If you’re a big fan of the upcoming college football playoff system, you’re pointing to BCS bowl matchups like the Orange and Sugar Bowl as to why the Bowl Championship Series process was ultimately flawed in the first place.
What are supposed to be marquee matchups look like blowouts in the making, with the Northern Illinois Huskies set as 12.5-point underdogs versus the Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl and the Louisville Cardinals tagged as 13-point pups facing the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. Even the national title game has been bet up to a double-figure spread, with the Alabama Crimson Tide sitting -10 versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Jan. 7.
While those seem like monster spreads for BCS-quality games, they aren’t the highest lines ever for a BCS bowl. That pile of chalk goes to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, in which the Oklahoma Sooners, 16-point favorites, thumped the UConn Huskies 48-20 on New Year’s Day.
In fact, since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998 and going back as far as 1985, there have only been six double-digit favorites in any of the five BCS bowls (Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, Rose, BCS Championship). In five of those games, the favorite covered the big spread.
Here’s a look at those five games and their outcomes:
2011 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 48, UConn 20 – Oklahoma -16
2010 Sugar Bowl: Florida 51, Cincinnati 24 – Florida -12
2009 Rose Bowl: USC 38, Penn State 24 – USC -10
2008 Rose Bowl: USC 49, Illinois 17 – USC -13
2007 Orange Bowl: Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13 – Louisville -10.5
2003 Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State 31, Miami 24 (OT) - Miami -12
Note: Five of those six BCS bowls with double-digit spreads played over the total.