Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! The second round of polling closes at noon ET on Thursday, April 2.
Since college football goes back to the 1800s, we had to put a limit on the number of teams we could consider for this exercise. Therefore, only teams that played from 1970-2019 are eligible.
1995 Nebraska vs. 1987 Miami
No. 1: 1995 Nebraska
Nebraska, our No. 1 overall seed, cruised past 1991 Washington, the No. 16 seed, by garnering 83 percent of the first-round votes.
It was a dominant effort that reflected the performance of Tom Osborne’s second of three national championship teams. En route to a perfect 12-0 record, the Huskers averaged 49 points per game offensively and won their games by an average margin of more than 30 points. The season culminated with a 62-24 rout over No. 2 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.
No. 8: 1987 Miami
The 1987 Miami Hurricanes comfortably moved past 1971 Nebraska, the No. 9 seed, with 61 percent of the votes, preventing a possible Nebraska vs. Nebraska matchup.
The ‘87 Hurricanes also went 12-0, beating five top-10 teams in the process. The season was capped off by a 20-14 victory over top-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship.
2004 USC vs. 2018 Clemson
No. 4: 2004 USC
Pete Carroll’s 2004 Trojans knocked off the No. 13 seed, 1979 Alabama, by getting 66 percent of the votes. USC went wire-to-wire that season, opening the year ranked No. 1 in the polls and finishing the job by destroying No. 2 Oklahoma 55-19 in the BCS title game.
Five teams finished the 2004 regular season undefeated and vying for a spot in the BCS title game, but USC’s demolition of OU proved that the Trojans were the best of the bunch.
No. 5 2018 Clemson
Clemson did not have much trouble with the No. 12 seed, 1972 USC. The Tigers took home 74 percent of the votes to move on to Round 2.
The 2018 Tigers were the first college football team to finish 15-0 since Penn in 1897. Along the way, Dabo Swinney’s group cruised to an ACC title, destroyed Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinals and upset No. 1 Alabama 44-16 to win the program’s third national championship.
2001 Miami vs. 2005 Texas
No. 2: 2001 Miami
Our No. 2 seed, 2001 Miami, received 80 percent of the votes in its first-round matchup against the No. 15 seed, 1992 Alabama.
The 2001 Hurricanes were perhaps the greatest collection of talent in college football history. The team had 17 future first-round picks (38 NFL draftees total), averaged 42.6 points per game and allowed just 9.8. Miami finished a 12-0 season with a 37-14 beatdown of Nebraska in the BCS title game.
No. 10: 2005 Texas
The 2005 Texas Longhorns, a No. 10 seed, pulled off the only first-round upset in our bracket, knocking off 1988 Notre Dame, the No. 7 seed, with 68 percent of the votes.
This Texas team produced one of the most iconic victories in college football history when it took down a juggernaut USC team in the BCS championship game to finish 13-0. UT quarterback Vince Young famously ran in the game-winning score on fourth down with 19 seconds remaining to clinch the program’s fourth national title.
2019 LSU vs. 2009 Alabama
No. 3: 2019 LSU
LSU, college football’s most recent national champion, easily defeated the No. 13 seed, 2013 Florida State, by receiving 80 percent of the votes.
The 2019 Tigers featured arguably the sport’s most prolific offense, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns and helped the Tigers beat seven top-10 opponents. The season was capped off with a 42-25 win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff title game.
No. 6: 2009 Alabama
The 2009 Crimson Tide edged 1994 Penn State, the No. 11 seed, by a 61-to-39 percent margin.
That year’s Alabama team won the first of five national titles under Nick Saban and has been the only Bama team to finish undefeated during Saban’s tenure. The Tide would go 14-0 with wins over six ranked teams, including a dominant 32-12 defeat of No. 1 Florida in the SEC title game that preceded a 37-21 win over Texas in the BCS championship game.
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