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Alabama vs. Auburn: 2011 Tigers and the 5 Worst Defenses of the National Title

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent INovember 25, 2011

Alabama vs. Auburn: 2011 Tigers and the 5 Worst Defenses of the National Title

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    Defending a national championship is one of the toughest things to do in all of college football.

    Since the teams have had to play in bowl games to win the title in 1958, only Nebraska has managed to be the best team in the country two years in a row.

    But some teams have done a particularly poor job of defending their national titles, and this year’s Auburn team has to be one of the worst. It's currently barely in the Top 25 and are 7-4 on the season.

    So what other teams can rival their lack of success?

    Here are the five worst national title defenses in college football history.

BYU 1985

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    This team did not have a particularly poor season going 11-3, but one game gets this team a spot on this list. The Cougars were victims to one of the worst upsets in college football history when they fell 23-17 to previously winless UTEP.

    The team still managed to finish the year ranked 16th in the AP Poll, but that loss goes down as the worst in BYU history, and certainly, one of the worst for a reigning national champion. 

Alabama 1993

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    Following their national title in 1992, things were going really well for Alabama. Until the Tide lost to LSU.

    They then proceeded to lose two of their next four games and finished the year ranked 14th in the AP Poll.

    But that isn’t enough to get on this list. What's enough is having the record books saying you went 1-12 on the season.

    In 1995, the NCAA ruled that Antonio Langham received improper benefits that made them forfeit all of their wins except the bowl game win against North Carolina. They may not be the worst team, but it's unlikely that any other reigning national champion will ever have a worse record.

LSU 2008

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    The only national championship team to ever have two losses was bound to have a rough year based on that statistic alone. Factor in that they lost their quarterback to the first pick of the NFL and you have all the makings for a lackluster follow up performance.

    In 2008, the Tigers went 8-5 and finished the year unranked despite beating Georgia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

    It was a rough year for Les Miles and company.

Auburn 2011

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    Without Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, this team is just talented enough to compete in the SEC West, especially when the top three teams are ranked Nos. 1-2-3 in the current BCS standings.

    Newton is one of the most special players to ever play in college football and single-handedly willed the Tigers to a number of wins in their undefeated season.

    A rookie quarterback and a defense that returned just four starters was going to have a rough year but not this rough.

Penn State 1987

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    The Nittany Lions pulled a huge upset to beat No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl following the 1986 season, but their defense of the national championship was bound to fail.

    Nine players were drafted in the NFL draft, and they started the following year ranked 11th.

    Following a loss to No. 13 Syracuse, the team flirted with dropping out of the rankings, but losses to unranked Pitt and No. 14 Clemson sealed Penn State’s fate for an unranked season.

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