RESULTS - Part I
(seed) year school - score
(59) 1988 Florida State - 24
In case you forgot, 1998 Florida State has already won the title for the best team rap in the tournament.
But the Seminoles drew a tough matchup here against Joe Paterno's national champion '82 Nittany Lions. Todd Blackledge out-shined Chip Ferguson in the quarterback duel, throwing for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns against Deion Sanders and LeRoy Butler in the FSU secondary. WR Kenny Jackson caught one of those TD passes and piled up 88 yards receiving. Tailback Curt Warner caught the other scoring pass.
Florida State tailbacks Sammie Smith and Dexter Carter couldn't pick up the slack on offense. With an inconsistent passing game throughout much of the day, these two needed to step up. But against linebacker Al Harris they didn't have much luck.
(22) 2004 Auburn - 23
(86) 1989 Colorado - 20
The Auburn defense contained Colorado's potent running attack en route to a relatively easy win. In the Bracket of Champions, there is no such thing as an easy matchup, so nursing a 23-13 lead throughout most of the fourth quarter can be considered relatively easy.
Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was disruptive in the middle, while defensive end Stanley McClover and linebacker Travis Williams stayed disciplined against the option. Safety Junior Rosegreen was active as well coming up to help out in run support.
The running back matchup was intriguing as well. Colorado had J.J. Flannican and Eric Bieniemy, and Auburn countered with Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Auburn won that battle by a nose, 145 rushing yards to 133.
(14) 2000 Oklahoma - 17
(78) 1986 Miami - 16
When Jimmy Johnson and Miami takes on Bob Stoops and Oklahoma you know there is going to be some top notch defensive talent on the field.
All American quarterback Josh Heupel had to look over a defense featuring DT Jerome Brown, S Bennie Blades, DE Daniel Stubbs, and LB Winston Moss. Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde had an equally daunting view from under center: LBs Rocky Calmus and Torrance Marshall, S J.T. Thatcher, DT Kory Klein, and S Roy Williams. No wonder neither team reached 20 points.
Neither running game produced any significant yardage, so it came down to which quarterback could navigate the land mines the best. Testaverde looked good early, throwing a touchdown pass to Michael Irvin on Miami's second drive after a turnover put the 'Canes in good field position. But Heupel had a few more receivers to choose from. Tight end Trent Smith caught 8 clutch passes for 66 yards, and Curtis Fagan caught the game winning touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
(30) 1994 Nebraska - 20
(35) 1987 Florida State - 27
With Tommie Frazier still sidelined nursing a blood clot, the '94 Cornhuskers couldn't be considered to be at full strength. But against this Seminole team I'm not sure it would have mattered.
Quarterback Danny McManus got hot early throwing touchdown passes on each of the first two Seminole drives. From there it was simply a matter of containing Lawrence Phillips and Brook Berringer. Berringer had filled in admirably for Frazier in this tournament, throwing for 756 yards and 7 touchdowns in four games. But he met his match in the '87 FSU secondary.
Deion Sanders intercepted a pass early in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown, delivering the deciding blow that finally knocked the '94 champs out.