2003 NCAA Division I-A football season

Last updated
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 teams117
Preseason AP No. 1 Oklahoma
Post-season
DurationDecember 16, 2003 –
January 4, 2004
Bowl games 28
AP Poll No. 1 USC
Coaches Poll No. 1 LSU
Heisman Trophy Jason White (quarterback, Oklahoma)
Bowl Championship Series
2004 Sugar Bowl
Site Louisiana Superdome,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Champion(s) LSU
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.

Contents

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

LSU defeated Oklahoma in the 2004 Sugar Bowl, securing the BCS National Championship, as the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll was contractually obligated to vote the winner of the BCS National Championship Game No. 1. Meanwhile, when AP No. 1 USC beat (number 5) Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl, the AP voters kept USC in the top spot, and USC secured the AP title.

Army became the first team in NCAA Division I-A 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.

BCS selection process controversy

USC had lost in triple overtime at California on September 27, LSU lost at home to Florida on October 11, and Oklahoma, which had been No. 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 No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls, with LSU (12–1) ranked No. 2 and Oklahoma (12–1) No. 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 No. 1 in the BCS poll. LSU was ranked No. 2 by the BCS based on its No. 2 ranking in the AP Poll, Coaches Poll, 6 of 7 computer rankings (with the remaining one ranking them No. 1), and strength of schedule calculations. USC's No. 3 BCS ranking resulted from it being ranked No. 1 the AP and Coaches Poll, but No. 3 in 5 of 7 computer rankings (with the 2 remaining computer rankings at No. 1 and No. 4) and schedule strength, though separated by only 0.16 points.

Ted Waitt, CEO of Gateway Computers, offered the NCAA $31 million for a national championship game between USC and Louisiana State. [3]

Rules changes

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

Conference and program changes

No teams upgraded from Division I-AA, leaving the number of Division I-A schools fixed at 117.

School2002 Conference2003 Conference
South Florida Bulls I-A Independent Conference USA
Utah State Aggies I-A Independent Sun Belt

Conference standings

2003 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 11 Florida State $ 71    103 
No. 17 Maryland  62    103 
No. 22 Clemson  53    94 
NC State  44    85 
Virginia  44    85 
Georgia Tech  44    76 
Wake Forest  35    57 
Duke  26    48 
North Carolina  17    210 
  • $ BCS representative as conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big 12 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Northern Division
No. 14 Kansas State x$ 62    114 
No. 19 Nebraska  53    103 
Missouri  44    85 
Kansas  35    67 
Colorado  35    57 
Iowa State  08    210 
Southern Division
No. 3 Oklahoma x% 80    122 
No. 12 Texas  71    103 
Oklahoma State  53    94 
Texas Tech  44    85 
Texas A&M  26    48 
Baylor  17    39 
Championship: Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7
  • $ BCS representative as conference champion
  • % BCS at-large representative
  • x Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big East Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 5 Miami (FL) $+ 61    112 
West Virginia + 61    85 
Pittsburgh  52    85 
Virginia Tech  43    85 
Boston College  34    85 
Syracuse  25    66 
Rutgers  25    57 
Temple  07    111 
  • $ BCS representative as conference champion
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 6 Michigan $ 71    103 
No. 4 Ohio State % 62    112 
No. 18 Purdue  62    94 
No. 8 Iowa  53    103 
No. 20 Minnesota  53    103 
Michigan State  53    85 
Wisconsin  44    76 
Northwestern  44    67 
Penn State  17    39 
Indiana  17    210 
Illinois  08    111 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Conference USA football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Southern Miss $ 80    94 
No. 24 TCU  71    112 
Memphis  53    94 
Louisville  53    94 
South Florida  53    74 
Houston  44    76 
UAB  44    57 
Tulane  35    57 
Cincinnati  26    57 
East Carolina  17    111 
Army  08    013 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
East Division
No. 10 Miami x$ 80    131 
Marshall  62    84 
Akron  53    75 
Kent State  44    57 
UCF  26    39 
Ohio  17    210 
Buffalo  17    111 
West Division
No. 23 Bowling Green x 71    113 
Northern Illinois  62    102 
Toledo  62    84 
Western Michigan  44    57 
Ball State  35    48 
Eastern Michigan  26    39 
Central Michigan  17    39 
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 
No. 21 Utah $ 61    102 
New Mexico  52    85 
Colorado State  43    76 
Air Force  34    75 
San Diego State  34    66 
BYU  34    48 
UNLV  25    66 
Wyoming  25    48 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 1 USC $ 71    121 
No. 9 Washington State  62    103 
Oregon  53    85 
California  53    86 
Oregon State  44    85 
Washington  44    66 
UCLA  44    67 
Arizona State  26    57 
Stanford  26    47 
Arizona  17    210 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Eastern Division
No. 7 Georgia xy 62    113 
No. 15 Tennessee x 62    103 
No. 24 Florida x 62    85 
South Carolina  26    57 
Vanderbilt  17    210 
Kentucky  17    48 
Western Division
No. 2 LSU xy$# 71    131 
No. 13 Ole Miss x 71    103 
Auburn  53    85 
Arkansas  44    94 
Alabama  26    49 
Mississippi State  17    210 
Championship: LSU 34, Georgia 13
    1. BCS National Champion
  • $ BCS representative as conference champion
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • y Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 Sun Belt Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
North Texas $ 70    94 
Louisiana–Lafayette  32    48 
Arkansas State  33    57 
Middle Tennessee  33    48 
Utah State  33    39 
Idaho  34    39 
New Mexico State  25    39 
Louisiana–Monroe  15    111 
  • $ Conference champion
2003 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 16 Boise State $ 80    131 
Fresno State  62    95 
Tulsa  52    75 
Hawaii  53    95 
Rice  53    57 
Nevada  44    66 
Louisiana Tech  35    57 
San Jose State  26    38 
UTEP  16    210 
SMU  08    012 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
2003 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Connecticut      93 
Navy      85 
Troy State      66 
Notre Dame      57 
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl Championship Series rankings

WEEKNo. 1No. 2EVENT
OCT 20 Oklahoma Miami
OCT 27OklahomaMiami Virginia Tech 31, Miami 7
NOV 3Oklahoma USC
NOV 10OklahomaUSC
NOV 17Oklahoma Ohio State Michigan 35, Ohio State 21
NOV 24OklahomaUSC
DEC 1OklahomaUSC LSU 34, Georgia 13
FINALOklahomaLSU

Bowl games

Rankings given are AP poll positions at time of game

BCS bowls

Other January bowls

December Bowl games

Final AP Poll

TeamFinal RecordPoints
1. USC (48)12–11,608
2. LSU (17)13–11,576
3. Oklahoma 12–21,476
4. Ohio State 11–21,411
5. Miami (FL) 11–21,329
6. Michigan 10–31,281
7. Georgia 11–31,255
8. Iowa 10–31,107
9. Washington State 10–31,060
10. Miami (OH) 13–1932
11. Florida State 10–3905
12. Texas 10–3887
13. Mississippi 10–3845
14. Kansas State 11–4833
15. Tennessee 10–3695
16. Boise State 13–1645
17. Maryland 10–3564
18. Purdue 9–4526
19. Nebraska 10–3520
20. Minnesota 10–3368
21. Utah 10–2308
22. Clemson 9–4230
23. Bowling Green 11–3189
24. Florida 8–5165
25. Texas Christian 11–2126

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

Three coaches voted for USC as the No. 1 team, even though the polled coaches are required to vote the BCS champion as No. 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.

TeamFinal RecordPoints
1. LSU (60)13–11,572
2. USC (3)12–11,514
3. Oklahoma 12–21,429
4. Ohio State 11–21,370
5. Miami (FL) 11–21,306
6. Georgia 11–31,183
7. Michigan 10–31,140
8. Iowa 10–31,119
9. Washington State 10–3983
10. Florida State 10–3929
11. Texas 10–3894
12. Miami (OH) 13–1800
13. Kansas State 11–4746
14. Mississippi 10–3730
15. Boise State 13–1704
16. Tennessee 10–3684
17. Minnesota 10–3553
18. Nebraska 10–3532
19. Purdue 9–4510
20. Maryland 10–3462
21. Utah 10–2327
22. Clemson 9–4219
23. Bowling Green 11–3170
24. TCU 11–2145
25. Florida 8–5124

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

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

Other major awards

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References

  1. "2003 Bowl Championship Series Standings" (PDF). Fox Sports. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  2. "2003 NCAA Football Rankings". ESPN. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  3. "Ted Waitt's $31 million football offer kicks off controversy". Sioux City Journal. 2004-01-16. Retrieved 2017-01-02.