This is Part III in the series of "The Top 10 of the Last 10."
Ranking the last 10 BCS National Champions as voted on by a panel.
I am not going to go into stats and all of that other stuff that people tend to overrate. I am going by the votes of my peers and the pure "eye test".
Yes, the 2004 USC team has not vacated their championship in the "world of ranking", so they are very much eligible. I hate to include them but I am trying to stay true to the series. I allowed Reggie Bush to be eligible on the Heisman list, so I had to let the team in as well.
I know this will be met with mixed emotions but that is what makes this so fun. That is what it is all about.
How high will the talent-laden teams of 2001 Miami and 2002 Ohio State rank? 58 out of 100 of the players on the field in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl went on to play in the NFL.
How about those controversial Trojans?
The Tebow-led Gators in 2008 or the mixture of Leak and Tebow in 2006?
2003 or 2007 LSU?
2009 Alabama vs. Auburn 2010?
Let the debate begin!
I don't think I have ever seen a team at any level except for maybe this year's Indianapolis Colts that put so much weight on one man's shoulders. Michael Dyer took a majority of the load off in the National Championship against Oregon but as outstanding as Michael Dyer was...this was the Cam Newton show all season long.
He provided college football fans with one of the most dominating season, that we have EVER seen. Throughout the scandal, the drama with his Dad, etc...All he did was win.
You notice how much this is about Newton and not about Auburn, that's because Newton was Auburn. Sorry Nick Fairley fans...this is simply an 8-4 team without Mr. Newton.
The last split championship. For good reason. Oklahoma had no business being in the National Title after the beat down they took from Kansas State. There really isn't a lot to say about this team other than I would rather have seen it play USC.
The only two-loss National Champion in the BCS era. This team was probably the most dramatic of the last 10 but they were also one of the most talented that, for some inexplicable reason, lost to inferior teams, Kentucky and Arkansas. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones ran roughshod over their vaunted defense in the season finale and if West Virginia beat Pitt then LSU isn't even in this conversation. It can be argued the best two teams in the country at season's end wound up in two of the biggest mismatches is BCS history. USC & UGA. Georgia clobbered Hawaii and USC drilled Illinois in what would be Ron Zook's finest hour (I had to take the shot).
LSU would lose to both USC and UGA if they played that year. They handled Tennessee in the SEC Championship and Ohio State in the National Championship. The BCS completely contradicted itself by putting Alabama in the National Championshp this year. Remember the reason they kept UGA out?
In 20 years, the majority of the people will call this Florida team Tebow's. In fact, this was Chris Leak's team that Tim Tebow added a spark to. Tebow's presence was undeniable but this was a team who fell into the National Championship and established the SEC's dominance. There was no question who was #1 throughout the year–Ohio State. Troy Smith ran away with the Heisman but none of that mattered because they were simply outclassed.
This is the reason the SEC Championship is a play-in game for the National Championship. This team set the precedent. They weren't the best but they were better than anything the rest of the country had to offer.
This is a really tough team to gauge. They barely got by a mediocre Tennessee team, thanks to Terrance "Mount" Cody and the blocked FGs. Also, they didn't get to face a Colt McCoy-led Texas team in the National Championship. I still think Alabama wins the game with McCoy at the helm but it still causes problems in ranking this Alabama team.
After all, it was a hard hit, that pretty much only the SEC can provide, that sent McCoy out with a limp arm. Alabama took their foot off the gas and Garrett Gilbert (remember him?) played as good as one could being thrust into that situation.
Rolando McClain, Marcell Dareus, Terrance Cody, Javier Arenas, Julio Jones, Trent Richardson....oh, and Heisman winner Mark Ingram...
...Yeah, this team was loaded.
The second-best National Championship game played in the last decade. This team had a lot of NFL talent but they played a team with even more. They barely survived all season and then pulled off the biggest upset since the BCS was instituted. Miami was that good, but for that one night, Clarett and the Buckeyes were better.
In my eyes, the better of the two Gator National Championships this decade. Tebow's legend was being constructed. This season featured a bad loss to Ole Miss, but then there was the "speech."
They simply dominated the rest of the season and took out Heisman winner Sam Bradford and Oklahoma in the National Championship game.
Yes, this one was vacated, but there is no denying how good this team really was. Did anybody watch the Orange Bowl that year? Prior to the SEC dominance it was USC against the world. They were simply better than any team they were put on the field with.
Knowing what we know now, Auburn probably should have been in that game.
Ah, this is my favorite season of them all. Two titans battling in Pasadena. USC and Texas were ranked 1st and 2nd for the entire season, they supplied the 3 Heisman finalists and they put on a show for the ages.
The winner of this game replaces the other in these rankings just like Vince Young would have replaced Reggie Bush in the Heisman rankings.
Vince Young's performance may never be passed on that big of a stage, against that good of a team...
Whenever I think about this team and that game I just say "WOW!"
One of the two best teams of all time (1995 Nebraska) and the 2001 Miami team. Of course we all have our opinions, but I promised I wouldn't write about stats and all the other things analysts like to throw at you.
Just please go look at their Depth Chart. Larry Coker just needed a lawn chair and a fruity drink to soak up the Miami sun. Ron Zook could have led this team to a national championship....
Simply a brilliant team...