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There was so much top four volatility in the 2007 season that it was nearly impossible to keep up from week to week. The No.2 spot on the BCS rankings was literally occupied by six different teams in an eight-week span. Additionally, there were three changes to the No.1 spot, seven different teams sat in the No.3 spot, and six different teams in the No.4 spot….All in the same span. It really felt like the 2007 / 08 BCS title match-up would be an oddity for the ages, maybe even a match-up between two teams that had never even been in a title game before.
Sadly, that’s not how it went down though. By the time the end of the season rolled around, it seemed to all settle back into a more traditional place with a 2-loss No.2 LSU team and a one-loss No.1 Ohio State. But when I look at the final top ten on selection weekend, I really find a host of interesting combinations for a hypothetical CFP committee to sort out, and wonder how it would have come down had there been a CFP in 2007. The world will never know, but here’s how I think it would have shaken out.
BCS Top Ten:
1. Ohio State (11-1) 2. LSU (11-2) 3. Virginia Tech (11-2) 4. Oklahoma (11-2) 5. Georgia (10-2) 6. Missouri (11-2) 7. USC (10-2) 8. Kansas (10-1) 9. West Virginia (10-2) 10. Hawaii (12-0)
Let’s start with the 3rd and 4th spots, and then to the 2nd spot. There’s no need to entertain the No.1 spot because one-loss Ohio State definitely has that one in my opinion.
The BCS poll had a 2-loss Big XII champion Oklahoma in the 4th spot. I don’t even want to entertain Oklahoma in that spot, because I don’t see them there. I’m going to jump out on a limb a bit and say that No.7 Kansas (11-1) would have taken that spot by committee. Kansas’s only loss was to #3 Missouri, and only one of two power five teams with only 1 loss. Their lack of quality wins probably played into their No.7 ranking, but oddly enough their validation came in the quality of their 8-point loss to No. 3 Missouri. I really think Kansas would have been a committee favorite. Despite not having a conference championship to their name the Jayhawks were a BCS league team who had only one loss. That was rare air in 2007.
Kansas Jayhawks 11-1 (Big 12 North Runner-Up)
With so many 2 loss teams it really gets difficult to sort this out, but I think conference champions would probably have the advantage. I could go on for a time about SEC champion LSU or perhaps Big East champs West Virginia, but I don’t want to waste your time. A committee would have jumped as hard as they could on USC for the 3rd spot, I have no doubt. This is a team that started the season No.1 and stayed there for the first four weeks, only to fall victim to one of the biggest upsets in college football history in week five when they lost to Stanford. Add a road loss to No.5 Oregon in late October. I still think the committee would have forgiven the Trojans and gladly handed them the No.3 seed.
10-2 USC Trojans (Pac-10 Champions)
So we’ve got a couple of teams that could technically be in this spot, and would make logical sense…. I don’t see a 2 loss LSU making this by committee. The overtime loss AT HOME to 4 loss Arkansas would have been the nail in their coffin. So yes, I’m saying it…the team that won the BCS title in 2007, wouldn’t have even made the top 4 by a CFP committee. I can’t see West Virginia getting that spot either, losing to a 7 loss Pitt team at the end of the season does not do a lot for a team’s case. The No.2 spot goes to the Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma Sooners 11-2 (Big 12 Champion)
Your CFP for 2007 is No.1 Ohio State, No.2 Oklahoma, No.3 USC, and No.4 Kansas. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Who would’ve won it?
I suspect that the winner of the Oklahoma / USC match-up would have gone on to win the championship. And my suspicion is that USC takes it all. And for good reason, that was an outstanding football team playing their best football in the home stretch. Truthfully, I don’t see any of the other 3 teams beating them at a neutral site. Pete Carroll was always at his best in big games, especially bowl games where he had a 6-1 record in NY6 bowls. John David Booty and Joe McKnight would go on to lead USC to an incredible victory over Illinois in the Rose Bowl.