The coach of an SEC team that finished the regular season with one loss despite a tough schedule made a passionate argument for why he felt his squad deserved a place in the national championship game.
"We're going to tell a group of young men, who just went 12-1 in a most difficult schedule against six ranked opponents, that they don't have a chance to play for a national championship?" the coach said. "I'm going to need help with that one."
The year: 2006. The team: Florida. The coach: Urban Meyer.
Meyer now coaches undefeated Ohio State, a team that finds itself in the crosshairs of the SEC and the two one-loss teams - Auburn and Missouri - that will compete Saturday for the conference championship before No. 1 Florida State and the No. 2 Buckeyes bid for their respective league crowns that night.
Welcome to championship Saturday, ending a wacky final season of the Bowl Championship Series' existence. On Sunday, the BCS will utilize its two human polls and six computer rankings to spit out the teams that will play for the national championship Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.
Let's ignore Florida State for this argument because the Seminoles are as close to a lock as a team can be, as more than a four-touchdown favorite to defeat Duke in the ACC title game in Charlotte.
The spotlight is on Ohio State, which will play its highest-ranked opponent in No. 10 Michigan State for the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis; and No. 3 Auburn, which weaved magic to win its last two games and plays No. 5 Missouri for the SEC title in Atlanta.
The Buckeyes have done everything possible, going 12-0 and extending their run to 24 straight victories. But Wisconsin is as close to a signature win as they achieved, and the Badgers lost last week to Penn State to fall out of BCS consideration.
(And do you think Penn State's Bill O'Brien is smiling inside because his team messed up Ohio State's strength of schedule after the Buckeyes blasted his team, 63-14, in October?)
Auburn defeated No. 1 Alabama, 34-28, last week on a 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the last play of the game. Tigers athletic director Jay Jacobs was quoted this week as saying it would be "un-American" for an SEC team not to be included in the BCS title game, given that the conference has won the last seven national championships.
Meyer wasn't biting earlier this week when asked about Jacobs' comment.
"For someone to ask about something after this game, that's cheating my football team," he said. "There will be no conversation about what happens after this game until after this game."
The debate will get louder if Ohio State struggles with the Spartans, and Auburn puts a whupping on Missouri. But if Mizzou should win and the Buckeyes lose, No. 4 Alabama is likely to walk in to play Florida State.
It should be a fun day. Getcha popcorn ready.
While the games with BCS implications are getting nearly all the attention, here are some other topics to consider for this last full weekend of college football:
Winston a lock
The state attorney of Florida decided not to file sexual-assault charges against Jameis Winston, and now only a terrible performance and a Duke victory can prevent him from winning the Heisman Trophy. While some of the 928 Heisman voters may choose not to vote for Winston, he is expected to win relatively easily after amassing 3,490 passing yards and 35 touchdowns entering Saturday night. Winston will be the second straight redshirt freshman to win the trophy, after Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel last year.
Stanford's sack master
His Stanford teammates like to call Trent Murphy "Yeti" after the legendary creature of the Himalayas. But given his 6-foot-6, 261-pound size, his shaved head, his short beard, and the unpleasant disposition he takes with him on the field, Murphy could say the nickname fits. The Cardinal's outside linebacker leads the nation with 13 sacks going into Saturday night's Pac-12 title game at Arizona State. In an Associated Press story, Stanford coach David Shaw calls Murphy "a nasty, physical player who's in his own category."
Will Mack be back?
Texas is still alive to grab a share of the Big 12 title but the only question anyone has about the program is whether head coach Mack Brown will return next season. After a 1-2 start, the Longhorns went 7-1 in the conference despite persistent rumors that Brown would be ousted and possibly replaced by Alabama's Nick Saban. "It's about these kids and this team and I'm very unimportant and have absolutely not mentioned it," Brown said of preparing the Longhorns for the game against No. 9 Baylor.
Golden Rams seek semis
West Chester (12-1) will take on Shepherd (11-0) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II football playoffs Saturday in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The Golden Rams are seeking their first trip to the semifinals of the tournament since 2004. They are led by senior running back Rondell White (Rustin), who has rushed for 1,828 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, including a 113-yard performance last week in a 40-38 second-round win over Bloomsburg. Junior quarterback Sean McCartney (Archbishop Wood) passed for three touchdowns and ran for one last week.
Games to Watch
Missouri vs. Auburn at Atlanta, 4 p.m., CBS3
Does Auburn have another miracle in its equipment trunk? We don't think Auburn fans or its broadcast team could stand another heart-stopper, but the team has a strong rushing attack and a rising star in quarterback Nick Marshall that might be enough to turn aside Missouri and win the SEC title.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, noon, 6ABC
The Cowboys, losers of nine of their last 10 in this series, will finish with a share of the Big 12 title with a win and likely get the conference's spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
Central Florida at Southern Methodist, noon, ESPN
The Knights already have secured the first BCS bowl bid from the American Athletic Conference; a win gives them a spotless 8-0 AAC mark.
Texas at Baylor, 3:30 p.m., Fox29
The Bears look for a school-record 11th victory while the Longhorns must figure that a victory and a share of the Big 12 title could be enough to save coach Mack Brown's job.
Stanford at Arizona State,
7:45 p.m., ESPN
Seeking a return trip to the Rose Bowl, the Cardinal already have beaten the Sun Devils this season, but the Arizona State offense can be dangerous.
Florida State vs. Duke at Charlotte, 8 p.m., 6ABC
The top-ranked Seminoles never have lost to the Blue Devils in 18 previous games, and have too much at stake to overlook them.
Ohio State vs. Michigan State at Indianapolis, 8 p.m., Fox29
The No. 2 Buckeyes have an explosive offense behind Braxton Miller, but the Spartans own the nation's top-ranked defense.
- Joe Juliano