Northern Illinois was the first and only one-loss non-AQ school to bust the BCS. But nobody outside the state of Illinois was excited about the matchup against Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl. The Huskies’ invite left out a possible at-large bid for a team from a power conference. NIU had a chance to make a statement, but they were blown out as expected by the Seminoles, 31-10.
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Kansas in BCS over Missouri - 2007
It was arguably the biggest "Border War" in the history of the rivalry. No. 4 Missouri beat No. 2 Kansas 36-28 to earn a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. The win also moved the Tigers to No. 1 in the BCS standings, and a rematch with Oklahoma was all that stood in their way of a shot at the national title. But for the second time in the 2007 season, Mizzou couldn’t get past the Sooners. The Tigers didn't even get a BCS bowl berth and ended up in the Cotton Bowl, while the Jayhawks got an invite to the Orange Bowl.
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Hawaii in Sugar Bowl - 2007
Hawaii was the only undefeated team left in 2007 heading into bowl season, but the Warriors were not among the nation's elite. Despite a weak WAC schedule, they earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl with a No. 10 BCS ranking. Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was one of the most prolific passers in college football history as the all-time leader in touchdown passes with 136, but he got a reality check from the Georgia defense. Brennan passed for just 169 yards, no touchdowns and threw three interceptions in the 41-10 loss to the Bulldogs. The Hawaii offense turned the ball over six times and didn't get into the end zone until the fourth quarter.
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Texas jumps Cal for Rose Bowl - 2004
Cal had the inside track to the Rose Bowl heading into the final week of the 2004 regular season. Texas trailed the Golden Bears in the rankings for the No. 4 spot, but after the Longhorns' win over Texas A&M, coach Mack Brown (right) urged the voters to move his team ahead. He got his wish and Texas went to Pasadena, breaking the Rose Bowl's traditional Pac-10 vs. Big Ten matchup. Texas proved to be the more worthy team with a thrilling win over Michigan, while senior quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left) and Cal got blown out by Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl.
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Kansas State left out of BCS - 1998
Kansas State was out of the national championship hunt after falling in double-overtime to Texas A&M in the 1998 Big 12 Championship game. But No. 3 in the BCS standings wasn't enough to even get into a BCS bowl game. The Wildcats were instead in the Alamo Bowl where they lost to an unranked Purdue team. That led to some changes in the system following the season with the creation of the "Kansas State Rule," which gives an automatic BCS berth to the No. 3-ranked team.
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Alabama-LSU rematch - 2011
LSU won an overtime field goal match with Alabama in Tuscaloosa during the regular season. Many believed Big 12 champion Oklahoma State deserved a shot at the Tigers for the national title. But the Cowboys' lone loss to an unranked Iowa State team looked much worse than the Crimson Tide's defeat to LSU. That set the stage for the SEC rematch which was won by Alabama in another defensive battle. Oklahoma State was one of the nation's best offensive teams in 2011, and it would have been a far more entertaining contest against LSU's defense.
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Oklahoma plays for national title - 2003
Oklahoma was unstoppable during the 2003 regular season and the clear-cut No. 1 in college football. But the Sooners were a no-show in the Big 12 Championship game where they were crushed 35-7 by Kansas State. That left many wondering how far Oklahoma should fall in the BCS standings. USC was No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches' polls, but the Trojans were left out of the BCS championship game. Despite the Sooners' blowout loss, they remained No. 1 in the BCS standings and still got to play for the national title. But Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and the nation's top offense were shut down by LSU's defense. The Tigers claimed the BCS crown, but USC was named AP national champion.
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Nebraska plays for national title - 2001
Nebraska was 11-0 heading into a showdown vs. Colorado with the Big 12 North title on the line in 2001. But the No. 2 Huskers got blown away by the Buffaloes, 62-36. Colorado also ended Texas' national title dreams a week later, upsetting the No. 3 Longhorns 39-37 in the Big 12 Championship game. That opened the door for Nebraska to move back into the No. 2 spot despite not even winning its own division. The Huskers went on to play Miami for the national title in the Rose Bowl, but it got ugly quickly. The Hurricanes made it look easy with a 37-14 rout.
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Florida State instead of Miami in national title game - 2000
Miami lost an early-season top 15 matchup with Washington in 2000. But the Hurricanes were perfect the rest of the way, which included a 27-24 upset of No. 1 Florida State in October. That didn't matter to the BCS computers at the end of the regular season. Despite the head-to-head win and No. 2 ranking in both the AP and Coaches' polls, Miami was third in the BCS standings and left out of the title game. Florida State, No. 3 in the human polls and No. 2 in the BCS, played Oklahoma for the national championship. The Seminoles averaged 42 points per game during the regular season, but their offense was held scoreless in a 13-2 defeat to the Sooners.
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USC, Oklahoma, Auburn undefeated - 2004
Hard to believe that going undefeated in the SEC wasn't impressive enough to play for a national championship nearly a decade ago. That's what happened to Auburn in 2004. USC and Oklahoma were the top 2 teams all season and didn't budge. But when the Trojans and Sooners met in the Orange Bowl for the national title, it was a one-sided affair. USC crushed Oklahoma, 55-19, while Auburn edged Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, 16-13. Despite a perfect season, the Tigers finished No. 2 in all the polls. And nobody really won the 2004 national title after USC was stripped of the crown in 2011.