Thursday, June 9, 2011
10 Greatest College Football Teams of All Time
With the 2011 National Football League season in limbo, not all is lost as the 2011 college football season is right around the corner.
That got us to thinking about the teams that have preformed up and beyond the norm, exceeding expectations and sometimes defying the "College Football odds".
There have been many "perfect" teams; that is, teams that went undefeated and untied en route to a National Championship. But the stars were never aligned for any team quite like these 10.
So, without delay, here is out list of the 10 Greatest College Football teams to have etched their places in the annals of Division I football history.
10. Oklahoma (1956)
So just how good was Oklahoma in ’56? Good enough to hand rival Texas its worst loss (45-0) since 1908, pounding Notre Dame 40-0 in South Bend, and beating up on the entire Big Seven by an average score of 49–8, middling about 47 points a game. Coach Bud Wilkinson’s squad went 10-0 that season, extending its winning streak to an all-time record 40 games over four seasons and bolstering Wilkinson’s record to 94–8–3, with a winning percentage of .910, and three national championships. The players were pretty good, too. Clendon Thomas led the nation in scoring with 18 touchdowns, while halfback Tommy McDonald and center Jerry Tubbs placed third and fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
9. Miami (2001)
All American running back Clinton Portis who racked up 1,200 yards on the ground, helped lead the Hurricanes to a 12-0 season and a national championship in ‘01. Of course, there were a few more names you may have heard of-- QB Ken Dorsey, offensive tackle Bryant "Mount" McKinnie, a wide receiver named Jeremy Shockey, cornerbacks Phillip Buchanon and Mike Rumph, and safety Edward Reed--all first-round selections in the 2002 NFL draft. The Canes scored 512 (42.6 points per game) points while surrendering only 117 (9.75 points allowed per game), and beat opponents by an average of 32.9 points per game--the largest margin in the school's history. They also set the NCAA record for largest margin of victory over consecutive ranked teams (124-7). Offense, defense, and special teams, this team had it all.
8. Oklahoma (1974)
After finishing the previous three seasons at either No.2 or No.3, Oklahoma broke through in 1974 to win its first national title in 18 years under legendary coach Barry Switzer. Oklahoma steamrolled its opponents that season, averaging 508 yards in total offense as halfback Joe Washington, the AP and UPI Offensive Player of the Year, led the ground-based assault with an average of 74 rushes a game, the most in Oklahoma history. Twice the Sooners won games by scores of 63-0, and 72-3 as an All American cast of defenders throttled the opposition’s offense. Defensive end Lee Roy Selmon (the NFL's No. 1 pick in 1976), Dewey Selmon (an All-American nose guard), and linebacker Rod Shoate (AP and UPI Defensive Player of the Year) where a force to be reckoned with, allowing just a single opponent to within 14 points the entire regular season.
7. Nebraska (1995)
All Nebraska did was win despite its off field personnel problems. Every week, for that matter, on its way to a second straight national championship. They averaged 52 points per game and beat their opponents by an average of 39 in that fall of ’95. It was the byproduct of a potent offense and a suffocating defense. Ahman Green and Lawrence Phillips, who ripped off tons of real estate against every opponent they faced, fueled the rushing attack. With the new bowl alliance in place that season, the Fiesta Bowl became the venue for a true national championship game --No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Florida-two teams with contrasting styles. By the half, the Huskers were well on their way to a 62-24 victory, one of the most one-sided national championship games in history.
6. Alabama (1961)
It was the year that Bear Bryant started on his journey to become an Alabama institution. Bryant had already proven himself 11 years earlier when he moved his Kentucky Wildcats-who were 2-8 just one season before --as far up the AP polls as No. 7, and then in 1956 helped a struggling Texas A&M football program, land at number five. So, it was no surprise that in ’61, he would lead his Crimson Tide to No. 1. Again, Bryant shaped a championship caliber team out of a squad that had completed the 1960 season, 2-7-1. The Tide went 11-0 that season, winning the Sugar Bowl, and their first national title while racking up 297 points and allowing only 25 under Bryant’ s leadership. Alabama went on to win five more national titles with Bear on the sidelines.
5. USC (1972)
After Nebraska’s hopes for a third national championship, as well as its 32-game unbeaten streak were crushed in a 20-17 road loss to UCLA to start the ’72 season. The Trojans would drive the final nail in the coffin by completing the regular season as the only unbeaten team (12-0), blowing out Notre Dame at the Coliseum (45–23) and Ohio State out of the Rose Bowl (42–17), earning them the No. 1 spot on the final AP poll. Tailback Anthony Davis scored six touchdowns against the Irish, while fullback Sam Cunningham scored four times against the Buckeyes. Only Stanford came within 10 points of USC that season, and that margin was nine.
4. Michigan (1947)
Although the two teams never met on the gridiron, the Wolverines were Notre Dame’s fiercest rival for the ’47 national title, trading the No.1 ranking back and forth three times. Michigan outscored their opponents 394-53 en route to an undefeated 10-0 season in 1947. The “Mad Magicians”, led by tailback Bob Chappius, wingback Chalmers "Bump" Elliott, QB Howard Yerges and fullback Jack Weisenburger, employed a razzle-dazzle offense that wore out spectators and drove defenses crazy. Often having the ball change hands three or four times on a single play. While Notre Dame (see below) were named No. 1 by the AP at the end of the regular season, Michigan’s 49-0 pounding of USC in the Rose Bowl, spawned an unofficial postseason AP poll that ranked the Wolverines No. 1.
3. Notre Dame (1947)
It was a good year for the Irish as they finished their undefeated season by trouncing USC 38-7 in front of 105,000 fans in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum en route to a No. 1 AP Poll ranking, a disputed national title, and a Heisman Trophy recipient. They were led by three of the best players in college football; Leon Hart, George Connor and QB Johnny Lujack, who were supported by a cast of 41 players who went on to play pro ball. Lujack, who quarterbacked the Irish to three national titles, won the '47 Heisman trophy, outpointing Wolverine half back Bob Chappuis.
2. Nebraska (1971)
Considered by many to be the best edition of Nebraska football and possibly the best college football team ever, the ’71 Huskers became the only team since 1936 to repeat as national champions. Just a year prior, the Huskers were lucky to claim their first title after the two teams ranked above them lost their bowl games. But in ‘71, led by special teams pundit Johnny Rodgers who won the 1972 Heisman, the team averaged more than 39 points a game on offense, and brought out its No. 1 defense that surrendered only 8.2 points a game. With the Big Eight title at stake, Nebraska rallied to beat No. 2 Oklahoma 35–31, in what some have called the "Game of the Century." Then in the Orange Bowl, the Huskers extended their three-year unbeaten string to 32, beating Alabama on New Year's Day.
1. Army (1945)
After winning World War II, the Black Knights topped off a glorious year by completing the season with a perfect 9-0 record. The stars of the show were the duo of fullback Felix "Doc" Blanchard and tailback Glenn Davis. Blanchard, who ran for 718 yards and 19 TDs, won the Heisman in '45; Davis won it in '46. Each time the Cadets ran the ball, they gained at least eight yards. The season began with a 48-0 pounding of No. 2 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium and then was culminated before 102,000 fans, as the Black Knights beat rival Navy in their annual Philadelphia classic 32-13, a game that decided the national title.
Honorable Mention: Florida (1996), Florida State (1999), Texas (1969), and Ohio State (1968).
There you have it, a tribute to the 10 greatest college football teams who were just a notch above the rest.
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