Year     NCAA Division Football Champion

1990     Split polls - AP: Colorado; Coaches: Georgia Tech

1991     Split polls - AP: Miami; Coaches: Washington

1993     Florida State

FSU narrowly escapes with a win against underdog Nebraska in disputed bowl. Notre Dame and FSU each finish with one loss. FSU’s loss was to Notre Dame. 

1994     Nebraska

Penn State is undefeated and talented.

1996     Florida

After UF loses to FSU and Nebraska loses to Texas, UF and FSU play again. After ASU loses to a frustrated Ohio State, UF is voted No. 1.

1997     Split polls - AP: Michigan; Coaches: Nebraska

What are some of the reasons for such an ongoing pattern of inconsistency and
controversy in Division 1-A college football?

• Concerning the recent desire to narrow the field from more than 112 to 2 participants, then to 1 undeniable team; it is much more probable that there will not be clear-cut #1 and #2 teams.

A. The same two teams hold the #1 and #2 slots in the AP and Coaches poll, yet a rating system could designate the #3 or the #4 team to play in the premier game.

B. Three or more unbeaten teams could be vying for the top two spots at the end of the regular season, relentlessly running up scores to secure them. However, after the bowls, it is still probable that two or more teams bidding for the championship would have identical records.

C. Neither team in the premier game plays well, and the #3 or #4 team wins resoundingly:  Since the final polls still play a role in determining the national champion, voters could conceivably elevate a lower ranked team that played in a lesser bowl to #1.

D. There might be only one undefeated team accompanied by a host of teams each with one loss.

E. A most difficult situation occurs if there are no unbeaten teams.

• Subjectivity. [see above, especially years 1993, 1994, and 1996]

• Ironically, a lack of tradition. Bowls constantly change names; some have been
eliminated; while others, such as the Cotton Bowl, have been dropped into the second tier. Few fans are able to track which bowl is meaningless and which is not. Also, holding the biggest game(s) on Jan. 2nd or later diminishes the importance of the bowls played on New Years Day. This lack of importance, along with inappropriate match-ups, have inevitably lead to empty stands.

• Conference championships do nothing more than add an extra game (and a potential loss) to the schedule of a very small percentage of Div. I schools. There are few incentives to play in these contests, however there are added pressures and monumental consequences at stake especially for teams who are making a run at the Championship. (2) out of the first (3) Big 12 Championship games kept a Big 12 team out of National Title game [1996 Nebraska and 1998 Kansas State]. After the 1999 season would either Florida State or Virginia Tech have desired to play in a Conference Championship game? Of course not! Again, all this would do is potentially keep them out of the title game or give rise to unnecessary injuries.

• Smaller schools and conferences find that the odds are stacked greatly against them in regards to fair representation. Demonstrating displeasure and dissent, the Western Athletic Conference had gone as far as to file a complaint with the U. S. Justice Dept. for inequitable treatment in the current postseason format and structure.

• The amount of time that elapses from the end of the season to the major bowls is incomprehensible. After their last game in 1999, Florida State waited 45 days to play in the Sugar Bowl. That’s 61/2 weeks, or more than half of a regular season! Imagine Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras making their way to a final match in a tennis tournament to determine who is the best only to wait 61/2 weeks - makes no sense at all.


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