Florida had a more competitive game against Alabama than one may have expected, but at the end of the day, the Florida Gators are champions of the SEC for '08. Clearly, the Florida Gators continue to be #1 in the final regular season cidsports' Top 25 Football Poll, and deserve their date with OU.
Which conference is ultimately better, the Big 12 or the SEC in '08? We likely can discuss a little bragging rights before, during and after the 2009 BCS Championship Game.
We will see a traditional Rose Bowl for the first time, since 2005 season, when USC played Michigan. The 2009 Rose Bowl: Penn State , champions of the Big Ten vs. USC, champions of the Pac 10 should be a good one.
The final BCS teams will likely be Alabama, Ohio State and Texas, all at-large teams. Since a non-BCS team went undefeated and finished high enough in the BCS poll, Utah, champions of the MWC, will automatically be the fourth at-large BCS team. The final two members of the BCS will be Virginia Tech, winners of the ACC Championship game, and Cincinnati, regular season champ of the Big East.
Several other final mentions: Boise State, the only other undefeated team in '08, won the WAC title; while East Carolina won the C-USA Title game, Troy won the Sun Belt Conference title, and Buffalo defeated previously undefeated Ball State to win the MAC Championship game. None of these teams were worthy of BCS consideration, but they all had fine seasons in '08.
Here's my final regular season Top 25 Poll for '08: (HQW- highest quality win, Losses for '08)
- Florida Gators (12-1, 7-1 SEC East) - HQW vs. Alabama in the SEC title game, while Gators lost at home to Mississippi.
- Oklahoma Sooners (12-1, 7-1 Big 12 South) - HQW vs. Texas Tech at home, while the Sooners lost in the Red River shootout vs. Texas.
- Texas Longhorns (11-1, 7-1 Big 12 South) - HQW vs. Oklahoma in Red River Shootout, while the Longhorns lost at Texas Tech in the final minutes.
- Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1, 8-0 SEC West) - HQW vs. Georgia at home (beat Ole Miss too), while the Crimson Tide lost in the SEC title game to Florida.
- Southern California Trojans (11-1, 7-1 Pac 10) - HQW vs. Oregon at home, while the Trojans lost at Oregon State again.
- Penn State Nittany Lions (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) - HQW at Ohio State, while the Nittany Lions lost at Iowa on a final second field goal.
- Utah Utes (12-0, 8-0 MWC) - HQW vs. TCU at home, the Utes opened their undefeated season with win at Michigan... other notable wins were Oregon State and BYU.
- Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) - HQW at Michigan State, while the Buckeyes lost games at USC and vs. Penn State at home.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1, 7-1 Big 12 South) - HQW vs. Texas at home, while the Red Raiders lost at Oklahoma.
- Boise State Broncos (12-0, 8-0 WAC) - HQW at Oregon, the Broncos' only win against Top 25 opponents during the '08 regular season.
- TCU Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-1 MWC) - HQW vs. Brigham Young at home, while the Horned Frogs lost games at Oklahoma and at Utah.
- Cincinnati Bearcats (11-2, 6-1 Big East) - HQW vs. Pittsburgh at home, while the Bearcats lost games at Oklahoma and at UConn.
- Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-2 Pac 10) - HQW vs. Oregon State at home; while the Ducks lost games vs. Boise State, at USC and at California.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3, 5-3 Big 12 South) - HQW at Missouri; while the Cowboys lost games at Texas, at Texas Tech and vs. Oklahoma.
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-3, 5-3 ACC Coastal) - HQW at in-state rival Georgia; while the Yellow Jackets lost games at Virginia Tech, vs. Virginia and at North Carolina.
- Georgia Bulldogs (9-3, 6-2 SEC East) - HQW at South Carolina; while the Bulldogs losses were vs. Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech all at home.
- Michigan State Spartans (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) - HQW vs. Iowa at home and at Northwestern; while the Spartan losses were at Cal, vs. Ohio State and at Penn State.
- Brigham Young Cougars (10-2, 6-2 MWC) - HQW at Air Force in the MWC, while the Cougars lost games at TCU and at Utah.
- Pittsburgh Panthers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) - HQW vs. Iowa at home; while the Panthers lost games vs. Bowling Green, vs. Rutgers and at Cincinnati.
- Mississippi Rebels (8-4, 5-3 SEC West) - HQW at Florida; while the Rebels lost games at Wake Forest, vs. Vanderbilt, vs. South Carolina and at Alabama.
- Virginia Tech Hokies (9-4, 5-3 ACC Coastal) - HQW vs. Georgia Tech at home; while the Hokies lost four road games this year at East Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, and Miami-FL.
- Ball State Cardinals (12-1, 8-0 MAC West) - HQW vs. Western Michigan at home, while the Cardinals ended their attempt at an undefeated season with a loss vs. Buffalo in the MAC Championship game.
- Northwestern Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) - HQW at Iowa; while the Wildcats lost games vs. Michigan State, at Indiana, and vs. Ohio State.
- Oregon State Beavers (8-4, 7-2 Pac 10) - HQW vs. USC at home; while the Beavers lost games, at Stanford, at Penn State, at Utah and vs. Oregon.
- Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) - HQW vs. Penn State at home; while the Hawkeyes lost four games by a total of 12 points at Pittsburgh, vs. Northwestern, at Michigan State and at Illinois.
Teams Out of the Top 25 after Week 15 - Boston College (9-4, 5-3 ACC Atlantic) and Missouri Tigers (9-4, 5-3 Big 12 North).
Teams to Watch - 1.) East Carolina Pirates (9-4, 6-2 C-USA East) - HQW vs. Virginia Tech; losses at North Carolina State, Houston, at Virginia and at Southern Miss. 2.) Troy Trojans (8-4, 6-1 Sun Belt) - HQW vs. UL- Lafayette; losses at Ohio State, Oklahoma State, UL-Monroe, and LSU.