When the Florida Gators thumped the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game, college football nation was not aware it was about to be subjected to seven years of uninterrupted domination by the Southeastern Conference.
Non-SEC fans may have found this period hard to stomach, but those in the South loved every minute of it. Here are those seven national championship games, ranked from, in our opinion, least to most entertaining.
7. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 2013
The words “Nick Saban” and “boring win” share a sentence quite often, and the 2013 Discover BCS Championship Game was a classic example of another boring win. The Tide could have easily shut out Notre Dame had it kept all the starters in the game, but bench warmers were finding the field early in the third quarter as the Tide rolled. Nick Saban won his fourth total and second consecutive national championship, 42-14.
6. Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes, 2007
The game that started it all is also one of the least entertaining. Unfortunately for casual fans as well as Ohio State, the 2007 Tostitos BCS Championship Game was almost as brutal a beat down as the 2013 title game. Ohio State had beaten a number of formidable opponents in the regular season, but the momentum of second-ranked Florida proved impossible to stem. After much debate whether Florida deserved a spot in the game due to a loss to Auburn earlier in the season, the Gators proved their worth by pounding the Buckeyes mercilessly, 41-14.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers, 2012
Surprisingly, the only shutout on this list is not the most boring. The 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game had many historical implications as it was the first and only time two teams from the same conference competed for a BCS national title. It also greatly fueled the debate that led to the introduction of the playoff selection committee. After defeating Alabama 9-6 in the “Game of the Century” in the regular season, LSU got a rematch with the Tide in the Tigers’ home state. Alabama absolutely dominated, allowing LSU to cross the 50-yard line only once the entire game and won, 21-0.
4. LSU Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes, 2008
Les Miles got his most important win at the 2008 Allstate BCS National Championship Game against the Buckeyes. OSU started the game on fire with a 69-yard rushing touchdown by Chris Wells early in the first quarter, followed shortly by a field goal to extend the lead to 10-0. It took almost a full quarter for Miles to adjust his team, but when he did it was all Tigers from then on. LSU quarterback Matt Flynn had an incredible night with four passing touchdowns, bringing another win home for the SEC, 38-24.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas Longhorns, 2010
Though the 37-21 final score may not show it, the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game had a few uncomfortable moments for Crimson Tide fans. After defeating defending national champs Florida in the SEC Championship, many assumed this game would be a shoo-in for Alabama. The game might have ended much differently had Texas quarterback Colt McCoy not left the game on his first drive with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder. Texas lost all momentum it had gained from intercepting a fake-punt pass on the opening drive of the game, and though it still managed to put up 21 points on Alabama, the Tide held off the Longhorns.
2. Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners, 2009
Florida head coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Tim Tebow are remembered as one of the most resilient duos in SEC history. After defeating Alabama in the SEC Championship, the Gators had only one team left to beat. When the Heisman winner Tebow, who was known for his running prowess, lined up against the Oklahoma defense in the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game, he instead found ways to score through the air. With only a three-point lead, Tebow led a 76-yard drive that burned nearly 7 minutes off the clock before capping a 24-14 win with a touchdown pass.
1. Auburn Tigers vs. Oregon Ducks, 2011
The theme of AU’s season was beating overwhelming odds. Quarterback Cam Newton had faced many public hurdles regarding his personal image as well as rumors that Auburn had broken NCAA rules by paying him to join its program. However, he kept his off-field worries where they belonged, and the Tigers defeated one of the most talented Alabama Crimson Tide rosters of all time in a huge second-half comeback in the Iron Bowl. They used that motivation in the SEC Championship against South Carolina as well as the 2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship against Oregon. With the score tied at 19-19, Auburn running back Michael Dyer had a historic run on the Tiger’s final drive on which he appeared to have been cut down after a 6-yard run, only to emerge from the pile to continue his dash for a 37-yard gain. The Tigers kicked a field goal as the clock expired, and with a 22-19 victory hoisted the crystal trophy. H&A
Cover photo: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow scrambles for yardage against Oklahoma in the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game. | All photos courtesy Florida Athletics