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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Column: BCS Bowl Champs

Headline: Aggies: BCS Bowl Champs

“But Jason, how in the hell did UC Davis win a BCS game?”

Great question. Maybe I should be more specific. UC Davis helped a team (Stanford) win a Bowl Championship Series game. Let me explain.

As many of you know, Stanford University, yes, that Stanford University, topped Virginia Tech last Monday in the Fed-Ex Orange Bowl. The Cardinal, led by the arm of quarterback Andrew Luck and the mind of coach Jim Harbaugh, simply outplayed the Hokies in the 40-14 rout.

This was Stanford’s first BCS win ever and arguably its best bowl win in school history.

As many of you know (or don’t know), UC Davis cannot qualify for any bowl games. The Aggies play in the Football Championship Subdivision. This means if UC Davis has a good season, it can qualify for the FCS playoffs. It cannot play for a bowl game because it is not part of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Sorry Godaddy.com Bowl and apologies to the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl; the Aggie Pack will not be going to your splendid events.

A day that will go down in Aggie football lore is Sept. 18, 2005. This was the date UC Davis topped Stanford in an amazing 20-17 thriller.

Just five years ago, an Aggie football team, which wasn’t even Division I back then, topped an eventual Orange Bowl champion.

One season after the Aggies’ amazing win over the Cardinal on the Farm, Stanford went 1-11. Stanford Coach Walt Harris was fired at the end of this abysmal season.

The Cardinal replaced Harris with a relative nobody out of University of San Diego named Jim Harbaugh. One season after hiring Harbaugh, Stanford picked up one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the nation. His name was Andrew Luck.

Three years after getting Luck and four after Harbaugh, Stanford won the Orange Bowl.

Now let’s go back six years ago when UC Davis topped Stanford on a last second touchdown. That had to shatter some of the Cardinal’s morale. Maybe that loss killed some if their confidence in those late game situations.

Maybe some Stanford players thought about that loss in late game situations either in the 2005 season or 2006 season. Maybe thinking about the UC Davis defeat cost Stanford some wins in the abysmal 2006 season.

Let’s say the Cardinal beat the Aggies in 2005. Because of this win, assume Stanford went 5-7 in 2006 because they aren’t thinking about losing to UC Davis. Maybe they don’t replace Harris with Harbaugh and they don’t recruit Luck. It doesn’t take Kirk Hirbstreit to say that, without Harbaugh and Luck, Stanford doesn’t win the Orange Bowl.

Obviously I am making a lot of assumptions in this theory. The likely reason for the 1-11 2006 campaign was simply a bad team. It probably had little to do with UC Davis beating them a season prior.

But maybe, just maybe, the Cardinal’s loss to the Aggies caused a couple losses. And the difference between 1-11 and 4-8 can be pretty big.

I’m probably just forcing UC Davis into a situation that it really doesn’t have much to do with. How much of a factor did the Aggies make in Stanford winning a BCS game? I’d ballpark it around 1 to 2 percent. But oh man, what a crucial 1 to 2 percent.

A better connection UC Davis has to Stanford is in its personnel. Cardinal linebacker Chike Amajoyi is the younger brother of UC Davis linebacker Dozie Amajoyi. Chike had a couple tackles in Stanford’s Orange Bowl victory. Maybe Dozie taught his little brother a couple moves Chike used in the BCS game.

All in all, it took a perfect sequence of events for Stanford to get where they are now, and the UC Davis loss is part of that sequence. So Stanford, where is our share of the $18 million payout?

JASON ALPERT very much praises Andrew Luck’s decision to play another season on the Farm. I consider them national title contenders with him under center. To talk UC Davis or Stanford football, e-mail him at sports@theaggie.org.

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