With all due respect to the LSU Tigers, their Heisman Trophy-winning, record-setting quarterback, Joe Burrow, and their embraceable, barrel-chested, blue-collar, gravelly voiced coach, Ed Orgeron, you are NOT the greatest college football team of all time.
In fact, you aren’t even the greatest college football team of the decade.
If you want the most dominant national champion of the modern era, then you need to look no further than Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston and the 2013 Florida State Seminoles.
I’ll admit to being a bit of a state of Florida provincialist who gets ultra-annoyed when the “greatest college football teams of all time” lists are compiled and the 2013 Seminoles are almost always omitted or mentioned as an afterthought. You always hear people talk about Tom Osborne’s 1995 Nebraska team that featured quarterback Tommie Frazier and running back Lawrence Phillips. You always hear people talk about the 2001 Miami Hurricanes that featured future NFL stars such as Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Jonathan Vilma, Jeremy Shockey, Vince Wilfork and so many more who made NFL rosters.
And now you’re hearing people talk about how the just-crowned LSU Tigers might be the greatest team in history, and they certainly have legitimate credentials.
“This is a team for the ages,” Orgeron rightfully says.
There’ s no argument that LSU is on the Mount Rushmore of greatest teams of the modern era. The Tigers beat seven top-10 teams, the most in college football history. Burrow set NCAA single-season records for touchdown passes (60) and touchdowns responsible for (65). He also set NCAA marks for completion percentage and passer rating. And his 5,671 yards passing this season is the most in SEC history and is tied for third-most in NCAA history.
Furthermore, LSU is the only team in major-college history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,500-yard receivers in the same season.
If you truly want to identify the most dominant, dynamic team in modern college football history, how can anyone overlook the FSU team of 2013?
By the way, if you’re comparing the Seminoles to the 2001 Hurricanes as the greatest team in state history, here’s all you need to know: FSU blew out every team during the course of the regular season by at least two touchdowns. The 2001 'Canes couldn’t even score an offensive touchdown in a nail-biting 18-7 victory over Boston College and needed a failed Virginia Tech 2-point conversion in the regular-season finale to hold off the Hokies.
“We want to go down as one of the greatest teams in history,” FSU senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said before the national title game against Auburn.
Granted, the Seminoles barely won the national title game, 34-31 over Auburn, but that victory also ended the Southeastern Conference’s streak of seven straight national championships. And let’s not forget how the Seminoles stampeded everybody they played during the regular season.
As I wrote following their win against Auburn in the championship game:
“You would have to go all the way back to the 1944 Army team of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis to find a more statistically dominant team than FSU was during the regular season. That Army team marched over its opponents like General Patton rumbling through Sicily, beating opponents by an average of 52 points per game.
“The most dominant team I’ve ever witnessed was the Tom Osborne-coached 1995 Nebraska team of Tommie Frazier and Lawrence Phillips. The Cornhuskers destroyed opponents by an average score of 53-14, including the 62-24 demolition of the undefeated No. 2-ranked Florida Gators in the Fiesta Bowl national-championship game.”
If you’re scoring at home, those bulked-up, hulked-up Huskers of 1995 recorded an average victory margin of 38.7 points. The Seminoles beat teams during the regular season by an average score of 53-11 (42 points per game) and beat ranked teams by more than 40 points per game. This year’s LSU team only beat opponents — albeit, more ranked regular-season opponents — by 27 points per game.
How dominant was FSU during the 2013 regular season? Glad you asked. How about this statistic: FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo had more points (147) by himself than the Seminoles’ 13 regular-season opponents combined (139).
And oh, by the way, all 22 starters on that FSU team made it to the NFL.
Don’t get me wrong, LSU certainly deserves to be in the conversation as one of the greatest college football teams of the modern era.
But that conversation needs to start with Jimbo, Jameis and the 2013 Florida State Seminoles.