11. 2013 Florida State: Some might disagree about the greatness of this Seminole team, but I am not sure why. This team was dominating from the first game and redshirt freshman Jameis Winston was a star from the first play of the first game all the way until he brought the Seminoles from behind to defeat the Auburn Tigers and win the last BCS game.
The Seminoles were only challenged somewhat by Boston College and in the championship game against Auburn. After the Boston College win, they turned it up a few notches and beat ranked Maryland, 63-0. Then, they crushed a really good 8th ranked Clemson team, 51-14. They beat chief rivals, Miami and Florida by a combined score of 78 to 21. Neither game was even close. In the ACC Championship game, Florida State just crushed Duke, 45-7.
The Seminoles won the national title with a win over SEC champ, Auburn, 34-31 when they came
roaring back from behind.
Jameis Winston led the offense with over 4,000 passing yards and 40 Touchdown passes. Wide Receivers Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin and Tight End Nick O’Leary had 31 of those Touchdown receptions. The giant Benjamin was unstoppable with 15 Touchdown receptions before leaving for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Running Back Devonta Freeman ran for over 1,000 yards. Back up Running Backs Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr combined for another 1,300 yards. The Offensive Line was talented across the board.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Seminoles were tough with Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan, Linebacker Telvin Smith and Defensive Back Lamarcus Joyner among many others.
This was a fun team to watch if you were into total domination.
12. 2010 Auburn: Cam Newton’s lone year at Auburn was highly successful, but this team had a lot of close calls. After blowing out Arkansas State, the Tigers beat 15th ranked Mississippi State by only 3 points. The following Saturday, they beat the Clemson Tigers by 3 and then they beat the Gamecocks of South Carolina by 7 points.
They had an easy game against Louisiana-Monroe and blew them out. But, then Kentucky gave them fits before the Tigers won by 3 points. The Tigers needed a last second Field Goal to pull out the win against a Wildcat team that was not very good.
Next up was Arkansas and neither team showed much defense while Auburn won a shootout, 65-43. The Tigers beat the LSU Tigers next and moved into the number 1 spot. Ole Miss was not good in 2010, and the Tigers rolled, 51-31. After a game against an FCS team, the Auburn Tigers then beat old rival Georgia pretty soundly.
What happened next is what makes this team high on my list of all time greats. In the Iron Bowl
against their biggest and most hated rival, Alabama, the Tide went up 24-0 in the 2nd quarter. In one of the better comebacks in the history of the game, the Tigers came charging back and won, 28-24.
After winning the SEC West, they blew out South Carolina in a rematch.
In keeping step with the rest of their season, the Tigers had to score late to beat Oregon in the national championship game.
Cam Newton was the star of this team and he won the Heisman Trophy while throwing for over 2,800 yards and 30 Touchdowns. Newton was also the leading rusher with over 1,400 yards, but Michael Dyer ran for another 1,093 yards.
Nick Fairly led the defense from his Defensive Tackle position.
This team did not impress with the blowout wins that some of the great teams accomplished, but they showed heart time after time and especially in the Iron Bowl.
13. 1968 Ohio State: The Super Sophomores of 1968 were members of one of the great all time recruiting classes in the history of the game. In those years, teams did not play that many games, the players were not eligible as freshmen and nobody left early. The Super Sophomores went 27-2 in three seasons, but the Buckeyes only played 9 games in a season and the team that finished second in the Big 10 did not receive a bowl bid. The 1968 team finished up a perfect 10-0 with an impressive 27-16 win over a very good USC with Heisman winner OJ Simpson in the Rose Bowl. Along the way, they beat #1 ranked Purdue, #16 Michigan State and #4 Michigan. This team looked pretty invincible at times and especially in their 50-14 win over their biggest rival, Michigan.
This team was loaded with Jack Tatum at Safety, Mike Sensibaugh at the Free Safety, Rex Kern at Quarterback, Jim Otis and John Brockington at Fullback, Rufus Mayes and Dave Foley at the Offensive Tackle positions, and Bruce Jankowski at Split End to name a few.
The 50 points scored on Michigan when Woody Hayes elected to go for 2 points to make the score 50, instead of 49, was the beginning of the famous 10 year war between Ohio State and Michigan which I wrote about here: 10 Years War Part 1 or here: 10-years-war-part-2
14. 1999 Florida State: From 1987 until 2001, nobody was better than Florida State. This was their Dynasty Period which I wrote about here: Dynasty
This was probably the best of the teams from that generation finishing up the 1999 season at 12-0. They started the season ranked #1 and they never let go.
The Seminoles struggled with 10th ranked Georgia Tech in game 2, winning 41-35. The following week, Florida State crushed 20th ranked North Carolina State, 42-11. They had two more blowout wins before facing nemesis and 19th ranked Miami. They beat the Canes 31-21 to move to 6-0 on the 1999 season. Two games later, the Seminoles had a tough time with Clemson before winning by 3 points.
After two more easier games, the Noles finished up with the 4th ranked Florida Gators. The Gators proved worthy of their 4th ranking and gave the Seminoles fits before Florida State won it to end their season at 11-0. In the Sugar Bowl, the Florida State Seminoles beat Michael Vick and his Virginia Tech Hokies. Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech was known as a special teams guru, and the Seminoles broke the game open on special teams play, therefore beating the Hokies at their own
Like the other teams on this list, this squad was just loaded. Future Heisman winner Chris Weinke was their Quarterback with Travis Minor at Runningback. But, maybe the best stars of all were Wide Receiver Peter Warrick and Placekicker Sebastion Janikowski. After a series of Wide Left and Wide Right against Miami, Bobby Bowden didn’t want to take any chances and Janikowski may be the best kicker of all time.
15. 2014 Ohio State: Before the season started, the Buckeyes lost star Quarterback Braxton Miller to a shoulder injury. JT Barrett took over and they lost to Virginia Tech in their second game. Everybody wrote off the Buckeyes. But, they went on a run and won 10 straight before backup Quarterback JT Barrett was injured versus Michigan. Third team Quarterback Cardale Jones came into the Big 10 Championship as the starter against Wisconsin and things looked bleak. The Buckeyes played their best game of the season whipping the Badgers 59-0, to win the Big 10 with a 12-1 record.
The nation went into an uproar when the Ohio State Buckeyes passed TCU and Baylor and made the four team bracket of the first ever Playoff.
Once in the Playoffs, the Buckeyes beat Alabama and then beat Oregon to win the very first national championship in the Playoff system.
The Buckeyes used an explosive offense featuring Runningback Ezekiel Elliott and Receivers Devin Smith and Michael Thomas. The defense had plenty of stars on their own with Joey Bosa, Joshua
Perry and Vonn Bell among many others.
The 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes will always be known as the college football program to win the first ever college football playoff.
16. 2012: Alabama: This Nick Saban led team was talented. They opened the season by blowing out Michigan, 41-14. After that, they rolled along against a lot of bad teams before beating 14th ranked LSU in a close game to improve to 9-0. Before reaching 10 wins, the Aggies with Johnny Manziel crept into Tuscaloosa and surprised the Tide, 24 to 29. The Aggies lost to Florida and LSU to hand the SEC West title to the Crimson Tide and then Alabama beat Auburn 49-0 to end their regular season.
The Crimson Tide survived a furious Georgia rally to win the SEC Championship game and earn a spot in the BCS Championship game against the Irish of Notre Dame.
The championship game was not even interesting as the Crimson Tide just ran all over the Fighting Irish winning 42-14.
Quarterback AJ McCarron was their leader and threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 30 Touchdowns. Runningbacks Eddie Lacy and freshman TJ Yeldon both ran for over 1,000 yards while freshman Amari Cooper led the Alabama receivers.
Linebacker CJ Mosely led the defense to championship levels.
17. 1991 Washington: I blogged about the 1991 Washington Huskies here before: 1991 Washington Huskies This was another one of my all time favorite teams with head Washington coach Don James using a suffocating defense with a ball control offense to win every game it played that season. The Huskies beat 3 top 10 teams on their way to a national title that they shared with Miami. In game two, the Huskies beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska 36-21.
In their sixth game, the Huskies traveled to Berkeley to play the California Bears who were the 7th ranked team at the time. The Huskies came away with a hard fought 24-17 win.
They beat USC, 14-3, and those were the only close games the entire season. The Washington
Huskies clearly won the conference and then they beat the 4th ranked Michigan Wolverines by 34-14 and it was not nearly as close as the score indicates.
The best player on this team was Defensive Tackle Steve Emtman who was the very first player taken in the 1992 NFL Draft. He did not live up to his promise in the NFL because of injuries, but he was one of the more dominating Defensive Linemen that the game has seen. He just crushed Offensive Linemen and lived in opponents backfields. Emtman won that season’s Outland and Lombardi Trophies.
Quarterback Billy Joe Hobert stood in for injured Mark Brunell was solid all season. Impressive Wide Receivers Mario Bailey and Orlando McKay gave this team breakaway speed. While Runningbacks Beno Bryant and Jay Barry pounded the middle behind sensational Offensive Lineman Lincoln Kennedy and Center Ed Cunningham
Other good players on this team were LBers Dave Huffman, Donald Jones and James Clifford.
The Miami Hurricanes barely won the AP Poll while the Huskies won the Coaches Poll.
18. 1988 Notre Dame: After suffering through some sub-par seasons under Gerry Faust, the Fighting Irish hired Lou Holtz to restore their proud program before the 1986 season. The Irish struggled to a 5-6 record in the first season under Holtz in 1986. They improved to 8-4 in 1987, but had a bad loss in the Cotton Bowl. They went into the 1988 season ranked at 13th with not a lot of hope at making a run at a title.
They opened up the 1988 season with a game against the 9th ranked Michigan Wolverines and the Irish survived with a 19-17 victory. They beat their other state of Michigan rival, Michigan State by a score of 20-3. The Irish stomped Purdue and Stanford before a tough win over Pittsburgh prepped Notre Dame vs Miami 1988
them for a game against the #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes. By this time, the Fighting Irish had taken the 4th spot in teh rankings. This game was a classic
The Irish won the game 31-30 and moved to #2 in the Polls.
Three easy games followed with the Irish moving to the #1 spot, before a tougher test against Penn State. Then, the top ranked Fighting Irish had another huge test against the 2nd ranked USC Trojans. Holtz and his Irish won 27-10 which gained a berth in the Fiesta Bowl against the 3rd ranked West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Irish beat West Virginia 34-21 to win the national title.
Tony Rice Quarterbacked this team and came up with the right big plays when needed. Other stars were Ricky Watters, Chris Zorich, Mark Green, Mike Stonebreaker, Andy Heck, Frank Stams and so many others.
19. 1987 Miami: Jimmy Johnson was hired to take over the Miami Hurricane football team before the 1984 season and he got close to a national championship in 1986, but they lost to Joe Paterno and Penn State.
The 1987 season started off with a bang and the Hurricanes beat long time rival, Florida 31 to 4. The Canes started the season ranked 10th, but beating Florida put them at 5th. In game two, Miami really impressed with a 51-7 beating of 10th ranked Arkansas at Little Rock.
The most important game of their season was next when they traveled to Tallahassee to take on their fiercest rival, the Florida State Seminoles. This game was another classic and I wrote about it here: Going for the win
The Hurricanes had a few gimme games before facing 10th ranked Notre Dame. The Irish were easily handled 24-0 and then Miami beat 8th ranked South Carolina, 20-16.
2nd ranked Miami faced top ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and the Hurricanes won their second national title in the 1980s.
Like so many other teams on this list, this Hurricane team was packed full of talent. Michael Irvin and Brian Blades were their receivers, with Steve Walsh throwing them passes. Melvin Bratton and Warren Williams were their Running backs.
On defense, the Daniel Stubbs, Randy Shannon and Bubba McDowell were stars.
20. 1987 Florida State: All Florida State had to do was complete a pass on the extra point against Miami to have won their annual game. But, they failed and the Hurricanes won the game 26-25 and they won the national championship. This was the first season of the Dynasty period in Florida State football history.
Other than the Miami game, the Seminoles blew out most everyone they faced. In game 9, they took on 6th ranked Auburn and the Seminoles blew them out, too.
Rival Florida was no problem for Florida State and they finished the regular season at 10-1.
In the Fiesta Bowl, the Seminoles beat 5th ranked Nebraska in a thriller, 31-28, to improve to 11-1 on the season and a #2 ranking.
Deion Sanders and Paul McGowan were defensive stars for this team. Danny McManus was their
leader on offense as their Quarterback with Sammie Smith at Runningback and Pat Carter was an All American at Tight End.
When the Seminoles met the Hurricanes it was said there were 56 future NFL players on the field that day and if that is not completely accurate it was really close.
After this season, Florida State would be ranked in the top 5 every season through 2001. In 1993 and 1999, the Florida State Seminoles won national titles.
Teams 21 through 29.