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! Check out the first round of voting here and the second round of voting here. Final Four polls will close at noon ET on Saturday.
Note: 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 were eligible.
We’re coming down to the wire in our “Best Teams Ever” bracket, and the top four seeds — 1995 Nebraska, 2001 Miami, 2019 LSU and 2004 USC — have advanced past tough competition and into the Final Four.
How will LSU, college football’s most recent champion, stack up against the legendary ‘01 Hurricanes? And can the mighty ‘95 Huskers live up to their billing as the No. 1 seed against the ‘04 Trojans, one of the most exciting teams in recent memory?
Your votes will decide.
1995 Nebraska vs. 2004 USC
No. 1: 1995 Nebraska
The 1995 Huskers, our top overall seed, moved into the Final Four by knocking off 1987 Miami. Nebraska received 60 percent of the votes.
The ‘95 Huskers were the second of Tom Osborne’s three national championship teams in Lincoln and were easily the most dominant. En route to a perfect 12-0 record, the Huskers averaged 49 points per game offensively, won their games by an average margin of more than 30 points and trailed just once all season. The season culminated with a 62-24 rout over No. 2 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.
No. 4: 2004 USC
In the most-contested vote in our bracket thus far, 2004 USC edged 2018 Clemson in a No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup. The Trojans garnered 53 percent of the tallies in a poll that had more than 12,000 votes.
The ‘04 Trojans, led offensively by Heisman QB Matt Leinart and RBs Reggie Bush and Lendale White, went wire-to-wire, starting the year ranked No. 1 and finishing the year by destroying No. 2 Oklahoma 55-19 in the BCS championship game. Five teams finished the 2004 regular season undefeated and vying for a spot in the national title game, but USC’s demolition of OU proved that the Trojans were the best of the bunch — by far.
2001 Miami vs. 2019 LSU
No. 2: 2001 Miami
Miami moved into the Final Four by a comfortable margin, topping the 2005 Texas Longhorns, our No. 10 seed. The 2001 Hurricanes received 68 percent of the votes in Round 2.
Miami was perhaps the greatest collection of talent in college football history. The team had 17 future first-round picks and 38 NFL draftees in all. That group included the likes of Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey and Willis McGahee. The team averaged 42.7 points per game, allowed just 9.8 and beat its opponents by an average of 32.9 points. The year 12-0 season was capped off by a 37-14 beatdown of Nebraska in the BCS title game.
No. 3: 2019 LSU
LSU, college football’s most recent national champions, advanced to the Final Four by dispatching a divisional rival. The 2019 Tigers received 70 percent of the votes against the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide, the No. 6 seed in our bracket.
The 2019 season marked the fourth national title for LSU. The Tigers exploded offensively behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns. The Tigers beat seven top-10 teams on the way to a 15-0 record, a season that concluded with commanding 42-25 victory over defending champion Clemson in the College Football Playoff title game.
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