*--* 2004 SEASON
* Attendance: 77,912.
* MVP: Matt Leinart, USC.
* What happened: In the most one-sided of all the BCS title games, the Trojans completed their first undefeated season since 1972 and won their 11th national championship after a strong performance by Leinart, the Heisman Trophy winner. The quarterback completed 18 of 35 passes for 332 yards and an Orange Bowl-record five touchdown passes, including three to Steve Smith. USC generated 525 yards of offense and had its highest-scoring game of the season against an Oklahoma defense that was giving up an average of 13.7 points. The Trojan defense held Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson to 82 yards in 25 carries and intercepted three passes by 2003 Heisman winner Jason White. USC forced four first-half turnovers and built a 38-10 lead by halftime.
* Key play: With the score tied, 7-7, Oklahoma's Mark Bradley tried to field a punt that had rolled inside the five-yard line. Instead, USC's Collin Ashton knocked the ball loose and Josh Pinkard recovered at the six to set up a Trojan touchdown, triggering an avalanche of offense.
* Bottom line: USC became the first school since Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 to win consecutive national titles and also the first since Florida State in 1999 to start the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and maintain the ranking to the end.
*--* 2003 SEASON
* Where: 2004 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans.
* Who: No. 2 Louisiana State 21, No. 1 Oklahoma 14.
* Attendance: 79,342.
* MVP: Justin Vincent, LSU.
* What happened: The BCS had a problem when three one-loss teams stood at the top of the college football pile at the end of the regular season. With 11-1 USC left out of the picture despite being ranked No. 1 in the writers' and coaches' polls, LSU's victory in the BCS title game ended up being a tad anticlimactic. USC had already defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl and was voted No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, producing college football's 11th split national championship and the first since 1997. In the Sugar Bowl, LSU's defense certainly earned its keep by holding Oklahoma's top-ranked offense to 154 total yards, more than 300 off its season average. LSU's Marcus Spears returned a third-quarter interception 20 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers' final points. LSU clinched it when Lionel Turner sacked Oklahoma quarterback Jason White on fourth and 10 with less the two minutes left.
* Key play: After Oklahoma blocked a punt deep in LSU territory and scored to make it 7-7 in the second quarter, the Tigers marched 80 yards in nine plays and took back the lead on an 18-yard touchdown run by Vincent.
* Bottom line: LSU earned a share of its first national title since 1958 and quarterback Matt Mauck, dismissing the BCS controversy, said, "I don't know how you could possibly not consider us the national champions."
*--* 2002 SEASON
* Where: 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Tempe, Ariz.
* Who: No. 2 Ohio State 31, No. 1 Miami 24 (2 OT).
* Attendance: 77,505.
* MVPs: Craig Krenzel, Ohio State; A.J. Hawk, Ohio State.
* What happened: In the most dramatic of the seven BCS title games to date, the Buckeyes won their first national championship since 1968 and put an end to the Hurricanes' 34-game winning streak after a controversial ending. Running back Maurice Clarett scored on a five-yard run in the second overtime to give the Buckeyes the lead and the Ohio State defense held Miami on four plays after the Hurricanes had a first and goal at the two. On fourth down at the one, Buckeye linebacker Cle Grant put pressure on Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey and forced him into an incompletion to clinch the victory. Miami had been a 13-point favorite but three turnovers during regulation led to 17 Ohio State points.
* Key play: Trailing, 24-17, in the first overtime, Miami thought it had won the game when Krenzel, the Ohio State quarterback, threw an incomplete pass on a fourth-down play at the five. But a late flag resulted in a pass-interference penalty on Miami's Glenn Sharpe and Krenzel later scored on a one-yard run to push things into the second and decisive overtime.
* Bottom line: Miami suffered its first loss since September 2000 and the drama of it all inspired Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel to say, "That's what the national championship game should look like -- double overtime."
*--* 2001 SEASON
* Where: 2002 Rose Bowl, Pasadena.
* Who: No. 1 Miami 37, No. 2 Nebraska 14.
* Attendance: 93,781.
* MVPs: Ken Dorsey, Miami; Andre Johnson, Miami.
* What happened: A year after being left out of the national-title picture, the Hurricanes put an emphatic ending to a 12-0 season with a rout of the Cornhuskers that wasn't even as close as the lopsided score might indicate. Dorsey and Johnson were a two-man wrecking crew. Dorsey completed 22 of 35 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns, and Johnson caught seven passes for 199 yards and had two touchdown receptions. Long-time assistant Larry Coker won a national championship in his first season, becoming the first rookie coach to do so since Michigan's Bennie Oosterbaan in 1948. Miami won its fifth national championship only six years after the school had lost 24 scholarships because of NCAA violations.
* Key play: Trailing, 7-0, and facing a fourth and seven at the Miami 33-yard line, Nebraska chose to punt. But Miami needed only five plays to go 86 yards and take a 14-0 lead after a 39-yard touchdown run by Clinton Portis on its way to a 34-0 halftime lead.
* Bottom line: The howls from BCS naysayers were piercing when Nebraska was picked for the title game after giving up 62 points in a loss to Colorado in the Big 12 title game. The loss to Miami only stoked those fires and gave Oregon, No. 2 in the AP poll, the platform to lobby that it should have been the title-game pick.
*--* 2000 SEASON
* Where: 2001 Orange Bowl, Miami.
* Who: No. 1 Oklahoma 13, No. 2 Florida State 2.
* Attendance: 76,835.
* MVP: Torrance Marshall, Oklahoma.
* What happened: The Sooners, powered by their defense, won their seventh national championship since 1950, tops among schools in that time. Oklahoma held Florida State to 301 total yards, which was about 250 below the average of the nation's No. 1 offense. The Seminoles had been averaging 42 points a game. Only a bad snap that sailed over the head of Sooner punter Jeff Ferguson and out of the end zone for a safety with 55 seconds left prevented an Oklahoma shutout. Marshall, the game's MVP at linebacker for the Sooners, finished with six tackles and an interception. Kicker Tim Duncan kicked field goals of 27 and 42 yards, and Oklahoma's lone touchdown came on a 10-yard run by tailback Quentin Griffin with 7:46 left.
* Key play: Trailing, 6-0, in the fourth quarter, Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke was flushed out of the pocket at his own 10-yard line and had the ball stripped by Oklahoma's Rocky Calmus for a fumble that was recovered by Roy Williams to set up Griffin's touchdown run.
* Bottom line: Although Oklahoma finished as the nation's only undefeated team (13-0), the imperfect BCS system experienced controversy when Miami -- which finished No. 2 in the writers' and coaches' polls -- squawked that it, and not Florida State, should have had the chance to play for the title.
*--* 1999 SEASON
* Where: 2000 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans.
* Who: No. 1 Florida State 46, No. 2 Virginia Tech 29.
* Attendance: 79,280.
* MVP: Peter Warrick, Florida State.
* What happened: The Seminoles blew a 28-7 lead and even trailed early in the fourth quarter before storming back to score 18 unanswered points and deliver an undefeated season to Coach Bobby Bowden for the first time in his career. Warrick, who was a non-factor in a title-game loss to Tennessee the year before, had two touchdown receptions, a punt return for another score and 163 yards receiving. The Seminoles had to overcome the sensational play of Hokie freshman quarterback Michael Vick, who passed for 225 yards and rushed for 97 yards in 23 carries. Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke led the comeback and completed 20 of 34 passes for 329 yards and four touchdown passes.
* Key play: Trailing, 29-28, early in the fourth quarter, Weinke passed for 14 yards to Ron Dugans for a touchdown to complete an 11-play, 85-yard drive and the Seminoles never looked back.
* Bottom line: Since the beginning of his coaching career in 1959, Bowden had had 10 one-loss seasons at Samford, West Virginia and Florida State before his 1999 team delivered a perfect one.
*--* 1998 SEASON
* Where: 1999 Fiesta Bowl, Tempe, Ariz.
* Who: No. 1 Tennessee 23, No. 2 Florida State 16.
* Attendance: 80,470.
* MVPs: Peerless Price, Tennessee; Dwayne Goodrich, Tennessee.
* What happened: The Volunteers, led by quarterback Tee Martin and receiver Price, took advantage of a sloppy Seminole team -- 12 penalties for 110 yards -- to win their first national championship since 1951. Martin, who came into the season with the burden of having to replace Peyton Manning, completed 11 of 18 passes for 278 yards and two touchdown passes. Price caught the touchdown passes on plays of 76 and 79 yards and clearly won the battle with Florida State counterpart Peter Warrick, who was held to one catch for seven yards. Tennessee cornerback Goodrich returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown in the first half for a 14-0 lead.
* Key play: Dominating the game but holding only a 14-9 lead, Martin connected with Price on a 79-yard pass play with 9:17 left to give Tennessee some breathing room.
* Bottom line: The victory gave Tennessee the first 13-0 season in school history.