Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. Here is some of Bowl Championship Series research he has compiled as we start the countdown to Thursday's title game at Dolphin Stadium. Photo courtesy of Image of Sport.
Its critics will say there are few things more trivial than the Bowl Championship Series. This is Year 11 of the BCS, which evolved from the Old Bowl System through the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance.
More than a decade of BCS existence provides enough empirical data to compile notes and trivia that might be appealing to even the casual college football fan.
Let's begin with composite standings (listed after the jump) based on 85 weeks of BCS standings. The composite standings are based on the top 10 each week; in the early days, there were various numbers of teams listed. A first-place finish in a weekly standing was worth 10 points, second-place was worth nine, etc.
- No team has been ranked in the top 10 in each of the 11 seasons of the BCS. Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia Tech have made at least one top 10 appearance in eight different seasons.
- The highest-ranked team from a BCS non-automatic qualifier conference is Utah at No. 24 in the overall standings.
- A total of 57 teams have made an appearance in the top 10 of the BCS standings. Six of those teams have come from non-automatic qualifier conferences — Utah, Boise State, Texas Christian, Tulane, Northern Illinois and Hawaii.
- In the composite BCS standings, the Southeastern Conference has six teams in the top 25, the Big Ten five, the Big 12 four, the Pacific 10 and Atlantic Coast conferences three each.
Most teams ranked in the top 10 in one season: 18 in 2003.
Fewest teams ranked in the top 10 in one season: 12 in 2008.
Top two teams decided in final standings: 2007, 2008.
Biggest jumps in final standings: Louisiana State, No. 7 to No. 2 in 2007.
Lowest in first standings to No. 1 in final: Miami in 2001, LSU in 2007 and Oklahoma in 2008 were No. 4 in first week, ended up No. 1.
Lowest in first standings to make the top two: LSU No. 12 in 2003 first-week standings.
Most weeks No. 1: Oklahoma 19, USC 16, Ohio State 15. (Those teams have a combined three BCS titles to show for their 50 weeks at No. 1. LSU has two BCS titles and has two weeks at No. 1; Florida has one BCS title and has yet to be ranked No. 1.)
Most consecutive weeks in top 10: USC, 38, Nov. 2, 2002 to Dec. 3, 2006.
Consecutive weeks no change at No. 1: 35, Oct. 18, 2003 to Nov. 4, 2007. (Oklahoma No. 1 entire 2003 season; USC No. 1 entire 2004-05 seasons; Ohio State No. 1 entire 2006 season.
The composite standings (click to enlarge):