Or the start of the BCS era, as calculated by The Athletic. Used the BCS standings and then the CFP standings.
We would have made it 3 times – 2006, 2010, 2011.
Wondered why we wouldn’t have been in the playoffs in 1998. We were 13th in the final BCS standings after blowing the game at Stankvomit. Diving deeper: Top 6 conference champs in '98 were Tennessee, Florida State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tulane (which went 12-0) and Syracuse. The at-larges would have been K-State, UCLA, Arizona, Florida , Wisconsin and Nebraska; #12 Virginia and us would have been odd-man-out.
In 2006: CCs were Ohio State, Florida, Louisville, USC, Boise State and OU. At-larges: Michigan, LSU, Wisconsin, Auburn, Notre Dame and Arkansas. We would have played Michigan in the first round; USC would have gotten the fourth bye.
In 2010: CCs were Auburn, Oregon, TCU, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Boise. At larges: Stanford, Ohio State, Arkansas, Michigan State, LSU and Misery. We would have played Sparty in the first round.
In 2011: CCs were LSU, Okie Lite, Oregon, Wisconsin, TCU, West Virginia. At-larges: Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas, Boise State, K-State and South Carolina. We would have been the 7 seed and played the Chickens in the first round.