were won by teams that the computer picked to finish second. It also forecasted the exact records of 22 teams.

See: 2008 Final Computer Rankings


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