Cal, Arizona, ASU, and the others still Reaching for a BCS Bowl

The Bowl Championship Series was introduced to the college football nation during the 1998-1999 season. Originally it was composed of four bowl games (Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Rose) with a fifth (BCS National Championship Game) later added. A total of 44 schools have played in a BCS bowl game since the 1998 season.

These prestigious bowl games have seen the likes of Purdue, Kansas, Stanford, Maryland, and Washington State, along with other inconsistent programs. Here are 10 respected programs still attempting to reach their first BCS bowl.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The SEC school has enjoyed much success, with 10 bowl game appearances since 1998.Current coach Bobby Petrino took over for Houston Nutt, who went 75-48 during his tenure in Fayetteville (1998-2007).

Arkansas has come close with 2002 and 2006 defeats in the SEC Championship Game. The Razorbacks have posted nine-win seasons three times, and a 10-4 record in 2006.

Notable former Razorbacks since 1998 include Jamaal Anderson, Felix Jones, Darren McFadden, Matt Jones, Jason Peters, and Tony Ugoh.

Boston College Eagles

The modern Boston College program was built by Tom O’Brien, and Frank Spaziani took over in 2009, leading the team to an 8-5 season. Playing in the Big East before moving to the ACC, the Eagles were conference co-champions in 2004.

The program has played in 11 bowl games since 1998. Boston College went 10-3 in 2006, with a follow-up season of 11-3. Under O’Brien the Eagles posted four seasons of nine wins.

The talent to run through Boston College includes Matt Ryan, B.J. Raji, Ron Brace, Chris Hovan, William Green, Damien Woody, Matt Hasselbeck, and Marc Colombo.

BYU Cougars

Much like Boise State, Utah, TCU, and Hawaii, the Cougars need to finish the regular season undefeated to reach a BCS game. The program has won the Mountain West conference four times, reached eight bowl games, and posted seasons of at least 10 wins a remarkable five times.

Bronco Mendenhall has found recent success in recruiting elite prospects to Provo, and will look to lead the Cougars to their first BCS bowl game in the university’s history.

A few notable players include John Beck, Austin Collie, Luke Staley, Harvey Unga, and Max Hall.

California Golden Bears

Based out of the Pac-10, California was stuck in a depressing state during the Tom Holmoe era. Jeff Tedford took over the position in 2002, and has stocked his team with talent ever since. The Bears have been to seven straight bowl games, and regularly flirt with outstanding seasons. In 2004, the team was overlooked by the BCS at 10-1 in favor of Texas. The team posted 10-win seasons in 2004 and 2006, along with a 9-4 record in 2008.

Notable talent of the period includes Andre Carter, Scott Fujita, Kyle Boller, Aaron Rodgers, Jahvid Best, J.J. Arrington, DeSean Jackson, Tyson Alualu, Marshawn Lynch, and Justin Forsett.

Clemson Tigers

Commonly a top tier ACC football team, the Tigers have appeared in 10 bowl games after beginning the era with a dismal 3-8 season. Tommy Bowden coached the Death Valley squad until Dubo Sweeney took over in 2008. The Tigers have posted four seasons of nine wins, as they continue to chase their first conference title since 1991.

A few notable players to hail from Clemson include Barry Richardson, Charlie Whitehurst, Woody Dantzler, Mike Hamlin, James Davis, Jacoby Ford, Gaines Adams, and C.J. Spiller.

Michigan State Spartans

Commonly regarded as a middle of the road Big Ten team, the Spartans have gone through five coaches since the beginning of the BCS era. Mark Dantonio has coached in Lansing since 2007, and recorded his best season at 9-4 in 2008. The Spartans came close to reaching a BCS bowl game when they posted a 10-2 record during the 1999 season.

The team has played in six bowl games and notable players include Charles Rodgers, Plaxico Burress, T.J. Duckett, Julian Peterson, Drew Stanton and Javon Ringer.

Mississippi Rebels

An inconsistent but talented program, Ole Miss is entering their third season with ex-Razorback coach Houston Nutt at the helm. The team bounced back from a dismal winless conference record in 2007 under Ed Orgeron with a 10-3 season in 2008. The Rebels have appeared in seven bowl games, including three trips to the Cotton Bowl since 1998.

The recent talent of the program includes Eli Manning, Deuce McAllister, Derrick Burgess, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Javon Snead, Michael Oher, Patrick Willis, and Ken Lucas.

Missouri Tigers

Still searching for their first conference title since 1969, the Missouri Tigers have risen to the top of the Big 12 during the past few years. Gary Pinkel is entering his 11th year, and led the program to a 12-2 record in 2007, and 10-4 in 2008.

The Tigers came very close to a BCS invite in 2007 when the Tigers were spurned in favor of Kansas. Pinkel has led the Columbia based school to seven bowl appearances during his tenure.

Chase Coffman, Justin Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, Sean Weatherspoon, and Martin Rucker have played for Missouri since 1998.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

An underacheiving program from 1998 until 2002, former coach Les Miles handed over power to Mike Gundy in 2005. The Cowboys have reached seven bowl games, and posted nine-win seasons in 2003, 2008, and 2009. As the Big 12 becomes the Big Ten, the chances of reaching a BCS bowl game should improve in Stillwater.

A few notable athletes to wear the orange and black since 1998 include Dez Bryant, Brandon Pettigrew, Kendall Hunter, Vernand Morency, Russell Okung, and Tatum Bell.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

New coach Tommy Tuberville will look to continue the recent success of the program after replacing Mike Leach. Known for producing great college quarterbacks and scoring points, the Red Raiders have played in 11 bowl games since 1998.

In 2008, the team came close to reaching a BCS game, and finished the season at 11-2. The past 12 years have included four seasons of nine wins for the team from Lubbock.

The consistently explosive offense has produced the likes of Kliff KIngsbury, B.J. Symons, Graham Harrell, Wes Welker, and Michael Crabtree.

Honorable Mentions

A few other football programs attempting to reach their first BCS bowl game:

Virginia – The Cavaliers of the ACC have never made a true push for a conference title.

North Carolina – Many view the 2010 season as one of the best chances for the Tar Heels to reach a BCS bowl game.

Arizona State – The Sun Devils started strong with Dennis Erickson in 2007 only to end in disappointment.

Arizona – The Wildcats have never won a Pac-10 title in the school’s history, and the Tucson university just recently returned to respectability.

South Carolina – Steve Spurrier has coached an average team in a difficult conference, and will need to raise the talent level to make progress.

Other Programs – Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Northwestern, North Carolina State, Baylor, Iowa State, Minnesota, Duke, South Florida, Rutgers, Connecticut

BCS Appearances by School:

Big Ten: Ohio State (8), Michigan (4), Wisconsin (2), Penn State (2), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Purdue (1).

SEC: Florida (6), LSU (4), Georgia (3), Alabama (3), Tennessee (2), Auburn (1).

Big 12: Oklahoma (7), Texas (4), Nebraska (2), Kansas (1), Colorado (1), Kansas State (1), Texas A&M (1).

Pac-10: USC (6), Oregon (2), Oregon State (1), Washington (1), Stanford (1), UCLA (1), Washington State (1).

Big East: Miami (4), West Virginia (2), Cincinnati (2), Louisville (1), Pittsburgh (1), Syracuse (1), Virginia Tech (1).

ACC: Florida State (6), Virginia Tech (3), Maryland (1), Wake Forest (1), Georgia Tech (1).

Mountain West: Utah (2), TCU (1).

WAC: Boise State (2), Hawaii (1).

Independents: Notre Dame (3).

~ by philip d. on July 7, 2010.

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