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GwillMac6

4th best National Champion since 2000!

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ByBRAD CRAWFORD 
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We've watched several modern-day college football dynasties develop since the turn of the century, but how many of those individual championship teams are the most memorable when stacked against other elite finishers?

It's the offseason, aka an opportunity to meet at the grill and debate Team A vs. Team B and what gives one an edge over another. Comparing teams from different eras is tough and college football's ever-changing offensive philosophy which made its biggest jump around 2010 has certainly changed the way we grade teams during the past decade.

Alabama's Nick Saban has won nearly a third of the sport's national championships since 2000, an incredible number showcasing his talents and dominance as one of college football's top coaches of all-time. Clemson's Dabo Swinney is surging and it'll be interesting to watch how many titles the Tigers win as America's new it program.

All that being said, it's time to look at all 19 national championship-winning teams in the 21st century and rank them from worst to first. Obviously, we're using "worst" loosely here.

This ranking is extremely subjective and you're bound to disagree. Let's hear what you have to say about college football's national champions since 2000 in the comment section below:

19. LSU, 2007 (12-2, 6-2 SEC)

18. Alabama, 2011 (12-1, 7-1 SEC)

17. Florida, 2006 (13-1, 7-1 SEC)

16. Oklahoma, 2000 (13-0, 8-0 Big 12)

The skinny: LSU lived on the edge during Les Miles' third season, losing twice in overtime and winning four games by a touchdown or less en route to the program's fourth title. The Tigers battled seven nationally-ranked teams during the regular season and clinched a berth in the BCS Championship after outlasting Tennessee in Atlanta to claim the SEC. Senior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, a two-time All-American, was LSU's best player on a team that wasn't as talented as some of college football's other heavyweights that season but accomplished the mission ... Would Oklahoma's unbeaten team in 2000 beat some of the Sooners' recent elite squads? Most would argue no when comparing rosters, but Bob Stoops' only ring in Norman came via wins over six Top 25 teams. And he did it with only two NFL Draft picks (Torrance Marshall and Josh Heupel).

15. LSU, 2003 (13-1, 7-1 SEC)

14. Alabama, 2015 (14-1, 7-1 SEC)

13. Ohio State, 2014 (14-1, 8-0 Big Ten)

The skinny: Urban Meyer's best team with the Buckeyes, 2014 Ohio State may have been his most improbable title-winning season as a head coach after he lost star quarterback Braxton Miller during fall camp and was forced to throw redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett into the fire as a preseason Top 5. Surrounded by future NFL Draft picks, Barrett was terrific in his first year as a starter before being carted off the field against Michigan in the regular-season finale. In steps Cardale Jones under center, who proceeded to win three straight vs. Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to help the Buckeyes claim a championship in the first College Football Playoff. How often does a team's third-string quarterback show out on the grand stage against three consecutive Top 10 teams?

12. Ohio State, 2002 (14-0, 8-0 Big Ten)

11. Alabama, 2017 (13-1, 7-1 SEC)

10. Clemson, 2016 (14-1, 7-1 ACC)

The skinny: Somehow, Alabama pulled it off during the 2017 season, despite falling behind by double-digits at halftime of the national championship game vs. Georgia before capturing its fifth title since 2009. Saban inserted freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into the lineup for Jalen Hurts and he responded with multiple touchdown passes — highlighted by the game-winner in overtime to DeVonta Smith. This Crimson Tide team went 5-1 vs. nationally-ranked teams and shook off an Iron Bowl loss to Auburn to beat defending national champion and top-ranked Clemson in the Playoff semifinal. This was Saban's redeem team and arguably his unlikeliest of champions during his tenure ... Deshaun Watson's heroics in the final seconds vs. Alabama to end the 2016 season capped Clemson's first national title since 1981. The Crimson Tide never found an answer for Watson, who managed two terrific outings in his career against one of the nation's top defenses.

9. Florida, 2008 (13-1, 7-1 SEC)

8. Clemson, 2018 (15-0, 8-0 ACC)

The skinny: What made the 2008 Gators so unique? Tim Tebow's promise speech after an early-season loss to Ole Miss will go down in history as one of college football's most memorable soundbites and Florida made true on the prediction, winning their next 10 games to claim its second national title in three seasons. As the first-ever sophomore Heisman winner the previous fall, Tebow faced immense pressure as a junior and delivered ...Was 2018 Clemson Dabo Swinney's best team in Death Valley? They were certainly the most talented. Armed with freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and four NFL Draft picks along the defensive front, the Tigers handed Alabama its worst defeat in Saban's tenure in the grand finale.

7. Alabama, 2012 (13-1, 7-1 SEC)

6. Florida State, 2013 (14-0, 8-0 ACC) 

The skinny: Fueled by Jameis Winston's Heisman season, the Seminoles posted a program record 14 wins in 2013 after becoming the most dominant national champion — in terms of point margin (39.5) — in college football history. Regular-season opponents never held FSU to fewer than 37 points as the Seminoles pounded their schedule with 51.6 points per game while scoring a nation-leading 94 total touchdowns. And while Winston threw for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns, Jeremy Pruitt's defense was equally impressive, allowing just 12.1 points per game. Ten players were named All-Americans and 25 went on to play in the NFL from arguably the best team in program history.

5. ALABAMA, 2009 (14-0, 8-0 SEC)

The skinny: Alabama's win over defending national champion Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game was one of Saban's best wins of all-time, snapping the Gators' nation-leading 22-game winning streak while also spoiling Tim Tebow's senior campaign and quest for a third national title. It's fitting that Alabama's only unbeaten season during Saban's illustrious reign is rated higher than the program's other national championship-winning campaigns in this list.

The schedule: Alabama 34, No. 7 Virginia Tech 24; Alabama 40, FIU 14; Alabama 53, North Texas 7; Alabama 35, Arkansas 7; Alabama 38, Kentucky 20; Alabama 22, No. 20 Ole Miss 3; Alabama 20, No. 22 South Carolina 6; Alabama 12, Tennessee 10; Alabama 24, No. 9 LSU 15; Alabama 31, Mississippi State 3; Alabama 45, UT-Chattanooga 0; Alabama 26, Auburn 21; Alabama 32, No. 1 Florida 13; Alabama 37, No. 2 Texas 21

4. AUBURN, 2010 (14-0, 8-0 SEC)

 

The skinny: Ranked just inside the Top 25 to begin the 2010 season, poll voters were unsure how the Tigers would fare with a JUCO transfer at quarterback. Quickly, he introduced everyone to the Cam Newton Show. He rushed for 150 ore more yards six times, managed five games with three or more touchdown passes and won the Heisman in a landslide over Stanford's Andrew Luck. This team wasn't perfect and in fact, had defensive issues when Nick Fairley wasn't having his way up front, but Auburn blitzed every team on the schedule with a conference-leading 41.2 points per game and erased a 21-point deficit to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl and remain unbeaten.

The schedule: Auburn 52, Arkansas State 26; Auburn 17, Mississippi State 14; Auburn 27, Clemson 24; Auburn 35, No. 12 South Carolina 27; Auburn 52, UL Monroe 3; Auburn 37, Kentucky 34; Auburn 65, No. 12 Arkansas 43; Auburn 24, No. 6 LSU 17; Auburn 51, Ole Miss 31; Auburn 62, UT-Chattanooga 24; Auburn 28, No. 9 Alabama 27; Auburn 56, No. 18 South Carolina 17 ; Auburn 22, No. 2 Oregon 19

3. USC, 2004 (13-0, 8-0 PAC-10)

 

The skinny: How talented was 2004 USC? Quarterback Matt Leinart won the Heisman, but shared the Pac-10's offensive player of the year honors with Reggie Bush. This Trojans squad produced a school-record first-team All-Americans, including Shaun Cody (edge), Mike Patterson (defensive tackle) and linebackers Matt Grootegoed and Lofa Tatupu. Tailback Lendale White quietly contributed 1,103 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, too. USC's best win was easily its 55-19 thrashing of unbeaten Oklahoma in the national championship game thanks to Leinart's 332 yards and five touchdowns.

The schedule: USC 24, Virginia Tech 13; USC 49, Colorado State 0; USC 42, BYU 10; USC 31, Stanford 28; USC 23, No. 7 Cal 17; USC 45, No. 15 Arizona State 7; USC 38, Washington 0; USC 42, Washington State 12; USC 28, Oregon State 20; USC 49, Arizona 9; USC 41, Notre Dame 10; USC 29, UCLA 24; USC 55, Oklahoma 19

2. TEXAS, 2005 (13-0, 8-0 BIG 12)

 

The skinny: The Longhorns snapped USC's 34-game winning streak with their 20th straight victory, outlasting the Trojans, 41-38, in one of the best college football games of all-time. The victory over USC was the program's first over a top-ranked team in 40 years. Robbed of the Heisman as the second-place finisher behind USC's Reggie Bush, Vince Young took it personal and it showed. He ultimately finished his junior season with 4,086 yards of total offense and 38 touchdowns before declaring for the NFL Draft. Texas eclipsed 50 points seven times and only played one game decided by single digits (at Ohio State) prior to beating USC.

The schedule: Texas 60, ULL 3; Texas 25, No. 4 Ohio State 22; Texas 51, Rice 10; Texas 51, Missouri 20; Texas 45, Oklahoma 12; Texas 42, No. 24 Colorado 17; Texas 52, No. 10 Texas Tech 17; Texas 47, Oklahoma State 28; Texas 62, Baylor 0; Texas 66, Kansas 14; Texas 40, Texas A&M 29; Texas 70, Colorado 3; Texas 41, No. 1 USC 38

1. MIAMI, 2001 (12-0, 7-0 BIG EAST)

 

 

The skinny: One of the best teams in college football history, the 2001 Hurricanes entered the season on a 10-game winning streak with a chip on their shoulder after being excluded by the BCS computers in the previous year's national championship game. Ken Dorsey and Miami responded by destroying every team on the schedule, finishing 12-0 with an average margin of victory at 32.9 PPG. In all, 38 players would become future NFL Draft picks. Miami became the first program (at the time) to see its first-, second- and third-string running backs all start a game in the NFL later in their careers.

The schedule: Miami 33, Penn State 7; Miami 61, Rutgers 0; Miami 43, Pitt 21; Miami 38, Troy 7; Miami 49, No. 14 Florida State 27; Miami 45, West Virginia 3; Miami 38, Temple 0; Miami 18, Boston College 7; Miami 59, No. 14 Syracuse 0; Miami 65, No. 12 Washington 7; Miami 26, No. 14 Virginia Tech 24; Miami 37, No. 4 Nebraska 14

 

 

Edited by GwillMac6
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Pretty accurate. It’s crazy that Bama has 2 championships in which they didn’t even have to play a conference championships game and still made it which is BS

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3 hours ago, SlocombTiger said:

Woo hoo. 4th best??? Nothing in that Clickbait article to celebrate. Unless your satisfied with 4th best. 

WAR EAGLE!!!

Hang on, let me go back in time and make the 2010 team better so we can be 1st best. 

Seriously. Yes, it's a clickbait article. But it's also a list of national champions. Being on a list of those is just fine, no matter where you are on it because they are independent variables. Not every team every year can be the best team ever in college football and setting that as an unrealistic goal just makes you an angry person who...well, writes that kind of post.

 

Edited by Auctoritas
I was apparently sleepy when I wrote that.
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I had forgotten how many close games there were that season.  I was at most those games and the Miss State and Clemson were probably the most in doubt except for the Cam back.  Miss State receivers dropped so many wide open passes that could have set up for a field goal to tie.  The offense didn’t do anything after the first quarter.  Clemson was another game that Auburn lucked out with the wide open drop in the end zone by Clemson in either OT or toward the end of regulation.  USCe and Arkansas were fun back and forth games with big defensive stops.  UK was almost a huge choke job.  LSU wasn’t really as close as the score indicates.   Georgia game isn’t on there but that was a fight against an average UGA team and really turned the rivalry from a friendly one to a more hateful one.  Oregon game was kind of a blah offensive game.  Still would have rather seen Dyer or Cam take it in for a TD on that last drive.

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2 minutes ago, Win4AU said:

I had forgotten how many close games there were that season.  I was at most those games and the Miss State and Clemson were probably the most in doubt except for the Cam back.  Miss State receivers dropped so many wide open passes that could have set up for a field goal to tie.  The offense didn’t do anything after the first quarter.  Clemson was another game that Auburn lucked out with the wide open drop in the end zone by Clemson in either OT or toward the end of regulation.  USCe and Arkansas were fun back and forth games with big defensive stops.  UK was almost a huge choke job.  LSU wasn’t really as close as the score indicates.   Georgia game isn’t on there but that was a fight against an average UGA team and really turned the rivalry from a friendly one to a more hateful one.  Oregon game was kind of a blah offensive game.  Still would have rather seen Dyer or Cam take it in for a TD on that last drive.

People forget that Darvin Adams made game-saving catches in both the UK game and the IB. After the Coleman strip-sack, his sideline catch on 4th down in the IB might've been the most critical play of the game.

And yes, Gus gets huge credit for the play call on the Lutz TD. And the TZach TD to open the 2nd half. 

As for what Cam meant to that team? This was our final, game-winning drive against Kentucky. 19 plays, and 10 of them were runs by Cam. 

  • 1st & 10 at AUB 7

    (7:15 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 4 yards to the Aub 11.

  • 2nd & 6 at AUB 11

    (6:40 - 4th) Cameron Newton pass incomplete.

  • 3rd & 6 at AUB 11

    (6:34 - 4th) Cameron Newton pass complete to Darvin Adams for 9 yards to the Aub 20 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at AUB 20

    (6:00 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 7 yards to the Aub 27.

  • 2nd & 3 at AUB 27

    (5:29 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 3 yards to the Aub 30 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at AUB 30

    (5:00 - 4th) Terrell Zachery rush for no gain to the Aub 30.

  • 2nd & 10 at AUB 30

    (4:43 - 4th) Cameron Newton pass complete to Darvin Adams for 11 yards to the Aub 41 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at AUB 41

    (4:30 - 4th) Michael Dyer rush for 11 yards to the Kent 48 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at UK 48

    (4:05 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 9 yards to the Kent 39.

  • 2nd & 1 at UK 39

    (3:32 - 4th) Onterio McCalebb rush for 5 yards to the Kent 34 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at UK 34

    (3:02 - 4th) Michael Dyer rush for 4 yards to the Kent 30.

  • 2nd & 6 at UK 30

    (2:20 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 3 yards to the Kent 27.

  • 3rd & 3 at UK 27

    (1:44 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 4 yards to the Kent 23 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at UK 23

    (1:14 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 3 yards to the Kent 20.

  • 2nd & 7 at UK 20

    (1:09 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 5 yards to the Kent 15.

  • 3rd & 2 at UK 15

    (1:09 - 4th) Timeout KENTUCKY, clock 1:09.

  • 3rd & 2 at UK 15

    (1:03 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 4 yards to the Kent 11 for a 1ST down.

  • 1st & 10 at UK 11

    (1:02 - 4th) Timeout KENTUCKY, clock 1:02.

  • 1st & 10 at UK 11

    (0:50 - 4th) Cameron Newton rush for 6 yards to the Kent 5.

  • 2nd & 4 at UK 5

    (0:10 - 4th) Team rush for a loss of 2 yards to the Kent 7.

  • 3rd & 6 at UK 7

    (0:02 - 4th) Timeout AUBURN, clock 0:02.

  • 3rd & 6 at UK 7

    (0:00 - 4th) Wes Byrum 24 yard field goal GOOD.

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3 hours ago, Auctoritas said:

Hang on, let me go back in time and make the 2010 team better so we can be 1st best. 

Seriously. Yes, it's a clickbait article. But it's also a list of national champions. Being on a list of those is just fine, no matter where you are on it because they are independent variables. Not every team every year can be the best team ever in college football and setting that as an unrealistic goal just makes you an angry person who...well, writes that kind of post.

 

Glad you can judge my anger level by a simple post. Not angry at all. My point was not about being the best ever team. All of that is subjective opinion and that's what makes it Clickbait in my opinion. Just another op ed article. Before I post my original response I  edited out saying I am satisfied just being on the list of National Champions. Guess I should have left it like that to make it simpler for people to understand. 

WAR EAGLE!!!

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1 minute ago, amsterjam said:

2004 AU would have beat any team on that list.

Not that '01 Miami team.

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Just now, amsterjam said:

2004 AU would have beat any team on that list.

Except 2010 Auburn. Is 2004 our best team ever top to bottom (and one of the best teams ever in college football)? Hands down YES! But it is my belief Cam Newton would of always found a way to win. We have never ever seen a player that dominant at the college level like he was in 2010 for us. He had the single greatest season imo in the history of college football. 

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9 minutes ago, GwillMac6 said:

Except 2010 Auburn. Is 2004 our best team ever top to bottom (and one of the best teams ever in college football)? Hands down YES! But it is my belief Cam Newton would of always found a way to win. We have never ever seen a player that dominant at the college level like he was in 2010 for us. He had the single greatest season imo in the history of college football. 

The '04 defense could've slowed him down. They were fun to watch.

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19 minutes ago, GwillMac6 said:

Except 2010 Auburn. Is 2004 our best team ever top to bottom (and one of the best teams ever in college football)? Hands down YES! But it is my belief Cam Newton would of always found a way to win. We have never ever seen a player that dominant at the college level like he was in 2010 for us. He had the single greatest season imo in the history of college football. 

Vince Young played like that at Texas.

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6 minutes ago, TexasTiger said:

Vince Young played like that at Texas.

If you look at the offensive starters that year for us compared to other national champions it shows you how great Cam really was and his true value. We had no long term NFL Players from that team on the offensive side of the ball that were starters in 2010 besides Cam. I also just flat out thought Cam was a better college player than VY even though because of more years VY had the better college career. 

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30 minutes ago, GwillMac6 said:

Except 2010 Auburn. Is 2004 our best team ever top to bottom (and one of the best teams ever in college football)? Hands down YES! But it is my belief Cam Newton would of always found a way to win. We have never ever seen a player that dominant at the college level like he was in 2010 for us. He had the single greatest season imo in the history of college football. 

I agree with this 100% . After the LSU game  (actually during the LSU game) the offense went to a different level. 

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I remember going to the movies (and ended up watching my favorite movie ever, I might add) and hearing that we were losing to these scrubs called Clemson. I had never heard of that college before. How good the world once was 

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Too bad USC’s didn’t happen and our team would have beat them. Get that FSU team off the list too. If we kept our foot on the gas they wouldn’t even make the listZ 

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3 minutes ago, Zeek said:

Too bad USC’s didn’t happen and our team would have beat them. Get that FSU team off the list too. If we kept our foot on the gas they wouldn’t even make the listZ 

In FSU’s defense, the statistics and list of draftees helps their argument immensely. They had one of the best regular season margins ever and the highest scoring offense ever at that time, I believe. 

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15 hours ago, bigbird said:

Not that '01 Miami team.

 

15 hours ago, bigbird said:

The '04 defense could've slowed him down. They were fun to watch.

 

14 hours ago, GwillMac6 said:

I also just flat out thought Cam was a better college player than VY even though because of more years VY had the better college career. 

I agree with all of these things.

That 2005 Texas team had a lot more guys drafted than our 2010 team, IIRC. Young was amazing, and that Rose Bowl performance was one of the greatest individual performances I've ever seen, but he was no Cam and he had a lot more help throughout the season IMO.

 

 

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On May 8, 2019 at 4:54 PM, GwillMac6 said:

Except 2010 Auburn. Is 2004 our best team ever top to bottom (and one of the best teams ever in college football)? Hands down YES! But it is my belief Cam Newton would of always found a way to win. We have never ever seen a player that dominant at the college level like he was in 2010 for us. He had the single greatest season imo in the history of college football. 

I have to disagree. 2010 had too may close calls. 2004 dominated pretty much every first half and built a comfortable lead before going into the Tubershell in the second half. If Tubbs  would have kept his foot on the gas almost all of our games would have been blowouts. That's how I remember it anyway. 

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On May 8, 2019 at 5:05 PM, bigbird said:

The '04 defense could've slowed him down. They were fun to watch.

IMO 2004 would make Swiss cheese out of that 2010 defense though. 

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11 minutes ago, amsterjam said:

I have to disagree. 2010 had too may close calls. 2004 dominated pretty much every first half and built a comfortable lead before going into the Tubershell in the second half. If Tubbs  would have kept his foot on the gas almost all of our games would have been blowouts. That's how I remember it anyway. 

I agree.  I think the '04 team would beat '10 team 8 times out of 10.  That '10 defense isn't stopping all the weapons we had in '04 either.  Some will not give that '04 squad the credit it is due but it was the best team AU has put together in my lifetime.

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