The 100 Most Entertaining College Football Teams of All Time
College football is a game quite unlike anything else in the world.
The history and lore of the sport, the passion of the fans, the youth of the players, the upsets and blowouts, the famous and the infamous, the legends and the forgotten—it is all part of this grand game.
In over 100 years of the sport we have seen too many great stories to tell in one day, too many great players to list on one page, and too many games you won't ever forget to even remember.
Here we pay homage to the 100 most entertaining teams of all time. We have chosen from the greatest teams to ever play, from the greatest individual performances, to the biggest upsetters and the many "Games of the Century" to bring you a list that can only attempt to be all-encompassing.
1901 Michigan Wolverines
In his first year as head coach at Michigan, Fielding Yost led the Wolverines to an 11-0 season.
Michigan outscored its opponents by a staggering total of 550-0 to become the first of Yost's famous "Point-a-Minute" teams.
The Wolverines finished the season with a 49-0 victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl, the first college football bowl game in history.
No team has ever come close to equaling the totals of this famed squad, and it can be assured no team ever will.
1912 Harvard Crimson
1912 marked the first year of the modern era, with NCAA-implemented changes put into effect to increase scoring.
Teams were given four downs instead of three to gain 10 yards and a first down, the value of a touchdown was increased from five points to six points, the field was reduced from 110 yards to 100 yards, the end zones were added, and kickoffs were moved from midfield to the 40-yard line.
As a result, football as we now know it began to take form.
In the first year of the modern era, it was Harvard that dominated the game. First, the Crimson defeated Maine, Holy Cross, William & Mary, Amherst, and Brown by a combined 115 points.
Harvard then claimed victory over undefeated Princeton and Vanderbilt teams, finishing the year 9-0.
1916 Georgia Tech Engineers
The 1916 Georgia Tech Engineers might not have been the best team in Joe Heisman's legendary reign as head coach, but they certainly provided one of the best story lines in college football history in their meeting with the Cumberland Bulldogs.
Cumberland had discontinued its football program before the season, but Heisman refused to let them cancel their scheduled game with the Engineers because of bad blood over a 22-0 loss in baseball to the Bulldogs earlier that year.
Cumberland was forced to gather up whomever it could to field a team, and the result was the most lopsided game in the history of the sport, 222-0.
1920 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
George Gipp, considered one of the greatest all-around players in college football history, led the Irish to 27-2-3 record for his career, with Notre Dame going undefeated in 1919 and 1920.
The legend grows because of Gipp's tragic death after the 1920 season of a streptococcic throat infection. Gipp contracted strep throat while helping Notre Dame beat Northwestern late in the season his senior year.
"Win one for the Gipper" later became one of the great inspirational stories in sports. But that's a different story altogether.
1924 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The most fearsome backfield of its time, Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen" dominated their opponents throughout their careers, losing only two games over a three-year stretch.
Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller, and fullback Elmer Layden led the Irish to their first national title and went down as legends of college football.
The Four Horsemen are remembered to this day as a huge part of the history of the game.
1928 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame didn't win a national title in 1928. In fact, the team lost two of its first six contests. But we return to the Gipper and November 10, 1928—for as good as George Gipp was on the football field, his legend centers on this day.
On his deathbed in 1920, Gipp made a request of coach Knute Rockne.
"Sometime, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys," he said, "tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper."
Rockne waited until 1928 to relay this request, when an injury-depleted Notre Dame squad faced an unbeaten Army team. After Rockne gave his famous "win one for the Gipper" speech, the Irish went on to win 12-6 in what's been described as the most inspired victory in the history of the game.
1932 USC Trojans
The USC football teams under Howard Jones in the late 1920s and early 1930s were known as the "Thundering Herd." Things really got going in 1931, when USC recorded its first victory over Notre Dame in South Bend.
But it was the 1932 season that brought a national championship and a perfect 10-0 season. That year, the Trojans outscored their opponents 201-13, capping the year with a 35-0 win over Pittsburgh in the Rose Bowl.
1934 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Many will point toward the 1940 Minnesota team as being the best in school history, but there's just as good an argument for a dominating 1934 team that had arguably the best rushing attack of its time and a defense as stingy as they come.
In their undefeated national championship season, the Golden Gophers averaged over 33 points with nearly 300 rushing yards a game and boasted a defense that shut out half of their opponents and finished the season allowing just 4.7 points and 103 yards a game.
1936 Fordham Rams
The legendary offensive line of the 1936 Fordham Rams was simply known as "The Seven Blocks of Granite."
Leo Paquin, Johnny Druze, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ed Franco, Al Babartsky, Natty Pierce, and Vince Lombardi made up the group that led a Rams offense that scored 128 points over eight games.
But the story ended in sorrow for Lombardi and the other Blocks of Granite. Going into their final game of the year ranked No. 3 in the country, the Rams lost 7-6 to NYU and missed out on a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
1938 TCU Horned Frogs
TCU has only one Heisman winner in its long history of college football. That would be famed quarterback Davey O'Brien. His best year came in 1938, when he threw for a then-record 1,457 passing yards and 19 touchdowns.
He led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated national championship season where they outscored their opponents 269-60.
O'Brien became the first player in history to win the Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp trophies in the same year.
1939 Tennessee Volunteers
Coming off a share of the 1938 national championship, hopes were high for Tennessee in 1939.
The Volunteers didn't disappoint throughout the regular season. They went undefeated, untied, and unscored upon through 10 games—the last team in NCAA history to accomplish such a task.
But their 23-game win streak came to a crashing end in the Rose Bowl that year with a 14-0 loss to USC that threw a black cloud over an otherwise perfect season.
1940 Minnesota Golden Gophers
After dominating the college football landscape from 1934 to 1936, Minnesota hit a low point in 1939, finishing the year with a record of 3-4-1—the first losing season under legendary coach Bernie Bierman.
The Golden Gophers responded by winning their fourth national championship in 1940, riding the coattails of the devastating running back tandem of George Franck and Bruce Smith.
Franck went on to become an All-American that season, and Smith was Mr. Clutch, scoring the game-winning touchdown on three separate occasions.
1940 Michigan Wolverines
Many have pointed towards Michigan's 1941 team when talking about the best squads in school history, but it was the 1940 team that featured a pair of College Football Hall of Fame legends in the backfield together.
The Wolverines featured two of the nation's top four rushers, with Tom Harmon, arguably the greatest player in school history, and Bob Westfall rushing for 852 yards and 808 yards, respectively.
Michigan went 7-1 that season, their only loss a crushing 7-6 defeat at the hands of eventual national champions Minnesota.
1945 Army Cadets
Army's 1945 team is considered to be among the greatest in the history of the sport. The Cadets featured one of the best one-two combos in the game, with Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.
Fullback Felix "Doc" Blanchard and tailback Glenn Davis led Army to a dominating 9-0 record, with Blanchard winning the Heisman that season; Davis would have to wait a year for his Heisman.
Army beat Notre Dame 48-0, and in the game that decided the national title, the Cadets crushed Navy 32-13 in front of a crowd of over 100,000.
1947 Michigan Wolverines
Under head coach Fritz Crisler, the 1947 Wolverines were simply known as the "Mad Magicians" because of their complicated and tricky offense.
Michigan Today writer Ivan Kaye described the action as such: "Three men handling the ball was just an ordinary play. The plays that really gave them a kick were the ones where four or even five men handled the ball. It would wear out the spectators and drive defenses crazy."
Michigan went 10-0, capping the year by blowing out USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl, ranking No. 1 in an unofficial postseason AP poll.
1947 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
1947 was arguably the best team in Notre Dame's epic run of success from 1946 to 1949. Over that stretch, Notre Dame went 36-0-2 to solidify themselves as one of the best dynasties in all of sports.
The 1947 squad went 9-0, winning a disputed national title with a team featuring three players—Leon Hart, George Connor, and Johnny Lujack—who would later be named among the top 100 of all time by College Football News.
Lujack won the Heisman that year, while Hart would win the award two years later in 1949. In total, 41 players from the 1947 team went on to play professionally.
1948 Michigan Wolverines
In 1948, Michigan followed up its success from the year before with another undefeated campaign, this time winning the national championship outright.
Featuring the greatest all-around athlete in Michigan history, Pete Elliot, who earned 12 letters in varsity sports, the Wolverines finished the year 9-0.
That year, Michigan finished the year beating its last three opponents by a combined score of 102-0, with Elliot and Dick Rifenburg forming the best quarterback-wide receiver combo of their time.
1949 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
1949 marked the end of Notre Dame's famed dynasty of the 1940s. Though it can be argued that the 1947 team had more flavor and talent, the buzz circling the 1949 team can't be denied.
It seemed observers knew they were reaching the end of an era, and that made the year all the more entertaining and special.
While outscoring their opponents 360-86 en route to a 10-0 season, the Irish crowned their second Heisman winner in three years when offensive lineman Leon Hart took home the trophy; he's one of two linemen in history to receive the award.
1950 Kentucky Wildcats
The 1950 college football season is one that will forever be remembered as the one where Kentucky shocked the world in one of the biggest upsets of the first half of the 20th century, but also one that didn't quite get the result it deserved.
Oklahoma went into the Sugar Bowl as the undisputed No. 1 team in the country riding a 30-game win streak.
Kentucky, under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, went into the game as the No. 7 team in the country, fresh off a 7-0 loss to Tennessee. They would beat the Sooners 13-7 in a game no one would have expected the Wildcats to win.
Oklahoma was still awarded the national championship though, since AP voting took place before the game was played. The NCAA later retroactively recognized Kentucky as co-national champions.
1952 Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State would post one of the school's best runs of success from 1950 to 1953. Over that stretch, under the leadership of coach Clarence Munn, the Spartans would post a record of 35-2.
They would win a national championship in the unbeaten 1952 season, the only one with Munn at the helm.
That year, the Spartans opened the season with a 27-13 victory over Michigan and then later went on to beat Notre Dame 21-3, dominating both rivalry games.
1956 Oklahoma Sooners
Considered to be the finest team coach Bud Wilkinson had in 16 years at the helm, Oklahoma's 1956 squad was named the eighth-best team of any sport, pro or college, ever by ESPN at the end of the 20th century.
In the middle of a 47-game winning streak, the 1956 Sooners went 10-0, with an average win margin of over 40 points a game.
Running back Tommy McDonald made his living following behind offensive lineman Jerry Tubbs. The pair finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Heisman voting that year.
1956 Tennessee Volunteers
In 1956, Tennessee came in second to only Oklahoma. The Vols won the SEC Championship and finished the year 10-1.
Featuring Hall of Fame tailback Johnny Majors, the Vols won one of the greatest games in school history in 1956, defeating Georgia Tech, ranked third in the nation at the time, 6-0 in a brutal, defense-dominated matchup.
Majors was second in the Heisman voting that year, losing to Paul Hornung of Notre Dame—the only player from a losing squad to ever receive the award.
1957 Ohio State Buckeyes
Coming into the 1957 season, Ohio State was supposed to be rebuilding, but after dropping the first game of the year to an unranked TCU team, the Buckeyes wouldn't lose again.
With rivals Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Iowa all ranked in the top six, Ohio State climbed the rankings in one of the most improbable national championship runs in college football history.
The Buckeyes beat Iowa and Michigan, while watching Michigan State lose to Purdue and Minnesota unravel. They weren't even ranked until late October but somehow finished the season No. 1.
1958 LSU Tigers
LSU's 1958 team was the first in school history to claim a national championship, finishing the year with an 11-0 record.
But that wasn't what made this team so special. That would be the "Chinese Bandits," coach Paul Ditzel's third team subs.
Dietzel organized his players into three groups: the "White Team," which was all two-way starters, the "Go" team, which was offensive specialists, and what eventually became known as the "Chinese Bandits," leftovers who practiced mostly defense against the starting team.
The Bandits would go on to become a force to be reckoned with any time they hit the field, first with a dominating performance against Alabama that secured a 13-3 victory and then by continuing that play throughout the year.
Eventually they earned the national media's attention. The photo is a famous image captured by Life magazine.
1959 Syracuse Orangemen
There might not have been a better running back in the history of the game than Ernie "The Express" Davis (No. 44).
Davis led the Orange to its first national championship in 1959 with a victory over a very stingy Texas team, ranked No. 2 just behind Syracuse.
In 1961, Davis would become the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, but he would tragically die of leukemia in 1963.
1961 Alabama Crimson Tide
Winning the first national championship under the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, Alabama's 1961 team is considered by many to be the greatest in school history.
The Crimson Tide went 11-0 that year, scoring 297 points and allowing their opposition to score just 25 points for the entire season.
The 1961 team would begin a dynasty that lasted until 1966 in which the team would go 60-5-1 and win three national championships.
1962 USC Trojans
Considered the breakout year for head coach John McKay, the 1962 USC Trojans are remembered as one of the finest in school history.
One of the teams credited for popularizing the I-formation, McKay's squad helped to revolutionize the game of football.
In the regular season USC went 10-0, outscoring its opponents 219-55 and holding eight teams to seven points or less.
The Trojans capped the year with a victory over No. 2-ranked Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
1963 Texas Longhorns
Texas claimed its first national championship in 1963, fielding one of the best defenses of its time.
With All-American defensive tackle Scott Appleton and the legendary Tommy Nobis, the Longhorns went 11-0, holding their opponents to seven points or less in all but three games.
Nobis was only a sophomore at the time, and while he would later go onto to become arguably the greatest linebacker in college football history, he made his presence felt during that 1963 title run.
1966 Michigan State Spartans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish
These two teams are forever linked together as co-national champions in 1966 and participants in the "Game of the Century."
Of course, this term as been given to several matchups throughout the 20th century, but the MSU-ND game of 1966 was the first time the media had used the phrase in over 20 years.
Coming into the contest ranked No. 1 and No. 2, flip-flopped depending on which poll you were looking at, the Spartans and Irish played one of the most exciting and controversial games in history.
Ending in a 10-10 tie, both teams finished the season with 9-0-1 records and split the national title.
The controversy arises from Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian running out the clock at the end of the game rather than going for the win; his argument to this day is that he didn't want to risk a turnover.
1967 USC Trojans
We come to another team that played in a "Game of the Century," only one year after Michigan State and Notre Dame faced off in such a contest.
This time the teams were USC and UCLA. With the Trojans featuring future Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson in their backfield, USC defeated UCLA 21-20 in the last game of the season to finish the year 10-1.
The victory came just seven days after a brutal 3-0 loss to Oregon State, the Trojans' only loss of the year.
The 1967 USC-UCLA matchup is considered the signature game of the school's heated rivalry.
But we give USC the spot on the list alone, because while the Trojans popularized the I-formation in the early 1960s, it was O.J. Simpson who blew it wide open.
1968 Ohio State Buckeyes
All college football fans are familiar with the Buckeye Pride stickers that adorn the helmets of Ohio State players. That tradition began in 1968, when coach Woody Hayes became the first college coach to institute such a program.
The 1968 Buckeyes were one of the finest in school history, with 11 All-Americans, headlined by the legendary defensive back Jack Tatum, who would be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Ohio State went 10-0 that season, winning the national championship and capping the year with a dominating 50-14 performance over Michigan and a come-from-behind victory over USC in the Rose Bowl.
1969 Michigan Wolverines
Michigan's 8-3 1969 team is known specifically for one thing: pulling off one of the greatest upsets in the history of college football.
The rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan is as bitter as any in sports, but this game began what was later known as the Ten-Year War between Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler and Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes.
The story really begins the year before, when Hayes ordered his team to go for two on the final play of a 50-14 win over Michigan in 1968.
The Buckeyes came into Ann Arbor in front of a then-record crowd of 103,588 with a 22-game win streak on the line and the No. 1 ranking in the country.
Described by many as the greatest college football team of all time entering the contest, Ohio State was heavily favored but suffered a crushing 24-12 upset. It has been remembered as one of the greatest games in Michigan history.
1969 Texas Longhorns
"Game of the Century" might have been too popular a term in the 1960s, as the 1969 Texas-Arkansas matchup was the third game in four years to be given such a title by the media.
But this one was different and lived up to its name in every way.
Texas would defeat its opponents by an average margin of 44 points throughout the season and earn the No. 1 ranking in the country.
The Longhorns would face off with Arkansas in the season finale, with the Razorbacks ranked No. 2. The contest would mark 100 years of college football.
Arkansas was up 14-0 through three quarters, but Texas came back in thrilling fashion in the fourth to win 15-14 and collect its second national championship.
1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers
The 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers have been considered by many to be the best college football team ever assembled.
They would win their second consecutive national championship that year with a squad featuring eight All-Americans.
Beating their opponents by an average of over 30 points a game, the Cornhuskers went 13-0, defeating No. 2-ranked Oklahoma in yet another "Game of the Century."
The team featured Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, voted the Cornhuskers' Player of the Century.
1971 Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma's 1971 team is known for perfecting the Wishbone offense under offensive coordinator Barry Switzer.
The Sooners led the nation in both scoring and total yards, averaging over 45 points and 563 yards per game. They also set an NCAA record in averaging 472.4 rushing yards per game.
The team's only loss came at the hands of Nebraska in a 35-31 defeat that solidified the Cornhuskers' claim as the No. 1 team in the nation.
1972 USC Trojans
The 1972 USC Trojans rank right up there with the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers as one of the greatest teams of the 20th century.
Not only were they the first unanimous No. 1 team in the country, but the Trojans' strength of schedule and results were simply unprecedented as well.
USC went undefeated, playing five ranked teams: No. 4 Nebraska, No. 15 Stanford, No. 18 Washington, No. 10 Notre Dame, and No. 3 Ohio State. USC beat these teams by an average margin of 20.2 points per game.
Oh, and this team was stacked with talent unlike any before it and few after it: Richard Wood, Sam Cunningham, Pete Adams, John Grant, Charlie Young, Lynn Swann, and Anthony Davis.
1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The 1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish brought home the school's ninth national championship after a breathtaking 24-23 victory over then No. 1-ranked Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.
The Irish jumped to No. 1 in the AP poll after the victory, finishing the year with a perfect 11-0 record.
Featuring All-American tight end Dave "The Ghost" Casper and a relentless rushing attack with fullback Wayne Bullock, halfbacks Art Best and Eric Penick, and quarterback Tom Clements, the Irish offense was a near unstoppable beast.
1973 Penn State Nittany Lions
The 1973 season wasn't just a year Penn State went 12-0 and saw running back John Cappelletti win the Heisman.
It was a year where the border between sports and life faded and an athlete strove for excellence in honor of a family member.
Joe Paterno has described Cappelletti as the greatest player he has ever coached. Cappelletti, who rushed for over 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, won the Heisman Trophy that year and dedicated the honor to his younger brother Joey.
Joey was suffering from leukemia and passed away in 1976. Cappelletti's Heisman acceptance speech in which he honored his friend and brother is one of the most memorable moments in the history of college sports.
1974 Oklahoma Sooners
Barry Switzer was one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, and the 1974 Oklahoma Sooners awarded him his first national championship.
The team dominated over a two-year stretch from 1973 to 1974, posting a record of 21-0-1, but the '74 squad had that something special that separated the two years.
With an outstanding defense led the Selmon brothers, Lee Roy and Dewey, and linebacker Rod Shoat, as well one of the best running games in the country behind halfback Joe Washington, the Sooners crushed everyone in their path.
They ran the ball an average of 74 times a game, beat two opponents 63-0, and routed a third 72-3.
1975 Ohio State Buckeyes
The 1975 Ohio State team finished 11-1, its only loss coming to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. But when you're talking about this team, you're talking about Archie Griffin—a player held in such high regard that he's practically regarded as a folk hero in the Ohio area.
Griffin is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in the history of college football. He led the Buckeyes to four straight Big Ten Titles and is the only player to start in four Rose Bowls.
He finished fifth in the Heisman voting as a sophomore and won the award as a junior and senior, amassing 4,722 rushing yards over that three-year stretch with 23 touchdowns.
1976 Pittsburgh Panthers
If not for Archie Griffin, 1975 would have belonged to Tony Dorsett. But Dorsett got his chance in 1976, when he led the nation in rushing with 1,948 yards.
He would lead the Panthers to a 12-0 season and a national championship, starting the year off with a 290-yard performance against Notre Dame and finishing his career with a then-record 6,082 total rushing yards.
There's no denying that Dorsett turned Pittsburgh into one of the most exciting rushing teams to ever take the field.
His rushing record would stand for over 20 years until Ricky Williams surpassed Dorsett in 1998.
1978 Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama's 1978 team recorded one of the best Sugar Bowl appearances of all time.
After beating No. 10-ranked Nebraska 20-3 and No. 11-ranked Missouri 38-20, the Crimson Tide lost unexpectedly to USC.
They were still invited to the 1979 Sugar Bowl, where they faced off with No. 1-ranked Penn State.
The Crimson Tide went on to win 14-7, with linebacker Barry Krauss recording one of the most famous plays in college football history. Krauss stopped Penn State running back Mike Guman on the goal line late in the fourth quarter to preserve victory and the national championship.
1978 Ohio State Buckeyes
The 1978 Ohio State Buckeyes are a team most fans will want to forget—not just because the team finished the year 7-4-1, but because of how it all came to an end for a coaching legend.
After 28 years at the helm for the Ohio State, winning three national championships and 13 Big Ten championships, Woody Hayes' reign as head coach came to a crashing end.
In what would be Hayes' final game as a coach, with the clock winding down against Clemson, Buckeyes quarterback Art Schlichter threw an interception to Charlie Bauman.
Frustrated, Hayes clotheslined Bauman after the play was over, turning on his own players as they tried to restrain him. As terrible an ending as it was, the moment was one of the most infamous in college football history.
1979 SMU Mustangs
There were other years later, but sometimes the beginning is the best. In 1979 the SMU "Pony Express" was born.
Freshman running backs Eric Dickerson and Craig James combined to rush for 1,239 yards in 1979, beginning a four-year run of success that put Dickerson in the record books.
The pair split time throughout their tenure at SMU, with Dickerson finishing his career with 4,450 yards and 48 touchdowns.
Of course, the school was later found guilty of numerous recruiting violations involving both Dickerson and James. That led to SMU receiving the "death sentence" in 1987—an athletic ban that has only been implemented by the NCAA on five occasions.
1980 Pittsburgh Panthers
Though the 1980 Pittsburgh Panthers were named the national champions by several selectors, including the College Football Researchers Association, the New York Times computer poll, and the Sagarin Ratings, the school is officially recognized as the No. 2 team from 1980.
With a dominating defense led by defensive end Hugh Green, the Panthers went 11-1, holding all but three of their opponents to under 10 points.
Green, whose 1980 season was one of the best in history, finished his career with 277 tackles and 53 sacks. He was second in the 1980 Heisman voting, the highest placement a defensive player had ever reached.
1981 Clemson Tigers
Led by coach Danny Ford and one of the best defenses in the country, the 1981 Clemson Tigers went 12-0 and were voted as the No. 1 team in the country, recording the school's first and only national championship.
With a very tough to contain option offense and a dominant defense that featured College Football Hall of Famers Jeff Davis at linebacker and Terry Kinard at free safety, the Tigers outscored their opponents 338-105.
After beating Top 10-ranked Georgia and North Carolina in the regular season, Clemson capped the year with a 22-15 win over No. 4 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
1982 Georgia Bulldogs
The 1982 season is a heartbreaker for the Georgia Bulldogs. They watched as Herschel Walker dominated his opposition like few have ever done and expected him to lead the Bulldogs to a second national championship in three years.
Walker had already proven himself one of the nation's top rushers before the 1982 season began. In 1980, he'd set the NCAA freshman rushing record and finished third in the Heisman voting.
He came up short again in 1981 but was too good to be denied in '82—his final collegiate year.
Herschel only stayed three years at Georgia, but in that time he gained 5,259 yards, which was the most yards ever gained in a three-year NCAA football career.
So why does this story end badly? Because after an 11-0 regular season, the Bulldogs fell to No. 2-ranked Penn State in devastating fashion, 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
1982 Nebraska Cornhuskers
There are some positions in football, like quarterback and running back, that seem to garner the most respect nationally and the most attention in legend.
Well, here we pay homage to one of the game's most underrated positions:
Nebraska's Dave Rimington is regarded by many to be the greatest collegiate center of all time. A two-time All-American, two-time Outland Trophy Winner, and the only offensive lineman ever honored with the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year Award, Rimington finished fifth in the 1982 Heisman vote.
That year, he led Nebraska to a 12-1 season, the Cornhuskers' only loss coming to Penn State, 27-24.
1982 Penn State Nittany Lions
And now we come to the team you've been hearing about in 1982: the upsetter, the underdog, the unexpected national champions that year.
Penn State went 11-1 that season with Todd Blackledge under center and a tough, no-quit attitude under coach Joe Paterno.
The Nittany Lions handed Nebraska and Georgia their only losses of the year, both teams coming into their contest with Penn State favored with a higher ranking.
It was an improbable run of success and one of the great stories of the game.
1983 Miami Hurricanes
Howard Schnellenberger turned the Miami Hurricanes into a powerhouse that would be at or near the forefront of college football for almost all of the next 20 years.
But Schnellenberger's first title in 1983 is what really got the ball rolling.
After losing badly to Florida in the season opener, the Hurricanes responded by winning their next 10 games and setting up a Orange Bowl matchup with a Nebraska team that had absolutely crushed everything in its path.
Of course, Schnellenberger's Hurricanes pulled off one of the greatest upsets in history, defeating Nebraska 31-30 and bringing Miami its first national championship.
1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers
While Miami got the best of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, this was a team many had described as the best of all time and an unstoppable offensive force.
Nicknamed "The Scoring Explosion," the Cornhuskers offense was arguably the greatest to ever take the field. Led by Heisman-winning running back Mike Rozier, Nebraska averaged 52 points and 401 rushing yards per game.
Rozier rushed for 2,148 yards and had a total of 29 touchdowns that year, while Nebraska outscored its opponents in the regular season 624-187.
1984 Boston College Eagles
The 1984 Boston College Eagles are best known for the the Hail Flutie game. Though they finished the season 10-2, ranked fourth in the country, it was a wild, back-and-forth game against Miami that immortalized this team.
The day after Thanksgiving, with millions of fans watching the game live from across the country, Miami took a 45-41 lead with less than a minute to play in the game.
From there, Doug Flutie, who would win the Heisman that season, took possession of the ball on his own 22-yard line with 28 seconds to play. A couple of quick passes got him to midfield with six seconds on clock.
Flutie scrambled his way out of the pocket under pressure, tossed a Hail Mary to the end zone, and connected with Gerard Phelan for the 47-45 win as time expired. The rest is history.
1984 Brigham Young Cougars
BYU's 1984 national championship team was the last that is not a current member of the BCS coalition that makes up the six major conferences of college football.
A consensus choice for the title that year, the Cougars opened the season with a 20-14 win over Pitt, ranked third at the time, and finished the season with a 24-17 win over Michigan, ranked as high as second that season.
Fans could have been privy to arguably the best matchup of the year had Washington, ranked third, not opted to play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl rather than face BYU in the Holiday Bowl.
Still, at the end of the year, it was the Cougars who took home the title, closing out the season on a 24-game win streak.
1984 Washington Huskies
Washington could have had the chance to be the national champions, but by opting to bypass the opportunity to play BYU, the Huskies sealed their fate in the polls.
Washington outscored their opponents 352-145 on the year, starting out 9-0 before dropping a critical game against USC that cost them a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
Instead the Huskies found themselves matched up with No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, where the infamous Sooner Schooner Incident occurred.
After an Oklahoma field goal, the driver of the Sooner Schooner drove onto the field, unaware that a flag had been thrown. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the ensuing field goal attempt was blocked.
Many credit that moment for the shift in the game that Washington went on to win 28-17. After the contest, Sooners coach Barry Switzer called the Huskies the best team in the nation.
1985 Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma would come back from their loss to Washington in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship in 1985.
The Sooners would go 11-1, their only loss of the season coming at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. In that game, Oklahoma lost starting quarterback Troy Aikman for the season.
They would respond by beating their remaining opponents by an average margin of 29.1 points per game.
With lightning-fast true freshman quarterback Jamelle Holieway and a dominant defense, the Sooners would close the year beating No. 2 Nebraska, No. 17 Oklahoma State, and No. 1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl.
1986 Miami Hurricanes
Described by Sports Illustrated as the most hated sports team of all time, the 1986 Miami Hurricanes were anything but sportsmanlike.
They were in your face, cocky, arrogant, and oh so talented. The team was stacked with future NFL players but ran wild and stood as the opposite of what college athletes were expected to be.
Coach Jimmy Johnson let his boys run loose, and boy did they. Famed for getting off their plane at the Fiesta Bowl in army fatigues, the undefeated Hurricanes were too cocky for their own good.
Penn State upset Miami 14-10 in the game that decided the national championship and gave everyone outside of South Florida a smile from ear to ear. Hated, the '86 Hurricanes were no doubt one of the most unique and entertaining teams of all time.
1987 Miami Hurricanes
After the disappointment and embarrassment of the 1986 season, as well as the loss of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Vinny Testaverde and backs Alonzo Highsmith and Jerome Brown, the Hurricanes entered 1987 as somewhat of an afterthought.
Led by sophomore quarterback Steve Walsh, wide receiver Michael Irvin, and free safety Bennie Blades, Miami came into the year focused and humbled.
The Hurricanes opened the year against No. 20 Florida, No. 10 Arkansas, and No. 4 Florida State. They closed the season against No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 8 South Carolina, and No. 1 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Miami went undefeated and took home the national championship that eluded them the previous year.
1987 Syracuse Orangemen
Syracuse's 1987 team was led by Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson and Hall of Fame quarterback Don McPherson, who would finish second in the Heisman voting that year.
The Orangemen would go undefeated in the regular season with one of the best offenses in the game at that time. It was the first time Syracuse had accomplished this since their national championship season of 1959.
But the season ended on a down note, or rather a bland one. Against No. 6 Auburn in the 1988 Sugar Bowl, Syracuse led 16-13 with one second remaining. Rather than play for the win, Auburn opted to kick a 30-yard field goal for the tie.
Despite outrage from Syracuse fans who claimed they would rather have lost than tie in that fashion, it didn't seem to bother the Tigers to end the season in such a manner.
1988 Florida State Seminoles
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The 1988 Florida State Seminoles will forever be remembered as Deion Sanders' team. Winner of the Jim Thorpe award as the nation's top cornerback, Sanders was one of the most electrifying playmakers to ever step on the field.
1988 might not have been the best Seminoles team, but it was the last of an era led by one of the game's all-time great players.
Sanders recorded 14 interceptions that season, returning one of them 100 yards for a touchdown. He also led the nation in punt return average, breaking FSU's record for career punt return yards.
It came no surprise, of course, when the Seminoles retired his No. 2 jersey in 1995.
1988 Miami Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The 1988 Miami Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are forever linked to each other for the infamous "Catholics vs. Convicts" game, which started with a pregame brawl in the tunnel.
Notre Dame and Miami would meet in one of the best and most controversial games of all time. With the Hurricanes entering ranked No. 1 and the Irish entering ranked No. 4, the game, played midseason, ended up being the decider of the national championship.
The Hurricanes were heavily favored, having won 36 games in a row, but trailing 31-30 with under a minute to play, Miami opted to go for two rather than tie; they failed and lost the game.
The controversy arose a few minutes before that play, when Hurricanes running back Cleveland Gary fumbled on the Irish 1-yard line. Replays indicate he may have been down by contact before the ball came loose.
Neither team would lose the rest of the season, with Notre Dame finishing the season undefeated ranked No. 1 and Miami ranked No. 2.
1988 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The 1988 Oklahoma State Cowboys might have gone 10-2 and finished the season ranked 11th, but they are remembered for greatness that came from the team's best player:
Arguably the greatest running back to ever play, Sanders' 1988 season is a thing of legend.
Leading the nation rushing with an average of 7.6 yards per carry and over 200 yards per game, Sanders finished the year with 2,628 rushing yards, 3,249 total yards, and 39 touchdowns.
Add in another 222 yards and five touchdowns in the Holiday Bowl, stats that aren't included in his season totals, and it goes without saying that Sanders won the Heisman in a landslide.
1988 West Virginia Mountaineers
Led by sophomore quarterback Major Harris, the 1988 West Virginia Mountaineers were one of the most prolific offensive teams in history, scoring 476 points in an undefeated regular season.
Harris, who would finish third in the Heisman voting that year and later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, dominated throughout the year, but he would run into one opponent he wouldn't best in the national championship.
In the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame, the only other undefeated team in the country, the Mountaineers would find themselves in a 27-point deficit before a couple late scores made the loss respectable.
1989 Houston Cougars
Not one of the best teams of all time, there's no denying the 1989 Houston Cougars were right up there with the best of them when it came to excitement.
Using the Run and Shoot offense, a precursor of today's spread offense, Houston's Andre Ware became the first African American quarterback to win the Heisman. Ware threw for 4,699 yards and 44 touchdowns and set 26 NCAA records.
The Cougars finished 9-2, ranked 14th in the country, but since they were under NCAA probation, Houston was disallowed from participating in a bowl game, television appearances, and the Coaches' Poll.
1990 Miami Hurricanes
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The 1990 Miami Hurricanes entered the year as the AP's No. 1 team but were upset by BYU in the season opener and then dropped a midseason game to Notre Dame that took them out of the national championship picture.
With a high-flying offense that averaged nearly 500 yards a game and a dominating defense anchored by All-Americans Russell Maryland and Maurice Crum, the Hurricanes were relegated to the 1991 Cottom Bowl against Texas.
And that's where the story begins.
Before the game Miami's Robert Bailey vowed to Texas kick returner Chris Samuels he would knock him out on the opening kickoff...and then did.
Frustrated over their earlier losses that year, the Hurricanes took it all out on Texas, amassing 132 yards in penalties, mostly unsportsmanlike conduct, in the first half alone. They finished the game with 202 penalty yards, a bowl record that still stands to this day, and a 46-3 victory.
1991 East Carolina Pirates
The 1991 East Carolina Panthers are a team that many have forgotten about. True, it is not often we think of these sort of teams when we look back at the long history of college football.
But these Pirates deserve a shot. After losing their first game of the year to Illinois, East Carolina would not lose again and made an unprecedented climb into the postseason Top 10.
With victories over South Carolina, Syracuse, Pitt, and Virginia Tech, quarterback Jeff Blake led an offense that averaged over 30 points a game. He played well enough to finish seventh in the Heisman voting.
1991 Miami Hurricanes
The 1991 season would cap the "Decade of Dominance" in which Miami won four national titles from 1983 to 1991, narrowly missing out on a handful more.
Though these teams were hated, despised even, they hold firm their place in history. The 1980s Miami Hurricanes were unlike anything the game had ever seen and will probably see again.
The 1991 team, with Gino Torretta at quarterback, as well as four First Team All-Americans, would go undefeated, beating No. 10 Houston, No. 9 Penn State, No. 1 Florida State, and No. 11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
Voted the No. 1 team in the country by the AP, the Hurricanes were second in the Coaches' Poll and split the national title with Washington.
1991 Michigan Wolverines
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Michigan was a team that would have won the national championship in 1991 if not for Miami and Washington.
Of course, many teams throughout history can make similar claims, but not many featured an offense quite like the Wolverines under Desmond Howard.
Michigan would lose only twice that year, to then No. 1-ranked Florida State and to No. 2-ranked Washington in the 1992 Rose Bowl.
The Wolverines would finish the year ranked sixth, but that doesn't take away from Howard's amazing Heisman-winning year. Howard scored 138 points that year, winning 85 percent of the first place Heisman votes—the largest margin ever at the time.
1991 Washington Huskies
The 1991 national champion Washington Huskies are considered by many to be the finest team in school history.
With a dominating defense led by Steve Emtman, the Huskies would go undefeated and outscore their opponents 495-115.
Emtman won both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, finishing fourth in the Heisman voting before becoming the No. 1 pick of the 1992 NFL Draft; he would be the first of 11 Huskies selected that year.
1992 Alabama Crimson Tide
Celebrating 100 years of Alabama football, the 1992 Crimson Tide knew exactly how to get the party started in Tuscaloosa.
Noted for its especially strong defense that led the country in fewest points allowed per game at 9.2, the Crimson Tide went 13-0 and won the national championship.
They beat Florida 28-21 in the inaugural SEC Championship Game and then went on to the Sugar Bowl against a defending national championship Miami Hurricanes team and upset them to the tune of 34-13.
In that contest, Alabama didn't allow Miami to score a single offensive touchdown.
1993 Florida State Seminoles
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When you think of Florida State football, two teams come to mind first: the 1993 squad and the 1999 squad. The Seminoles won the national championship both years and also featured one of the best offensive players in the game both years.
We'll start in 1993 and get to '99 later.
'93 was Charlie Ward's year. He quarterbacked FSU to a 12-1 record and the school's first national championship with an epic 18-16 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
That season, Ward would throw for over 3,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and four interceptions, gaining the second-largest margin of victory in the history of Heisman Trophy balloting to O.J. Simpson in 1967.
Ward would go on to to play in the NBA, the only Heisman winner to ever do so.
1994 Penn State Nittany Lions
1994 was the seventh and last perfect season in Penn State history. Of course, the Nittany Lions can always do it again, but they haven't done it since.
Featuring one of the greatest offenses in the history of the game, many felt that Penn State was the best team in the nation in 1994, but they got snubbed in the voting by Nebraska.
With Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, Kyle Brady, Bobby Engram, Freddie Scott, and an offensive line that allowed only four sacks all season, there's a good argument for the '94 Nittany Lions as the best team in history not to win a title.
There's also "The Drive," which capped a come-from-behind victory to overcome a 21-point deficit; check out the video on this one.
1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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Nebraska's 1995 team was one of the greatest ever assembled, in any sport. It was Tommie Frazier's final year and end to the career of possibly the best to ever play the game.
With Ahman Green and Lawrence Phillips teaming up for an extremely potent rushing attack and one of the best defenses in the country, the Cornhuskers simply ran the table.
They outscored their opponents 638-174, going 12-0 and winning their second consecutive national championship.
The highlight of the season: blowing out No. 2-ranked Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl to close out the year.
1995 Ohio State Buckeyes
Tommie Frazier might be remembered as the greatest college football player of his time, but he finished second in the race for the 1995 Heisman in the closest vote in the history of the award at the time.
The man who beat him: Eddie George.
As a senior in '95, George led a Buckeyes team that finished the year 10-2, running wild behind All-American tackle Orlando Pace.
George finished the year with 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns, with three games over 200 yards rushing and a school-record 214 yards against Illinois.
He edged Frazier for the Heisman by 264 ballots.
1996 Florida Gators
The 1996 Florida Gators would bring home the school's first national championship under the guidance of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel and famed coach Steve Spurrier.
The '96 Gators are also responsible for one of the best story lines of the in-state rivalry between Florida and Florida State.
The Gators would lose to FSU 24-21 in the second to last game of the regular season, their only loss of the year.
After beating Alabama in the SEC championship, Florida would get its revenge against FSU in the 1997 Sugar Bowl, dominating the Seminoles 52-20 to take home the championship.
1997 Marshall Thundering Herd
The 1997 Marshall Thundering Herd led one of the most explosive offenses in the country, courtesy of quarterback Chad Pennington and wide receiver Randy Moss.
Moss, who only played two years of college ball, is considered to be one of the finest wideouts to ever play. He scored at least one touchdown in every game he played, catching a then-record 25 receptions in 1997.
In his final year before going pro, Moss caught 96 passes for 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns (including his six-catch, 173-yard performance with a touchdown against Ole Miss in the Motor City Bowl).
He would finish fourth in the Heisman voting behind Ryan Leaf, Peyton Manning, and Charles Woodson.
1997 Michigan Wolverines
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Michigan's 1997 team split the national championship with Nebraska, finishing first in the AP Poll but coming second to the Cornhuskers in the Coaches' Poll.
The Wolverines went 12-0, beating six ranked opponents and finishing the year with a 21-16 victory over Washington State in the Rose Bowl to cap a perfect season.
The season would go down in history because of the contributions of defensive back Charles Woodson, who recorded eight interceptions and scored touchdowns as a receiver, running back, and return man.
He became the first and only primarily defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy; it is possible no defender will ever join him.
1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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In what would be Tom Osborne's 25th and final year as Nebraska's head coach, the Cornhuskers gave their legendary coach a goodbye game to remember.
After a 12-0 regular season in which Nebraska beat its opponents by an average win margin of 30.6 points, the Cornhuskers were invited to play third-ranked Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl.
Osborne would announce his intent to retire just prior to the game, and the Cornhuskers responded by sending him out with a 42-17 victory and a share of the national championship.
1998 Tennessee Volunteers
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Nebraska had beaten a Tennessee team led by Peyton Manning in his final collegiate year as well. Entering the 1998 season, the Vols were ranked 10th and expected to experience a significant drop-off from the Manning Era.
With Tee Martin under center instead of the legendary Manning, Tennessee proved its doubters wrong and put together one of the best seasons in college football history.
The Volunteers beat four Top 10 teams that year, capping the year with a 23-16 victory over No. 2 Florida State and becoming just the fourth school in modern college football history to record a 13-0 season.
1999 Florida State Seminoles
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We mentioned earlier that two schools stand out above the rest when you're talking Florida State football. The first of those teams was Charlie Ward's 1993 squad; the second was Peter Warrick's 1999 squad.
There have been several Poll-consensus national champions, but the '99 Seminoles were the first team to ever go wire-to-wire ranked No. 1 in the country. From preseason all the way to the final postseason ranking, FSU was the unanimous No. 1 team.
With an offense that featured Chris Weinke at quarterback, Travis Minor at running back, receivers Laveranues Coles, Anquan Boldin, Marvin Minnis, Ron Dugans, and of course, Peter Warrick, the Seminoles averaged over 38 points per game.
They finished the year with victories over No. 3 Florida and No. 2 Virginia Tech, leaving no doubt who the best team in 1999 was.
1999 Virginia Tech Hokies
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That Virginia Tech team that FSU beat for the national championship was a pretty good one itself, in case you weren't familiar.
It featured one of the most exciting and athletic college quarterbacks to ever play and entered the Sugar Bowl with a perfect 11-0 record.
While the Hokies lost 46-29 in the national championship game, Michael Vick brought them back form a 21-point deficit to take a brief lead.
Vick, only a redshirt freshman at the time, led the NCAA in passing efficiency that season at 180.4, the third-highest mark of all-time. He threw for 1,840 yards and rushed for another 580 with 20 total touchdowns to finish third in the Heisman voting, the highest finish to that date by any freshman.
2000 Oklahoma Sooners
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No team was better in 2000 than the Oklahoma Sooners, though some felt that Miami and not Florida State should have played the Sooners for the national title that year.
Nevertheless, Oklahoma won the Orange Bowl 13-2 in a dominating defensive performance to claim its seventh national championship, capping a perfect 13-0 season.
With Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel under center, the Sooners outscored their opponents 481-194.
The season would hang in the balance in the Big 12 Championship Game, where Oklahoma would narrowly escape No. 8 Kansas State 27-24 to preserve its shot at the title.
2001 Clemson Tigers
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The 2001 Clemson Tigers were not a very good football team. They finished the year with a wholly mundane record of 7-5, but there was a bright spot that shined through:
Playing on a roster with relatively no talent, Dantzler would finish his career with the Tigers as a candidate for the Heisman and the first player in NCAA history to pass for more than 2,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single regular season.
In 2001, doing it with little help, Dantzler passed for 2,360 yards and 21 touchdowns while adding 1,004 yards on the ground.
He left Clemson with 53 school records.
2001 Miami Hurricanes
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Miami came into the 2001 season on a mission. The Hurricanes were snubbed in 2000, having been bypassed for the chance to play for the national championship by FSU despite beating the Seminoles in head-to-head play and being ranked higher than them in human polls.
2001 was a year where the Hurricanes would not be denied. The team would go down as one of the best to ever take the field.
With stars like Ken Dorsey, Clinton Portis, Bryant McKinnie, Jeremy Shockey, Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, and Ed Reed, the Hurricanes were one of the most all-around talented squads ever assembled.
They went 12-0, finishing the year by crushing Nebraska in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. Miami was up 34-0 at halftime before finishing the game with a 37-14 victory.
2001 Oregon Ducks
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The 2001 Oregon Ducks finished the year as the No. 2 team in the country, going 11-1 and beating No. 3 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl to close out their season.
The season was quarterback Joey Harrington's last and also was the first 11-win season in program history.
A wild ride from start to finish, the year was riddled with tension, as six games were decided by one score or less, coining the nickname "Captain Comeback" for Harrington, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting that year.
The BCS computers proved faulty at the end of the regular season though, denying Oregon its rightful chance to compete for the national championship and prompting an alteration of the system.
2002 Miami Hurricanes
Despite losing most of their starters following the 2001 season, the 2002 Miami Hurricanes reloaded like few programs in history have done.
Gone were the likes of Clinton Portis, Bryant McKinnie, Jeremy Shockey, Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, and Ed Reed.
Into the lineup came Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, Vince Wilfork, Jerome McDougle, D.J. Williams, Jonathan Vilma, Kelly Jennings, Antrel Rolle, and Sean Taylor.
The team went undefeated in the regular season, with McGahee and Ken Dorsey finishing the year as finalists for the Heisman.
They went into the national championship game against No. 2 Ohio State having won 34 games in a row, only to suffer a crushing and controversial triple-overtime loss. Make your own judgment of the infamous pass interference call.
2002 Ohio State Buckeyes
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On the flip side of the 2002 coin was the Ohio State Buckeyes, the first Division I FBS team in history to finish its season with a record of 14-0.
Led by junior quarterback Craig Krenzel and senior safety Mike Doss, the Buckeyes edged the Miami Hurricanes 31-24 to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and claim the national championship.
With true freshman sensation Maurice Clarett at running back and wide receivers Michael Jenkins and Chris Gamble, Ohio State averaged nearly 30 points per game.
They beat five Top 20 teams, including Miami in the national championship game.
2003 LSU Tigers
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With coach Nick Saban at the helm, the 2003 LSU Tigers would win the school's first national championship since 1958.
The Tigers would finish the regular season 11-1, their only loss coming at the hands of Florida at midseason.
LSU faced off with No. 3-ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, dominating the Bulldogs 34-14 to assure themselves a place in the 2004 Sugar Bowl.
There, they would battle Oklahoma for the national championship, defeating the Sooners 21-14 in an underrated championship matchup.
2004 Auburn Tigers
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The 2004 Auburn Tigers stand as the greatest team ever denied the chance to play for the national championship.
Despite posting a perfect 12-0 record playing in college football's toughest conference (the SEC), the Tigers finished the regular season third in the BCS rankings, behind unbeaten USC and Oklahoma.
Featuring a backfield of Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Auburn beat LSU, Georgia, and Tennessee (twice), all of whom were ranked opponents.
Forced to play in the Sugar Bowl and stand by as USC dominated Oklahoma for the national championship, Auburn defeated Virginia Tech 16-13 and finished the season ranked second to the Trojans.
2004 USC Trojans
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The 2004 and 2005 USC Trojans have become the subject of scrutiny because of NCAA violations tied to Reggie Bush, but that will not limit their appeal in this regard.
After sharing a piece of the 2003 national championship with LSU, the 2004 Trojans entered the season with the motto "Leave No Doubt." Of course, ironically, with the school being forced to vacate its 2005 Orange Bowl victory, the doubt has never been greater.
But that doesn't take away from what this team accomplished: a 13-0 record, a Heisman for quarterback Matt Leinart, and a 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game.
At the time, it was the school's first undisputed national title since 1972.
2005 Texas Longhorns
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In what would go down as one of the greatest championship games in college football history, No. 2 Texas would upset No. 1 USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl 41-38.
The game capped an amazing year for both teams, with Texas setting numerous school and NCAA records, including the Longhorns' 652 points scored, the NCAA record for the most points scored in a single season.
With Vince Young at quarterback, Texas outscored its opponents by a combined 439 points and rode their leader's coattails to an improbable national championship.
2005 USC Trojans
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Texas might have proven to be the better team at the end of the 2005 season, but there's no denying that USC was every bit as exciting to watch.
In the year Reggie Bush won his now voluntarily forfeited Heisman Trophy, the Trojans went undefeated in the regular season, wining nine of their 12 contests by 17 points or more.
Returning most of their starters from the 2004 season and watching Bush mature into his game, USC was so good during the regular season, they were often compared to the greatest teams of all time before they even made it to the national championship game.
Bush amassed 2,611 all-purpose yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the season, putting up a constant highlight show throughout the year.
2006 Boise State Broncos
You can't talk about the most exciting teams of all time without mentioning the 2006 Boise State Broncos. They went 13-0 in 2006, becoming only the second school from outside the BCS conferences to play in a BCS Bowl.
It was there, in the Fiesta Bowl, where the Broncos matched up with Oklahoma for one of the greatest thrillers in the history of sports.
Boise State would send the contest into overtime off a 50-yard hook and ladder touchdown with seven seconds on the clock.
In overtime, Oklahoma scored on its first play from scrimmage. Boise State kept it interesting with a fourth-down trick-play pass from backup receiver Vinny Peretta to tight end Derek Schouman for the touchdown.
Instead of kicking the extra point, the Broncos went for two, with quarterback Jared Zabransky faking to his receivers and handing the ball behind his back to running back Ian Johnson for the win.
You've read it; now you've gotta watch it.
2007 Florida Gators
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The Florida Gators might have won national championships in 2006 and 2008, but when it comes to exciting, neither quite matches the excitement Tim Tebow brought to the table in Florida's 9-4 season of 2007.
That was the year Tebow emerged as one of the greatest college players to ever step on a football field. It was also his record-breaking, Heisman-winning year.
Tebow finished the season with 3,286 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and only six interceptions, with 895 yards rushing and 23 more touchdowns on the ground.
It is the only time in history a player has rushed and passed for 20 touchdowns in the same season.
2007 LSU Tigers
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The 2007 LSU Tigers were one of the most up-and-down teams to ever take the field, becoming the first two-loss BCS champion and the first two-time BCS champion.
The Tigers, who finished the year 12-2, suffered both their losses in triple overtime, winning four more games by seven points or less.
That just shows you how close this team came to perfection and how close they came to 8-4. But wins are wins, and LSU, despite their two losses, beat an astonishing seven teams ranked in the Top 20.
The season ended with a 38-24 statement over No. 1-ranked Ohio State.
2007 Texas Tech Red Raiders
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Another statistical beast of the 2007 season was the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Some might find it irritating that two 9-4 teams from the same year are included, but both are here with good cause.
Remember, you don't have to be the best to be entertaining; all you have to do is something special.
How about Graham Harrell throwing for 5,705 yards and 48 touchdowns, Michael Crabtree recording 1,962 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns, and two upsets to close the books on the season?
First it was a 34-27 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma, then a 31-28 victory over No. 20 Virginia in the Gator Bowl to get the Red Raiders ranked in the Top 25 in a year they were expected to be bottom feeders in the Big 12 South.
2007 West Virginia Mountaineers
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The 2007 West Virginia Mountaineers marked the last season for one of college football's less heralded legends.
Pat White doesn't get the national credit he deserves, even though he holds the career NCAA quarterback rushing record with 4,480 yards and is the only FBS quarterback in history to start in and win four bowl games.
White teamed up with running back Steve Slaton to lead West Virgina to an 11-2 record and the No. 6 ranking in the country.
After combining for 4,460 yards and 46 touchdowns, the pair helped the Mountaineers crush Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl after head coach Rich Rodriguez abruptly left the program before the contest.
2008 Oklahoma Sooners
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The 2008 Oklahoma Sooners were one of the most prolific passing teams off all time. Though they finished the season ranked fifth after losing 24-14 to Florida in the BCS championship game, the year can still be remembered for the individual greatness it brought.
Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford, on his way to winning the 2008 Heisman, put together one of the best statistical passing seasons in the history of the game.
He threw for 4,720 yards with a 67.9 completion rate, 50 touchdowns, only eight interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 180.84, the highest rating any quarterback has ever received.
Oklahoma broke Hawaii's 2006 record for most points scored in a single season with 702 points, and if not for the loss to Florida, this team would surely have gone down as an all-time great.
2008 Utah Utes
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The 2008 Utah Utes are a special team for a couple of reasons. They were the only undefeated team that year, having finished the season at 13-0 ranked No. 2 in the country by the AP.
The Utes went from an unranked preseason team from a conference outside of the BCS to play in the Sugar Bowl against fourth-ranked Alabama in front of over 70,000 fans.
Utah went on to stun the Crimson Tide in a 31-17 beatdown that would have been very difficult to predict.
This wasn't the Urban Meyer, Heisman runner-up Alex Smith-led Utes of 2004 either. This was a team with no single identifiable stars, but rather a united team that refused to lose a game.
2009 Boise State Broncos
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Boise State is a team that just won't go away. It's taken them years to really earn the respect of the nation, even though they posted a record over 39-4 from 2006 to 2009 and won two BCS bowl games over that stretch.
They entered the 2010 season ranked third in the nation, and if either Alabama or Ohio State falters, it'll be the Broncos making history by being the first team outside of the BCS Series to compete for the BCS national championship.
Of course, that really started in 2009, when Boise State went 14-0, outscoring its opponents 591-240.
The season was capped with a 17-10 victory over No. 4 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
2009 Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators
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The 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Gators will be linked to each other forever, and each goes down as a special part of college football history.
Florida is special because it was the final year of the Tim Tebow era, and Alabama is special because the Crimson Tide spoiled the party in a big way, giving way to Mark Ingram, the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history, and Alabama's first national championship since 1992.
Both teams went through the regular season undefeated, meeting in the SEC Championship Game with the winner to play Texas for the national championship.
The Crimson Tide, who beaten four ranked opponents before that contest, went into the Georgia Dome and simply took care of business in a stunning 32-13 victory.
They went on to beat No. 2-ranked Texas 37-21 for the national championship.