Shouldn’t a 12-0 season in the Big Ten mean something? Not when Ohio State are serving bowl bans and eligibility for a conference title ban as well. This isn’t the first time over the last few years that a team will finish the season undefeated but out of reach of BCS glory. This isn’t the first time it’s happened to Urban Meyer as well.
TCU Horned Frogs, 2010
Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs began the season as the #6 team on the AP Poll, and went on to prove that their BCS busters status was deserved. They began the season with a 30-21 win over #24 Oregon State and finished the regular season winning the MWC, including a key win over #6 Utah on November 6. Two more wins set up a visit to the Rose Bowl with a #3 BCS rankings, where they beat the Big Ten champions, Wisconsin, 21-19. They finished the season ranked 2nd on the AP Poll with three first place votes.
Boise State Broncos, 2009
The Broncos were ranked #16 in the preseason poll, but came out swinging with an impressive 19-8 win over #14 Oregon. The rest of the way was easy, winning the WAC by winning every game but one by at least 11 points. They were ranked below TCU, another undefeated non-AQ team at the end of the regular season. Instead of stirring up controversy, the BCS decided to put the two teams against each other, so god forbid they won’t beat a serious team. Boise State beat TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the season with a 14-0 record, ranked 4th in the AP Poll. Alabama (also 14-0) won the national title, beating Texas.
Utah Utes, 2008
The ultimate embarrassment for BCS, as Utah finished the season as the only undefeated team: Florida, the national champions, who beat Oklahoma in the final, had one loss to their name at the end of the season. They were still the number one ranked team on the AP Poll when bowl season was over, but Utah did get 16 first place votes in an attempt to push the national title, or part of it, towards the underdogs. They began the season with a win in Michigan (#24) and marched up the polls despite not being ranked at the beginning of the season. They went on to beat BYU and TCU to claim the conference before beating Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl, finishing the season with a 13-0 record.
Boise State Broncos, 2006
The Broncos needed to wait four weeks until they were ranked for the first time during the season, in which they didn’t beat a single ranked team, until their BCS bowl. They were ranked #9 on the AP Poll and #8 on the BCS standings before their game vs Oklahoma (#10) in the Fiesta Bowl. It ended up being one of the greatest BCS Bowls in history, as the Broncos won 43-42 win, with a play very similar to a statue of Liberty. Florida won the national title, but Boise State were the only undefeated team at the end of the season, ranked #5 on the AP Poll.
Auburn & Utah, 2004
Three undefeated teams at the end of the season. USC won the BCS title (later stripped of it) but kept the AP crown. They went on to beat Oklahoma 55-19 in the national title game. But this season was all about the problems of not having a playoff. Auburn finished the season #3 on the BCS standings, keeping them out of the national title game. They won the SEC and it wasn’t enough for more than a Sugar Bowl game vs Virginia Tech. They were the #2 on the AP at the end of the season. Utah, under Urban Meyer, were #6 on the BCS standings on the final week, good enough for a Fiesta bowl spot vs Pittsburgh, winning 35-7. They did get to win against Texas A&M, Arizona and North Carolina, but it wasn’t enough to give them a shot at the national title.