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Computer Rankings And National Titles


National Champion Prediction: Oklahoma
Predicted Participants (Sugar): Oklahoma (13-0) vs. Ohio State (12-0)
Actual Participants (Sugar): Oklahoma (12-1) vs. LSU (12-1)
Computer Line: Oklahoma by 12
Final: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
National Champ: LSU (Coaches Poll)
USC (AP Poll, Congrove Computer Rankings)
Comment: For the eighth time in eleven seasons the Congrove Computer Rankings projected at least one of the two finalists before a single snap was taken.

Oklahoma lost its conference title game to Kansas State but maintained its number one ranking in the BCS thanks to strong numbers by the participating computer rankers. The AP and Coaches Polls dropped the Sooners to 3rd after their loss to the Wildcats despite the fact that there were no undefeated teams and the other top teams with one loss - LSU and USC - played inarguably weaker schedules.

The division between the human voters and the computers set up the first split national championship of the BCS era. The coaches were obligated by agreement to vote the winner of the BCS title game (LSU) as the number one team in the country, but the AP was free to do what it wanted.

When USC romped over Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl, many AP voters let it be known that they would vote for USC regardless of who wins the Sugar Bowl.

It is the first time the title was split since 1997 when Nebraska was crowned the kings of college football by the coaches and Michigan took home the AP honors. The BCS began the following season.

Ohio State began the year 5-0 but saw its 19-game winning streak come to an end on October 11 when the Buckeyes fell to Wisconsin. Michigan handed Ohio State its second loss when the two teams met in the final game of the season with the Big 10 conference title on the line. The Buckeyes advanced to the BCS' Fiesta Bowl as an at-large selection where they upended Kansas State 35-28.

See: 2003 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: Oklahoma
Predicted Participants (Orange): Oklahoma (12-0) vs. Michigan (11-0)
Actual Participants (Orange): Oklahoma (12-0) vs. USC (12-0)
Computer Line: Oklahoma by 5
Final: USC 55, Oklahoma 19
National Champ: USC
Comment: For the ninth time in twelve seasons the Congrove Computer Rankings projected at least one of the two finalists before a single snap was taken.

Undefeated USC left little doubt with everyone but Auburn fans that the Trojans were number one in the land after a 55-19 dismantling of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, the BCS national title game. It was the Sooners only loss of the season.

USC ended the year at 13-0 after the most-lopsided game in the history of BCS title matches by pouring on 38 points in the last 20 minutes of the first half. The run was kick-started by a fumbled punt return by the Sooners and an interception minutes later.

Auburn also finished unbeaten at 13-0 after a 16-13 win over ACC champion Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. And Utah went 12-0 with a 35-7 thumping of Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl, the first time that a team from a non-BCS conference was invited to a BCS postseason game.

The computer's preseason projection had Oklahoma beating Michigan for the championship, but Michigan slipped to 9-2 in the regular season and then lost to Texas 38-37 in the Rose Bowl.

A fifth team that went unbeaten in the regular season, Boise State, lost 44-40 to Louisville (11-1) in a shootout at the Liberty Bowl.

See: 2004 Final Computer Rankings

National Champion Prediction: USC
Predicted Participants (Rose): USC (12-0) vs. Texas (12-0)
Actual Participants (Rose): USC (12-0) vs. Texas (12-0)
Computer Line: Texas by 5
Final: Texas 41, USC 38
National Champ: Texas
Comment: For the tenth time in thirteen seasons the Congrove Computer Rankings projected at least one of the two finalists before a single snap was taken.

Texas and USC staged a classic battle that went down to the wire. Quarterback Vince Young's 8-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-5 with 19 seconds remaining in the Rose Bowl lifted the Longhorns to their first national championship since 1970.

Texas snapped USC's 34-game winning streak while stretching their own string of victories to 20.

There was no dispute that these were the top two teams at the end of the season and they were ranked that way from wire-to-wire in every major reputable poll and ranking service.

The computer's preseason projection had USC beating Texas by 1 in the title game. But the computer's pick had swung over to Texas by 5 at the end of the regular season.

See: 2005 Final Computer Rankings


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