Florida State placed itself in the pantheon of dominant BCS-era champions, ironically, with its narrowest win of the season.
Little came easy for the Seminoles in winning the BCS Championship Game over Auburn on Monday night at the Rose Bowl.
It marked the first time all season FSU didn’t steamroll the competition.
The dominance Florida State displayed over the course of the regular season speaks for itself. Its closest regular-season game came in a 14-point victory at Boston College, and regular-season opponents never held FSU to fewer than 37 points.
As B/R's Kyle Kensing pointed out during the immediate aftermath of the national championship, Florida State dominated in a way rarely seen during the BCS era.
Will history remember the 2013 Florida State team as the most dominant, though?
Statistically speaking, an argument can be made for the Seminoles even against great teams of the era such as 2001 Miami, 2004 USC and 2005 Texas.
(To be considered for “most dominant,” teams should be required to go undefeated. That rules out 2008 Florida. As dominating as that team was, the home loss to Ole Miss—which, incidentally, prompted the famous Tim Tebow speech—leaves the Gators out of the conversation.)
Of those three elite teams, none averaged a greater margin of victory than Florida State’s 39.5.
The 2005 Texas team had two one-possession wins and the 2004 USC team escaped with four one-possession victories. Miami and 2013 Florida State, meanwhile, only had one such close call.
For all the criticism of Florida State’s schedule, the Seminoles finished the season having beaten five teams in the Top 25 when they played. Those five wins also include three victories over teams ranked in the Top 10.
The 2001 Miami team also played five teams in the Top 25, but only one of those—Nebraska in the Rose Bowl (that year’s BCS National Championship Game)—ranked in the Top 10 at kickoff time.
Even the Nebraska win comes with some tarnish. The Cornhuskers were ranked No. 4 by the Associated Press, were coming off a 62-36 loss to Colorado and failed to win their division.
Few would argue that the 2013 Miami team, which was No. 7 before Florida State pummeled the Hurricanes 41-14, belonged in the Top 10.
However, the Seminoles also went on the road to dismantle Clemson, which finished the season ranked eighth in the AP Top 25 and seventh in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
That Florida State concluded its perfect campaign with a win over SEC champion Auburn only further solidifies the schedule advantage over 2001 Miami.
Just about any argument levied against the 2013 Florida State team falls short.
2013 Florida State
Wins by 1-8 points
Wins by 9-16 points
Wins by 17-plus points
Wins vs. Top 10
Wins vs. Top 25
Average Margin of Victory
Throughout the regular season, Florida State never allowed an opponent to pull to within one score. Only Boston College played in the fourth quarter within two scores of FSU.
The Seminoles trailed in the fourth quarter in only one game—to Auburn during the BCS National Championship Game.
All that deficit did was set the backdrop for Florida State to stage what might be the most dramatic comeback win for the national title in the BCS era.
In securing the victory—even a narrow one—Florida State gave itself a perfectly valid statistical claim as the most dominant team of the BCS era.