The offense is absolutely loaded with QB JT Daniels, RBs Zamir White and James Cook, and receivers Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson. When you also add in one of the best Tight End combinations in the country with Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert this offense has a chance to be special. This doesn’t even include if George Pickens returns near the end of the year from a torn ACL. As for the offensive line, don’t worry. It will also be strong after returning three starters and high rated recruits waiting to take over.
The defense is also loaded. The defensive line has Jordan Davis and Travon Walker clogging the middle with Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith rushing on the edge. Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean are really solid linebackers as well. Secondary is the one area of concern as they replace a few key starters. Transfers Derrion Kendrick (Clemson) and Tykee Smith (West Virginia) should calm down the concern. Overall, this is one of the most talented teams in the country and a lock to win the SEC East.
2. Florida Gators
Projected Record: 9-3
Wins: Florida Atlantic, USF, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Samford, Missouri, Florida State
Losses:Alabama, LSU, Georgia
Dan Mullen finally has what he wants for the offense… a mobile quarterback. Expect Mullen to utilize Emery Jones in the RPO game now that Kyle Trask graduated. Florida’s main issue is at the skill positions after they lost their top weapons (Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts, and Trevon Grimes). Add in an inconsistent offensive line and this offense will take a step back.
There are also questions on the defensive side of the ball. The best players on the defense are CB Kaiir Elam and edge rushers Zachary Carter and Brenton Cox. Outside of those players there are concerns. Expect the defense to still be OK and finish in the top half of the conference. The team as a whole will take a small step back after a fantastic 2020 season.
Losses: South Carolina, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State
Kentucky’s biggest question going into the season is who will start at quarterback? New QB Will Levis is intriguing, but he will have to win the job from Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen. Wan’Dale Robinson, a transfer from Nebraska, is a key addition who along with WR Josh Ali will give Kentucky at least a few weapons. This will be a classic Kentucky offense where it is led by the running game which features a strong offensive line and RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. (Averaged 6.6 YPC and 785 rushing yards).
The defense returns just four starters and are replacing two early round picks in Jamin Davis and Kelvin Joseph. Expect, the defense to not be as strong. Overall, Kentucky will be an average, tough SEC team.
4. Missouri Tigers
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Central Michigan, SE Missouri State, Boston College, Tennessee, North Texas, Vanderbilt, South Carolina
QB Connor Bazelak showed some promise in his freshman year, the offense will evolve if he takes another step forward. As for the rest of the offense, it will be led by their line who returns four starters. However, Mizzou will need some skill players to step up as they lacked playmakers from last year. Returning WR Keke Chism and Ohio State transfer WR Mookie Cooper might be the guys to do it.
Defensively, Mizzou struggled in the last three games. Now, after having to replace some key players, I can’t see the Tigers defense making a huge jump in play. Edge rusher Trajan Jeffcoat and secondary players Ennis Rakestraw, Akayleb Evans (Tulsa transfer), and Martez Manuel are solid players and will keep the defense adequate. Expect Missouri to be a decent SEC team.
5. Tennessee Volunteers
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Tennessee Tech, South Carolina, South Alabama, Vanderbilt
Losses: Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia
New coach Josh Heupel brings his up-tempo offense to the SEC. The problem? The offense returns only two starters and they lost their two most explosive weapons in Eric Gray (transfer to Oklahoma) and Josh Palmer. QB Hedon Hooker (Virginia Tech transfer) looks like a lone bright spot in this offense.
Defensively, the Vols were hit equally as hard by exiting players. This defense is full of unproven talent. Texas transfer LB Juwan Mitchell will help a little, but expect this defense to look ugly at the start of the rebuild. Overall, it won’t look pretty in Knoxville this upcoming year.
6. South Carolina Gamecocks
Projected Record: 5-7
Wins: Eastern Illinois, East Carolina, Kentucky, Troy, Vanderbilt
The Gamecocks will rely on the run game with 1,000 yard rusher Kevin Harris and redshirt freshman Marshawn Lloyd (top rated recruit who missed last year due to injury). The offensive line also returns four starters. The problem is this roster does not have an established QB or any standout receivers. At least TE Nick Muse decided to return after a solid season
Defensively, South Carolina is loaded up front, but is heavily inexperienced in the secondary. The strength are edge rushers Aaron Sterling and Kingsley Enagbare. It will be interesting to see how Shane Beamer does in the first season with this team. Overall, a bowl game will be a solid finish for them.
7. Vanderbilt Commodores
Projected Record: 3-9
Wins: East Tennessee State, Colorado State, UConn
Losses: Stanford, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee
It is the start of another rebuild at Vanderbilt. Offensively, the team returns eight starters including QB Ken Seals after a decent freshman season. The best offensive weapon will be WR Cam Johnson. On defense there is a clear lack of talent. Overall, don’t expect too much from this team.
The 2020 National Champions return with quite a few pieces to replace on offense including Devonta Smith, Najee Harris, and Mac Jones. However, don’t expect too much of a drop off with QB Bryce Young taking over and young talent at the skill positions . This year the defense should be much improved with a loaded defensive line, great linebackers and edge rushers, and a secondary that returns everyone except Patrick Surtain II. Alabama is loaded again and should be National Champion favorites.
2. Texas A&M Aggies
Projected Record: 10-2
Wins: Kent State, Colorado, New Mexico, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, LSU
Losses: Arkansas, Alabama
The Aggies are absolutely loaded with impact players. On offense RB Isaiah Spiller, TE Jalen Wydermyer, WR Ainias Smith, and OT Kenyon Green are all future NFL players. The main concern will be who takes over for QB Kellen Mond (Haynes King or Zach Calzada) and replacing four offensive line starters. The quarterback and offensive line are keys to a good offense and shouldn’t be ignored.
Defensively, this is a top ten defense that returns nine starters. So, expect the Aggies to be one of the best defenses in the nation. The defense is led by Demarvin Leal who should be a first round pick. Overall, the Aggies are talented… but the unknown at quarterback and offensive line makes me hesitant.
Lane Kiffin had an explosive offense in his first year in Oxford. Year two’s offense will be even better and could be special. Losing wide receiver Elijah Moore hurts, but the offense has many other weapons including RB Jerrion Ealy. Also, the offense is led by one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, Matt Corral.
Decent defense is going to be the key to a successful season. The linebackers are experienced with Lakia Henry, JacQuez Jones, and MoMo Sanogo. Sam Williams also provides the Rebels with a solid edge rusher. However, the question remains whether they are good enough on the defensive line and in the secondary. The Rebels need some improvement after finishing 126th in total defense last year. The Rebels top ten offense can only take them so far… for the Rebels to make the next step in the SEC West there has to be defensive improvement. Expect a solid team and a solid year for Ole Miss.
4. LSU Tigers
Projected Record: 9-3
Wins: UCLA, McNeese State, Central Michigan, Mississippi State, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana Monroe
Losses: Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M
After Myles Brennan’s injury, Max Johnson will be the starter for LSU at quarterback. As for the rest of the offense, look for WR Kayshon Boutte to follow up a breakout freshman season. One area that needs to improve is the running game after LSU finished 109thin rushing yards behind Tyrion Davis-Prince and John Emery Jr.
Defensively, this is a talented bunch. It starts on the defensive line where Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony lead at edge rusher. Mike Jones Jr. was a big transfer pickup from Clemson who will play a roaming linebacker role. The strength is at corner where Derek Stingley Jr. and Eli Ricks make up a fantastic duo. Expect a major improvement after finishing 124th in total defense last year.
Overall, it’s this is an experienced, talented team with a lot of upside. But, questions remain whether Coach Orgeron can get that talent to translate onto the field.
Coach Sam Pittman brings an Arkansas team that returns a ton on both sides of the ball. Offensively the question is KJ Jefferson ready to take over? He will have an established offense with WR Treylon Burks, RB Trelon Smith, and the entire offensive line returning.
The defense will also see improvement after finishing 106th in total defense. An area Arkansas will focus on improving is pressuring the quarterback. The defense features a few key pieces including linebackers Grant Morgan and Bumper Pool, and safety Jalen Catalon. This will be a tough football team to play in 2021.
6. Auburn Tigers
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Akron, Alabama State, Penn State, Georgia State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina
Coach Bryan Harsin enters his first season with a decent football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, the question remains can you trust Bo Nix? Further, this offense lost a lot of weapons, including their top three receivers. With unproven receivers and inconsistent offensive line, don’t expect a high powered offense. Instead, the offense will revolve around sophomore RB Tank Bigsby.
On defense, inside linebackers Zacoby McClain and Owen Pappoe make a great duo and play behind a good defensive line. The secondary should be a strength this year with Smoke Monday at safety and corners Roger McCreary, Nehemiah Pritchett and Ladarius Tennison. As mentioned, this team will be led by their defense. Expect Auburn to finish in the middle of the pack in the SEC West.
7. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Louisiana Tech, NC State, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee State
Losses: LSU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss
Other than their game against LSU, the offense was awful last year finishing 104th in total yardage. While the offense does return mostly everyone, the SEC defensive coordinators may have figured out Mike Leach’s scheme. The offense does have QB Will Rogers coming off an OK freshman season and a very good left tackle in Charles Cross.
The 2020 team was actually led by their defense. However, this year the defensive front seven has depth concerns. What remains a strength is at cornerback with both Emmanuel Forbes and Martin Emerson returning. Look for Mississippi State to be solid defensively, but I’m not sure if there will be much of an offensive improvement. Expect a tough year for Mississippi State.
The Buckeyes are ridiculously loaded on offense with a great offensive line, two talented running backs, and an embarrassing amount of receiving talent featuring two of the best receivers in the nation (Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson). Freshman QB C.J. Stroud is the most likely to take over the starting role. Defense is a different issue. The top four linebackers are all gone and the secondary finished last in the Big Ten in passing yards given up last year. Their defensive line is solid, but they will need an improvement in the back end if they want to be true National Championship contenders.
The Nittany Lions 2020 season can be thrown to the side after starting 0-5 and finishing with four straight wins. The offense was decent last year, but lacked explosive plays. It isn’t like they don’t have weapons with wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington returning, but can QB Sean Clifford take the next step? Penn State also returns RB Noah Cain after he missed last year with an injury. Defensively, Penn State was solid last year, but return only one starting defensive lineman. Instead the strength of this team will be in the secondary and at linebacker as they return just about everyone. Look for a bounce back year for Penn State.
3. Michigan Wolverines
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Nebraska, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland
Losses: Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State
The Wolverines are a major question going into 2021 after a 2-4 season. The offense was flat and average. Other than WR Ronnie Bell, I don’t see anything to change that. Maybe it could be WR Daylen Baldwin, a Jackson State transfer who lit up the FCS level in the spring. Defensively, I believe they will be much improved with nine returning starters including two premier players (DE Aidan Hutchinson and S Dax Hill). Overall, I’m not blown away by the roster, but they should still be solid and compete at a decent level in the Big Ten East.
4. Indiana Hoosiers
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Iowa, Idaho, Western Kentucky, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue
Losses: Cincinnati, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota
Coming off a great 6-2 season, Indiana returns 17 starters including QB Michael Penix. The offense will need to be more explosive and the four offensive line starters will have to improve to match last season. WR Ty Fryfogle will lead the offensive weapons with Camron Buckley (transfer from Texas A&M) as a potential wildcard. On defense, they finished last year 43rd in the country. However, the defense added a few SEC defensive line transfers and have nine returning starters. Overall, the Hoosiers are an experienced team who will be a tough matchup for just about anyone in the Big Ten.
5. Michigan State Spartans
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Northwestern, Youngstown State, Nebraska, Western Kentucky, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland
Losses: Miami, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State
This has the potential to be a sneaky OK team in the Big Ten. The strength of the team is in the receiving core which features Jayden Reed, Jalen Nailor and Ricky White. The backfield has two talented transfers Kenneth Walker III (Wake Forest) and Harold Joiner (Auburn) running behind an experienced offensive line who returned all of their starters. The biggest question will be what transfer QB Anthony Russo (Temple) will give you. Defense is Mel Tucker’s specialty and with seven returning starters and a boat load of transfers, Coach Tucker might be putting something together. I don’t think a bowl game should be out of the question for the Spartans.
6. Maryland Terrapins
Projected Record: 5-7
Wins: Howard, Illinois, Kent State, Iowa, Rutgers
Losses: West Virginia, Ohio State, Minnesota, Indiana, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan
Mike Locksley has been stocking up on talent… but will it translate? The offense should be in good hands with Taulia Tagovailoa leading with talented receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett. Defense will be the issue as five-star LB Terrence Lewis tore his ACL. There is young talent, but it has not come together yet. In the tough Big Ten East, they’ll be an average team.
Coach Greg Schiano has something cooking at Rutgers. He is bringing in some actual talent and they are no longer an easy out. The Scarlet Knights play tough, hard-nosed football. On offense, they bring back everyone to an offense that needs to improve. WR Bo Melton is one of the best in the conference and they will rely heavy on him. On defense they have an experienced linebacker and secondary led by LB Olakunle Fatukasi. Look for an improvement on both sides of the ball and in a few years Rutgers will be competing at the top half of the Big Ten East. As for this year? Making a bowl game would be a great achievement.
By far my favorite to win the Big Ten West… this is your classic Wisconsin team. They are fantastic along the offensive line and will only get better with back-to-back five star recruits in the last two years. The question is can QB Graham Mertz perform like he did in the season opener last year against Illinois where he threw five touchdowns. TE Jake Ferguson will also be a key contributor. Defensively, they are going to be fantastic with eight returning starters to a defense that finished fifth in the country. Look for the Badgers to have double digit wins and face Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.
Minnesota’s down season last year was puzzling given the weapons and returning QB Tanner Morgan. After the down year, expect Minnesota to be closer to contenders this season especially with talented weapons WR Chris Autman-Bell and RB Mohamed Ibrahim. The defense is what really disappointed last year, but with the secondary returning important pieces like Coney Durr, expect an improvement. A key piece will be DT Nyles Pinckney (Clemson transfer). Overall, Minnesota is a wildcard to win the Big Ten West.
3. Iowa Hawkeyes
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Kent State, Colorado State, Maryland, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota
Losses: Indiana, Iowa State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska
The Hawkeyes were impressive last season finishing with 6 straight wins after starting 0-2. However, it will be tough to repeat with many of the team’s top players departing for the NFL. The offense does return RB Tyler Goodson after a 762 yard season. What is yet to be seen if the receivers and QB Spencer Petras can progress into a more dangerous unit. Defensively, the secondary returns almost everyone while the key will be replacing three defensive linemen. DE Zach VanValkenburg will lead the group. Expect Iowa to be serious contenders in the Big Ten West again.
Five of Purdue’s six games last year were one score games. Although they finished 2-4, this team still has some potential. The Purdue offense will feature one of the best receivers in the country in David Bell. Either quarterback Jack Plummer or Aidan O’Connell will take over and be a capable starter. Defensively they have one of the best edge rushers in the country with George Karlaftis and a solid cornerback in Cory Trice. I expect this team to do have a solid season in Coach Jeff Brohm’s fifth year.
The Wildcats came out of nowhere last year to finish 7-2 and win the Big Ten West. This year, I can’t see it happening. The roster returns just seven starters in a year where everyone is returning at least double digit starters. Offensively, expect QB Ryan Hilinski (South Carolina transfer) to step in, but this team will be led by their defense. The defensive line and secondary will be the strength including All-American safety Brandon Joseph. Expect the great coaching staff at Northwestern to get the Wildcats to a bowl game, but not much more than that.
You would think Scott Frost would have this team competing in the Big Ten in his fourth season. But looking at this roster… he still has a long way to go. Nebraska lost their top playmaker Wan’Dale Robinson to the transfer portal and there isn’t another guy on the roster that can fill those shoes. We are also still waiting to see if QB Adrian Martinez ever develops. On defense it is more promising with nine returning starters and one of the best corners in the Big Ten in Cam Taylor-Britt. After three straight losing seasons, getting to a bowl game will be a nice small step towards progress.
7. Illinois Fighting Illini
Projected Record: 4-8
Wins: UTSA, Charlotte, Iowa, Northwestern
Losses: Nebraska, Virginia, Maryland, Purdue, Wisconsin, Penn State, Rutgers, Minnesota
The Fighting Illini return both quarterbacks (Brandon Peters and Isaiah Williams) in coach Brett Bielema’s first season. Illinois returns an experienced roster that will be led by a good offensive line and rushing attack. However, the team needs playmakers at receiver to step up. On defense, it is a veteran group led by linebacker Jake Hansen. Overall, this football team is an experienced group, but are lacking playmakers to be Big Ten contenders.
Wins: Tulane, Western Carolina, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, TCU, Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State (Big 12 Championship)
The offense is going to be one of the top offenses in the nation as it checks nearly all the boxes: countless playmaker receivers (Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, Jaden Haselwood, Mike Woods), great 1-2 punch at running back (Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray), do-it-all FB/TE (Jeremiah Hall), big body TE (Austin Stogner), and a gunslinging QB (Spencer Rattler). The only real question is the offensive line has to replace two starters.
Every year the biggest question is Oklahoma’s defense… this year the defense should be solid. Edge rusher Nik Bonitto is one of the best players in the nation. Combine that with experience at defensive line and linebacker and they look set to run through the Big 12. A main question worth monitoring are the cornerbacks with two new starters. Overall, Big 12 championship should be the minimum expectation. Playing in the national championship should be the goal.
19 RETURNING STARTERS!!! Iowa State made the Big 12 championship game and returns all of their major pieces. But what is their ceiling? Brock Purdy will need to take another step if they want to knock of Oklahoma as Big 12 champions. Regardless, the offense will continue to rely on 1500 yard rusher Breece Hall.
Defensively, expect the Cyclones to be solid again. The defense will be led by LB Mike Rose and there aren’t really any glaring holes. Expect a very good Cyclones team to be at the top of the Big 12 along with Oklahoma, but a playoff spot doesn’t seem realistic.
3. Texas Longhorns
Projected Record: 9-3
Wins: Arkansas, Rice, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia, Kansas State
Losses: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa State
Steve Sarkisian takes over a pretty talented Texas team. Honestly, although Sam Ehlinger was a solid college quarterback, Casey Thompson or Hudson Card may give this team more upside. Combine that with a solid offensive line, one of the best running backs in the nation (Bijan Robinson), and a deep wide receiving group… this offense has potential.
Defensively, Texas is led by DT Alfred Collins and LB DeMarvion Overshown. There is a hole at linebacker next to Overshown and there isn’t a clear viable option. The secondary will also need an improvement after finishing 108th in passing defense. Overall, the Longhorns have the talent for Coach Sarkisian to compete for a Big 12 championship spot right away.
The main question for this offense is whether QB Max Duggan can take the next step. The offense finished in the middle of the conference last year, but the talent across the board is intriguing. WR Quentin Johnson is ready for a breakout year and there are plenty of complementary pieces including Taye Barber, Derius Davis, JD Spielman, and Shadrach Banks (Texas A&M transfer). Also, look for former five star recruit RB Zach Evans to have a majority of the carries and be an instrumental part of the offense. The offensive line is also solid including OT Obinna Eze (Memphis transfer).
The defense finished top 30 last year and will be one of the best in the Big 12 this year. Sure they lose some key pieces including LB Garret Wallow and safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington, but this defense still has solid pieces. At cornerback, Noah Daniels and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson are both studs. The defensive line is also experienced and led by DE Ochaun Mathis (9 sacks in 2020).
Overall, this team is intriguing and a trip to the Big 12 championship game isn’t out of the question. How Max Duggan develops will have a major impact on the team’s success.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Houston, SFA, FIU, West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State
Losses: Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor
The Red Raiders will have the offense… defense might continue to be an issue. The offensive line is extremely experienced and they have one of the best receivers in the Big 12 with Erik Ezukanma. In the backfield Oregon QB Tyler Shough was a great pickup and will most likely lead the offense along with RB SaRodorick Thompson.
Defense continues to be the issue as Coach Matt Wells has patched this unit together with a ton of transfers. The defense has eight returning starters so expect some improvement from last year’s defense. Overall, this team will be a tough out in the Big 12 and should finish somewhere in the middle.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Missouri State, Tulsa, Boise State, Kansas State, Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia
Can Spencer Sanders actually evolve into a solid, reliable Big 12 QB? The Pokes will go as far as he takes them. Oklahoma State is tasked with replacing wide receiver Tylan Wallace and RB Chuba Hubbard. WR Tay Martin and RBs Dezmon Jackson/LD Brown should be solid, but currently a true difference maker doesn’t jump off the page. Also, the offensive line remains a question mark even though it is a veteran unit.
The defense brings back a ton of experience with eight returning starters including edge rusher Trace Ford. Overall, this looks like another solid Oklahoma State team… but nothing special.
7. Kansas State Wildcats
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Southern Illinois, Nevada, TCU, Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor
The Wildcats weren’t bad until they lost Skylar Thompson for the year. They went on to lose their last five games. The offense returns basically everyone including sensational running back Deuce Vaughn.
Defensively, there are some issues. The defense finished 97th and returns only five starters. Safety Jahron McPherson will lead the defense, but it’s tough to see where the massive improvement is going to come from. Overall, expect another competitive Wildcats team who will finish near the middle of the Big 12.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Maryland, LIU, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas
Coach Neal Brown has this team moving in the right direction after a 6-4 season. Offensively, they have a good QB with Jarret Doege and a 1,000 yard rusher in Leddie Brown. The offense also returns their top five receivers from last year and a strong offensive line. The Mountaineers will have a decent offense, but I can’t see them making the leap to one of the conference’s elites.
The Mountaineers had the top defense in the Big 12 last year, but are faced with replacing a a ton of talent due to transfers and players going on to the next level. DT Dante Stills is a really great player who will keep this defense from going too far downhill. Overall, I see this team as an average Big 12 team with a decent offense and regressing defense.
Losses: Iowa State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State
The defense will be one of the top defenses in the Big 12. On the other hand, the offense is a major projection. The biggest question for Baylor is who wins the QB competition between Gerry Bohanon and Jacob Zeno. They’ll have plenty of experience at receiver after returning everyone including R.J. Sneed.
Defensively, the biggest addition is 350 pound NT Siaki Ika (transfer from LSU). Other than Ika, the defense returns almost everyone. One of the areas they need to improve is their pass rush. Overall, expect an improvement and an average Big 12 team.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Projected Record: 0-9
Wins: South Dakota
Losses: Coastal Carolina, Baylor, Duke, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas TCU, West Virginia
It is year one in the rebuild for Lance Leipold, one of the most underrated coaches in college football. Leipold is basically combining this Kansas roster with key transfers from Buffalo, including 6 players who would have been in Buffalo’s two deep depth chart.
The offense is going to be a major project. I’ll say one good thing about Kansas… they have some talent in the secondary. Still, this roster is a few years out from being even competitive in the Big 12. Don’t expect much in the first year.
Wins: South Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Louisville, UCONN, Wake Forest, South Carolina, North Carolina(ACC Championship)
Losses: Georgia, NC State
DJ Uiagalelei takes over for Trevor Lawrence with a very talented Clemson team. However, a few key questions surround this Tiger team, particularly on the offensive line and secondary after last year’s blowout loss to Ohio State. On offense WR Justyn Ross returns from injury and there is a boatload of young receivers surrounding him. The question will be who steps up (EJ Williams? Joseph Ngata? Ajou Ajou?). The defensive front seven is stacked with almost everyone returning. The issues are in the secondary as it is yet to be seen if a corner opposite of Andrew Booth Jr. can emerge. Overall, Clemson has a huge home opener against Georgia… and then it is smooth sailing for the rest of the regular season. If the issues aren’t fixed on the offensive line and secondary, then this team will again not be able to compete with the elites.
2. NC State Wolfpack
Projected Record: 8-4
Wins: South Florida, Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Florida State, Syracuse, North Carolina
Losses: Mississippi State, Boston College, Miami, Wake Forest
This is an intriguing Wolfpack team coming off a 8-4 season. They have weapons with RB Bam Knight, WR Emeka Emezie, and WR Thayer Thomas. Add in a very good offensive line and QB Devin Leary coming back from injury… the offense should be pretty good. Defensively, LB Payton Wilson is one of the best players in the country and LB Isaiah Moore is a pretty dang good player himself. With the defense returning most of their starters from last year, expect an improved defense. Overall, this should be the favorite to finish second to Clemson in the Atlantic.
Losses: Missouri, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest
Coach Jeff Hafley has a good thing going on over at Boston College. Coach Hafley will look to follow up his winning season with an experienced team. The offense returns almost everyone and is led by QB Phil Jurkovec, WR Zay Flowers, and one of the best offensive lines in the ACC. The problem last year was the running game and they will need someone to step up this year. Defensively, this team is moving in the right direction improving from 125th to 73rd in total defense. The Eagles will have to overcome losing two key linebackers to the NFL, but I wouldn’t overrule another slight improvement. Overall, this is a quality ACC team who will compete for second place in the Coastal behind Clemson.
4. Florida State Seminoles
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Jacksonville State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Syracuse, UMass, Boston College
Losses: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Miami, Florida
The Seminoles are still in rebuild mode, but they are moving in the right direction. Offensively, QB McKenzie Milton (UCF transfer) could add a little, much needed, fire-power to this team as he looked very good in the spring game. QB Jordan Travis will most likely also see action as a running option. A huge concern is whether any of the wide receivers will emerge as key, impact players. Defensively, they are still building and trying to bridge the talent gap. A huge addition is DE Jermaine Johnson (Georgia transfer) who is already one of the best players on the defense. Linebackers Emmett Rice and Amari Gainer will also help. Overall, with a tough non-conference schedule, if Florida State makes a bowl game it will have been a good year.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Old Dominion, Norfolk State, Louisville, Syracuse, Army, Duke, NC State
Losses: Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson, Boston College
The Demon Deacons could be a sneaky good team in the ACC. Their offense was efficient last year and they return every single starter including stud WR Jaquarii Roberson. Defense is going to be the issue after finishing 90th last year. Wake Forest returns most of their starters, but it is hard to identify any standouts. Overall, Wake Forest will be a team led by their offense, but dragged down by their defense in 2021.
6. Louisville Cardinals
Projected Record: 5-7
Wins: Eastern Kentucky, UCF, NC State, Syracuse, Duke
Losses: Ole Miss, Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Boston College, Clemson, Kentucky
The Cardinals lost most of their playmakers on the offensive side including Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Javian Hawkins. QB Malik Cunningham must be better than he was last year for this team to avoid another losing season. On defense, the secondary is a huge concern but the Cardinals should be solid upfront led by LB CJ Avery. Overall, I trust Coach Satterfield to get the offense going, but I wouldn’t expect more than just an average bowl game.
7. Syracuse Orange
Projected Record: 3-9
Wins: Ohio, Albany, Pittsburgh
Losses: Rutgers, Liberty, Florida State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, NC State
Syracuse sure has fell off after their 10-3 season in 2018. The offense finished last in the ACC and it doesn’t look much better this season with one of the worst offensive lines in the conference. The battle at quarterback is intriguing with returning starter Tommy DeVito attempting to not be replaced by Garrett Shrader (Mississippi State transfer). At least they have WR Taj Harris who has displayed NFL talent. Defensively, they weren’t much better last season. However, the Orange do return 10 starters and should make an improvement. Especially with young, talented starters CB Garrett Williams and LB Mikel Jones. Overall, expect a rough year with a bowl game being the optimal result.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels
Projected Record: 10-2
Wins: Virginia Tech, Georgia State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke, Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Wofford
Losses: Notre Dame, NC State
Mack Brown keeps on building up North Carolina. After an 8-4 season, expectations are high. Offensively they lose some really talented guys including RB Michael Carter, RB, Javonte Williams, WR Dyami Brown, and WR Dazz Newsome. Everyone else on the offense returns though and they added Tennessee transfer RB Ty Chandler. The bowl game against Texas A&M gave a little sneak peek that quarterback Sam Howell has some players to work with including WR Josh Downs. On defense there are plenty of young playmakers looking to step up. They are extremely deep at defensive line and the trio of corners Storm Duck, Tony Grimes, and Kyler McMichael should take a step forward. Overall, this is a really talented team that will be the favorite in the ACC Coastal.
2. Miami Hurricanes
Projected Record: 10-2
Wins: Appalachian State, Michigan State, Central Connecticut, Virginia, NC State, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Duke
Losses: Alabama, North Carolina
Quarterback D’Eriq King led Miami to a great 8-3 comeback season. Now King will have to make his own comeback returning from a torn ACL prior to the 2021 season (reports from Miami have him ahead of schedule). The offense was explosive with King and this offense returns almost everyone and added WR Charleston Rambo (Oklahoma transfer). The offensive line is strong and the running back room has two outstanding players with Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney Jr. Defensively, the Hurricanes will have to replace DE Jaelen Phillips and have a linebacker issue after allowing 175 rushing yards per game last year. The secondary may be the strength with S Bubba Bolden and corners DJ Ivey, Al Blades Jr., and Tyrique Stevenson (Georgia transfer). Overall, this could be a top ten team… but don’t expect them to beat Alabama.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: Middle Tennessee, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Duke
Losses: North Carolina, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia
This may be the last season of Justin Fuente if it does not go well. The Hokies have their challenges replacing QB Hendon Hooker, RB Khalil Herbert, and first round pick OT Christian Darrisaw. The offense does return most of its receiving weapons and QB Braxton Burmeister has experience. Look for the offense to be alright. Defensively, they were terrible last season and now lost one of their best players Divine Deablo. DE Amare Barno and corners Chamarri Conner and Jermaine Waller will try to change the course of this defense. Overall, I think this could be Coach Fuente’s last season as I don’t see them as serious contenders in the ACC Coastal.
4. Virginia Cavaliers
Projected Record: 7-5
Wins: William & Mary, Illinois, Wake Forest, Louisville, Duke, BYU, Virginia Tech
Losses: North Carolina, Miami, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh
The Cavaliers finished on a roll last year winning four out of their last five games… to finish 5-5. Virginia brings most of those same starters back. The offense was decent last year and QB Brennan Armstrong returns. The defense was a little underwhelming and must find an edge rusher to replace Charles Snowden. Expect a slight improvement though with LB Nick Jackson leading this defense. Overall, Virginia will be a tough out, but not one of the elite ACC teams.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: UMass, Western Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia
Losses: Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse
QB Kenny Picket returns for his fifth year after just an average 13 TD and 9 INT season. The offensive star is WR Jordan Addison coming off a phenomenal freshman season. Outside of Addison, there really isn’t much including a below average offensive line. On defense, the Panthers lose some key defensive lineman and the secondary is a little concerning. The strength will be the linebackers led by Cam Bright. Overall, expect just an average Pittsburgh season.
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Projected Record: 4-8
Wins: Northern Illinois, Kennesaw State, Duke, Virginia
Losses: Clemson, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgia
The Yellow Jackets are still in a multi-year process from transitioning from the triple-option. Unfortunately, it will most likely take another year. Coach Geoff Collins is doing a good job on the recruiting trail, but his best classes are still young. However, a few players have already stood out including RB Jahmyr Gibbs and QB Jeff Sims. Sims will have to improve off his 13 touchdowns and 13 interception season. Defensively, this team is still figuring it out. However, the talent is improving evidenced by adding Alabama transfer and former four-star DE Kevin Harris. Overall, expect a slightly below average season from Georgia Tech especially with their tough schedule. But in a few years, this could be a team that is competing for ACC Coastal championships.
7. Duke Blue Devils
Projected Record: 3-9
Wins: Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, Kansas
Losses: Northwestern, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami
The Blue Devils were flat out bad last year finishing 2-9. Things don’t look much better this year after losing two talented edge rushers and returning just 10 starters on both side of the ball. Coach David Cutcliffe has his work cut out for him, but Duke does have a talented running back in Mateo Durant. Overall, this team will be lucky to get a few ACC wins and a bowl game seems out of reach.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Projected Record: 9-3
Wins: Florida State, Toledo, Purdue, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Stanford
Losses: Wisconsin, Cincinnati, USC
The offense lost four offensive linemen, their quarterback, and two starting wide receivers. Luckily they have 1100 yard rusher Kyren Williams returning and one of the best tight ends in football with Michael Myer. Look for Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to most likely take over at quarterback who will provide similar production to Ian Book. Expect the Irish to be led by their defense in 2021, particularly no doubt first round pick safety Kyle Hamilton. I wouldn’t expect the 2021 team to be as good as 2020, but still think they put together a really nice season.
Oregon had a rocky season, but still won the Pac-12 Championship despite not winning the Pac-12 North. The offense was decent last year and brings almost everyone back. A key will be who wins the QB competition between Anthony Brown and freshman Jay Butterfield. The defense is led by DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, a definite top ten 2021 NFL Draft pick. Mario Cristobal has done an excellent job recruiting and there is a serious talent on the roster… they just aren’t there yet as an elite team. But expect them to be Pac-12 champions when the season is over.
The Huskies finished 3-1 in 2020 despite average QB play. This year, QB Dylan Morris will have a five star freshman right behind him with Sam Huard. This team is built to run the ball after returning their entire offensive line, including potential first round pick Jaxson Kirkland, and two good running backs (Sean McGrew and Richard Newton). At receiver, there is a bunch of questions on who will step up. Maybe it will be Texas Tech transfer Ja’Lynn Polk? Washington does have one of the best tight ends in America with Cade Otton though. Defensively, expect this team to be one of the best in the Pac-12 under Jimmy Lake as they added to the group with nickel back Brendan Radley-Hiles (Oklahoma transfer) and DE Jeremiah Martin (Texas A&M transfer). This team has the talent to compete with Oregon for the Pac-12 North.
Cal played a total of 4 games (1-3) in 2020 so there’s not really much to take from it. The team was led by their defense as the offense was pedestrian. Look for an improvement to the offense with QB Chase Garbers coming back with plenty of experience surrounding him. However, this is still going to be a team led by their defense particularly at OLB with Cameron Goode and Kuony Deng. Expect Cal to have a bounce back year and a tough Pac-12 matchup for opponents.
4. Oregon State Beavers
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Hawaii, Idaho, Washington State, Utah, Cal, Arizona State
Coach Jonathan Smith has made Oregon State into a competitive football team. The offense has made real strides and should be decent in 2021 especially with WR Tre’Shaun Harrison. Defense improvement will be the key, but they have the linebackers to do it. A bowl game would be a fantastic finish and a continued step in the right direction.
5. Stanford Cardinals
Projected Record: 6-6
Wins: Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Washington, Oregon State, Cal
Stanford had a quiet good year last year finishing 4-2 and winning their last four games. It won’t be as easy this year after losing QB Davis Mills and a few good offensive linemen. Look for QB Tanner McKee to take over as a young, former highly rated recruit. As for the negatives, the skill position players lack elite talent and the defense is coming off a not so great year. Expect the Cardinals to be OK in 2021 with a decent secondary and an average offense.
6. Washington State Cougars
Projected Record: 5-7
Wins: Utah State, Portland State, BYU, Arizona, Washington
The Cougars have plenty of weapons at the skill positions, but need to find a consistent quarterback. Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee transfer) is the most likely to step in, but his college career has been anything but consistent. The offense does feature talented RB Max Borghi. Defensively, they were bad last year. However, they bring back a ton of returning starters to the defense. Overall, it is tough to predict how Washington State will finish with so many unknowns. A bowl game will be nice for Coach Nick Rolovich in his first (full) season.
Pac 12 South
1. USC Trojans
Projected Record: 10-3
Wins: San Jose State, Stanford, Washington State, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah, Notre Dame, Arizona, Cal, BYU
There is some serious talent on this USC team coming off a 5-1 season. QB Kedon Slovis is one of the best in the Pac-12 and the receivers are crazy talented (Drake London, KD Nixon, Jake Smith and Bru McCoy). A key for the offense will be to improve the offensive line play. The defense also brings back six starters to a top 40 defense. One of those starters is LB Drake Jackson who is highly disruptive. The secondary is experienced and the defensive line includes five-star freshman Korey Foreman… this will be a very good football team in 2021. Overall, expect USC to finish at the top of the Pac-12 South.
It is unknown if the Sun Devils will even be eligible for post season play following the school’s disregard to recruiting rules during COVID. However, this is a talented team that should be the favorite to win the Pac-12 South. It starts with talented QB Jayden Daniels entering his third season. Combine that with RB Rachaad White who averaged 10 yards per carry and an experienced offensive line… they are going to be good. The development of the wide receivers will be critical on their potential. On defense last year they gave up the least amount of points, but a bunch of yards. Expect an improvement especially with corners Jack Jones and Chase Lucas.
Losses: LSU, Arizona State, Washington, Oregon, Cal
An extremely experienced team that is coming off a 3-4 season where none of their losses were by more than 6 points. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson finally took a step forward and had a fantastic season down the stretch leading the Bruins to a top 20 offense. Expect the same with almost everyone back except for RB/WR Demetric Felton. Running backs Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet (Michigan transfer) will do just fine taking over and running behind an experienced offensive line led by potential first round left tackle Sean Rhyan. The issue will be the defense. Sure the defense returns ten starters from last year, but linebacker remains an issue. Expect former four-star Ale Kaho (Alabama transfer) to compete for a starting role. Overall, this could be a sneaky Pac-12 South wildcard contender.
4. Utah Utes
Projected Record: 8-4
Wins: Weber State, BYU, San Diego State, Washington State, Arizona State, Stanford, Arizona, Colorado
Losses: USC, Oregon State, UCLA, Oregon
Utah will be a flat out solid team again. The defense returns eight starters and the quarterback play gets a major bump from transfer QB Charlie Brewer (Baylor). Look for running backs TJ Pledger (Oklahoma transfer) and Chris Curry (LSU transfer) to lead the offense. One thing that is a huge question mark is can these wide receivers be explosive and not just possession guys. Last year, the Utes won despite Jake Bentley’s shaky play… expect a better season from Utah and a solid team.
Losses: UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, USC, Arizona, Washington State
It is amazing this team went 4-2 in coach Karl Dorrell’s first season. The offense is led by RB Jarek Broussard who had 895 yards in only six games. The quarterback and receivers are a total unknown with young QB Brendon Lewis most likely starting and surrounded by La’Vontae Shenault (Brother Laviska plays for the Jaguars), Brenden Rice (son of Jerry Rice), and Dimitri Stanley. The defense was average in 2020 and should be around the same in 2021 as they are led by their linebackers Nate Landman and Carson Wells. Expect the Buffaloes to be a tough team, but regress closer to reality especially with a tough non-conference schedule.
6. Arizona Wildcats
Projected Record: 2-9
Wins: San Diego State, Northern Arizona
Losses: BYU, Oregon, UCLA, Colorado, Washington, USC, Cal, Utah, Washington State, Arizona State
In former coach Kevin Sumlin’s final 12 games Arizona went 0-12. Now with very little returning talent, a freshman quarterback, no bonified skill players, a terrible defense, and a first year head coach with Jedd Fisch… don’t expect too much. This will be a multi-year rebuild.
Welcome to the TGIS National Championship Selection Page. I’m Tyler Vesely, President of the TGIS selection committee. National Championships are a highly debated part of College Football history. This includes individual years where multiple teams claim titles. The different polls are not required to give reasoning behind their championship selection. TGIS changes all of that.
The TGIS selection process is the most open, intensive process in the national championship world. Every explanation on who the one true champion of College Football for that year is detailed. TGIS has elected to name National Champions from 1924-Present. How did we come up with those years? Here’s how:
College Football History 1869-1924
The first College Football “season” started in 1869. There were two teams that played twice… Rutgers and Princeton. Both finished 1-1 and both claim “national championships”. However, the sport they were playing was not football. Each team had 25 players on the field, the ball was spherical, and you couldn’t run with the ball. Sure Rutgers and Princeton’s version eventually developed into football… but this wasn’t it. The sport they were playing was closer to Rugby.
In 1871, no official games were played. Colleges back then didn’t take this football season seriously… so neither does the TGIS selection committee.
During the 1890s most of the modern college football teams started their programs. Why do we not consider National Champions from this era? Well… it still wasn’t modern football. The forward pass was illegal, games were 70 minutes long with players playing every play, and there was no neutral zone between the offense and defense. Football was just a big scrum.
The teams were also full of “ringers” that weren’t even enrolled in the schools they played for. In 1893, the Michigan team manager stated 7 of the 11 players on that team were not actually enrolled in school.
In addition, College Football was still highly regionalized. How do you elect a National Champion when most of the regions of the nation didn’t play each other? It’d be like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC playing only themselves.
Another reason we discount the 1890s “National Champions”… they were strictly given to the Ivy League schools. This includes 1899 when Sewanee went 12-0 including a road trip where they had 5 shutout wins over 6 DAYS with wins over Texas A&M, Texas, Tulane, LSU, and Ole Miss. The National Champion that year? Harvard and Princeton.
In 1902, the first Rose Bowl took place. Originally named the East-West football game Michigan defeated Stanford 49-0. Football still had not become national with southern teams being largely ignored. This includes Vanderbilt in 1904 who went undefeated but wouldn’t even get a sniff at National Championship consideration.
In 1906, modern rules were instituted following eleven football related deaths. College football programs across the country were dropping the sport based on the violence. The rule changes were led by President Roosevelt who loved football, but his son was starting his freshman year on the Harvard Football team. Accordingly, Roosevelt rounded up College Football leaders and demanded the game be made safer. So the game was changed: The length of games were reduced to two 30-minute halves, the neutral zone was created, and the forward pass was legalized.
Even with the modern rule changes, the game was still regionalized. Southern teams were mostly ignored and there were no postseason matchups featuring the best teams. All that changed with the 1925 and 1926 New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Game. The 1925 game matched two undefeated teams with Notre Dame and Stanford. The 1926 Rose Bowl featured its first southern football team with Alabama and is known as “The Game that Changed the South.” These years start the official TGIS National Championship selections
TGIS Selection Process 1924-2020
Many teams claim National Championships they do not deserve. TGIS puts an end to that with one winner per year. In order to decide who the champion is, the entire resume of the elite teams of that year will be analyzed. Bowl games used to not matter in the National Championship discussion prior to 1967… they do now. So without further delay THE ONE TRUE CHAMPION of each College Football year:
1924: Notre Dame
Knute Rockne’s Fighting Irish team had the famous “Four Horseman”. The finished 10-0 beating Pop Warner’s undefeated Stanford team in the Rose Bowl. Easy pick.
Alabama was the first southern team invited to the Rose Bowl to take on Pacific Coast Conference Champion Washington. Southern football was looked down upon at the time. Alabama shocked the Huskies and the nation coming back to win a 20-19 thriller. The Crimson Tide were led by Pooley Hubert and future famous actor Johnny “Mack” Brown. The 1925 Rose Bowl became known as “The Game that Changed the South.”
Two undefeated teams faced off in the Rose Bowl again. This time it was Alabama facing Stanford. The game ended in a 7-7 tie. After analyzing the complete resume, the nod goes to Alabama as they gave up just 27 points all year.
1927: Texas A&M
Four teams claim the championship: Illinois, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Yale. Georgia beat Yale so let’s eliminate Yale. Georgia dominated their schedule… until they were shut out in an upset loss to Georgia Tech in the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate Game. So that leaves two undefeated teams with one tie, Illinois and Texas A&M. Texas A&M dominated their schedule except for one 0-0 tie at TCU. TCU was better than Iowa State (Illinois’ tie) so A&M gets the claim.
1928: Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech beat California in the Rose Bowl 8-7 (including Cal’s Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels running 65 yards in the wrong direction) to cap off their undefeated year. USC went undefeated with one tie, but did not play in the Rose Bowl. Lost opportunity USC.
1929: Notre Dame
Notre Dame played a tough schedule including finishing the year against Army with an attendance of over 79,000 people at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame won every single game and get the nod.
Notre Dame and Alabama both finished the year undefeated. Except Alabama’s 24-0 win over #3 Washington State gives them the unquestionable best win and the National Championship. Alabama additionally outscored their opponents 271-13 in Wallace Wade’s “Last Dance” with the Alabama Crimson Tide as their head football coach. Notre Dame did not play in a postseason game.
USC went 10-1 and Pitt went 8-1. USC is the clear National Champion because of their win in the Rose Bowl against Tulane and their win at Notre Dame (Pitt’s only loss was to Notre Dame by double digits).
Michigan had a fantastic season finishing undefeated at 8-0. The problem? The Big Ten (“Big Nine” at the time) prohibited their teams from playing in the postseason. It was a lost opportunity as #2 USC pummeled #3 Pitt 35-0. With USC’s 10-0 season and dominant win in the Rose Bowl, USC is the National Champion.
1933 is a hard year to name a National Champion. Michigan finished 7-0-1 with a win against #5 Ohio State and a 0-0 tie against Minnesota (Minnesota was the master of ties finishing the season 4-0-4). Princeton on the other hand didn’t face great competition, but they did outscore their opponents 217 to 8 including a 20-0 win over Rose Bowl Champions Columbia (8-1). Princeton gets the slight edge.
The Big Ten’s ban against postseason play in back to back years again holds back a team from their conference. Minnesota went 8-0 and was dominant beating their opponents 270 to 38. However, Alabama was equally as dominant and won the Rose Bowl against Stanford 29-13.
1935 was a major year in College Football. Chicago’s Jay Berwanger won the first ever Heisman Trophy and it was the last year before the AP Poll was established. In 1934, Minnesota wasn’t named National Champions because they didn’t play in a post season bowl. The Big Ten’s postseason ban may have won Minnesota the 1935 National Championship.
Minnesota, SMU, TCU, and Princeton all claim National titles. SMU finished the regular season undefeated, but lost the Rose Bowl. TCU won the Sugar Bowl, but lost to SMU during the regular season. Princeton went 9-0, but their strength of schedule was not as strong as Minnesota’s. Minnesota, who hadn’t lost a game since 1932, finally gets a TGIS National title.
The first year of the AP Poll… and the writers messed it up. The AP Poll named the champion before the postseason play. For some reason they chose Minnesota despite Minnesota not even winning the Big Ten conference. The only other team receiving first place votes was LSU who lost to Santa Clara in the Sugar Bowl. That leaves Pittsburgh and Alabama. Alabama was the only unbeaten team, but did not receive a postseason bid. Pittsburgh finished 8-1-1 with a dominant 21-0 Rose Bowl victory against #5 Washington. Pittsburgh has the edge.
Pittsburgh and Cal both finished the year unbeaten and with a tie. Cal however participated in post season play and beat #4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl 13-0.
There are two great options here with 11-0 TCU and 11-0 Tennessee. TCU beat #6 Carnegie Tech in the Sugar Bowl 15-7, while Tennessee beat #4 Oklahoma 17-0 in the Orange Bowl. Tennessee has the slight edge.
1939: Texas A&M
Texas A&M finished as the only undefeated team (other than Cornell who declined a trip to the Rose Bowl to let their players catch up on their academics). #3 USC took advantage beating #2 Tennessee 14-0. However, USC had two ties compared to A&M’s undefeated season and Sugar Bowl win against #5 Tulane.
A tough year for the TGIS committee as three teams finished undefeated. The Big Ten champion Minnesota was blocked again because of the conference’s postseason ban. That leaves Rose Bowl Champion Stanford and Sugar Bowl Champion Boston College. Stanford Indians (what they were known as back then) played the tougher schedule finishing with two top ten wins against #10 Washington and #7 Nebraska.
Minnesota again dominated to an undefeated record and claimed their fifth national championship in eight years. TGIS only recognizes two with their failure to play in the postseason. Minnesota won it this year under legendary coach Bernie Bierman and Heisman winner Bruce Smith.
Georgia and Ohio State both finished with one loss. Although Ohio State would argue they had a good excuse for the one loss as half the team had an intestinal disorder from drinking water from an unsanitary drinking fountain on the way to Madison to play Wisconsin. TGIS says no excuses. Georgia’s win at the Rose Bowl against UCLA and blowout 34-0 victory over Georgia Tech gives Georgia Head Coach Wally Butts his first championship with legendary player Charley Trippi.
It was during World War II where the service academies rose to the top of college football including training schools like Iowa Pre-Flight and Great Lakes Navy. Purdue received several new players thanks to their Navy College Training Program and went on to an undefeated 9-0 record and outscored their opponents 214-55. Why Notre Dame is the unanimous champion I will never know, Great Lakes Navy lost to Purdue 23-13 and beat Notre Dame 19-14.
Army was absolutely dominant finishing 9-0 and outscoring their opponents 504-35. They weren’t playing cupcakes either, they blew out #5 Notre Dame 59-0. Honorable mention goes out to undefeated Ohio State and Randolph Field Ramblers (Army Air Force school 15 miles away from San Antonio).
Army again dominated in the World War II era of College Football beating at the time #2 Notre Dame 48-0 and #2 Navy 32-13. Alabama went undefeated and dominated the competition including a 34-14 Rose Bowl win over #11 USC. However, Army has the edge due to the strength of schedule. Sugar Bowl Champion Oklahoma State (Oklahoma A&M at the time) also went undefeated and was retroactively named the AFCA National Champion. However, Oklahoma State was not as dominant as Army or Alabama and did not have the same level of strength of schedule.
This season featured the “Game of the Century” where #1 Army took on #2 Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium and featured four Heisman winners… the game ended 0-0. Army and Notre Dame both finished the year undefeated with the one tie. Georgia on the other hand finished 11-0 and as Sugar Bowl Champions. Charley Trippi was back from the war and finished as the runner up to Army’s Glenn Davis (“Mr. Outside”) for the Heisman. Georgia has the edge over the Army/Notre Dame tie.
One of the most controversial National Championships. Notre Dame was named AP champions after the season after beating USC 38-7. The Big Ten (Big Nine) had finally lifted the postseason ban in 1947. Michigan went to the Rose Bowl and beat the same USC team 49-0. In an unprecedented move the AP Poll re-voted after the Rose Bowl and elected Michigan National Champions. Both teams claim the National Championship, but Michigan’s team gets the TGIS nod.
Michigan in 1947 also started specializing offense and defensive players.
Michigan finished the year as the only undefeated team… well Clemson did too but they were voted #11 by the AP. The writers weren’t impressed with Clemson’s strength of schedule which included a one point win over 1-8-1 Auburn. Michigan dominated with a solid strength of schedule.
Notre Dame and Oklahoma both finished the season undefeated. Notre Dame again refused to go to postseason play. Oklahoma? Just went to the Sugar Bowl and beat #9 LSU 35-0. Coach Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma squad outscored their opponents 399-88 and get the nod for the National Championship.
Oklahoma went undefeated during the regular season and had a 32 game win streak, but was upset by #7 Kentucky (coached by Bear Bryant). Tennessee had already beat Kentucky and won the Cotton Bowl against #3 Texas. Based on the postseason results, Tennessee gets the nod as National Champions.
An absolute mess with five teams claiming National Championships: Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, and Illinois. Tennessee was the AP National Champion… but they continued naming the champion before the bowl games. Tennessee was upset by undefeated Maryland in the Sugar Bowl 28-13. Georgia Tech and Illinois both had a tie on their record and Michigan State did not play in a Bowl Game. Maryland is your 1951 champions.
1952: Georgia Tech
Michigan State and Georgia Tech both finished undefeated. Michigan State was again absent from postseason play, while Georgia Tech won in dominant fashion in the Sugar Bowl against #7 Ole Miss.
1953: Notre Dame
Notre Dame and Maryland finished the year undefeated. While Notre Dame didn’t play in postseason play, Maryland lost in the Orange Bowl to #4 Oklahoma.
1954: Ohio State
The Rose Bowl had a dumb “no repeat” rule which disallowed a team from competing in consecutive Rose Bowls. Undefeated Ohio State would’ve faced undefeated UCLA. Instead we have to use our criteria to name Ohio State, as winner of the Rose Bowl against USC, National Champions.
Oklahoma finished the season as the only undefeated team and capped off their season with a 20-6 win over #3 Maryland.
Oklahoma’s win streak improved to 40 straight games and they again finished as the only undefeated team and unanimous National Champions.
1957: Ohio State
Auburn was the best team in 1957 and finished undefeated. The problem is they were on probation for paying high school players and were banned from postseason play. So the one loss Rose Bowl Champion Ohio State is named TGIS National Champions.
LSU finished 11-0 and were Sugar Bowl champions. No other team finished undefeated. LSU instituted a “three-platoon system”, the third squad became famously known as the “Chinese Bandits”.
Syracuse was dominant as the only undefeated team finishing 11-0 with famous running back Ernie Davis. LSU’s win against Ole Miss in the middle of the season with Billy Cannon’s famous punt return touchdown kept Ole Miss out of National Champion contention.
1960: Ole Miss
Ole Miss finished the year as Sugar Bowl champions and with a record of 10-0-1. Missouri also finished the season undefeated. However, Missouri lost to Kansas 23-7, but was held a Missouri win since Kansas used an ineligible player. Even with the ineligible player, it is hard to name Missouri champions with their 23-7 loss. Ole Miss is the National Champion.
Alabama’s first National title under Bear Bryant came after an 11-0 season and Sugar Bowl champions. The Crimson Tide defense surrendered just 25 points all year. Ohio State also claim a National title despite not playing in a post season game and finishing the year with a 7-7 tie against TCU (3-5-2).
USC and Ole Miss finished the season undefeated. USC had the better bowl opponent when they beat #2 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Alabama was #1 most of the year with Joe Namath, but lost a close game against Georgia Tech in November when Bear Bryant went for the two point conversion and the win instead of taking the tie.
Legendary Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught stated the 1962 team was his favorite, to finish the season undefeated despite all the riots in Oxford due to the Civil Rights movement.
TEXAS IS BACK! Texas won their first National Championship under Coach Darrell K. Royal as the only undefeated team in the 1963 season. Their final win came in the Cotton Bowl against Roger Staubach and #2 Navy.
This was the final year the AP voted before the postseason. The AP voted Alabama #1 after an impressive undefeated season. That all ended in the Orange Bowl against #5 Texas. Alabama was down 14-0 when they sent in injured Joe Namath who almost mounted a comeback, but lost 21-17 after not getting in on a 4th and Goal from the one yard line. Arkansas on the other hand finished undefeated and beat #6 Nebraska 10-7 in the Cotton Bowl.
The first year the AP Poll included the bowl results. Going into the bowl games Alabama (8-1-1) was ranked fourth with the three teams in front of them Michigan State, Arkansas, and Nebraska were all undefeated. Arkansas and Michigan State were both upset in the Cotton and Rose Bowl. That left the Orange Bowl between #3 Nebraska and #4 Alabama to decide the National Champion. Alabama won 39-28.
The top two teams in the final AP poll Michigan State and Notre Dame faced off in the regular season. The game ended in a 10-10 tie when Notre Dame coach Ara Parsegian decided to run out the clock with one minute and a half left. Both teams finished with a 9-0-1 record and neither participated in a postseason game.
Alabama on the other hand finished the season 11-0 with a Sugar Bowl win against #6 Nebraska 34-7. Alabama finished the season 3rd in the AP behind the two teams that had a tie in their record and didn’t play in a bowl game. The TGIS isn’t honoring kneeing out the clock for a tie… Alabama is the champion.
USC finished the season 10-1 with wins over #4 Indiana, #5 Notre Dame, and at the regular season finale #1 UCLA in one of the greatest games of the rivalry. USC went out as Rose Bowl champions and the clear winners of the National Championship. Oklahoma may make a claim as one-loss Orange Bowl champions, but they didn’t have the resume of UCLA and lost to Texas (UCLA beat Texas that year).
1968: Ohio State
As clear cut as you can get. Ohio State finished as the only undefeated team and beat #2 USC in the Rose Bowl. The 50-14 win against Michigan was nice too.
A memorable undefeated season that ended with a Cotton Bowl victory over Notre Dame. The game before that was the “Game of the Century” between #1 Texas vs. #2 Arkansas. Even President Nixon attended the game to watch Texas pull out a 15-14 victory. #2 Penn State went 11-0 and won the Orange Bowl, but didn’t have the resume of Texas.
Texas was well on its way to winning back to back National Championships until a 24-11 Cotton Bowl loss to Notre Dame. While Texas still claims this National Championship, they are clearly not the TGIS National Champions. Nebraska on the other hand finished with no losses, one tie to USC, and a 17-12 Orange Bowl win over LSU.
Arizona State finished undefeated, but didn’t play in a main bowl game and their competition in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) wasn’t great.
Nebraska and Oklahoma had a “Game of the Century” on November 25, 1971 with 55 Million viewers on Thanksgiving Day. Nebraska won 35-31 after scoring a TD with 1:38 left in the game. This all led to another #1 vs. #2 matchup of Nebraska vs. Alabama in the Orange Bowl. It was the first year Coach Bryant switched to the Wishbone offense which was previously utilized by Texas. The Nebraska/Bama game was not even close with the Cornhuskers demolishing Alabama 38-6.
USC are the clear National Champions of 1972. No team came within 9 points of USC and they had an easy 42-17 Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State… not much controversy with this one.
1973: Notre Dame
1973 was a crazy year where Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State, Oklahoma, and Ohio State all finished the year with no losses. Oklahoma was on a NCAA bowl ban, Ohio State had a tie, and Penn State had a weak resume. That left #1 Alabama Crimson Tide going into the Sugar Bowl game against undefeated #2 Notre Dame. In a thrilling game, Notre Dame kicked a late field goal defeating the Tide 24-23.
The 1974 Oklahoma team was absolutely dominant. Oklahoma averaged 43 ppg and only had one team stay within 14 points. So why aren’t they number one? Their two season NCAA bowl ban kept them from competing in a bowl game. Alabama’s run at a title was again ruined by Notre Dame in a 14-11 loss in the Orange bowl. Unlike 1973, it was a who is left to name National Champions? At 10-1-1 with a Rose Bowl win over Ohio State, USC is the answer.
This year came down to three teams: Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arizona State. Oklahoma finally was able to play in a postseason bowl after a two year ban. The Sooners took advantage with a 14-6 win over #5 Michigan. Oklahoma’s resume was impressive also beating #6 Texas, #9 Nebraska, #15 Pittsburgh, and #16 Colorado. However they had one glaring red mark on their schedule… a 23-3 loss to Kansas (7-5) which is known as the “November Nightmare”.
Alabama lost the season opener to Missouri (a team Oklahoma beat). After? Alabama won every game including against #8 Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. However, Alabama’s resume falls short of Oklahoma’s.
Arizona State went undefeated, but the same issue remained… they played in the easy WAC conference. The universal doubt on how good the Sun Devils were vanished after a 17-14 win over Nebraska. Oklahoma did beat Nebraska 35-10 and had the much better resume despite Arizona State going undefeated. The Sooners are the TGIS champs for 1975.
A very easy year to decide the National Champion as Pittsburgh went 12-0 behind Heisman running back Tony Dorsett. The season ended with a dominant 27-3 win over #5 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
1977: Notre Dame
Texas had a chance to be the undefeated champion behind Earl Campbell in Head Coach Fred Aker’s first year… those dreams were shattered in the Cotton Bowl against #5 Notre Dame when they lost 38-10. Notre Dame and Joe Montana jumped all the way to #1. Alabama also has a case with just one loss to #10 Nebraska and a blowout 35-6 Sugar Bowl win over #9 Ohio State. Notre Dame’s performance in the Cotton Bowl gives them the 1977 National Championship.
The 1978 Alabama has a little dispute behind it. Even though they went to the Sugar Bowl as the #2 team and beat #1 Penn State (won the game on a goal line stop), they lost to USC during the season. USC had beaten Alabama earlier in the season 24-14 and also finished with one lost. USC won the Rose Bowl against #5 Michigan in a close 17-10 game. However, we are treating the #1 vs. #2 game as the National Championship and giving it to Alabama.
Alabama went undefeated and untied on their way to a 24-9 Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas. Alabama hopped #1 Ohio State after they lost to USC 17-16 in the Rose Bowl. USC finished undefeated, but with a tie on their record. If USC didn’t have the tie I’d have given them the edge.
There was a lot less controversy in the 1980s to name National Champions. For example, Herschel Walker and the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs ran through their schedule undefeated and beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl. Walker dislocated his shoulder in the game and still ran for 150 yards. Georgia had a lot of comeback victories including rallying to beat Tennessee when they were down 15-2 at the half and beating Florida on a 92 yard TD to WR Lindsay Scott with 1:35 left in the game.
Clemson earned their first National Title as the only undefeated team during the season. This included wins over the SEC Champion Georgia Bulldogs, #9 North Carolina, and #4 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
1982: Penn State
Penn State finished 11-1 with an impressive resume including wins over #3 Nebraska, #19 West Virginia, and #10 Pittsburgh in the regular season. The one loss came to Alabama early in the season. Even with the loss, #2 Penn State was matched up against undefeated #1 Georgia. Penn State won 27-23. SMU has an argument finishing 11-0-1, but didn’t have a great regular season with only a win against #17 Texas. SMU beat #6 Pittsburgh 7-3 in the Cotton Bowl… but it wasn’t as impressive as Penn State’s 19-10 victory over the same Pittsburgh team.
Auburn gets a little upset with 1983. Going into the January 2nd bowl gameday #1 Nebraska played #5 Miami in the Orange Bowl, #2 Texas played #7 Georgia in the Cotton Bowl, and #3 Auburn played #8 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl (#4 Illinois was blown out 45-9 in the Rose Bowl). The day started with undefeated Texas losing 10-9. That left the door open for Auburn who beat Michigan 9-7. The only game left was a dominant Nebraska team who lost to Miami 31-30 after they failed a two-point conversion in the final minute for the win. Coach Tom Osborne made the gutsy decision as he easily could’ve kicked the PAT, finished with a tie, and won the National Championship. Props to Coach Osborne, but the Orange Bowl loss eliminates them from the National Championship discussion.
That leaves just Auburn and Miami both at 11-1. Miami’s impressive win against a dominant Nebraska team gives them the edge over Auburn who wasn’t impressive in their Sugar Bowl win and had lost to Texas earlier in the season. Miami gets their first TGIS National Championship.
THIS YEAR IS MY BIGGEST ISSUE. BYU is named as the consensus National Champion despite not having one Top 25 win. They weren’t dominate either as the best teams they played resulted in only a 5 point win over Hawaii (7-4) and 3 point win against Wyoming (6-6). BYU did not play in a major bowl and beat Michigan (6-6) by 7 points in the Holiday Bowl… whoopty doo. Washington on the other hand beat #2 Oklahoma 28-17 in the Orange Bowl and finished the year 11-1…. This isn’t hard Washington is your actual National Champions.
Oklahoma finished the year 11-1 with their only loss coming against Miami early in the season. In that game, freshman QB Jemelle Holloway took over the starting job after Troy Aikman was injured and out for the year. Oklahoma ended Penn State’s undefeated season 25-10 in the Orange Bowl. Oklahoma jumps from #3 to #1 after that game.
1986: Penn State
The Miami Hurricanes dominated the 1986 season never having a game closer than a touchdown, including a 12-point win over Oklahoma (their only loss of the year). That run was stopped by undefeated Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl who beat Miami 14-10.
Miami went through a tough schedule including #2 Florida State, #15 South Carolina, and #17 Notre Dame. The perfect season was capped with a 20-14 win over undefeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
1988: Notre Dame
The Catholics vs. Convicts game against Miami was the pinnacle of Notre Dame’s season. Notre Dame won 31-30 and never lost another game. The Irish finished their season with a 34-21 win over #3 West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.
While they didn’t go undefeated, Miami has the best resume. It all came down to January 1st when #1 Colorado lost to #4 Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. A win would’ve given Colorado the National Championship. A loss opened the door for #2 Miami for a 33-25 win against #7 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Why not Notre Dame? Well they lost to Miami on the last week of the season 27-10.
One of the messiest years for naming a National Champion. The AP Poll named Colorado (11-1-1) while the Coaches Poll named Georgia Tech (11-0-1) National Champions. Colorado’s season was a rollercoaster after starting the season 1-1-1 with a loss against #25 Illinois and a tie against #8 Tennessee. A few weeks later they had the famous “Fifth Down Game” where Colorado scored the game winning touchdown on an extra play given by the officials. After the rough start, Colorado went on a run with a very impressive resume capped by a 10-9 Orange Bowl win against #6 Notre Dame. Georgia Tech did not play as great of a schedule including finishing with a Citrus Bowl win over #24 Nebraska. Although Colorado has a loss on their schedule, their tough schedule and impressive bowl game win gives them the edge over Georgia Tech.
For the second consecutive year the AP and Coaches named different National Champions. Miami was named AP champions and Washington was the Coaches poll champions. Both Washington and Miami finished the year undefeated. The conference bowl selection alignments prevented the dream matchup of #1 Miami against #2 Washington. So, we have to look at each team’s resume to decide for ourselves.
Miami had close victories over#3 Penn State and #4 Florida State along with a Orange Bowl 22-0 win over #15 Nebraska. Washington had a wins over #8 Cal, #15 Nebraska and a Rose Bowl win against #6 Michigan 34-14. Miami had the better resume, but Washington is close with how dominant they were during the season.
After two straight seasons of split National Champions, college football instituted the Bowl Coalition in order to force a National Championship game between the top two teams. There were still flaws as the system did not include the Big Ten or Pac-10 because of the Rose Bowl. It did not matter in 1992 when undefeated Alabama met undefeated Miami in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama’s defense dominated in a 34-13 victory.
1993: Florida State
The Bowl Coalition didn’t make 1993 any easier. Auburn finished as the only undefeated team, but did not participate in post-season play because they were on NCAA Probation. Florida State played Notre Dame in a “Game of the Century” as a #1 vs. #2 matchup. Florida State lost 31-24, but Notre Dame lost the next week to Boston College 41-39. The Bowl Coalition had #1 Florida State face undefeated #2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, despite #3 Notre Dame beating Florida State and only having one loss. #1 Florida State beat #2 Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl. Florida State is your National Champions.
It finally happened where a Big Ten team not part of the Bowl Coalition finished undefeated. #2 Penn State went undefeated, but instead of squaring off against undefeated #1 Nebraska, they played #12 Oregon. #1 Nebraska beat #3 Miami in the Orange Bowl 24-17 for the National Champion.
In 1995 the Bowl Coalition was replaced with the Bowl Alliance which paired the top two teams up against each other by adding the point totals from the AP Poll and Coaches Poll (the Big Ten and Pac-10 were still excluded). It didn’t matter in 1995 when Nebraska was one of the most dominant teams in College Football history as their closest game all season was 14 points and their average margin of victory was by 38.6 points. This included wins over #2 Florida, #5 Colorado, #7 Kansas State, and #9 Kansas by an average of 30.8 points. Nebraska won the Fiesta Bowl 62-24 against Steve Spurrier’s #2 Florida team.
Florida was given a second opportunity by the Bowl Alliance. After Florida and Florida State faced off as 10-0 teams in late November, Florida State beat Florida by a field goal. Florida State went to #1 and Florida dropped to #3. However, undefeated #2 Arizona State did not play against Florida State because they were not in the bowl alliance. Instead, #2 Arizona State went to the Rose Bowl and lost to #4 Ohio State.
#3 Florida got their chance at a rematch and defeated #1 Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl.
It was the last year of the Bowl Alliance which forced the Big 10 and Pac-10 winners to face off in the Rose Bowl. In 1997, Michigan and Nebraska both went undefeated but did not face each other because of Michigan’s obligation to play in the Rose Bowl. Michigan squeaked out a 21-16 victory over #8 Washington State. Nebraska on the other hand dominated #3 Tennessee 42-17, a month after their 54-15 Big 12 Championship over #14 Texas A&M. Nebraska’s resume gives them the edge over Michigan.
Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Era (1998-2013)
College Football finally figured it out by eliminating Big Ten and the Pac-10’s obligation for the Rose Bowl and finally instituted a true National Championship. The issue moved to the BCS formula which was a combination of the AP Poll, Coaches Poll, and a computer calculation. The computer calculation factored in strength of schedule, margin of victory, and quality wins. The formula was tweaked throughout the BCS era before a playoff was instituted. While the BCS wasn’t perfect, it finally established a #1 vs. #2 National Championship.
The first year of the BCS Championship game was generally controversy-free as it matched undefeated #1 Tennessee against #2 Florida State. Tennessee won 23-16 against Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl.
1999: Florida State
The BCS again brought two undefeated teams together as #1 Florida State faced a Michael Vick led #2 Virginia Tech. Vick put on a great show, but Florida State came out on top 46-29.
The first year with major controversy to the BCS. Oklahoma went undefeated during the regular season. The final spot was between one loss Miami and one loss Florida State… except Florida State’s one loss was to Miami. The BCS somehow calculated Florida State over Miami. #1 Oklahoma beat #3 Florida State 13-2 in the National Championship.
The BCS readjusted their formula after 2000… it did more harm than good. The question was who was going to play undefeated #1 Miami? Nebraska was #2 going into their last game regular season game against Colorado; they were blown out 62-36 and shut out of the Big 12 Championship game. The BCS still selected Nebraska despite Oregon also only having one loss and winning the Pac-10. Miami demolished Nebraska 37-14 in the National Championship.
2002: Ohio State
The National Championship brought undefeated #1 Miami and #2 Ohio State against each other. While there wasn’t any controversy with the teams included the National Championship, there was controversy in OT when the ref called a very late pass Interception against Miami. The call cost Miami the championship as Ohio State won 31-24 in OT.
The last year there was a split National Champion as USC won the AP National Championship and LSU won the BCS/Coaches. 2003 was the nightmare scenario for the BCS as LSU, USC, and Oklahoma all finished with one loss. LSU and USC lost close games earlier in the season, but Oklahoma was blown out in the Big 12 Championship by #12 Kansas State 35-7. The BCS rankings spit out LSU and Oklahoma and LSU won 21-14. USC beat #4 Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl. Oklahoma ruined the USC and LSU matchup… but LSU still has the better resume and the National Championship.
Another disaster year for the BCS where five teams went undefeated: USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah, and Boise State. Auburn won the Sugar Bowl against #9 Virginia Tech in a close one… meanwhile USC dominated Oklahoma 55-19. USC are your 2004 National Champions and this marks the last year of national championship controversy.
A season for the ages. Both Texas and USC were the only undefeated teams by the end of the season. Vince Young led the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory in the National Championship.
#2 Florida defeated #1 Ohio State in the National Championship with their two quarterbacks Chris Leake and Tim Tebow
In one of the wildest college football seasons of all-time, it was the year of the upset. The team ranked #2 lost seven out of the final nine weeks. During the final weeks #1 Missouri lost in the Big 12 Championship to Oklahoma and #2 West Virginia blew a shot at the National Championship when they lost to rival Pittsburgh. The crazy season ended up with #2 LSU beating Ohio State 38-24 and becoming the first two-loss champion. LSU never lost in regulation though as both their losses were in triple overtime.
There were no undefeated teams during the season as #1 Oklahoma was slotted to play #2 Florida. Florida beat Oklahoma 24-14 behind Tim Tebow.
Undefeated SEC Champion Alabama faced off against undefeated Big 12 Champion Texas in the National Championship. Colt McCoy was injured in the first quarter and Alabama went on to win 37-21.
Cam Newton led Auburn to an undefeated season in his first year as a JUCO transfer. Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 with a last second field goal.
Alabama needed an Oklahoma State late season overtime loss to Iowa State in order to get their rematch with LSU. After losing the first game 9-6 in OT, Alabama won 21-0 (21-Zereaux).
Alabama suffered a heart breaking 29-24 loss to Texas A&M on November 10th. The Crimson Tide had some luck as #1 Oregon and #2 Kansas State both went down the following week. Alabama ran the rest of the table and blew out Notre Dame in the National Championship 42-14. Ohio State went 12-0 during the 2012 season, but was ineligible for post season play.
2013: Florida State
The final year of the BCS was a wild one as Auburn got the final spot in the National Championship to play Florida State after the “Kick-Six” victory against Alabama. Jameis Winston and Florida State capped off the 2013 season with a 34-31 win to go 14-0.
College Football Playoff Era (2014-Present)
Other than UCF for some reason claiming the 2017 National Championship, the playoff has made naming the National Champion easy as the top four teams settle it on the field. While it isn’t perfect, it is a much more efficient solution to naming a National Champion.
2014: Ohio State
Ohio State won the first College Football Playoffs being led by Cardale Jones. The Buckeyes beat Alabama 42-35 and Oregon 42-20.
Alabama overcame an early season loss to make the playoffs as a 2 seed. Alabama ran behind Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry to beat Michigan State 38-0 and Clemson 45-40.
Deshaun Watson and Clemson came back for revenge in 2016. Clemson beat Ohio State 31-0 and Alabama 35-31 on a last second pass to Hunter Renfrow.
Alabama snuck into the playoffs as a one-loss for the final spot. Alabama went on to beat Clemson 24-6 and Georgia 26-23 in overtime with a freshman to freshman connection of Tua Tagovailoa to Devonta Smith.
UCF self-proclaims this National Championship even though their top wins were against #10 Auburn, #21 South Florida, and #25 Memphis. The AP Poll voted #6 and I concur (actually I would rank one-loss Rose Bowl champion Wisconsin over UCF so #7 like the Coaches). Great season UCF… but you are not National Champions.
Trevor Lawrence and a fantastic Clemson squad dominated the playoffs beating Notre Dame 30-3 and Alabama 44-16.
Joe Burrow and LSU had one of the greatest teams of all-time as they beat Oklahoma 63-28 and Clemson 42-25.
In one of the strangest college football years ever, COVID-19 forced the colleges to play conference-only regular season games. Alabama finished the year 13-0 beating Notre Dame 31-14 and Ohio State 52-24 in the playoffs.
TGIS continues to stay at around 60% after a good Bowl Week start… HERE ARE THE REST OF THE BOWL PICKS
Bowl Game Picks (All Times CST)
Buffalo (-6.5) vs. Marshall – 1:30pm
I’ll never forget about Marshall getting beat 20-0 against Rice… take Buffalo
Louisiana Lafayette vs. UTSA (+14) – 2:30pm
Reminder: UTSA’s game against BYU was single digits… take the points.
Georgia State (-3.5) vs. Western Kentucky – 2:30pm
The Panthers are the much better team than a Western Kentucky that struggles against better teams. Take Georgia State.
Coastal Carolina vs. Liberty (+7) – 6:30pm
Liberty is a good football team that just might win. Coastal Carolina struggled against an average Troy team and I don’t think they finish undefeated, take the points and sprinkle the moneyline.
#18 Miami (+3.5) vs #21 Oklahoma State – 4:30pm
I’ve learned this year I can’t trust Spencer Sanders. On the other hand, D’Eriq King will have a great game and give the Pokes Defense something they haven’t seen. Miami wins by a TD.
#20 Texas (-10) vs. Colorado – 8:00pm
Sure Texas has had players opt out… but I’m not buying the Buffs are as good as their record says they are. Texas in a blowout.
Wake Forest (+9) vs. Wisconsin – 8:00pm
Wisconsin’s offense has gone flat scoring just over 9 points per game over the last four games. Take the points and take the win.
Oklahoma vs. Florida (+7) – 8:00pm
Kyle Trask is going out with a bang. The Sooner defense has not seen an offense like Florida’s which I fully expect to score at least 50. The Florida Defense gets enough stops to win.
#24 Tulsa vs. Mississippi State (+2.5) – 8:00pm
Expect a low scoring slug fest. Both defenses are great but the Bulldogs have just a little bit more offense to win or at least cover.
Ball State vs. San Jose State (-7.5) – 8:00pm
San Jose State is undefeated and will look to finish that way behind the leadership of QB Nick Starkel. Ball State has been messing around in the MAC and will lose by double digits to San Jose State.
West Virginia vs. Army (+9) – 8:00pm
Army was begging for a game and they will come out to play. Army plays slow so nine points is way too many. Also sprinkle the moneyline.
#8 Cincinnati vs. #9 Georgia (-7) – 11:00am
The Bulldogs are playing some of their best football with JT Daniels. I don’t think the Bearcats will be able to score enough to keep up. Especially considering how poorly the AAC has done this bowl season.
Auburn (+3.5) vs. #14 Northwestern – Noon
Sure the coaching staff is a mess. But Northwestern won’t be able to move the ball on Auburn. Auburn will muster a few scores for the win.
#1 Alabama (-19) vs. #4 Notre Dame – 3:00pm
Bama is just too good for Notre Dames defense to stop them and Ian Book won’t be able to put up enough points to keep up. Bama by 30.
#2 Clemson (-7.5) vs. #3 Ohio State – 7:00pm
To beat Ohio State you have to be able to throw against their poor secondary. Well… Trevor Lawrence is going to have a field day. Clemson BIG.
#23 NC State (+2.5) vs. Kentucky – 11:00am
Kentucky had a disappointing year including only a 3 point win over Vanderbilt. NC State has been battle tested in close games. Take the points in this close matchup.
Ole Miss (+8.5) vs. #11 Indiana – 11:30pm
Don’t forget Indiana is on their backup QB. Meaning I can’t see them scoring enough points to keep up with Lane Kiffin’s offense. Ole Miss not only covers… but wins also.
#25 Oregon (+4.5) vs. #10 Iowa State – 3:00pm
Iowa State will struggle to move the ball against a tough Oregon defense. Expect a close defensive battle… so take the points.
#5 Texas A&M (-7.5) vs. #13 North Carolina – 7:00pm
North Carolina has had too many players opt out. Texas A&M is also looking to prove something after being left out of the playoffs. Texas A&M in a blowout.