Like any other major sport, college football has been an evolving game since the first days it was played. Different era’s caused by different schemes making each legendary team on this list unique. From Michigan’s “Mad Magicians” to Miami’s “the U pt. 2,” this list features of all the greatest teams that brought the most to the sport. With an emphasis on winning, and how dominant the teams were in their wins, with respect to their era, this is what you get.
10. Miami Hurricanes (1990-91)
The original “U”, coached by Dennis Erickson, played with a swagger and poise that would not be matched by anyone until the Miami teams of the 2000’s. Led by Leon Searcy, Darrin Smith, Kevin Williams, and quarterback Gino Torretta, the Canes were a dominant group, led by future NFL talent. This team makes the list for going through the ringer of schedules, widely known as one of the toughest in college football history. They beat down the number 10 ranked Houston Cougars 40-10, then they survived national powerhouse and ninth-ranked Penn State, they beat number one ranked Florida State at Florida State in a 17-16 defensive battle. Finally, they dismantled Nebraska in the championship 22-0, earning their spot on this list.
9. Alabama Crimson Tide (1960-61)
In his fourth season with the tide, legendary coach Bear Bryant finally brought home a national title and the start of one of the most powerful dynasties college football has witnessed. Throughout the course of the season, Alabama cruised to a perfect 11-0 record while scoring a total of 297 points and only giving up 25 all season. In this era of football, the defense certainly won championships, and this was arguably the toughest, most cohesive group to ever step on the gridiron. Six shutouts in 11 games, including a 10-3 defeat of national powerhouse Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl cemented their status as an all-time great. Bear Bryant had to be featured on this list, so why not the group that started it all.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers (1975-76)
Led by all-world running back, and Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, head coach Johnny Majors led this team to the pinnacle of college football. Starting off the season with a huge game against a perennial contender in Notre Dame, the Irish had no answer for Dorsett and he ran all over them, leading Pitt to a triumphant victory with a score of 31-10. This set the tone for the rest of the season, as Pitt found that no team in the country could contain the lighting fast Heisman winner. Highlighted by a beatdown of the Georgia Bulldogs in the national championship with an eye-popping score of 27-3 Dorsett and Majors inked their mark into the history books with the ladder winning Coach of the Year.
7. Oklahoma Sooners (1973-74)
In Barry Switzer’s second year leading the Sooners, he found greatness along with creating the beginning of a dynasty. In this season, the Sooners demolished opponents en route to a perfect 11-0 record. They were a ground-heavy team led by running back Joe Washington and fullback Jim Littrell, who perfectly fit their wishbone offensive attack. With games against Wake Forest and Kansas State finishing with final scores of 63-0 in each game respectively, clearly, this Sooner’s unit was a dominant one. The only team to lose by less than 14 points to these guys were all the all might Texas Longhorns, where the game was played by Dallas and the Sooners won a nail-biter resulting in a 16-13 final score. After this battle midway through the season, the Sooners got their swagger back, and a 28-14 of national powerhouse Nebraska inked their spot onto this list.
6. Army Cadets (1944-45)
Led by “Doc” Blanchard and Glenn Davis in an entirely different era of football, yet still as dominant as any team has been before, the Cadets cruised to a national championship. During World War II, it was common for the best players to attend schools with military bases. With that in mind, what Army did during the course of this scene was nothing short of spectacular. In their perfect 9-0 season, Army scored a total of 412 points and only gave up 46. A 48-0 whopping of number two ranked Notre Dame, followed by a 61-0 embarrassment of number five ranked Penn easily earns the Cadets a spot on this list. However, the season will always be remembered for their national title win, over their biggest rival Navy. With a 32-13 victory in front of over 100,000 fans, Army cemented their status as legendary.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1994-95)
Led by iconic coach Tom Osborne, this Nebraska unit put on a show that lasted for all 12 games of the ’95 season. Scoring over 50 points a game, along with not allowing an opponent to come within 14 points of them, not to mention their brutal schedule that faced four top 10 teams, the Cornhuskers did everything you could ask of them and more. With Ahmad Green and Lawrence Phillips leading a lethal rushing attack, teams were worn out trying to tackle these guys after just the first quarter. Throughout all their accomplishments, none sticks out more than the performance they put on in the national title against Florida. A 62-24 humiliation of the second best team in the country was only the beginning for Osborne and the greatness that came with him.
4. Michigan Wolverines (1946-47)
Known as the “Mad Magicians” thanks to coach Fritz Crisler’s unorthodox style, Michigan put together one of the finest seasons ever played at the collegiate level. Crisler used a multiple carrier offensive attacks, meaning that there would be anywhere from three to five players running the ball on any given play. When the hole was clear, all the men but one would step ahead and block for the man who stayed back with the ball and became the hidden ball carrier. After confusing opponents to a 10-0 record, led by star players Bob Chappius, Chalmers Elliot, and Howard Yerges, this team will forever be known as one of the greats, and certainly one of the most exciting to watch. The final touches on this magical season was a 49-0 drubbing against rival USC, which finally earned the Wolverines the number one spot in the AP Polls.
3. USC Trojans (1971-72)
Coached by the legendary John McKay, the Trojans run in 1972 was as dominant a season as any team has ever played. With embarrassments of the likes of number four-ranked Arkansas, number 15-ranked Stanford, number 18-ranked Washington, number 14-ranked UCLA, number 10-ranked Notre Dame, and of course number three-ranked Ohio State, who got the royal beatdown in the national championship game, USC displayed a form of greatness that no team can compare too. Future Hall of Famer Lynn Swann and Richard Woods led the Trojans lethal attack on both sides of the ball, which earns the spot towards the top of this list.
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1970-71)
After 10 seasons of coaching, Bob Devaney had put together something really special. Coming off a dominant national title run, the Cornhuskers came back even stronger and better. Led by all-world return specialist Johnny Rogers (the winner of the 1972 Heisman) the Cornhuskers ran the gauntlet. With a signature victory over second-ranked Oklahoma in Norman with a score of 35-31, in what would be later known as the “Game of the Century,” Nebraska truly had done something great. Their perfect 13-0 season came to an end with a humiliation of Alabama in the Orange Bowl, defeating the Crimson Tide 38-6 after posting a first-half score of 28-0. These Cornhuskers were as good as they come, and arguably the top team among this list.
1. Miami Hurricanes (2000-01)
With a perfect 12-0 record, along with a whopping average of 43 points per game, while only surrendering 10, the most dominant team from the 2000’s era makes its way onto this list. Led by six First-Team All-Americans in Phillip Buchanon, Bryant Mckinnie, Ed Reed, Joaquin Gonzalez, Todd Sievers, and Jeremy Shockey, the Canes were oozing with talent. Not too mention the other 38 players on this roster that got drafted into the NFL. In that same season, Eric Crouch, running back for Nebraska Cornhuskers, was the winner of the Heisman trophy. He led his team to a date with the Cans in the BCS national title, where many were expecting to see one the most elite matchups of the decade. Miami stomped them out of the gates and never let up leading to a final score of 37-14. Miami Quarterback Ken Dorsey threw for 352 yards all while the Canes defense refused to let Crouch get anything going. With an unprecedented 17 players getting drafted from this team in the first round, it’s easy to find them a spot on this list.