College Football: The 25 Best Teams in College Football History

Carl Stine@@CFBAllDayCorrespondent IApril 7, 2011

College Football: The 25 Best Teams in College Football History

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    Who is the best of all time?

    This is a question that cannot be definitively answered and so always brings debate and lively discussion to living rooms across the country.

    Ranking teams provides us plenty of opportunity for discussion and comparison, plenty of chance for an older generation to argue that their generation of football player was tougher, football was a man's sport back then.

    They provide a chance to compare memories, legends and transcendent performances witnessed to another person's opinion.

    Here is a list of the best college football teams of all time.

    Agree or disagree, hate it or love it, but take a minute to reminisce about days gone by.

    Take some time to read about the teams, many long since passed into the annals of sporting legend and history, that make up part of the lore of the greatest sport in the world, college football.

Honorable Mention

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    '76 Pitt Panthers

    '59 Syracuse Orangemen

    '19, '30, '88 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    '48 Michigan Wolverines

25. '96 Florida Gators

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    The Gators outscored opponents 612-228.

    After the Gators pulled off a victory in hostile Neyland stadium against No. 2 ranked Tennessee, they never hit a snag until a late season match-up with Florida State.

    While Florida did suffer a loss, they made this list for a reason.

    Following a heartbreaking 24-21 loss ot FSU that spoiled their perfect season, QB Danny Wuerffel and Co. pulled together and took out Alabama in the SEC championship.

    This set the table for a rematch with the 'Noles.

    It was slaughter.

    Florida instantly took control of the game and never looked back, punishing FSU to the final tune of 52-20.

24. '91 Washington Huskies

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    The Huskies finished off their undefeated season with a sound beating of Michigan 34-14 and ended the season No. 2 in the AP poll, splitting the championship with Miami.

    Nobody lost by less than a touchdown to these high powered Huskies, and they were dominant on defense.

    Several of the TDs scored against UW were scored after the starters had been pulled, as head coach Don James would rather have meaningful experience for his back-ups than to run up the score.

    Defensive tackle Steve Emtman led the defense and was the number one pick in the next year's draft.

23. '97 Michigan Wolverines

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    Michigan won a national championship in '97, finishing atop the AP poll at the end of the season.

    The Wolverines won all 12 games they played, and the star was their defense.

    Led by eventual Heisman award winner, Charles Woodson, UM knocked opponents around and finished the season with a 21-16 come from behind victory in the Rose Bowl against previously undefeated Washington State.

22. '40 Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Just prior to our involvement in WWII, Minnesota won the fourth of their national championships.

    In a perfect 8-0 season, the Gophers were led by tackle Urban Odson and halfback George Franck.

    Franck finished third in the Heisman voting that year.

21. '69 Texas Longhorns

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    Led by consensus All American tackle Bob McKay, the Longhorns rolled to a perfect 11-0 season.

    In what has been billed as the "Game of the Century", the 'Horns defeated No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 to remain perfect en route to a Cotton Bowl victory over Notre Dame.

20. '74 Oklahoma Sooners

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    Led by an absolutely brutal rushing attack, the Sooners won their first championship under head coach Barry Switzer.

    RB Joe Washington carried home a boatload of honors after his phenomenal year, and DE Lee Roy Selmon was the first pick in the next NFL Draft.

    In their last game of the season against Oklahoma State, the Sooners trailed 13-10 in the third quarter before scoring five touchdowns to give them a 44-13 victory.

19. '47 Michigan Wolverines

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    Notre Dame may have been number one before bowl season, but the "Mad Magicians" were the clear number one after a 49-0 drubbing of USC ion the Rose Bowl.

    This team is credited with being one of the first to have players that specialized in offense or defense, as most guys played both sides of the field before this time.

    The Wolverines score in the Rose Bowl is still tied for the most points scored in that event, and coach Fritz Crisler will long be remembered for his innovations to the game.

18. '00 Oklahoma Sooners

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    In Bob Stoop's second season at the helm, the Sooners were absolutely unstoppable enroute to the National Championship.

    Led by QB Josh Heupel, the Sooners beat six ranked teams and went a perfect 13-0.

    They finshed off the season with a stifling defensive performance against defending champ Florida State, winning 13-2 in the Orange Bowl.

17. '99 Florida State Seminoles

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    The Seminoles were the first team to be ranked number one from start to finish in the polls.

    An absolutely devastating offense was led by QB Chris Weinke and featured the likes of Travis Minor Laveranues Coles, Anquan Boldin and the ever explosive Peter Warrick.

    A perfect 12-0 season was capped off by a 46-29 beatdown of Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

18. '68 Ohio State Buckeyes

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    The '68 Buckeyes remain one of the best teams ever fielded by Ohio State.

    With 11 All-Americans and six players drafted into the NFL, the Buckeyes finished a perfect campaign by dominating rival michigan 50-14, then defeating the USC Trojans 27-16 in the Rose Bowl to claim the national title.

    The Buckeyes were led by outstanding RB Jim Otis, who led the Buckeyes in rushing and won the '69 Heisman trophy.

15. '87 Miami Hurricanes

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    Miami had been the prohibitive favorite to win the title the season before, and after losing star quarterback Vinny Testaverde, Jerome Brown and Alonzo Highsmith, the Canes looked as if they were headed for a rebuilding year after a disappointing loss to Penn State in the FIesta Bowl.

    Enter Michael Irvin, Brian Blades and Steve Walsh.

    The 'Canes roared to a perfect 11-0 regular season and headed to the Orange Bowl to face the top ranked Okolahoma Sooners.

    The Sooners lost only two games in the 1985-86 seasons, both of them at the hands of the 'Canes, and Miami was trying to hit the trifecta.

    They did, defeating OSU 20-14, and ending one of the most unexpected runs to the National Championship ever.

14. '47 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    At the apex of the Notre Dame "dynasty", the Irish won their second title in a row for coach Frank Leahy in the 1947 season.

    Led by Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Lujack, the Irish rolled to a perfect 9-0 record and Notre Dame's sixth national title.

13. '38 TCU Horned Frogs

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    Yeah, it's been a while.

    The 1938 version of the Horned Frogs, led by coach Dutch Meyer, finsished the season a perfect 11-0 and were crowned national champions after a victory over Carnegie Mellon in the Sugar Bowl.

    The offense was led by the solid play of QB Davey O' Brien, who threw for over 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns.

    They wore cool little helmets too...

12. '02 Michigan Wolverines

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    1902, that is.

    If you think that TCU squad was from way back, check this out.

    While Coach Fielding Yost's 1901 squad went undefeated and outscored opponents 555-0, the 1902 squad averaged 58 points per game and duplicated the 1901 squad's national title.

    They outscored opponents 644-12, or roughly the same margin as the Big Ten's recent bowl opponents scored against them.

11. '92 Alabama Crimson Tide

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    1992 marked many milestones for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    In head coach Gene Stallings' third season, the Tide reached their 100th season of football at the university.

    They won their 20th SEC title while holding opponents to 9.2 points per game and winning the inaugural SEC championship game.

    Then, to top it all off, they knocked off number one and favored to win Miami in the Sugar Bowl to claim the National Championship.

10. '04 USC Trojans

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    As much as they have been maligned, there have been fewer more talented teams than the 2004 version of the Trojans under coach Pete Carroll.

    In the school's first undisputed national championship since the memorable 1972 season, the Trojans rode The play of Heisman winning quarterback Matt Leinart to the Orange Bowl, winning the BCS national Championship, and leaving "no doubt", as to their championship status.

    The Trojans, led by Leinart and Reggie Bush, blasted the Oklahoma Sooners in the title game 55-19, and that win was eventually vacated.

9. '94 Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Quite possibly the best team to not win a championship, the Nittany Lions featured a fearsome offensive attack, highlighted by RB Ki-Jana Carter, QB Kerry Collins and WR Bobby Engram.

    After finishing a perfect season at the Rose Bowl with a 38-20 victory over 12th ranked Oregon, the Lions fell just short of the national championship, which was instead awarded to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

    PSU had three players, Collins, Carter and TE Kyle Brady picked in the top 10 of the NFL draft.

8. '61 Alabama Crimson Tide

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    This squad is widely considered one of the best defensive teams in history.

    They only allowed a total of 25 points en route to Bear Bryant's first national championship at 'Bama.

    The Tide boasted the stellar play of two-way lineman Billy Neighbors and took out the ninth ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sugar Bowl to finish a perfect 11-0 season.

7. '56 Oklahoma Sooners

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    Bud Wilkinson's Sooner squad was in the middle of a 47 game winning streak and did not get to participate in a bowl game that season due to conference rules, but they did not need one to win the national championship.

    The Sooners were led by the versatile halfback Tommy McDonald, who rushed for 14 touchdowns, caught four, and three TD passes.

6. '05 Texas Longhorns

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    The Longhorns outscored opponents 653-213 over their remarkable 13-0 season.

    Vince Young's transcendent quarterback play, coupled with a stellar defense, led Mack Brown's boys to the best season in 'Horns history.

    To cap it all off, Texas beat previously unbeaten defending national champion USC in a thriller of a title game.

5. '45 Black Army Knights

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    Hey, it's not often a team features two Heisman winners in it's backfield, but after Felix "Doc" Blanchard won it in '45, fellow RB Glenn Davis won the award in '46.

    Both gentleman were in the backfield for the Army's remarkable campaign.

    After going overseas and kicking some butt, the Army had a pretty successful season, finishing 9-0, while beating Navy in front of 102,000 people to clinch a national championship.

    They also romped on Notre Dame 48-0 and trounced the Penn Quakers 61-0 in consecutive weeks.

4. '71 Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Many consider this team to be the best in the history of the game.

    Their dominant defense held opponents to a remarkable 8.2 points per game while scoring an average of 39 per contest.

    Led by Johnny Rodgers, the Huskers won the "game of the century" vs rival and No. 2 ranked Oklahoma. 35-31.

3. '01 Miami Hurricanes

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    34 points.

    That was the 'Canes average margin of victory.

    Featuring such talent as TE Jeremy Shockey, QB Ken Dorsey and RB Clinton Portis on an explosive offense, and CBs Mike Rumph and Philip Buchanon on defense, this was one of the most explosive teams in college football history.

    Miami finished off an undefeated regular season with a 37-14 Rose Bowl victory over Nebraska.

2. '72 USC Trojans

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    The '72 edition of coach John Mckay's Trojans was the first team to ever receive every first place vote in every post season poll.

    Led by fullback Sam "Bam" Cunningham, the Trojans steamrolled the competition, running over six ranked teams en route to a 12-0 season.

    A 25 point beat-down of Ohio State in the Rose Bowl capped off the Trojans epic season.

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Tom Osborne's team scored 50-plus points per game, had a great defense that allowed 14 points per game and featured a dynamic running game headlined by Ahman Green.

    The Huskers beat four top 10 teams that season.

    None of those teams was ever closer than 23 points.

    Cap off an undefeated season 11-0 with a 62-24 drubbing of Florida  in the Fiesta Bowl, and you may have one of the best teams in sports history, ever.