this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, file photo, Ohio State
running back Curtis Samuel runs the ball against
Michigan during the first half of an NCAA college
football game in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State didn't win
the Big Ten, but the Buckeyes will play for a much
bigger prize. Their national title hopes are still
very much intact.
didn't win the Big Ten, but the Buckeyes will play for a
much bigger prize. Their national title hopes are still very
rare, but not unprecedented.
second by the AP and third by the playoff committee, the
Buckeyes will take on Clemson in a national semifinal . Ohio
State is the first team in the playoff's three-year history
to be included despite failing to win its conference.
Bowl Championship Series era, however, three teams made it
to the title game after falling short within their
conferences. Here's a look at how it happened:
Didn't Win Their Conference: The Cornhuskers were undefeated
heading into their regular-season finale at Colorado, but
the Buffaloes drubbed Nebraska 62-36. That prevented the
Cornhuskers from even playing in the Big 12 championship
really had a big dream," Nebraska QB Eric Crouch said
after the game. "Those are over with now. This is going
to be a tough one to swallow."
Happened Next: Nebraska fell from first to fourth in the BCS
standings after the loss, trailing Miami, Florida and Texas.
Florida lost to Tennessee the following week, and Texas fell
to Colorado in the Big 12 title game. Tennessee briefly held
the No. 2 BCS slot before losing to LSU in the SEC
which hadn't played at all since being routed by Colorado,
ended up back at No. 2 in the BCS standings, just ahead of
Colorado and Oregon. Both major polls had Oregon No. 2.
Happened In The End: Nebraska was ranked No. 4 in the AP
poll when it took the field for the BCS title game at the
Rose Bowl. The Cornhuskers were overmatched. Miami led 34-0
at halftime and went on to win 37-14.
Didn't Win Their Conference: The Sooners went unbeaten
during the regular season but were routed 35-7 by Kansas
State in the Big 12 title game.
not going to sit here and lobby for any bowl," Oklahoma
coach Bob Stoops said afterward. "We just got whipped.
They outplayed us in every part of the game."
Happened Next: Stoops didn't need to lobby. Oklahoma was No.
1 in the BCS standings before it lost to Kansas State —
and still No. 1 afterward. The Sooners ended up facing LSU
in the BCS title game. Southern California was left out
despite being No. 1 in both polls.
Result: Playing in its home state at the Sugar Bowl, LSU
held off Oklahoma 21-14 to take the BCS title. USC, which
beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, won the AP national title.
CRIMSON TIDE (2011)
Didn't Win Their Conference: Alabama hosted LSU in a matchup
of unbeatens on Nov. 5, with the Tigers prevailing 9-6 in
overtime. Neither team lost for the rest of the regular
season, so it was the Tigers who represented the SEC West in
the league title game.
be honored to face that team again," LSU coach Les
Miles said after the victory over the Crimson Tide.
Happened Next: Alabama fell only one spot to No. 3 in the
BCS standings after losing to LSU, but there were a few
undefeated teams still to contend with — Oklahoma State at
No. 2, Stanford at No. 4 and even Boise State at No. 5.
Stanford and Boise State lost the following weekend, and
Oklahoma State's double-overtime loss to Iowa State on Nov.
18 opened the door for an LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS
Result: In another defensive struggle, Alabama held LSU to
five first downs, beating the Tigers 21-0 to claim the