As I begin my series of articles on the BCS ultimate college football champion here is a reminder of how this fantasy bracket will work. I introduced a new series of articles I will be doing in the month of March in which I will breakdown and analyze all 16 BCS champions. I have formed a bracket in which they will compete against one another until we eventually get to the greatest college football championship team of the BCS era (1998-2013).
The first matchup in the ultimate BCS championship bracket is the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers vs. the 2013 Florida State Seminoles. If you missed the introduction article on these series of articles, I decided to pair the most recent national title winners against the early BCS era champions. This is the first in the series of first round games and it means the 1998 Volunteers face off against the 2013 Seminoles.
Looking at these two teams it is clear that the 2013 Florida State Seminole’s offense was much more explosive. Florida State was led by the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. He was the second ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and led his team to an amazing comeback victory in the national title game against Auburn.
The 2013 Florida State Seminoles scored a college football record 723 points during the 2013 season. The one-two punch of Kelvin Benjamin and Winston was explosive and no team found an answer all year to slow them down. In this dream matchup of 2013 Florida State vs. 1998 Tennessee the ability to slow down the Seminole’s offense would be task number one for the Volunteers.
As we look at the Tennessee Volunteers’ offense they were much less explosive than the 2013 Florida State offense. The 1998 Tennessee offense only scored over 40 points four times the entire season. That may sound like a lot, but comparing and putting them up against the 2013 Seminoles that doesn’t compare too well.
Tennessee scored a total of 431 points during the 1998 season. This is nearly 300 points less than the 723 points that the 2013 Florida State team scored. I know it’s not an exact science when comparing point totals because of different schedules, rosters and whatnot, but when you are nearly 300 points behind that stands out in this type of comparison.
The next component I want to look at is close games that these two teams were involved in. The Volunteers in 1998 barely escaped the first game of their season. Tennessee won by the score 34-33 against Syracuse. To be fair this was when Syracuse was relevant in college football and was ranked number 17 in the land when these two met in week one of the 1998 season. The Volunteers also had a three point victory the following week against number two Florida.
The one advantage I feel the 1998 Tennessee team has in this contest to see who advances in my dream bracket is their strength of schedule. The Seminoles in 2013 had a schedule ranked in the 60’s and the Volunteers first two games alone put them ahead of Florida State in this part of the evaluation.
Now as we switch to defense in the evaluation process I feel this is where these two teams are the most even. The Volunteers had one of those much talked about SEC defenses we heard about so much in the BCS era. The offenses in college football back in the late 90’s weren’t nearly as high powered as they are now and that shows in some of the scores from the 1998 season for Tennessee.
The Volunteers allowed single digit points to four of their 13 opponents in 1998. In today’s era of college football any team holding an opponent to single digits is very rare to find. This is very impressive no matter what time frame we are talking about. The Volunteers allowed a total of 189 points to their opponents during the 1998 season. This is one of the best defenses we saw in the 16 year era of the BCS.
As we now take a look at the 2013 Florida State Seminoles’ defense it was one that compared very favorable to an SEC defense. Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher tried to mold his team in the form of an SEC team and he did so, especially on the defensive side of the ball. This was crucial in their magical 2013 season and they really showed their worth against a fast and high powered Auburn offense in the national title game.
The 2013 Seminoles allowed a total of 170 points. I mentioned how the 1998 Tennessee defense was one of the best of the BCS era; well the 2013 Florida State defense was right there with them. The Seminoles allowed single digit scoring to seven of their 14 opponents in 2013. This obviously means the Florida State defense allowed single digit scoring to half of their opponents and in this day and era of high powered offenses in college football that is truly remarkable.
The number of points allowed by both teams is very close with the Volunteers having allowed only 19 more points in 1998 than Florida State did in 2013.
As we wrap up this fantasy matchup of these two BCS championship teams the head coaching battle is the last thing to look at. The Volunteers were coached by Phillip Fulmer and the Seminoles were coached by Jimbo Fisher. I feel this was nearly a draw, but Fulmer obviously has the better resume of the two currently.
So, as the final decision is to be made on who advances in the March Madness of college football fantasy bracket it is important to remember that a number of factors went into who ultimately advances. The eye test, schedule, stats, head coach, among other things all go into the final decision. There is sure to be some debate, but that is one of the main purposes of this fantasy bracket to begin with.
Without further delay the 2013 Florida State Seminoles will advance out of round one. The Seminoles were truly one of the best teams the game of college football has seen. Their schedule was the one weakness for them, but their ability to beat an Auburn team that had an explosive offense and end the SEC national title streak was impressive in itself.
The 2013 Florida State Seminoles will now play the winner of the next contest which will be between the 1999 Florida State Seminoles and the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide.
We are now one step closer in determining the ultimate BCS national championship team.