CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 14, 2001 Miami
How do the 20 national champions in the College Football Playoff & BCS rank based on how good their seasons were?
CFN, College Football Playoff & BCS Era National Champions Ranking: No. 14, 2001 Miami
CollegeFootballNews.com is turning 20 this season, coincidentally starting in 1998 when the Bowl Championship Series era kicked off.
With the BCS, no matter how the teams got there, it was finally No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the national title – that wasn’t a given before – and eventually, it all morphed into the College Football Playoff starting in the 2014 season.
Based on the tried, true, tested and tweaked CFN Historical Season Ranking Formula (criteria breakdown at the bottom of all this), welcome to the ranking of all 20 national champions in the era.
This isn’t about who the most talented or the best national champions were since 1998 – that’s debatable. This is about who had the best and most impressive seasons – the more wins over great teams, the higher the score.
2001 Miami Season
The 2000 Miami Hurricanes thought they should’ve been playing for the national title.
Their one loss was in a 34-29 dogfight on the road against a Washington team that ended up going 11-1 with a Rose Bowl victory. They rebounded to reel off ten straight wins, including one over a Florida State team that got enough love from the BCS to play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Miami was just a wee bit motivated going into 2002.
Florida was the preseason No. 1 in both polls, while Miami was No. 2. That lasted about two weeks into the season.
The Canes started out beating Penn State and Rutgers by a combined score of 94-7, moved up to No. 1, and stayed there for most of the year. Florida moved back to the AP top spot for a week in early October, lost, and it was Miami the rest of the way. Nebraska jumped up into No. 1 for a week in November in the Coaches Poll, and then Miami took it back the following week.
Meanwhile, the BCS didn’t quite see it that way.
Oklahoma started out on top of the first standings in late October, with the Canes fourth. It wasn’t until five weeks later – and a Nebraska clunker to Colorado – for Miami to get back to the BCS No. 1 position. And then the fun really began.
Nebraska seemed to be knocked out after not even getting to the Big 12 title, meaning it was Florida’s BCS Championship spot to lose. The Gators – 18-point favorites – lost at home to Tennessee. After moving up to the two, the Vols blew it with an SEC title game loss to LSU. to open the door for Texas. The Longhorns couldn’t come back in Big 12 title loss to Colorado, meaning 11-1 Nebraska – who didn’t even win its own division – got a shot to play for the whole ball of wax.
It was all fun and games, and then Miami went out and destroyed Heisman-winner Eric Crouch and the Huskers in a nice-and-easy 37-14 beatdown for the national championship.
Ken Dorsey hit Andre Johnson for a long touchdown pass in the first quarter, Clinton Portis ran for a long touchdown run in the second, Jeremy Shockey and Johnson each caught scoring passes, and James Lewis came up with a pick six on the way to a 34-0 halftime lead.
Crouch ran for 114 yards, but completed just 5-of-15 passes for 62 yards with a pick.
– While this might not have been the greatest team of all-time in terms of the schedule and what it had to face, in terms of talent, good luck finding anyone who can match this.
28 players on the 2001 Hurricanes were drafted over the next three years, with 15 of them going in the first round.
How good were they? Ed Reed, Clinton Portis, Vince Wilfork, Andre Johnson, Bryant McKinnie, Jonathan Vilma, Kellen Winslow Jr., Sean Taylor, and on and on and on.
Willis McGahee was a backup.
– Here’s the problem from a historical sense. They missed most of the nasty teams. Nebraska was very good, but flawed. The Canes didn’t have to deal with anyone from the SEC, they missed a strong Oregon squad, and they didn’t have to face Texas, or Oklahoma, or Colorado. And while it might be easy to assume that this group would’ve rolled through anyone, remember, it took a huge fumble return for a score to beat Boston College, and it was a battle to squeak past Virginia Tech. However …
– They beat a whole slew of very good teams. Among the 20 champions on this list, only 2013 Florida State had a better point differential. The Canes outscored their opponents by a total of 395 points – and average of 33 points per game.
– After closing out 2000 with ten straight wins, the 2001 team would keep on going, adding on 12 more to go along with 12 straight in 2002 before losing to Ohio State for the national title.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Sept. 1 Miami 33, at Penn State 7 (5-6)
Sept. 8 Miami 61, Rutgers 0 (2-9)
Sept. 27 Miami 43, at Pitt 21 (7-5)
Oct. 6 Miami 38, Troy (7-4)
Oct. 13 Miami 49, at Florida State 27 (8-4)
Oct. 25 Miami 45, West Virginia 3 (3-8)
Nov. 3 Miami 38, Temple 0 (4-7)
Nov. 10 Miami 18, at Boston College 7 (8-4)
Nov. 17 Miami 59, Syracuse 0 (10-3)
Nov. 24 Miami 65, Washington 7 (8-4)
Dec. 1 Miami 26, at Virginia Tech 24 (8-4)
BCS Championship: Rose Bowl.
Jan. 3 Miami 37, Nebraska 14 (11-2)
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 12 (at Penn State, Rutgers, at Pitt, Troy, at Florida State, West Virginia, Temple, at Boston College, Syracuse, Washington, at Virginia Tech, BCS Championship vs. Nebraska)
Quality Wins: 8 (at Pitt, Troy, at Florida State, at Boston College, Syracuse, Washington, at Virginia Tech, BCS Championship vs. Nebraska)
Elite Wins: 1.5 (BCS Championship vs. Miami)
Bad Wins: 2 (Rutgers, West Virginia)
Elite Losses: 0
Point Differential: Miami 512, Opponents 117
Winning %: 1.000
TOTAL SCORE: 25.950
The Season Formula’s Components
If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
If you lose, everything stinks. Each loss counts as -1.
3. Quality Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each Quality Win counts as 1.
4. Elite Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each Elite Win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5.
Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn’t added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game also gets counts as 1.
5. Bad Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a loss to an FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
6. Bad Win
The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a an FCS (D-IAA) team. Each win counts as -0.25
7. Elite Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
8. Point Differential
Points for minus points against divided by 100.
9. Winning Percentage
Created as a sort of tie-breaker, the winning % is added to the total score.
CFN 20th Anniversary lists compiled by Rich Cirminiello, Pete Fiutak, Phil Harrison & Russ Mitchell
Photo Credit: Miami Athletic Department