Best Teams Ever bracket: College football edition, Round 1

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 first round of polling closes at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, March 31.

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.

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Best Team Ever, college football edition (Yahoo Sports illustration)
Best Team Ever, college football edition (Yahoo Sports illustration)

1995 Nebraska vs. 1991 Washington

No. 1: 1995 Nebraska

  • 12-0, beat Florida in Fiesta Bowl.

The most dominant of Nebraska’s three national championship teams under Tom Osborne, the 1995 Huskers averaged a whopping 49 points per game and won games by an average of over 30 points on the way to a second straight national title.

No. 16: 1991 Washington

  • 12-0, beat Michigan in Rose Bowl.

Washington was voted national champion in the coaches poll while Miami landed atop the media poll, but we give the Huskies the edge in 1991 for road wins over No. 9 Nebraska, No. 7 Cal and a commanding 34-14 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

1987 Miami vs. 1971 Nebraska

No. 8: 1987 Miami

  • 12-0, beat Oklahoma in Orange Bowl.

The Hurricanes opened the season with three consecutive wins over ranked opponents and then closed it with three wins over ranked teams. Five of those six teams were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.

No. 9: 1971 Nebraska

  • 13-0, beat Alabama in Orange Bowl

The Huskers were absolutely dominant, beating teams by an average score of 39-8. Three different players rushed for at least seven touchdowns.

2018 Clemson vs. 1972 USC

No. 5: Clemson

  • 15-0, beat Alabama in national championship game

The Tigers entered the national title game as underdogs but jumped out to a big early lead against the Tide to get a second national title in three seasons. The Tigers’ closest game with Trevor Lawrence healthy and in the starting lineup was a 27-7 win at Boston College.

No. 12: USC

  • 11-0, beat Ohio State in Rose Bowl

The Trojans were led by all-purpose back Anthony Davis, who rushed for 1,191 yards and 17 touchdowns, while a guy by the name of Pat Haden threw for seven touchdowns and rushed for another.

2004 USC vs. 1979 Alabama

No. 4: 2004 USC

  • 13-0, beat Oklahoma in Orange Bowl

The 2004 regular season finished with five undefeated teams vying for a spot in the BCS title game and USC’s demolition of OU proved it was the best of the bunch with an offense featuring Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

No. 13: 1979 Alabama

  • 12-0, beat Arkansas in Sugar Bowl

Alabama’s defense gave up just 67 points all season — and shut opponents out five different times — as legendary coach Bear Bryant won his sixth national title.

2009 Alabama vs. 1994 Penn State

No. 6: Alabama

  • 14-0, beat Texas in BCS championship game.

The Crimson Tide featured a backfield of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson while Julio Jones caught passes from Greg McElroy.

No. 11: Penn State

  • 12-0, beat Oregon in Rose Bowl.

The Nittany Lions scored 47 points per game, the most of any team in the country in 1994. Ki-Jana Carter rushed for over 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns.

2019 LSU vs. 2013 Florida State

No. 3: 2019 LSU

  • 15-0, beat Clemson in national championship game.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow threw for a whopping 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns while completing 76.3 percent of his attempts. Last season’s LSU team might have been the most efficient college football offense of all-time.

No. 14: 2013 Florida State

  • 14-0, beat Auburn in BCS championship game.

Led by Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston, Florida State went a perfect 14-0 and won its games by an average of 39.5 points while scoring a whopping 723 points in 14 games. By comparison, the 2019 LSU Tigers scored 726 points in 15 games.

1988 Notre Dame vs. 2005 Texas

No. 7: Notre Dame

  • 12-0, beat West Virginia in Fiesta Bowl.

The Irish allowed just 13 points per game and were led on offense by a three-headed rushing attack featuring Tony Rice, Mark Green and Tony Brooks.

No. 10: Texas

  • 13-0, beat USC in BCS championship game.

This Texas team produced one of the most iconic college football wins of all time when it took down what many thought was an unbeatable USC juggernaut in a classic national title win.

2001 Miami vs. 1992 Alabama

No. 2: 2001 Miami

  • 12-0, beat Nebraska in Rose Bowl.

Perhaps the greatest assembly of talent in college football history, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes featured 17 future first-round NFL draft choices and 38 draftees in all and beat opponents by nearly 33 points per game.

No. 15: 1992 Alabama

  • 13-0, beat Miami in Sugar Bowl.

Alabama reached the Sugar Bowl in Gene Stallings’ third season by winning the first-ever SEC championship game 28-21 over Florida. That cost UF a chance at a national title.

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