By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Over the last 20 years, it has become easier to discuss the top five college football teams of the new millennia.
It’s a great time for debates. College football fans are very passionate and love to argue about their favorite teams!
I measured the teams by their on-field dominance, their overall talent level and the success on the gridiron.
Ranking these teams during the past 20 years brought back a lot of memories.
- University of Florida 2008:The Gators had a 13-1 record, averaged 43.6 points per game, allowed 12.9 points per game.
The Gators’ defense was led by Consensus All-Americans Brandon Spikes and Joe Haden. Carlos Dunlap and Janoris Jenkins were 1st round draft choices in the NFL.
The offense was led by 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow (2008 Maxwell Award, Manning Award and Wuerffel Trophy) and 2nd team All American Percy Harvin.
The key moment for Florida, was a one point loss to Ole Miss at home. In the post-game press conference, Tebow delivered his famous “Promise Speech”. Love him or hate him, Tebow proved to be one of the best and inspirational college football players in the last 20 years.
Tebow kept his promise! No team came closer than 10 points to the Gators the rest of the season. Florida routed No. 8 Georgia 49-10, pummeled No. 24 South Carolina 56-6 and destroyed No. 23 FSU 45-15.
The 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game, Florida defeated NO. 1 Oklahoma 24-14.
- Clemson 2016: I think the 2016 Clemson team was Dabo Swinney’s best.
The Tigers finished 14-1, the loss coming to Pitt. The Tigers were led by Deshaun Watson, one of the best college football players never to win a Heisman.
Watson torched Alabama in the postseason to the point where Nick Saban admitted they had no answer for him.
Watson shattered Clemson’s history books with 5,222 total yards from scrimmage and 50 touchdowns (41 passing and nine rushing).
In an instinct classic, Clemson and Alabama came down to the final seconds to decide the winner. Watson found Hunter Renfrow on a rub route to seal the deal and Clemson claimed their first national championship since 1981.
- LSU 2019: Just last year many were crowning the Tiger team the greatest of all time, after finishing the season 15-0.
What a truly impressive resume for the Tigers players: Joe Burrow (Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Manning Award, Broyles Award and SEC Offensive Player of the Year), Ja’Marr Chase (Biletnikoff Award), Grant Delpit (Jim Thorpe Award) and Derek Stingley Jr. (SEC Freshman of the Year and Sporting News Freshman of the Year). LSU had 14 players drafted and 6 undrafted free agents.
The Tigers defeated the defending national champions Clemson 42-25. LSU claimed their fourth national championship in school history, the third undefeated champion in the CFP era, and the second 15-0 season in the modern era.
After their dominant performance against a historically difficult schedule, several talking heads called them the greatest team in college football history.
- Alabama 2020: The honor of becoming the greatest football team in Alabama history has to put you in the top tier in my rankings.
It is not an easy statement: the undefeated 2009 team that slapped around Texas in the Rose Bowl, 1992 team that went 13-0 with maybe the most dominant defense in college football history or the 1979, 1966, 1965 or 1964 teams all had great seasons.
Unlike the teams above, the 2020 Tide team showed an offensive firepower rewriting Alabama history books.
Alabama had the best offensive line, wide receiver, running back and quarterback in college football.
After running through the 10 regular season with little to no resistance, the Tide captured the SEC Championship with a 52-46 (the closest contest of the season) over Florida.
Finishing 11-0 in SEC play, playing every game on their schedule during COVID, and the pure dominance the Tide displayed game after game has them at number two.
1.Miami Hurricanes 2001: By the numbers 12-0 record, 512 total points, 42.7 points per game, 9.8 points allowed, 32.9 points average margin of victory, 38 NFL draft picks and 17 first round picks.
The 2001 U was the most dominant all-around team in college football history with Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey and Ken Dorsey on offense and Sean Taylor, Jonathan Vilma, Phillip Buchanon and Ed Reed on defense (just to name a few).
Six first team Consensus All Americans in Buchanon, Joaquin Gonzalez, Bryant Mckinnie, Shockey, Reed and Todd Sievers.
The U had an absurd amount of talent and played with swagger that established themselves as the best college football team over the past 20 years.
Just outside the top five: Florida State 2013, Clemson 2018, Ohio State 2002, Auburn 2010, Alabama 2011 and 2012, Southern California 2004 and Texas 2005. I can make an argument that any of these teams belong in the top five.
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Normally this time of year means the college football regular season is almost over.
Due to the pandemic, the season was delayed for several conferences like the Big Ten and Pac 12. I’m going to take a look at the top five Heisman Trophy candidates.
Kyle Trask/ Florida: I feel like he should be the hands down favorite at this point. It’s hard to believe this guy was sitting on the bench behind Feleipe Franks.
Earlier in the season I said he’s this year’s Joe Burrow. I don’t think anybody can match Burrow’s video game like stats from 2019 but I’m talking about the drastic improvement he made. Also, both of them were not expected to play at that level going into their final season.
They have had the LSU game postponed due to several players on the team having COVID. I hope that game can get played in December so Trask can play the maximum amount of games.
He led the Gators to a win over No. 5 Georgia that they desperately needed. The defense is not very good, so they basically have to outscore their opponents. Trask is basically good for at least four passing TD’s every game.
Trevor Lawrence/ Clemson: He’s the clear consensus as the best quarterback and number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, he had COVID and had to miss two games.
One of them was at No. 4 Notre Dame and that could have been his Heisman moment.
The Tigers like to run the ball with All-American running back Travis Etienne so that takes away from Lawrence’s stats.
If he plays well against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship that could catapult him to the top of the Heisman list.
Travis Etienne/ Clemson: I know this has become a quarterback award but he really deserves consideration.
He’s a true dual threat running back and his number are very good.
Mac Jones/ Alabama: He has the Crimson Tide undefeated (6-0) and he’s playing very well. Jones has thrown for 2,196 yards (8th), 16 TD’s (tied-13th), 2 interceptions with a 95.6 QBR (2nd).
He’s on the best team and I think Bama will finish undefeated. His stats are impressive because Alabama is another team that likes to run the ball. Najee Harris has over 700 yards rushing.
The LSU game has been postponed due to a Coronavirus outbreak in the program. We don’t know if that game will actually get played but that would be an easy win for Bama.
The only challenge should be against Florida in the SEC Championship.
Justin Fields/ Ohio State: The Buckeyes have only played three games because the Big Ten started the season late and the Maryland game was canceled.
Fields only has 7 games to make a case as the best player.