We all know that Alabama defeated Louisiana State for the BCS Championship and was recognized as the top team in the nation. Ok, fine. If you think that college football standings should be decided by a bunch of computers, then so be it. But there were a few other teams that had a legitimate argument for playing in the title game, but got hosed by a less-than-stellar system that continues to bypass playoffs. Here’s a look at the top 5 college football teams of 2011. In the real world, these teams would have played in a playoff, and just might have knocked off the two that were voted into the championship game.
5 Arkansas (12-2)
Before Coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle with his 20-something assistant, who he was also having an affair with, his Razorbacks were enjoying a pretty darn good season. If they weren’t playing in the SEC they might have been losing to an SEC team in the championship game. Arkansas’ only losses were to Alabama (38-14) and LSU (41-17). They did win the Cotton Bowl, defeating Kansas State 29-16. It would be Petrino’s swan song with the Razorbacks as his life and career unraveled because of his antics a few months later.
4 Oregon (12-2)
Say what you will about the Ducks. They are the class of the Pac-12, and will be for years to come. They made it to the title game the year before and nearly won it all. The only blemish on their record this season was an opening-day loss on the road to top ranked LSU (40-27) and a narrow loss to the probation kids from USC (38-35). The Ducks finished the season in style by humiliating another overrated scrub from the Big 10 Conference (which now has 12 teams), beating Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.
3 Boise State (12-1)
For years the Broncos have been the team that managed to crash the party. The powers that be wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to be invited no matter how much they belonged. Case in point. The Broncos were ranked as high as number three in the polls, but lost a 36-35 thriller to another BCS party crasher, Texas Christian. Now, one loss should have been enough to get the team that plays on a blue field into another BCS game where they are more than likely to embarrass another of the big boys, right? Wrong! The powers that be couldn’t risk it and sent Boise State to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl against a 6-6 Arizona State team. Ok fine. All the Broncos did was humiliate the Pac-12 “power” 56-24. Not enough to impress the computers, though, because the Broncos finished seventh in the final poll. This great program just can’t catch a break!
2 Alabama (12-1)
The Crimson Tide won the BCS title in what many thought was going to be a more competitive game against SEC rival Louisiana State. The team was good, playoff or no playoff. Just ask LSU, whom the Tide pounded for the championship game 21-0. We’re even going to overlook Alabama’s 9-6 loss to LSU during the regular season. It’s how you finish that counts, damnit!
1 Oklahoma State (12-1)
The Cowboys were enjoying the season of a lifetime when a tragedy struck the school just before their game against conference slob Iowa State. With heavy hearts throughout the team and campus, Oklahoma State, which at the time was ranked second in the nation, went down in a 37-31 double-overtime loss on the road. The defeat dashed the Cowboys’ title hopes, but it shouldn’t have. The Cowboys licked their wounds and made up for it with a thrilling 41-38 overtime win against top 10 ranked Stanford and all-everything, first-round-draft-pick, quarterback Andrew Luck in the Fiesta Bowl.