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Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
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Love and Honor Offline
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Post: #1
Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
If the BCS guaranteed a bid to the highest ranked non-AQ conference champ like the G5/NY6 in the current format, which teams would have been selected? Some years are pretty straightforward, others less so. I listed all seasons and where the BCS rankings put the top non-BCS teams at the start of bowl season (actual BCS teams bolded), I also included other nearby ranked teams since a NY6 committee may have considered some of them:

1998 - Tulane at 10 (Air Force at 16)
1999 - Marshall at 11 (Southern Miss at 16)
2000 - TCU at 16 (Louisville at 22, Colorado State at 23)
2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)
2002 - Boise State at 18 (Colorado State at 23)
2003 - Miami at 15 (Boise State at 18, Utah at 25; TCU at 19 didn't win the C-USA)
2004 - Utah at 5 (Louisville at 8, Boise State at 10)
2005 - TCU at 14 (no other non-AQ conference champs ranked at start of bowl season)
2006 - Boise State at 9 (BYU at 19)
2007 - Hawaii at 10 (BYU at 19)
2008 - Utah at 7 (Boise State at 9 and TCU at 11; Ball State would've been Top 12 if they won the MAC championship)
2009 - TCU at 3 (Boise State at 6 made it at-large)
2010 - TCU at 3 (Boise State at 9 and Nevada at 13 were WAC co-champs, Nevada held the head-to-head tiebreaker)
2011 - TCU at 16 (Southern Miss at 22; Houston would've been Top 10 if they won the C-USA championship)
2012 - NIU at 16 (Utah State at 18, Boise State at 20)
2013 - Fresno State at 21 (no other non-AQ conference champs ranked at start of bowl season; NIU would've been Top 20 if they won the MAC championship; UCF made it with an AAC auto-bid)
(This post was last modified: 05-11-2022 04:21 PM by Love and Honor.)
05-09-2022 10:37 AM
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inutech Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
(05-09-2022 10:37 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)

Who did?
05-09-2022 10:50 AM
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Love and Honor Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
Just looking at the list above you would've seen the following breakdown by conference, if my tracking is correct.

MWC (didn't start until 2001): 8
WAC: 4
MAC: 3
C-USA: 1
Sun Belt (didn't start until 2001): 0
Big West (ended after 2000): 0

(05-09-2022 10:50 AM)inutech Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:37 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)

Who did?

Louisiana Tech, which went 0-4 in OOC but 7-1 in WAC play. Fresno actually beat LT but lost to Boise and Hawaii, thus dooming their chances with no CCG.
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2022 10:58 AM by Love and Honor.)
05-09-2022 10:57 AM
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inutech Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
(05-09-2022 10:57 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:50 AM)inutech Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:37 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)

Who did?

Louisiana Tech, which went 0-4 in OOC but 7-1 in WAC play. Fresno actually beat LT but lost to Boise and Hawaii, thus dooming their chances with no CCG.

@Oklahome State, @Kansas State, @Auburn, and then Clemson in the bowl. Our OOC schedules were brutal in those days. The next year Oklahoma State returned the trip and we played @ Clemson, Penn St. and A&M. In 2003 we lightened the load by hosting Miami, and going to LSU and Michigan State (with a trip to Lafayette as the actual break in the OOC schedule).
05-09-2022 12:44 PM
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Love and Honor Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
Also, based on the initial list you would've seen the following BCS bids by 2022 conference affiliation:

Big 12: 5
MWC: 4
Pac-12: 2
MAC: 2
AAC: 1
Indy: 1 (will shift to the Big 12 with BYU's move)
Sun Belt: 1 (up from 0 with Marshall's move)
C-USA: 0

(05-09-2022 12:44 PM)inutech Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:57 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:50 AM)inutech Wrote:  
(05-09-2022 10:37 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)

Who did?

Louisiana Tech, which went 0-4 in OOC but 7-1 in WAC play. Fresno actually beat LT but lost to Boise and Hawaii, thus dooming their chances with no CCG.

@Oklahome State, @Kansas State, @Auburn, and then Clemson in the bowl. Our OOC schedules were brutal in those days. The next year Oklahoma State returned the trip and we played @ Clemson, Penn St. and A&M. In 2003 we lightened the load by hosting Miami, and going to LSU and Michigan State (with a trip to Lafayette as the actual break in the OOC schedule).

Ouch. Can relate though, Miami won the MAC in 2019 but started 1-3 after a tough OOC stretch at Iowa (finished 15th), Cincinnati (narrowly missed a NY6 bowl if they won the AAC CG), and OSU (made CFP), with an FCS breather in the middle.
05-09-2022 05:06 PM
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quo vadis Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
This list shows the impact that the formula changes had on non-AQ teams.

Before those changes in the mid-2000s, basically no non-AQ ever got in.

Afterwards, even though a non-AQ was not guaranteed a spot, in six of the final eight years a non-AQ did get in. So it was a real reform, not window-dressing.
05-10-2022 07:50 AM
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NeighSayer Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
Just a couple of notes on 2008 and 2009. The first year, both TCU and Boise State were snubbed and played each other in the Poinsettia Bowl, where the Horned Toads prevailed in a 1-point game. The next year, the two were paired again in the Fiesta Bowl and the Broncos came out on top 17-10.

Where head-to-head in the post season is involved, at least those two rankings would be flipped. Boise State also played Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl and fell 40-44, but that wouldn’t affect the rankings.
(This post was last modified: 05-10-2022 08:31 AM by NeighSayer.)
05-10-2022 08:27 AM
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NeighSayer Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
(05-09-2022 10:37 AM)Love and Honor Wrote:  If the BCS guaranteed a bid to the highest ranked non-AQ conference champ like the G5/NY6 in the current format, which teams would have been selected? Some years are pretty straightforward, others less so. I listed all seasons and where the BCS rankings put the top non-BCS teams at the start of bowl season (actual BCS teams bolded), I also included other nearby ranked teams since a NY6 committee may have considered some of them:

1998 - Tulane at 10 (Air Force at 16)
1999 - Marshall at 11 (Southern Miss at 16)
2000 - TCU at 16 (Louisville at 22, Colorado State at 23)
2001 - BYU at 19 (Louisville at 23, Toledo at 25; Fresno State at 20 didn't win the WAC)
2002 - Boise State at 18 (Colorado State at 23)
2003 - Miami at 15 (Boise State at 18, Utah at 25; TCU at 19 didn't win the C-USA)
2004 - Utah at 5 (Louisville at 8, Boise State at 10)
2005 - TCU at 14 (no other non-AQ teams ranked at start of bowl season)
2006 - Boise State at 9 (BYU at 19)
2007 - Hawaii at 10 (BYU at 19)
2008 - Utah at 7 (Boise State at 9 and TCU at 11 both made it at-large)
2009 - TCU at 3 (Boise State at 6 made it at-large)

2010 - TCU at 3 (Nevada at 13)
2011 - TCU at 16 (Southern Miss at 22; Houston would've been Top 10 if they won the C-USA championship)
2012 - NIU at 16 (Utah State at 18, Boise State at 20)
2013 - Fresno State at 21 (no other non-AQ teams ranked at start of bowl season; NIU would've been Top 20 if they won the MAC championship; UCF made it with an AAC auto-bid)

You missed Boise State in 2010 at #9.
05-10-2022 08:34 AM
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Wahoowa84 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
It’s amazing how many of these programs have changed conferences. TCU, Utah and BYU will be in the P5…that’s half (8 of 16 years) of the likely non-AQ candidates. Only the MAC, with Miami and NIU, have some amount of membership stability. But even the MAC had Marshall as a one-time member when it achieved its best finish amongst non-AQ schools. [/i]
05-10-2022 09:59 AM
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Love and Honor Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
(05-10-2022 08:27 AM)NeighSayer Wrote:  Where head-to-head in the post season is involved, at least those two rankings would be flipped. Boise State also played Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl and fell 40-44, but that wouldn’t affect the rankings.

Interesting, what were the two head-to-head matchups you're referring to?

Not sure if 2010 Boise State would've been "eligible" as a conference champ since they were technically a WAC co-champion with Nevada, who held the head-to-head tiebreaker. Unknown how the NY6 committee would've categorized Boise at the time, at least today there isn't that kind of ambiguity with everyone having a CCG. Added them to the list regardless, because why not.
05-11-2022 03:50 PM
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NeighSayer Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
(05-11-2022 03:50 PM)Love and Honor Wrote:  
(05-10-2022 08:27 AM)NeighSayer Wrote:  Where head-to-head in the post season is involved, at least those two rankings would be flipped. Boise State also played Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl and fell 40-44, but that wouldn’t affect the rankings.

Interesting, what were the two head-to-head matchups you're referring to?

Not sure if 2010 Boise State would've been "eligible" as a conference champ since they were technically a WAC co-champion with Nevada, who held the head-to-head tiebreaker. Unknown how the NY6 committee would've categorized Boise at the time, at least today there isn't that kind of ambiguity with everyone having a CCG. Added them to the list regardless, because why not.

TCU v Boise State in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl (TCU win)
TCU v Boise State in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl (Boise State win)
05-11-2022 04:11 PM
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Love and Honor Offline
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RE: Who were the best non-AQ teams each year during the BCS era?
Gotcha. If those two games were bowls they obviously wouldn't have had any bearing on the selection, but interesting to note. TCU/Boise had some great teams back then.

(05-10-2022 07:50 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  This list shows the impact that the formula changes had on non-AQ teams.

Before those changes in the mid-2000s, basically no non-AQ ever got in.

Afterwards, even though a non-AQ was not guaranteed a spot, in six of the final eight years a non-AQ did get in. So it was a real reform, not window-dressing.

That broadly seems to be the case, you definitely saw a lot fewer non-power schools in the Top 25 at the start of bowl season in the twenty years between the DI-A/AA split and the creation of the BCS. Three current NY6 bowls gave bids to non-power teams in that span (Louisville/1990 Fiesta, East Carolina/1991 Peach, BYU/1995 Cotton) though the relative prestige wasn't the same back then as it is now.

1978 - No minor conference champions (or minor independents) ranked at start of bowls
1979 - BYU at 9 (Tulane at 15, Temple at 20)
1980 - BYU at 14 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1981 - BYU at 14 (Southern Miss at 18)
1982 - Tulsa at 20 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1983 - BYU at 9 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1984 - BYU at 1 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1985 - BYU at 9 (Fresno State at 18)
1986 - No minor champs ranked at start of bowls
1987 - No minor champs ranked at start of bowls
1988 - Wyoming at 15 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1989 - BYU at 19 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1990 - BYU at 13 (Louisville at 18, Southern Miss at 23)
1991 - East Carolina at 12 (Tulsa at 23)
1992 - BYU at 25 (Hawaii at 10-2 was WAC co-champ with head-to-head tiebreakers, may have qualified instead)
1993 - Fresno State and Louisville were both at 25 per Wikipedia (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1994 - Colorado State at 10 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1995 - Toledo at 25 (no other champs ranked at start of bowls)
1996 - BYU at 5 (Army at 24)
1997 - Colorado State at 18 (Southern Miss at 22)
05-11-2022 04:24 PM
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