2000 Season Recap
Oklahoma was back. It had been some time since Oklahoma was at the forefront of the national title picture and 15 years since a national championship was brought home to Norman. The Sooners, a longtime college football power that had undergone a lean period, experienced a return to greatness in 2000. The undefeated season culminated with a huge win over the newest dynasty on the block, Florida State, in the 2001 Orange Bowl. Bob Stoops' Oklahoma defense was simply dominating and even FSU's Heisman-winning quarterback, Chris Weinke, was no match for the swarming Sooner D in the national championship game.
Weinke, the former baseball player who returned to college football in his late 20's after a stint in the minor leagues, was a cool customer all season. His age and experience seemed to give him an edge over the youngsters he was playing against. But his seniority couldn't save him with the likes of Oklahoma's Torrance Marshall coming at him. The Sooner linebacker won the Orange Bowl MVP award, and he and his teammates shut out the Seminole offense that night. FSU's only score in the 13-2 loss came when a wild snap on a punt attempt led to a safety. It was also payback time for Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel who finished a close second to Weinke in the Heisman race.
The Bowl Championship Series worked out again, but barely. Had FSU managed the upset in the Orange Bowl there would have been a glut of one-loss teams each with an argument for the national title. As it was, Miami was shut out of the big game despite a win over Florida State.
Other key storylines in the 2000 season were the departures of veteran coaches LaVell Edwards (BYU), Don Nehlen (West Virginia), George Welsh (Virginia), John Cooper (Ohio State) and Dick Tomey (Arizona). One coach who stuck around was Joe Paterno. Joe Pa was expected to pass Bear Bryant on the all-time wins list, but Penn State stumbled to a 5-7 record. It was only his second losing record in his 35 years with the Nittany Lions, and he fell two wins short of eclipsing the Bear.