Everyone knows that there is always some controversy surrounding who plays (or doesn’t play) in the BCS National Championship for college football’s top trophy every year. That will happen when the two best teams in a sport are at least partially decided by rankings and a computer system. What isn’t up for debate, however, is the value of the coveted BCS tickets that get devoted college football fans in the door to see the top two teams in the nation go head to head. With so much analysis and stock going into every game from day one of the college football season, the actual value of each year’s NCAA title game starts growing before the games even do. After all, with the way the BCS goes down, one loss for even the best team in the country can be absolutely devastating. It’s that type of vulnerability of the college football schedule that makes the NCAA football championship so pure, and why so many do what it takes to be in the stadium when the final game of the year kicks off. Under the current BCS format that we see today and have since 1998, fans have been blessed with some intense moments and some epic blowouts. BCS tickets were arguably their most difficult to get back when the University of Texas and USC (University of Southern California) went to battle in 2005, a game that pitted Heisman Trophy stars Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush and the defending champion Trojans against quarterback Vince Young’s Texas Longhorns. Texas won that game on a last-second play by Young, easily making fan’s purchase of BCS tickets that year well worth the steep price. In the BCS title game history, we have mostly witnessed the SEC dominate the college landscape, as Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Auburn have combined to forge an astonishing 8-1 record in the BCS National Championship game over time. Needless to say, fans down south were scurrying for BCS tickets over the past 14 years, and haven’t been all that sad about the final outcome too often. In fact, the SEC is responsible six NCAA champions in a row from 2005-2011. While Alabama dished out a one-sided blowout in 2011 to fellow SEC alum LSU, Auburn is remembered for being the winner in the most recent “worthwhile” BCS title event that had BCS ticket holders more than satisfied. Not only did the 2010 BCS title game between Auburn and Oregon feature a superstar in the making in quarterback Cam Newton, but it also came down to the final moments, with Newton guiding Auburn to a narrow 22-19 victory. The game was a nail-biter throughout, and many suspected it was headed for an epic overtime battle before the Tigers pulled it out in regulation. Auburn and Texas aren’t the only BCS champs to gain the trophy by squeaking out a close win, however. In fact, up until 2011, four other BCS title games have been decided by 10 points or less. The BCS national championship game started that way, in fact, with the Tennessee Volunteers topping the Florida State Seminoles by the score of 23-16. The Ohio State Buckeyes also edged out the Miami Hurricanes in 2002, 31-24, in a game famously known for a devastating knee injury sustained by star running back Willis McGahee. McGahee was hit in the knee by the helmet of safety Donnie Nelson, and tore several ligaments, putting his NFL future in jeopardy. The LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators are responsible for the other two close matchups, with the Tigers beating the Oklahoma Sooners 21-14 in 2003 and Florida getting past number one ranked Oklahoma 24-14 behind the leadership of Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. While Tebow is known now for his unlikely run with the Denver Broncos and as a polarizing figure in sports, his presence alone in the 2008 BCS National Championship game made it worth obtaining BCS tickets. Easily regarded as one of the greatest college football players of all-time, Tebow also played a helping hand in a second national championship game win back in 2006, his freshman season. But more importantly, Tebow helped Florida further establish the SEC’s hold on the BCS title game. Aside from the SEC and the recent exciting BCS championship matchups, the final game of the NCAA football year is coveted on its own simply due to the fact that the top two teams get to square off at the end of the year. Who those top two teams end up being and exactly how they get to be the top two teams is highly debatable, but for the most part, the BCS system works and delivers what college football fans are expecting and hoping for. The system is heavily criticized and comes with controversy at times, but has time and time again delivered a suitable national champion for those who paid good money for BCS tickets. And while any championship game has its fair share of blowouts due to the best team sometimes being way better than everyone else, the BCS title game has also handed out some of the best college football games in history. While change is on its way in terms of the exact route to a national champion, BCS tickets are still sure to be at high demand due to the stage and high-profile players and teams routinely involved year after year.
While big name players and NCAA teams with rich histories get fans to go all out for BCS tickets every year on their own, the great venues college football’s grandest event is held in every year do their part as well. The sport has come a long way from its old days of having team’s host games themselves, and as of 2012 has been engaged in a four-location rotation involving Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and California. The rotation is a humorous fit, since the SEC has dominated the BCS title game in recent memory, while LSU (Louisiana), Florida and USC (Southern California) have all frequented one of college sports’ biggest events. The first ever BCS title game was played in Tempe, Arizona in Sun Devil Stadium, and went down as a barn-burner between Tennessee and Florida State. It’s only fitting that an SEC team got things rolling, but it was even more fitting for those who purchased BCS tickets that year, as the two teams gave fans an excellent contest; something the BCS stage would come to offer as the years went on. Louisiana is home to the highest-scoring performance by any one team, as the University of Southern California (USC) holds the record for most points in a game with 55 in a win over Oklahoma in the 2004 BCS title game. Miami comes in second, as hometown crew Florida State put a whoopin’ on Virginia Tech back in the second ever BCS championship game, by the score of 46-29. The lowest scoring game in BCS title game history came by the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners in 2000, when they held on to beat the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 13-2. Florida State managed no offense and only recorded a safety in this one, in a game for the most part dominated by the Sooners. To makes matters worse, the poor showing came in front of the Seminoles’ own supporters, as Oklahoma embarrassed them on their own turf at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. Florida State isn’t alone, though, and the BCS National Championship game has actually seen a worse loser. The 2012 BCS title game brought us true sadness, as the Alabama Crimson Tide won their second national championship game in three tries by toppling over the LSU Tigers, 21-0. The most interesting aspect of this game was the fact that the Tigers were undefeated (13-0) and entered the final game of the year as the SEC champs. In fact, LSU had previously handed Alabama their only loss of the season. Even worse, LSU went down as the first team to be shutout in a college football national championship game since the 1992 Orange Bowl, and was also responsible for the first ever BCS title game shutout. While the final score of the NCAA title game is generally all that really matters, the big names and numbers that take the stage are equally interesting, especially considering that they come with everything on the line and with the whole nation watching. On top of helping Texas claim its first BCS title back in 2006, quarterback Vince Young smashed some records in the process. Against USC, Young set records for most rushing touchdowns (3), rushing yards (200) and total yardage (467). Fittingly enough, he even won the game with his legs in the waning seconds. Young is far from the only big name with a huge statistical showing, however. Matt Leinart, who lost to Young’s Longhorns in 2006, threw a BCS record five touchdowns in a win over Oklahoma in 2005. Some other incredible marks left on the BCS title game over the years are receptions (11) by Kellen Winslow of Miami, receiving yards (199) by Peerless Price (as well as Andre Johnson) in the inaugural BCS title game, and tackles (18) by Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis in a 2008 loss to the LSU Tigers. In its still fairly young but rich history, the BCS National Championship game has mostly been featured in Louisiana, Florida and California. Louisiana leads the way with four hosted college football title games, with Florida and California tied with three hosted games. Arizona, also part of the four-location rotation, has also hosted three BCS title game events, but two were in Tempe and the third was in Glendale. Louisiana has arguably found the least success in terms of showcasing the best games, as only one of the four BCS title games was decided by less than 10 points. Miami is known for the 55-point drubbing the Trojans dropped on the Sooners, but just as known for the paltry 13-2 contest involving the Seminoles and Sooners. California has arguably hosted the most explosive games, as Miami ripped off 37 points in a win over Nebraska back in 2001, in a game that featured Heisman winner and human highlight reel, Eric Crouch. California also was home to the highest combined scoring effort (79 points) and arguably the greatest BCS title game of all-time, when their hometown Trojans narrowly fell to the Texas Longhorns, 41-38. Add in a solid 37-21 battle between Alabama and Texas, and California makes a case for the best venue to this point. With that said, it’s tough to leave out (or top) Arizona as a host, as they hosted the first ever BCS National Championship game, and aside from one blowout (Florida over Ohio State), has had games all decided by seven points or less. Since its inaugural game, the BCS National Championship game has turned into a yearly coveted event in sports; one that decides the best college football team in America. Over time, BCS tickets have grown in demand, with bigger stars taking over, and SEC teams owning the biggest stage in recent years. Even with the SEC proving it’s dominance, however, the BCS title game remains one of sports’ purest championships; especially in the college ranks.