Schools With the Most BCS/New Year’s Six Bowl Victories Entering 2021

Photo courtesy of Ohio State athletics

It’s been more than a week since we said goodbye to college football in 2020.

Although the College Football Playoff lacked drama, it was a great season nonetheless and one played in the face of adversity. There were a couple of New Year’s Six bowls that weren’t decided until late.

As an update to a piece we published last year, here’s a look at the schools with the most BCS and New Year’s Six bowl wins.

The New Year’s Six has been around since 2014 and includes the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Peach Bowl and National Championship. In the 16 years prior, major bowls were part of the Bowl Championship Series.

1. Ohio State (12)

BCS/NY6 Record: 12-7*
First Win: Beat Texas A&M in Sugar Bowl, 24-14 (1998)
Most Recent Win: Beat Clemson in Sugar Bowl, 49-28 (2020)
BCS/CFP National Titles: Two (2002, 2014)
Overview: Ohio State was unable to win its second national championship in seven years this season, but the Buckeyes silenced many of those critical of their 6-game schedule entering the playoff. After losing to Clemson the year prior in the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State finally topped the Tigers this year and did so in convincing fashion. Ohio State capped the year with a 52-24 loss to Alabama in Miami for the national championship, falling to 2-3 in title games since 1998.

2. Alabama (11)

BCS/NY6 Record: 11-5
First Win: Beat Texas in BCS National Championship, 37-21 (2009)
Most Recent Win: Beat Ohio State in National Championship, 52-24 (2020)
BCS/CFP National Titles: Six (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020)
Overview: Alabama moved to within one win of first-place Ohio State with its sixth national championship under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide rank second on the list despite not winning a BCS bowl until 2009. That’s 11 major bowl wins in 12 years — a remarkable feat.

T-3. Clemson (7)

BCS/NY6 Record: 7-5
First Win: Beat Ohio State in Orange Bowl, 40-35 (2013)
Most Recent Win: Beat Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl (2019 College Football Playoff)
BCS/CFP National Titles: Two (2016, 2018)
Overview: Many expected Clemson to face Alabama in the National Championship for the fourth time in six years, but the Tigers were unable to get past Ohio State this year in the national semifinal at the Sugar Bowl. Clemson has made a major bowl game in eight of the last 10 years and the College Football Playoff in each of the last six.

T-3. Florida (7)

BCS/NY6 Record: 7-3
First Win: Beat Syracuse in Orange Bowl, 31-10 (1998)
Most Recent Win: Beat Virginia in Orange Bowl, 36-28 (2019)
BCS/CFP National Titles: Two (2006, 2008)
Overview: A shorthanded Florida fell to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, 55-20, this year. It ended a streak of two straight seasons capped with New Year’s Six bowl victories. The Gators have won major bowls under three different head coaches and reached a major bowl under four different head coaches.

T-3. LSU (7)

BCS/NY6 Record: 7-1
First Win: Beat Illinois in Sugar Bowl, 47-34 (2001)
Most Recent Win: Beat Clemson in National Championship, 42-25 (2019)
BCS/CFP National Titles: Three (2003, 2007, 2019)
Overview: Fresh off its third national championship since 2003, LSU endured a disappointing 2020 season. The Tigers however, did win their final two games to finish 5-5 and avoid their first losing season since 1999. The Tigers are the only team on the list to win national championships under three different head coaches. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, only Alabama has won more national titles than LSU.

T-3. USC (7)

BCS/NY6 Record: 7-2**
First Win: Beat Iowa in Orange Bowl, 38-17 (2002)
Most Recent Win: Beat Penn State in Rose Bowl, 52-49 (2016)
BCS/CFP National Titles: One (2004**)
Overview: During the middle part of the 2000s, USC was college football’s premier program. Although they weren’t BCS national champions, the Trojans were No. 1 in the final AP Poll in 2003, sharing the national title with LSU. USC blasted Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to win the 2004 title before losing to Texas at the Rose Bowl for the title the following year. Unfortunately for USC, those championships would ultimately be vacated. Aside from Texas in the Rose Bowl for the 2005 title, the only other loss for USC came against Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl to close 2017. USC won three straight Rose Bowls from 2006-08. The Trojans likely would have accepted a New Year’s Six bid this year had it not been for a Pac-12 Championship loss to Oregon.

*Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas to cap 2008 season was vacated
**Orange Bowl win over USC for the BCS National Championship to cap the 2004 season was vacated

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.