2003 NCAA Division I-A football season

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2003 NCAA Division I-A season
Sugar Bowl Game 2004 from Flickr 29799042.jpg
Gameplay during the BCS National Championship Sugar Bowl for the 2003 season
Number of teams 117
Preseason AP #1 Oklahoma Sooners
Post-season
Duration December 16, 2003 –
January 4, 2004
Bowl games 28
Heisman Trophy Jason White, Oklahoma QB
Championship bowl game
2004 Sugar Bowl
Site Louisiana Superdome,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Winner USC Trojans (AP)
LSU Tigers (Coaches)
Division I-A football seasons
← 2002
2004 →

The 2003 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with an abundance of controversy, resulting in a split national championship. This was the first split title since the inception of the BCS, something the BCS intended to eliminate.

At season's end, three major conference teams finished the regular season with one loss, with only two spots available in the BCS National Championship Game. Three non-BCS teams also finished with one loss, TCU, Boise State and Miami (OH), stirring the debate of the BCS being unfair to mid-major teams.

USC had lost a triple overtime thriller at California on September 27, LSU lost at home to Florida on October 11, and Oklahoma, which had been #1 in every BCS rating,[1] AP and Coaches' Poll[2] of the season, lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game, 35-7 on December 6. Although USC, then 11-1, finished ranked #1 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls, with LSU (12-1) ranked #2 and Oklahoma (12-1) #3, Oklahoma surpassed both USC and LSU on several BCS computer factors. Oklahoma's schedule strength was ranked 11th to LSU's 29th and USC's 37th. Oklahoma's schedule rank was 0.44 to LSU's 1.16 and USC's 1.48. As such, despite the timing of Oklahoma's loss affecting the human voters, the computers kept Oklahoma at #1 in the BCS poll. LSU was ranked #2 by the BCS based on its #2 ranking in the AP Poll, Coaches Poll, 6 of 7 computer rankings (with the remaining one ranking them #1), and strength of schedule calculations. USC's #3 BCS ranking resulted from it being ranked #1 the AP and Coaches Poll, but #3 in 5 of 7 computer rankings (with the 2 remaining computer rankings at #1 and #4) and schedule strength, though separated by only 0.16 points.

LSU defeated Oklahoma in the 2004 Sugar Bowl, securing the BCS National Championship, as the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll is contractually obligated to vote the winner of the BCS National Championship Game #1. Meanwhile, when AP #1 USC beat Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl, the AP voters kept USC in the top spot, and USC secured the AP title.

On January 9, 2004, Ted Waitt, CEO of Gateway Computers offered the NCAA $31 million for a national championship game between USC and Louisiana State. The NCAA did not consider the offer, leaving the year without an unarguable national champion.

Army became the first team in Division I-A NCAA football modern history to finish the season 0-13.

The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award sponsored by ESPN chose USC coach Pete Carroll as their award recipient, while the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, voted on by an association of sportswriters, chose LSU Coach Nick Saban.

The Orange Bowl game was noteworthy in that Miami and Florida State previously had scheduled to play each other on Labor Day in 2004. Playing in the Orange Bowl ensured that their next meeting would be each of their very next games and their first of the 2004 season.

Texas was also affected by the BCS controversy. Oklahoma's late loss kept Texas from appearing in one of the BCS games. Had Oklahoma won the Big 12 championship, the two at-large teams would have been Ohio State and Texas. But with the loss, Kansas State received the Big 12 bid and Oklahoma one of the at-large bids, leaving #5 Texas on the outside looking in. Texas lost to Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.

Two Independent schools joined conferences in 2003. South Florida left to join Conference USA as its 11th member, while Utah State left the Independent ranks to join the Sun Belt Conference as its 8th member.

Rules changes[edit]

The NCAA Rules Committee adopted the following rules changes for the 2003 season:

  • The "Halo Rule" (two-yard restricted area around the kick/punt returner) is abolished. The penalty for fair-catch interference remains at 15 yards if the returner is contacted before he has a chance to catch the punt/kick.
  • Backs not positioned within the "tackle box" are prohibited from blocking below the waist anywhere behind the scrimmage line, and up to a point 10 yards downfield.
  • The game clock will start on all kickoffs once touched in the field of play, repealing a rule change adopted in the 1997 season where the clock started on the kick (except during the final 2:00 of each half).
  • Giving the offended team the option to enforce all personal fouls committed during and after a touchdown play either on the PAT or on the ensuing kickoff.

Standings[edit]

2003 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#11 Florida State   7 1         10 3  
#17 Maryland   6 2         10 3  
#22 Clemson   5 3         9 4  
NC State   4 4         8 5  
Virginia   4 4         8 5  
Georgia Tech   4 4         7 6  
Wake Forest   3 5         5 7  
Duke   2 6         4 8  
North Carolina   1 7         2 10  
† – BCS representative as champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
North
#14 Kansas State x   6 2         11 4  
#19 Nebraska   5 3         10 3  
Missouri   4 4         8 5  
Kansas   3 5         6 7  
Colorado   3 5         5 7  
Iowa State   0 8         2 10  
South
#3 Oklahoma x   8 0         12 2  
#12 Texas   7 1         10 3  
Oklahoma State   5 3         9 4  
Texas Tech   4 4         8 5  
Texas A&M   2 6         4 8  
Baylor   1 7         3 9  
Championship: Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7
† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big East football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#5 Miami (FL) §   6 1         11 2  
West Virginia §   6 1         8 5  
Pittsburgh   5 2         8 5  
Virginia Tech   4 3         8 5  
Boston College   3 4         8 5  
Syracuse   2 5         6 6  
Rutgers   2 5         5 7  
Temple   0 7         1 11  
† – BCS representative as champion
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#6/7 Michigan   7 1         10 3  
#4/4 Ohio State   6 2         11 2  
#18/19 Purdue   6 2         9 4  
#8/8 Iowa   5 3         10 3  
#20/17 Minnesota   5 3         10 3  
Michigan State   5 3         8 5  
Wisconsin   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   4 4         6 7  
Penn State   0* 7         0* 9  
Indiana   1 7         2 10  
Illinois   0 8         1 11  
† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative
2003 Conference USA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Southern Miss   8 0         9 4  
#24 TCU   7 1         11 2  
Louisville   5 3         9 4  
Memphis   5 3         9 4  
South Florida   5 3         7 4  
Houston   4 4         7 6  
UAB   4 4         5 7  
Tulane   3 5         5 7  
Cincinnati   2 6         5 7  
East Carolina   1 7         1 11  
Army   0 8         0 13  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Connecticut           9 3  
Navy           8 5  
Troy           6 6  
Notre Dame           5 7  
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East
#10 Miami x   8 0         13 1  
Marshall   6 2         8 4  
Akron   5 3         7 5  
Kent State   4 4         5 7  
UCF   2 6         3 9  
Ohio   1 7         2 10  
Buffalo   1 7         1 11  
West
#23 Bowling Green x   7 1         11 3  
Northern Illinois   6 2         10 2  
Toledo   6 2         8 4  
Western Michigan   4 4         5 7  
Ball State   3 5         4 8  
Eastern Michigan   2 6         3 9  
Central Michigan   1 7         3 9  
Championship: Miami 49, Bowling Green 27
† – Conference champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Mountain West Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#21 Utah   6 1         10 2  
New Mexico   5 2         8 5  
Colorado State   4 3         7 6  
Air Force   3 4         7 5  
San Diego State   3 4         6 6  
BYU   3 4         4 8  
UNLV   2 5         6 6  
Wyoming   2 5         4 8  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#1 USC   7 1         12 1  
#9 Washington State   6 2         10 3  
Oregon   5 3         8 5  
California   5 3         8 6  
Oregon State   4 4         8 5  
Washington   4 4         6 6  
UCLA   4 4         6 7  
Arizona State   2 6         5 7  
Stanford   2 6         4 7  
Arizona   1 7         2 10  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
#7 Georgia xy   6 2         11 3  
#15 Tennessee x   6 2         10 3  
#24 Florida x   6 2         8 5  
South Carolina   2 6         5 7  
Kentucky   1 7         4 8  
Vanderbilt   1 7         2 10  
Western Division
#2 LSU xy   7 1         13 1  
#13 Ole Miss x   7 1         10 3  
Auburn   5 3         8 5  
Arkansas   4 4         9 4  
Alabama   2 6         4 9  
Mississippi State   1 7         2 10  
Championship: LSU 34, Georgia 13
† – BCS representative as champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Sun Belt football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
North Texas   7 0         9 4  
Louisiana–Lafayette   3 2         4 8  
Arkansas State   3 3         5 7  
Middle Tennessee   3 3         4 8  
Utah State   3 3         3 9  
Idaho   3 4         3 9  
New Mexico State   2 5         3 9  
Louisiana–Monroe   1 5         1 11  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#16 Boise State   8 0         13 1  
Fresno State   6 2         9 5  
Tulsa   5 2         7 5  
Hawaii   5 3         9 5  
Rice   5 3         5 7  
Nevada   4 4         6 6  
Louisiana Tech   3 5         5 7  
San Jose State   2 6         3 8  
UTEP   1 6         2 10  
SMU   0 8         0 12  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl Championship Series rankings[edit]

WEEK #1 #2 EVENT
OCT 20 Oklahoma Miami
OCT 27 Oklahoma Miami Virginia Tech 31, Miami 7
NOV 3 Oklahoma USC
NOV 10 Oklahoma USC
NOV 17 Oklahoma Ohio State Michigan 35, Ohio State 21
NOV 24 Oklahoma USC
DEC 1 Oklahoma USC LSU 34, Georgia 13
FINAL Oklahoma LSU

Bowl games[edit]

Rankings given are AP poll positions at time of game

BCS bowls[edit]

Other January bowls[edit]

December Bowl games[edit]

Final AP Poll[edit]

Team Final Record Points
1. USC (48) 12-1 1,608
2. LSU (17) 13-1 1,576
3. Oklahoma 12-2 1,476
4. Ohio State 11-2 1,411
5. Miami (FL) 11-2 1,329
6. Michigan 10-3 1,281
7. Georgia 11-3 1,255
8. Iowa 10-3 1,107
9. Washington State 10-3 1,060
10. Miami (OH) 13-1 932
11. Florida State 10-3 905
12. Texas 10-3 887
13. Mississippi 10-3 845
14. Kansas State 11-4 833
15. Tennessee 10-3 695
16. Boise State 13-1 645
17. Maryland 10-3 564
18. Purdue 9-4 526
19. Nebraska 10-3 520
20. Minnesota 10-3 368
21. Utah 10-2 308
22. Clemson 9-4 230
23. Bowling Green 11-3 189
24. Florida 8-5 165
25. Texas Christian 11-2 126

Others receiving votes: 26. Oklahoma State 109, 27. Arkansas 73, 28. Virginia 36, 29. Northern Illinois 30, 30. Auburn 8, 30. Oregon State 8, 32. Pittsburgh 7, 32. N.C. State 7, 34. West Virginia 4, 35. Connecticut 2.

Final Coaches Poll[edit]

Three coaches voted for USC as the #1 team, even though the polled coaches are required to vote the BCS champion as #1. Because the votes were not public, it is not known which three coaches placed those votes. However, it is known that USC coach Pete Carroll could not have voted for his own team since he was not a voting coach that season.

Team Final Record Points
1. LSU (60) 13-1 1,572
2. USC (3) 12-1 1,514
3. Oklahoma 12-2 1,429
4. Ohio State 11-2 1,370
5. Miami (FL) 11-2 1,306
6. Georgia 11-3 1,183
7. Michigan 10-3 1,140
8. Iowa 10-3 1,119
9. Washington State 10-3 983
10. Florida State 10-3 929
11. Texas 10-3 894
12. Miami (OH) 13-1 800
13. Kansas State 11-4 746
14. Mississippi 10-3 730
15. Boise State 13-1 704
16. Tennessee 10-3 684
17. Minnesota 10-3 553
18. Nebraska 10-3 532
19. Purdue 9-4 510
20. Maryland 10-3 462
21. Utah 10-2 327
22. Clemson 9-4 219
23. Bowling Green 11-3 170
24. TCU 11-2 145
25. Florida 8-5 124

Also receiving votes

Northern Illinois (10-2) 80; Arkansas (9-4) 74; Oklahoma State (9-4) 63; Auburn (8-5) 20; North Carolina State (8-5) 17; Oregon State (8-5) 15; West Virginia (8-5) 14; Southern Mississippi (9-4) 12; Fresno State (9-5) 6; Hawaii (9-5) 6; Pittsburgh (8-5) 5; Texas Tech (8-5) 4; Marshall (8-4) 3; Virginia (8-5) 3; Boston College (8-5) 2; California (8-6) 1; Connecticut (9-3) 1; Memphis (9-4) 1; Michigan State Spartans (8-5) 1; Missouri (8-5) 1; North Texas (9-4) 1.

Heisman Trophy voting[edit]

The Heisman Trophy is given to the most outstanding player of the year

Other major awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2003 Bowl Championship Series Standings". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  2. ^ "2003 NCAA Football Rankings". ESPN. Retrieved 2007-09-28.