The first 10 years of college football’s BCS era were defined by great plays and great players.
Texas quarterback Vince Young’s burst into the end zone against USC. Boise State’s hook-and-lateral and Statue of Liberty. Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett’s stripping the football from Miami’s Sean Taylor.
But players come and go annually.
The men who stand on college football’s sidelines are the ones who usually stand the test of time (unless your school hired Bobby Petrino). Here’s a look at the coaches who defined the first 10 years of BCS football:
1. Pete Carroll, Southern California
It’s still hard to believe Carroll, a twice-fired NFL coach, was USC’s fourth choice when the Trojans sought to replace fired Paul Hackett after the 2000 season.
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Pete Carroll has enjoyed a remarkable run at USC.
After going 6-6 in Carroll’s first season in 2001, the Trojans have gone 70-8 in the six seasons since. They’ve played in a record six consecutive BCS bowl games during his watch, winning five times. After breaking through the BCS barrier with a 38-17 victory over Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl, the Trojans claimed a share of the national championship the next season, beating Michigan, 28-14, in the Rose Bowl and finishing No. 1 in the final AP Top 25 poll. USC won the 2004 national championship outright when it blasted No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 55-19, the most lopsided score in a BCS bowl game. Carroll’s only blemish during the BCS era? Late in the fourth quarter of the 2006 Rose Bowl, with the Trojans leading Texas 38-33, Carroll gambled on fourth-and-2 from the Longhorns’ 45. The Longhorn defense stuffed tailback LenDale White, leading to Texas quarterback Vince Young’s game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds to play in a 41-38 victory. No one is perfect.