A sweet (and not so sweet) trip down memory lane of 16 BCS title games

The BCS system worked and it didn't work, says Times college football writer Chris Dufresne. There were many memorable games and some he'd rather forget.

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Vince Young

Texas quarterback Vince Young breaks off a big run during the third quarter of the Longhorns' comeback victory over USC in the 2006 BCS Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Young later scored the winning touchdown. (Rob Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / January 4, 2006)

If I make it to Monday I will have covered all 16 national title games in the Bowl Championship Series era.

Someone, please, blow a kazoo.

It's been one crazy ride between Tennessee playing Florida State at the Fiesta Bowl in 1998 and this week's final call BCS game in the Rose Bowl.

Did the BCS work?

Of course it did. The BCS exponentially increased college football's popularity and took a regional sport and made it national.

It made people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., care about a game in Eugene, Ore., and, most years, matched the two most deserving schools in a "title" game.

Did the BCS work?

Of course it didn't. It gave us colossal controversies because of a standings formula that had to be changed more than a baby's diaper.

One year, it left the No.1 team in both polls out of the game and, another year, the No. 2 team. Both schools were from the Pac-10 (now 12).

The BCS became the most hated acronym after "IRS."

If the BCS was so good we wouldn't be going to a four-team playoff next season, right?

With Florida State and Auburn preparing for the last BCS title game, it's time to blow out 16 candles.

Here are my top memories (not all of them great).

16. Miami vs. Nebraska, playing in the "Rose Bowl," in 2002, two days after the parade, on a Thursday night. You needed infrared lenses to see the San Gabriel Mountains.

It was an Orange Bowl, not a Rose. Yuck.

15. Last year, before the game, sitting in South Florida's Sun Life Stadium before Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

I fixed binoculars on Alabama during warmups. Man, the Crimson Tide looked like an NFL team. Then I watched Notre Dame warm up. Man, the Irish looked like a college team. If I was a gambler I would have called my bookie and bet the house on Alabama.

Final score: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14.

14. Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant making a great tackle on Auburn's Michael Dyer in the closing moments of the 2010 championship in Arizona. So why was Dyer allowed to get up and run for a 37-yard gain? Because, like a cat, he somehow twisted free without touching down. Dyer's run set up Wes Byrum's game-winning field goal as time expired.

13. Oregon Coach Chip Kelly, after losing to Auburn on that last-second field goal, promising everyone at University of Phoenix Stadium his Ducks would be back. Oregon has never been back and Kelly is now coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.

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