BCS as a Playoff: Will Ohio State and Miami meet again in 2002?

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. Are we going to end up with another classic title game?

No. 1 Miami (12-1)

Coach: Larry Coker

Notable players: QB Ken Dorsey, RB Willis McGahee, WR Andre Johnson, TE Kellen Winslow, LB Jonathan Vilma, DB Sean Taylor, DB Antrel Rolle

Miami's season: The 2002 Miami team had more close calls than the 2001 team did. The Hurricanes beat Florida State by one at home, Pitt by seven at home, and held off Virginia Tech by nine. Dorsey threw for 3,369 yards and 28 touchdowns while McGahee ran for 1,753 yards and 28 scores. It was the best team in the state of Florida, but was it the best team in the country?

No. 2 Ohio State (14-0)

Coach: Jim Tressel

Notable players: QB Craig Krenzel, RB Maurice Clarett, WR Michael Jenkins, LB AJ Hawk, DB/WR Chris Gamble, DB Will Allen, DB Mike Doss

Ohio State's season: The Buckeyes didn't pile up the points that Miami did, but a dominating defense made sure that it wasn't necessary. After giving up 21 to Texas Tech in the opener, OSU didn't give up over 20 until the title game and held six opponents in single digits. Clarett ran for 1,237 yards and 16 scores while Jenkins caught 61 passes for 1,076 yards.

No. 3 Georgia (13-1)

Coach: Mark Richt

Notable players: QB David Greene, RB Musa Smith, WR Terrence Edwards, WR Fred Gibson, DE David Pollack, LB Thomas Davis, DB Kentrell Curry

Georgia's season: If it wasn't for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the Bulldogs could have created some BCS controversy. Georgia's only loss of the season came on Nov. 2 against Florida. The Bulldogs rolled against Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game and Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Greene threw for 2,924 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions while Smith ran for 1,324 yards and eight scores.

No. 4 USC (11-2)

Coach: Pete Carroll

Notable players: QB Carson Palmer, RB Sultan McCullough, RB Justin Fargas, WR Mike Williams, WR Keary Colbert, DL Mike Patterson, DB Troy Polamalu

USC's season: The Trojans lost on the road to two ranked teams -- Kansas State and Washington State -- but USC might have played the toughest schedule in the country. Counting the Orange Bowl, Southern Cal played nine teams in the top 25. Palmer, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL draft, threw for 3,942 yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Both Williams and Colbert had over 1,000 yards receiving.


The 2003 Fiesta Bowl: This game is easily in the top-five in BCS history. A Todd Sievers fourth-quarter field goal sent the game to overtime tied at 17-17. In the first overtime, Miami struck first on a 7-yard pass to Winslow while Ohio State tied it on a 1-yard run by Krenzel. After Clarett scored to start the second overtime, the Ohio State defense came up huge again, preventing Miami from scoring after the Hurricanes had a first-and-goal at the 2. The Buckeyes won 31-24.

The Playoff matchups: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 USC, No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia

Just missing out: No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Washington State

The semifinals: This is our best set of semifinals yet. Miami was clearly vulnerable and USC might have been underrated. Does the USC offense outplay the Miami offense? We'll take the Hurricanes here, but this is extremely close. It may come down to Sievers' leg again. In the second semifinal, it's a very even matchup too. Georgia has the defense to stop Clarett, but we have a sneaking suspicion that the Buckeyes would have found a way to figure the game out. Maybe via a 13-12 win.

The final: We've got a rematch of the Fiesta Bowl. Do we dare think that the outcome is different? It very well could be. It's hard not to look back at the second overtime and wonder how different Miami's offense is with a healthy McGahee, who gruesomely injured his knee in the fourth quarter. But even if we presume that McGahee scores, unless Miami goes for a two-point conversion and the win the game is heading for a third overtime. If the game is extended further, we again think Ohio State figures it out. The Buckeyes still reign.

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Previous years: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

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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