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Ranking College Football's National Champions Since 1998

Ranking College Football's National Champions Since 1998

Ranking College Football's National Champions Since 1998

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has quite the collection of national championship hardware. After his 2020 Crimson Tide dismantled Ohio State for the College Football Playoff national championship in Hard Rock Stadium on Monday night, Saban earned his seventh national championship overall, and his sixth with Alabama. And he arguably did so with the best offensive team Alabama has ever fielded. But where would the 2020 version of the Tide stack up against the list of national championship teams since the dawn of the BCS era? It turns out, they would fair pretty well.

Note: Opponent’s ranking at the time in parentheses

College Football Top 25: Miami

1. Miami, 2001 (12-0, 7-0 Big East)

Head Coach: Larry Coker

Since the dawn of the BCS Era, few teams have carried the amount of NFL talent on one roster the way the 2001 Miami Hurricanes did. Larry Coker stepped in as head coach following Butch Davis’ departure for the NFL, and he took over a program as locked and loaded that any coach would dream of running. The season started off with a dominating victory over Penn State, which set the tone for the championship run. Miami ripped through Florida State, avoided a letdown against Boston College and nipped Virginia Tech while blitzing through the rest of the schedule, which included victories against four top-15 teams before the BCS National Championship Game. Nebraska wiggled its way into the national championship game but was clearly out of its league against Miami in the Rose Bowl. Miami’s 37-14 victory over the Cornhuskers capped an undefeated season for the best national championship team of the era.

2001 Schedule:

Sept. 1: Miami 33, Penn State 7

Sept. 8: Miami 61, Rutgers 0

Sept. 27: Miami 43, Pitt 21

Oct. 6: Miami 38, Troy 7

Oct. 13: Miami 49, (14) Florida State 27

Oct. 25: Miami 45, West Virginia 3

Nov. 3: Miami 38, Temple 0

Nov. 10: Miami 18, Boston College 7

Nov. 17: Miami 59, (14) Syracuse 0

Nov. 24: Miami 65, (12) Washington 7

Dec. 1: Miami 26, (14) Virginia Tech 24

Jan. 3: Miami 37, (4) Nebraska 14

2. LSU, 2019 (15-0, 8-0 SEC)

Head Coach: Ed Orgeron

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LSU flipped its script with wild success by going from a program that has been lacking in quarterback play to having their signal-caller put together one of the greatest seasons in college football history. Joe Burrow torched the LSU and SEC record books on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Tigers to its first national championship in the playoff era. A road win at a top-10 Texas team, a blowout of a top-10 Florida team, and back-to-back regular-season wins against top-10 Alabama and Auburn later led to blowout wins in the SEC Championship Game over Georgia and in the Peach Bowl/College Football Playoff semifinal against Big 12 champion Oklahoma to take on defending national champion Clemson. You would be hard-pressed to find a better overall body of work than what LSU pulled off in 2019.

2019 Schedule:

Aug. 31: LSU 55, Georgia Southern 3

Sept. 7: LSU 45, (9) Texas 38

Sept. 14: LSU 65, Northwestern State 14

Sept. 21: LSU 66, Vanderbilt 38

Oct. 5: LSU 42, Utah State 6

Oct. 12: LSU 42, (7) Florida 28

Oct. 19: LSU 36, Mississippi State 13

Oct. 26: LSU 23, (9) Auburn 20

Nov. 9: LSU 46, (2) Alabama 41

Nov. 16: LSU 58, Ole Miss 37

Nov. 23: LSU 56, Arkansas 20

Nov. 30: LSU 50, Texas A&M 7

Dec. 7: LSU 37, (4) Georgia 10

Dec. 28: LSU 63, (4) Oklahoma 28

Jan. 13: LSU 42, (3) Clemson 25

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3. Alabama, 2020 (13-0, 11-0 SEC)

Head Coach: Nick Saban

A year after LSU set the college football world on fire with its offense, Alabama proved it still knew a thing or two about dynamic offensive production. With Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the nation’s top offensive line, running back Najee Harris and Mac Jones at quarterback, Alabama never skipped a beat despite losing one of its top offensive weapons, Jaylen Waddle. Alabama blasted ranked opponents, including four top-seven teams, with three decisive double-digit victories and one that was more decisive than the final score would indicate. And given the unique circumstances of the 2020 season, each of Alabama’s games was played against a power conference opponent, including an 11-0 record in SEC play and victories over Notre Dame and Big Ten champion Ohio State in the College Football Playoff.