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The BCS Curse Close to Claiming Another Victim

Is winning it all worth the terrible price?


Despite what the leadership is saying in Austin, the walls are closing in on Mack Brown after his Longhorns lost to Ole Miss. I don't say that to slight the Rebels, who by all accounts played a great game (thanks, LHN). The team from Oxford will win quite a few more contests before this season is over.

However, the loss only increased the discontent among Texas fans, and once fans as unhappy as they are there, it's only a matter of time.

Notably, Brown's seemingly inevitable downfall would be another unfortunate result for a coach who won a BCS national championship. Much maligned since its advent in 1998, the BCS hasn't even been good to those who won its titles. Just consider what has happened to those who claimed its hardware:

  • 1998, Phil Fulmer: forced to resign a decade later after his program atrophied.
  • 1999, Bobby Bowden: saw his replacement hired to his staff as his empire crumbled around him, then forced to give the keys to his replacement sooner than he wanted to.
  • 2000, Bob Stoops: just over half a decade later, his reputation was one of losing the big game.
  • 2001, Larry Coker: fired five years later.
  • 2002, Jim Tressel: forced to resign in disgrace after NCAA scandal, and the probation from it caused his successor to miss out on a possible national title game.
  • 2003, Nick Saban: left LSU to go to the NFL, where he lasted just two years because it wasn't working out.
  • 2004, Pete Carroll: skipped town just before the NCAA hammered his program and vacated his title.
  • 2005, Mack Brown: saw the foundation of his program dissolve five years later and now appears to be a dead coach walking.
  • 2006 and 2008, Urban Meyer: resigned, un-resigned, and then a year later resigned because he could't physically or mentally handle the stress.
  • 2007, Les Miles: is currently having Sports Illustrated drag his name through the mud.
  • 2010, Gene Chizik: fired two years later.
  • 2009, 2011, and 2012, Saban: is doing fine now apparently, though his '12 title might end up vacated.

Given that most folks seemed to agree that the SI report is a clown show before it's even over, Miles is probably OK at the moment. Saban is all right too for now, though not after being bit by the BCS title curse once with an ill-fated tenure with the Dolphins. Plus, if Yahoo! Sports shares its documentation on D.J. Fluker with the NCAA and it's all legit, it's hard to imagine any of the Tide's 2012 season wins not being vacated.

This winter will feature the final BCS championship. If you're a coach, do you even want it? Maybe it'd be best to let Saban take this one and soak up more of the curse like the picture of Dorian Gray and hope that the College Football Championship title is not similarly bewitched.

Or, perhaps the lessons here are that winning a championship is very hard and sometimes requires luck, nothing lasts forever, and NCAA rules are structured such that it's practically impossible for a successful program not to run afoul of them at some point. The biggest winners have the biggest targets, after all, and compared to the mountain top, everything else just can't compare.