Doc 5: Best national championship runners-up — No. 1 Miami

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 3: Running back Maurice Clarett #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores the team's game winning touchdown in double-overtime against the University of Miami Hurricanes during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on January 3, 2003 in Tempe, Arizona. Ohio State won the game 31-24, winning the NCAA National Championship. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.


NO. 1 MIAMI, 2002

The 2003 BCS National Championship game is considered one of the best because both Miami and Ohio State came into the game undefeated and the game needed two overtime periods to complete.

Ohio State came out on top 31-24, but many still would claim Miami to be the best team that year. At the very least, we’re declaring the Hurricanes the best national championship runner-up of all-time.

Miami was coming off an undefeated campaign in 2001 and many considered that Miami team to be one of the greatest in college football history. At the end of the 2001 season, many of those players left for the NFL, but amazingly, there was no dropoff.

Coach Larry Coker had a lot of talent waiting in the wings and it helped that quarterback Ken Dorsey, receiver Andre Williams and linebackers Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams all returned. They also got key contributions from running back Willis McGahee, tight end Kellen Winslow II, cornerback Antrel Rolle and free safety Sean Taylor.

The Hurricanes cruised through the Big East Conference and overall defeated its opponents by 23.8 points per game. It defeated four ranked opponents during the season, including a hard-fought contest against No. 18 Virginia Tech during the final regular season game of the year, but it hadn’t played a team as good as Ohio State.

That Ohio State team became the first team in Division IA to finish the season 14-0 (though it’s been done three times since). Ohio State had a similar schedule to the Hurricanes. It also defeated four ranked opponents and had a close game against No. 12 Michigan to finish the regular season.

The national championship was a close affair with the game see-sawing back and forth throughout. The largest lead was 10 points held by Ohio State in the third quarter, but the lead was short-lived.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, though many will claim Ohio State’s touchdown was due to a botched pass interference call. The call in questions that gave the Buckeyes the ball on the 1-yard-line was ultimately reviewed and upheld by the National Association of Sports Officials.

Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett scored the go-ahead touchdown in the second overtime. Miami had first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but gained just one yard on its next three plays. On the final play, Dorsey threw the ball up while being hit and it fell incomplete, ending the game.

The loss, which was a shock because Ohio State was a big underdog, snapped Miami’s 34-game winning streak but didn’t diminish how good the team was that season.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter