I have a list you’re going to hate, which is perfectly all right with me, because I hate it, too.
It’s a countdown of the 100 greatest college football teams of all time as determined by the website Sports on Earth. Using a complex metrics formula that drills much deeper than strength of schedule and other basic measures, the study concluded that the best team ever was the 1943 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who went 9-1 in the midst of a diminished World War II competitive field and lost to a military squad called Great Lakes Navy.
When you stop screaming, it may be possible to read on a bit more, but be warned. There are no teams from our state ranked in the top 40, and there seems to be special privilege given to any team that appeared on black-and-white television.
- Notre Dame 1943
- Army 1945
- Notre Dame 1946
- Oklahoma 1973
- Notre Dame 1949
- Army 1944
- Nebraska 1971
- Army 1946
- Michigan 1947
- USC 1972
This should help explain why Notre Dame fans feel so superior. Like the Roman Empire, they once ruled the civilized world.
For me, any list of monster teams should start with the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Their closest margin of victory that season was two touchdowns and they routinely ran up 70 points on opponents. The capper was a 62-24 crushing of Steve Spurrier’s previously unbeaten Florida Gators in the Fiesta Bowl’s national championship game.
You probably have your own top choice, but we all should be able to agree that No. 33 isn’t high enough for this nuclear-option Nebraska attack. That’s where Sports on Earth has them, and that’s one spot better than Yale’s team from 1905.
Here’s where it gets personal.
The highest-ranked Miami team is the 2001 Hurricanes national championship squad at No. 45.
Florida’s best showing is No. 64 for the 2008 national title team, one spot behind the Purdue Boilermakers of 1943.
Florida State tops out at No. 82 for the title team of 1993. Oh, and just in case you’re worried that Notre Dame might be underrepresented here, the 1944 Fighting Irish come in higher than that with a tie for 80th-best.
Metrics are fun and all but even after weeks of crunching numbers I would throw out any system that produced results like this. It would have been far better not to bother.
These conclusions look more like Sports on Mars than anything that might actually be believable on our planet.