Ranking the Best of the Past 10 College Football Champions
Throughout the past 10 years college football has unfortunately been saddled with having to deal with the BCS and its bogus formula. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the first BCS National Title game which pitted the Tennessee Volunteers against the Florida State Seminoles with the Vols coming out on top 23-17.
So, given that it's the 10 year anniversary, we figured we would rank the past 10 champions to see just who is the greatest team from the past decade.
(Note the champions were the BCS champions so sorry USC your supposed title in 2003 doesn't count for this list)
10. 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes
This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. I'm still not quite sure how the Buckeyes won the National Title, but they did. This was a team that had managed to escape numerous close calls all season such as Michael Jenkins hauling in Craig Krenzel's prayer against Purdue on 4th down.
The Buckeyes won seven games by a touchdown or less. Couple this team's numerous close calls with the disputed pass interference call against the Hurricanes in the title game, and anyone can see that it wasn't a tough call to start with the '02 Buckeyes.
Notable players from team: RB Maurice Clarett, QB Craig Krenzel, WR Michael Jenkins, S Mike Doss, CB Chris Gamble, DE Will Smith.
9. 2003 LSU Tigers
This was a tough call because there was a lot to like about this team. Part of the reason I chose to list them here was because at the time when the final rankings were released I thought that USC should've gotten in over them.
The thing about these Tigers was that much like the Buckeyes of '02, there was never a big WOW factor with this team. Although they had no stars they were an unbelievably sound team. They did have one loss to Florida during the season, but didn't have as many close games as the Bucks did the previous year which is why they get the nod in this case.
Notable players from team: RB Joseph Addai, WR Devrey Henderson, WR Michael Clayton, DE Marcus Spears, CB Corey Webster.
8. 2006 Florida Gators
I'd say the Urban Meyer era got off to a good start in his first year. Combining the leadership and experience of quarterback Chris Leak with the athleticism of Tim Tebow, the Gators cruised to the title after baptizing Ohio State in the title game.
But people forget that this team was anything but dominant in the regular season. They had two one point victories (Tennessee, South Carolina) and won three other games by under a touchdown. If this list was based on performances in the title game they would be at the top, but with their struggles in the regular season they end up at No. 8.
Notable players from team: DE Jarvis Moss, QB Chris Leak, QB Tim Tebow, WR Andrew Caldwell, S Reggie Nelson, DE Derrick Harvey
7. 2007 LSU Tigers
In what was the most bizarre college football season in history, the Tigers managed to take home the title. Consider that for four consecutive weeks, the team that was ranked No. 2 in the polls lost. LSU looked to be headed to the title game until they lost to the Darren McFadden's, but with some luck ended up in the title game, and for the second straight season, delivered Ohio State a beat down.
LSU was an extremely frustrating team mostly because they were unbelievably talented but failed to put it all together on a consistent basis. Plus, they had 2 regular season losses, becoming the first team in BCS history to take home the title with 2 losses.
Notable players from team: DT Glenn Dorsey, S Craig Steltz, WR Early Doucet, QB Matt Flynn, RB Jacob Hester, CB Chevous Jackson
6. 1998 Tennessee Volunteers
Another tough call because you hate to penalize a team because of luck but that's exactly why the Vols wound up playing for the national title. If Arkansas doesn't run a bootleg with under two minutes to go against the Vols, they hang on and give the Big Orange their first loss. (Seriously what was Houston Nutt thinking).
The Vols occasionally blew their opponents out, but like the previous two teams on the list they lacked a WOW factor. Looking back, it's funny to think that the year after arguably the greatest quarterback to play college football leaves is when the Orange take home the title.
Notable Players from team: RB Jamal Lewis, RB Travis Henry, RB Shaun Bryson, WR Peerless Price, LB Al Wilson, DT Darwin Walker, DE Shaun Ellis
5. 2005 Texas Longhorns
I considered putting this team lower but I decided against it. I think everyone knows who was responsible for the Horns taking home the title in '05. Vince Young did it all. Literally. He did everything. The thing is, NO ONE could stop him.
The best thing about the Longhorns winning this game was that for the weeks leading up to this game, ESPN was touting where the '05 USC Trojans ranked in terms of the all-time great teams. So much for that. They weren't even the best team in the country that year.
Texas officially started getting people's attention when they went into Columbus and beat the Buckeyes. They beat their opponents by an average of 34 points a game. Clearly though, this team will be remembered for one reason. Vince Young.
Notable Players from team: QB: Vince Young
4. 1999 Florida State Seminoles
The Noles were coming off of a loss in the title game the year before to Tennessee and were eager to rebound and return to the championship game. The Noles were flat out loaded. NFL talent was littered all over their sidelines.
They did have to escape Clemson with a three point victory but other than that had no troubles with anyone else on their schedule. In the championship game, much of the hype was about Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick, but the Noles quickly made people forget about him en route to a national title.
Notable Players from team: QB Chris Weinke, WR Peter Warrick, DT Corey Simon, K Sebastion Janikowski, LB Tommy Polley
3. 2000 Oklahoma Sooners
Much like the '02 Buckeyes and the '98 Vols, the 2000 Sooners lacked excitement but made up for it in the form of consistent, tough football. The Sooners were rock solid during the regular season en route to an undefeated season and the Big 12 Title.
Standing in their way of a title was the Florida State Seminoles looking to defend their title. The game reflected what the Sooners were about the most. Boring, but effective football. The defense stifled the Noles' offense and held them to a mere safety.
Notable players from team: QB Josh Heupel, RB Quentin Griffin, LB Rocky Calmus, S Roy Williams, CB Andrew Woolfork
2. 2004 USC Trojans
An argument could easily be made for the Trojans to be No. 1 on this list, but they come up just a hair short. That being said, this team was easily one of the best ever. Some do forget that this team did have its share of close calls, including a three point win over Stanford, a six point win over Cal, and an eight point win over Oregon State.
But their demolition of the Sooners in the title game to the tune of a 55-17 route made everyone forget about those three close calls. This team finally put it all together and the result was scary good.
Notable Players from team: QB Matt Leinart, RB Reggie Bush, RB LenDale White, WR Dwayne Jarrett, WR Steve Smith, LB Lofa Tatupu
1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes
As good as that Trojan team was in '04, the '01 Hurricanes would have blown them away. Looking back on their roster, the Canes had an embarrassment of riches at their disposal. The Hurricanes only had one game in which they one by single digits, a two point win over arch rival Virginia Tech. Some people consider this team to be the greatest ever.
Some consider this team's accomplishment watered down because they played a Nebraska team that had no business being in the title game in the first place. I'm siding with the first argument. I have never seen a team that flat out dominated every opponent they played. When the Canes took the field that year there wasn't a doubt in my mind they would win.
Notable players on team: QB Ken Dorsey, RB Willis McGahee, RB Clinton Portis, WR Andre Johnson, TE Jeremy Shockey, LT Bryant McKinnie, LB DJ Williams, LB Jonathan Vilma, CB Phillip Buchanon, CB Mike Rumph, S Ed Reed
Let the debate begin..........
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