With the College Football Playoff, more teams are in position to raise the trophy at the end of the season. What used to be settled in one game will now be settled in three. In the past, Championship Weekend was essentially the playoff that separated the teams with the championship pedigree from those without.
With so much on the line this weekend, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the more high-profile losses from the recent past of Championship Weekend. While some of these might have happened before championship games were spread out to all of the conferences, they were still just as painful for the teams that came up short.
2007: Pittsburgh 13, No. 2 West Virginia 9
Pat White, Steve Slaton and Noel Devine had led the Mountaineers to a 10-1 season. All they had to do to make the 2008 BCS National Championship Game was beat 4-7 Pitt. WVU’s high-octane offense was held to just 183 yards. Besides a first-quarter touchdown, the ‘Eers were also held out of the end zone. WVU coach Rich Rodriguez called this game a “nightmare.”
2007: No. 9 Oklahoma 38, No. 1 Missouri 17
Deadlocked at 14 coming out of the locker room at halftime, Sam Bradford and the Sooners seized control of this game in the second half and won going away. In an interesting twist of fate, Missouri is now the one in position to play the role of Oklahoma when the Tigers face Alabama on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game.
2008: No. 2 Florida 31, No. 1 Alabama 20
The Crimson Tide came into the game undefeated, but they ran into Tim Tebow, who was on a mission. Tebow tossed three touchdown passes and sparked the Gators to win the fourth quarter, 14-0, and the SEC Championship Game.
2009: No. 2 Alabama 32, No. 1 Florida 13
One year later, it was a case of payback. This time it was Alabama in the role of the No. 2 team and Florida in the role of No. 1. Once again, the lower ranked team won and this one wasn’t nearly as close.
2013: No. 10 Michigan State 34, No. 2 Ohio State 24
The Buckeyes came into the game 12-0 and it looked as though a win would send them into the BCS National Championship Game against Florida State. They quickly fell behind 17-0 but fought back. Behind Braxton Miller, they took a 24-17 lead in the third quarter. However, the Spartans rallied in their own right and came through at the end with a 10-point win Buckeyes fans won’t soon forget.
With teams now fighting over four spots instead of two, quite a few teams have a chance this weekend to either stand tall or be remembered for the one they didn’t win. Which teams will rise to the top?