The 2013 college football season marks the long-awaited death of the BCS system as it stands today. Going down as one of the worst ways to crown a champion in sports, the BCS has created some memorable moments of Cinderella’s achieving greatness in some of the most prestigious bowl games in history.
Boise State over Oklahoma, Utah over Alabama, TCU over Wisconsin. Three memorable upsets from the non-BCS programs that made a name for themselves on the national spotlight.
As we move into the era of the College Football Playoff, the Cinderella appearance in a BCS bowl game will come to an end. But, we do have the chance for one final run from a team wanting to make a name for itself.
The Mountain West is the class of the non-BCS conferences in 2013. The MWC has made a case that it deserves to be among the names of the current BCS conferences with editions of Hawaii, Fresno State, San Jose State and Utah State to name a few. The Broncos of Boise State have been a fan favorite in Cinderella runs ever since the hook-and-ladder player of the Fiesta Bowl. However, the conference is deep with talent with teams that could make a run.
San Jose State won 11 games in 2012 and may be a win away from claiming its first BCS berth. However, along with Boise State, San Diego State and Fresno State will have an opportunity to have a say in the matter by the time its all said and done.
Fresno State returns Derek Carr to its quarterback position. Carr passed 4,104 yards in 2012 with 37 touchdowns last fall.
Outside of the MWC comes the most recent edition to the BCS busters. Northern Illinois were the first one-loss team to crash the party when it received a bid to the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Things did not go will for the Huskies as they were embarrassed 31-10.
NIU is still a good team, and is far and above the best team in the MAC. Jordan Lynch returns behind the center and could wrack up another season that has him in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy.
Independents BYU and Notre Dame are going to go along way to claiming a BCS berth, though I do not consider ND a Cinderella when it comes down to it.
The Cougars of BYU have a tough schedule that makes this scenario seem far less likely. BYU opens at Virginia, hosts Texas and rival Utah to begin the season – realistically being 1-2 to start the year. But, and a big but, if the Cougars do manage to make it through those three games unscathed they will likely face Boise State with each team having a perfect record. However, the next week’s date with Wisconsin in Madison should see the dream ended.
When all is said in done in 2013, I do not see a good chance of the shoe fitting. the Mountain West is deeper than it has been in years, and a one-loss NIU is very unlikely to get the nod again.
Here is my ranking of the best non-BCS teams that could make a Cinderella run (leaving out Notre Dame).
1) Boise State
2) San Jose State
3) Northern Illinois
4) San Diego State
7) Louisiana Tech
8) Fresno State
9) Western Kentucky