In the BCS era, merely losing a game was cause for disqualification depending on who you were and when you lost. SOS had a fraction of the importance it has now, which allowed teams to make the championship game with schedules that would make Washington blush.
That was the case for the entirety of the BCS era, except one season: 2007. In that fateful season, the top five changed nearly every single week, with no team safe from being upset regardless of talent differential or quality. Most remember the #2 curse, because it had some of the most egregious losses by teams ranked at this spot. No. 2 West Virginia, with a BCS title appearance on the line, lost to a 4-7 Pitt team that was just happy to be there. No. 2 South Florida, earlier in the season, lost to what would prove to be a decent Rutgers team.* No. 2 Kansas lost to Missouri at the worst possible time, at the end of the season with a chance to go to the Big 12 Championship Game on the line. That Missouri team would proceed to lose to Oklahoma a week later. Oregon State, the Pac-10’s thorn-on-the-side team, would beat No. 2 Cal and set of a tailspin that would see the Bears finish 7-6 in the season after starting 5-0. Florida State would beat No. 2 Boston College, Arizona would defeat No. 2 Oregon, and who can forget, Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford team, the biggest underdog in history at the time, would take down No. 2 USC in the coliseum.
2017 is trying its best to replicate the madness of 2007, having re-shifted the top five two weeks in a row already, and claimed two No. 2 teams this season. The top 10 carnage hasn’t been as wild as of yet, but several teams have already lost to unranked opponents, with the exception of one of the aforementioned top two teams, Ohio State, who lost at the hands of another top five team in Oklahoma.
Penn State now finds itself in that fateful No. 2 spot this season. With Jim Harbaugh, the one who started the top two craze in 2007, coming to town, will history repeat itself? Will the No. 2 spot be cursed this season, or will Penn State make its own destiny?
*Oh how the times have changed.