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BCS as a Playoff: 2001 is still Miami’s year

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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Clinton Portis would have celebrated a Playoff win too. (Getty Images)

Welcome to Dr. Saturday's BCS as the College Football Playoff feature. This week we'll go through each of the 16 years of the BCS and hypothesize if the national championship would have changed hands under the new College Football Playoff.

Since we don't have the benefit of a selection committee, we're taking the top four teams from the BCS standings entering bowl season. Can anyone dethrone Miami in 2001?

No. 1 Miami (13-0)

Coach: Larry Coker

Notable players: QB Ken Dorsey, RB Clinton Portis, WR Andre Johnson TE Jeremy Shockey, TE Kellen Winslow Jr., LB Jonathan Vilma, DB Ed Reed, DB Sean Taylor

Miami's season: Much like previous seasons, the Big East came down to Virginia Tech and Miami. The 2001 game was in Blacksburg, Va. and the Hurricanes won 26-24. Outside of that, no other game was within less than 11 points. Dorsey threw for 2,652 yards, Portis ran for 1,200, Johnson had 682 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns and Reed had nine interceptions.

No. 2 Nebraska (11-2)

Coach: Frank Solich

Notable players: QB Eric Crouch, RB Dahrran Diedrick, WR Wilson Thomas, DE Chris Kelsay, LB Scott Shanle, DB DeJuan Groce

Nebraska's season: Ah, our first big BCS controversy. The Cornhuskers lost the final game of the regular season to Colorado 62-36. That loss knocked Nebraska from the ranks of the unbeaten and out of title contention. Right? Nope. Despite the Buffaloes' win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship, Nebraska was still No. 2 in the BCS standings thanks to a computer poll advantage via strength-of-schedule.

No. 3 Colorado (10-3)

Coach: Gary Barnett

Notable players: QB Craig Ochs, QB Bobby Pesavento, RB Chris Brown, RB Bobby Purify, TE Daniel Graham, DE Tyler Brayton, DB Michael Lewis

Colorado's season: Oh, what could have been. Colorado opened the season with a loss against Fresno State and lost at Texas. The Texas loss was excusable, the Fresno State loss at home wasn't. That game basically sealed Colorado's fate to be stuck behind Nebraska despite a revenge win over the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship. Blame it on the Bulldogs.

No. 4 Oregon (11-1)

Coach: Mike Bellotti

Notable players: QB Joey Harrington, RB Maurice Morris, RB Onterrio Smith, WR Keenan Howry, WR Samie Parker, DB Steve Smith, DB Rashad Bauman

Oregon's season: It was the season that made Joey Harrington the third overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. Harrington threw for 2,764 yards and 27 touchdowns as the Ducks won the Pac-10. The only blemish was a 49-42 home loss to Stanford. And you can make a strong case that Oregon had more of a right to the No. 2 spot as Colorado did.

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The 2002 Rose Bowl: This game was over at halftime. The Hurricanes were up 7-0 after the first quarter and scored 27 unanswered in the second. Nebraska didn't have a chance to realize what had happened. One of the second quarter touchdowns came on a James Lewis interception return while the other three scoring drives totaled 14 plays and 207 yards. It was about as big as a knockout quarter can get. The Hurricanes rolled 37-14.

The Playoff matchups: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Oregon, No. 2 Nebraska vs. No. 3 Colorado

Just missing out: No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Tennessee

The semifinals: Miami and Oregon would have been a better national title game than Miami and Nebraska, but we're stuck with it in the semifinals. While the Ducks might have been the second best team in the country, the team ahead would be Miami. The Hurricanes take it.

In the battle of the Big 12, Colorado still has the edge, simply because of what happened at the end of the regular season. We're going with the team that got to – and won – the conference championship.

The final: There's a reason that many observers call the 2001 Miami team the best college football team ever. 38 members of the team were selected in the NFL draft, and 17 of those picks were first-rounders. The Hurricanes beat Colorado for the national title, and if we're doing an all-time playoff of BCS teams, we're seeding this Miami team No. 1.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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