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The one you’ve all been waiting for…well, outside of the Sugar Bowl, of course…
The history of the BCS National Championship game is rife with conflict. The game’s true origins start with the Bowl Coalition – a grouping of the SEC, Big 8, SWC, ACC and Big East, along with Notre Dame. Six bowl games were included in the agreement: the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Gator and John Hancock. The premise was to attempt to get the top teams in each conference to face off with one another, generating a “true” champion. Unfortunately for the Coalition, without the inclusion of the Big Ten or Pac-10 who remained tied to the Rose Bowl, the system was unable to crown a champion unless the top two teams resulted from its member conferences.
Weaknesses in the South Western Conference, along with poor play from Notre Dame, helped lead to the end of the Coalition and the creation of the Bowl Alliance. Functionally, it was the same group of conferences, except the SWC and Big 8 were replaced with the newly formed Big 12 conference. The Big Ten still remained outside of the Alliance due to their ties with the Rose Bowl, but at-large Big Ten teams were allowed to participate in the Alliance Bowl games. Both Penn State (Won 1997 Fiesta against Texas) and Ohio State (Lost 1998 Sugar to Florida State) participated.