I have become familiar with certain FreeBSD crashes - namely, I can tell the 
difference between the kernel crashing, and the userland crashing.
If the machine is down, but I can still ping it, then the userland has crashed - the 
kernel is still running, which is why it responds to pings.
But if it crashes and just reboots itself, then the kernel has crashed.  
Oversimplified I know, but I am leading up to:
What kind of a crash is it if:
I can ssh to the system, it gives me the BSD copyright and the uname message, but 
never ever gives me a prompt.  What is going on in this scenario ?  What kind of 
things have you seen that cause a crash like this ?

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