|Tommie Frazier's 1995 Nebraska team is one of the all-time greatest in college football.|
Over the weekend, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer labeled his 2008 Florida Gators team as the best to ever play college football.
Not only is it a bold statement, it's also unprovable, incomparable and pretty much beyond the scope of examination. After all, we're guessing former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier's not even sure they were the best Florida team ever. After all, Spurrier's 1996 national champs suffered a far more respectable loss (to No. 2-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee) than did Meyer's '08 squad (to unranked Ole Miss in Gainesville). Had Meyer called the Tim Tebow-led Gators of '08 the best national champion of his 13-year career as a head coach, that would at least carry the credibility of perspective.
Spurrier's best Gators team aside, we offer five teams from years past -- none of which lost a game -- who put up a strong argument against Meyer's assertion. No, we don't think all these teams would line up and beat the 2008 UF team head-to-head. That's another list. Here, we're simply highlighting teams that thoroughly dominated relative to their period in history and ranking them in order from least to most dominant.
5. 1999 FSU
The Seminoles became the first team in NCAA history to go wire-to-wire as the nation's No. 1 ranked team in the polls. In going 12-0, FSU faced five ranked teams and scored 30 points or more against all of them. A road win at rival Florida, ranked No. 4 at the time, put Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, where it beat a Michael Vick-led Virginia Tech team, 46-29. Wide receiver Peter Warrick, though his pro career wasn't great, was one of college football's most electrifying talents.
4. 1961 Alabama
Regarded as one of Alabama's most dominant national-title teams, the defense of the '61 squad was without peer. It posted six shutouts and gave up just 25 points the entire season. A 26-7 win over North Carolina State represented the highest point total by an Alabama opponent that season. A Sugar Bowl win over No. 9-ranked Arkansas, 10-3, capped the season for the national title. Linebacker Lee Roy Jordan would later become a first-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys.
3. 2001 Miami
As far as pure talent, this club is the gold standard for college football. The roster is something to behold, highlighted by the likes of future NFL stars Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis and Jonathan Vilma. And that just scratches the surface. This UM team went 12-0 and blasted Nebraska, 37-14, for the national title.
2. 1972 USC
With Lynn Swann on offense and Richard "Batman" Wood on defense, the Trojans rolled to a 12-0 record capped by a dominating Rose Bowl win over Ohio State, 42-17. In seven of 12 games, the USC defense held opponents to 10 points or fewer. A season-opening road win over fourth-ranked Arkansas vaulted USC to the No. 1 spot in the polls, and the Trojans never looked back. And as long as one man's opinion matters, legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson called them the best team he ever saw.
1. 1995 Nebraska
In this context, why not start with the team best remembered for shredding Florida to win it all? Tommie Frazier's dismantling of the Gators' defense couldn't have been more thorough in a 62-24 thrashing of UF in the Fiesta Bowl for the national title. The Cornhuskers went 12-0 and weren't held to less than 35 points the entire season, destroying every opponent on the schedule with an unbeatable triple-option offense.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.