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6 best college football teams of all time, including Alabama Crimson Tide, USC Trojans, and Miami Hurricanes

College football

Fans have been treated to some incredibly talented college football teams over the years. Recently, we’ve seen programs such as Alabama and Georgia dominate the landscape.

Going back in history, there have been many legendary college football teams who stand the test of time. Some are more memorable than others. In this case, we thought we’d rank the best college football teams of all time in reverse order.

Here are the most complete teams in college football history.

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6. 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide were stacked with NFL talent

alabama crimson tide
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There’s no question the Alabama Crimson Tide are one of the greatest college football programs of all time. With 15 National Championships to their name, there aren’t many programs with a richer history. But the Tide haven’t won the big game since 2020.

However, that was a unique year, as it was also the year of the coronavirus, leading to several complications throughout the season. Yet, those challenges didn’t prevent coach Nick Saban from having his players prepared for whatever came next.

Coach Saban’s Tide had the nation’s second-highest-scoring offense and finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record. Led by future first-round picks such as Mac Jones, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Will Anderson, and Patrick Surtain II, this crew was absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. It’s no wonder they had shutting down Ohio State 52-24 in the CFP National Championship. Looking back, the 2020 Crimson Tide were in a class of their own.

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5. 2018 Clemson Tigers, led by Trevor Lawrence, can’t be forgotten

clemson tigers
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Maybe it’s the recency bias getting to us a bit here, but it’s hard to forget the impact the 2018 Clemson Tigers had. Dabo Swinney always put together great defenses, and this was arguably his best, allowing a minuscule 13.1 PPG. This defense had several big names who would later become NFL talents, including Dexter Lawrence, A.J. Terrell, Isaiah Simmons, and Clelin Ferrell.

Yet, the biggest name of all is Trevor Lawrence, who didn’t even begin the year as the starter. Yet, after Kelly Bryant wasn’t getting the job done to Swinney’s standards, the Tigers turned to Lawrence, and the rest is history. Clemson went on to become the first team to have a 15-0 record since 1897, and Lawrence later became the No. 1 overall pick two years later.

Clemson took down Alabama with a convincing 44-16 victory in the College Football Playoff National Championship on their way to an undefeated season. Not many teams can hand the Crimson tide such a lopsided defeat when they’re ranked No. 1 in the nation, but the 2018 Tigers did.

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4. 2004 USC Trojans deserve a place in history

2004 NCAA Football: Southern California Trojans at UCLA Bruins
Joe Robbins-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the 2004 USC Trojans are the team that had Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and it was the season that the latter had his Heisman Trophy later rescinded by the Heisman Trophy Trust. Maybe having them on this list will upset some, but it shouldn’t.

Bush didn’t do anything that isn’t accepted today, with the integration of name, image, and likeness (NIL) endorsements being available for modern athletes. We can’t forget the fact just how incredible he was that season, going off for 2,218 yards from scrimmage while scoring 19 touchdowns to pave the way.

Back to the rest of the ’04 Trojans, who maintained their No. 1 ranking all year long and wrapped up their undefeated season by destroying Oklahoma 55-19 for their most recent national title. In all, the Trojans ranked third in scoring and sixth in points allowed for a complete effort on both sides of the ball for coach Pete Carroll’s squad.

While their trophy may have been stripped, many will never forget the Southern Cal team from 2004.

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3. 2019 LSU Tigers, led by Joe Burrow, were all-time greats

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Champions-Louisiana State Celebration
Russell Costanza-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 LSU Tigers were better than many even realized at the time. But it should have been obvious just how legendary this crew really was. They led the nation, scoring a scintillating 48.4 points per game.

Joe Burrow threw for 5,671 passing yards, just 162 yards shy of the record at the time. He also had 60 passing touchdowns, forming a dynamite connection with future All-Pro receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. Both players topped 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns individually. It all added up to LSU scoring 726 points that season, a record that still stands.

The Tigers of course went undefeated, beating seven teams ranked in the top ten, and they were held below 36 points just once. Being that they accomplished all this in the modern era, an argument could be made that LSU deserves to be higher, yet just as big of a case could be argued that it could be lower as well. The only thing holding LSU back from being ranked higher is the fact that their defense allowed 21.9 points per game. Good, but not legendary.

2. 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers dominated their era

NCAA Football: USA TODAY Sports-Archive
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On their way to becoming recognized as one of the best college football teams of all time, the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers ended up defeating the No. 2, 3, and 4th-ranked programs in the nation. In the process, only three opponents scored seven or more points against the ’71 squad that season.

Nebraska scored 39 points per game (2nd in nation), and allowed just eight points per game (2nd in nation). The Cornhuskers are one of just two teams to have ever won each of their first ten games by 24 or more points. The other was the 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes.

How did Nebraska cap off their Championship season? By demolishing Alabama 38-6 in the Orange Bowl, proving once again that no other program could hang with these legends.

The Cornhuskers were long regarded as the best college football team in collegiate history, holding the title for decades. But, just like records were meant to be broken, titles are meant to be passed on to the next generation.

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1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes are the best college football team of all time

Not only was the 2001 Miami Hurricanes football team immensely stacked with talent, featuring a host of future All-Pros and Pro Football Hall of Fame athletes, but they were also a well-oiled machine that sank nearly every opponent in their path.

There were only two weeks where the Hurricanes were ranked anywhere other than first place, coming in the first and fifth week of the season when the AP poll placed them second. Naturally, Miami (FL) went undefeated, beating all five of the ranked opponents they faced by a margin of 236 to 72.

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Many would agree the ’01 Hurricanes are the best college football team in the history of the sport. Miami’s defense allowed a mere 9.8 points per game to lead the nation, and they also ranked third in scoring, averaging 42.7 PPG. When it came time for the Rose Bowl matchup, Miami crushed Nebraska 37-14.

This truly was an All-American roster on both sides of the ball, and it’s hard to place any other team above the ’01 Miami Hurricanes.

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