CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 4, 2013 Florida State Seminoles
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. 4, 2013 Florida State Seminoles
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.
2013 Florida State Season
Even with a talented team coming off an ACC & Orange Bowl-winning 2012 run, Florida State didn’t get a whole lot of love in the 2013 preseason.
And why? QB E.J. Manuel was the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. Ten other Seminoles were drafted, too.
There were whispers about how good a prospect Jameis Winston was going to be, and the hype kicked in big-time after a huge spring game, but still, FSU was 11th in the preseason AP rankings and 12th in the Coaches Poll.
Clemson and Louisville were ranked higher in both polls.
But in the opening weekend of the season, on a national stage on a Monday night vs. Pitt, the Heisman race was over, and the regular season was all but finished before it got rolling.
Winston completed 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four scores with a. rushing touchdown, FSU won 41-13, and that was that. Even in the blowout, the Panthers provided one of the biggest challenges the Seminoles would face all season.
They ripped through Nevada and Bethune-Cookman by a combined score of 116-13, and then came what turned out to be the toughest test before going to Pasadena for the BCS Championship.
FSU beat Boston College 48-34.
No one else came remotely close, with a good Miami team losing 41-14, a Clemson team that finished with 11 wins and looking to make a massive statement got piledriven 51-14, Florida got rocked 37-7, and in the ACC Championship, the Noles went through the motions in a 45-7 romp.
No one other than BC scored more than 17 points on the FSU defense, Florida was the only team to hold the offense under 41 points, and overall, the margin of victory was a dominant average of 53 to 11.
It wasn’t all a cakewalk, though.
Midway through the season, Winston’s name was included in rape and sexual assault allegations, and as a program, Florida State’s image took a hit. There weren’t any problems on the field, but what should’ve been hailed as a magical and special season took on a dark cloud.
Meanwhile, Auburn was coming up with a special season that came out of nowhere.
It got by Georgia on a late pass, and beat Alabama to get to the SEC Championship on the all-timer “kick six” miracle. Even so, and even with the amazing performance from the ground game, it was supposed to be Florida State’s BCS Championship.
For about three quarters, it was a dogfight with a 21-13 Tiger lead, and late, Auburn had the game in hand on a Tre Mason run.
But Jameis turned into an on-field all-time great with one drive, marching the Noles on a seven play drive in the final minute, finding Kelvin Benjamin for a score and the national title with 13 seconds to play.
– Even with all of the controversy, Winston won the Heisman in a landslide, beating Alabama QB AJ McCarron 2,205 points to 704. He got 668 first place votes to 79. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch got 40.
– How talented were the Noles? Seven were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, and 11 were selected in 2015 with seven going in the top 50 in the two drafts.
– Yeah, Florida State beat the team that beat Alabama, but it missed having to deal with the Crimson Tide. The eight Quality Wins – victories over teams that finished with a winning record – were the fewest by anyone in the top eight. However, the point differential was the largest of any of the 20 BCS/CFP era national champs by a mile.
FSU outscored its opponents by 553 points. No. 2 on the list? 2005 Texas, which won its 13 games by a total of 439 points. No one else got past the 400 point mark.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Sept. 2 Florida State 41, at Pitt 13 (7-6)
Sept. 14 Florida State 62, Nevada 7 (4-8)
Sept. 21 Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6 (FCS, 10-3)
Sept. 28 Florida State 48, at Boston College 34 (7-6)
Oct. 5 Florida State 63, Maryland 0 (7-6)
Oct. 19 Florida State 51, at Clemson 14 (11-2)
Oct. 26 Florida State 49, NC State 17 (3-9)
Nov. 2 Florida State 41, Miami 14 (9-4)
Nov. 9 Florida State 59, at Wake Forest 3 (4-8)
Nov. 16 Florida State 59, Syracuse 3 (7-6)
Nov. 23 Florida State 80, Idaho 14 (1-11)
Nov. 30 Florida State 37, at Florida 7 (4-8)
Dec. 7 Florida State 45, Duke 7 (10-4)
Jan. 6 Florida State 34, Auburn 31 (12-2)
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 14 (at Pitt, Nevada, Bethune-Cookman, at Boston College, Maryland, at Clemson, NC State, Miami, at Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho, at Florida, ACC Championship vs. Duke, BCS Championship vs. Auburn)
Quality Wins: 8 (at Pitt, at Boston College, Maryland, at Clemson, Miami, Syracuse, ACC Championship vs. Duke, BCS Championship vs. Auburn)
Elite Wins Score: 3 (at Clemson, BCS Championship vs. Auburn)
Bad Wins: 3 (Bethune-Cookman, NC State, Idaho)
Elite Losses: 0
Point Differential: Florida State 723, Opponents 170
Winning %: 1.000
TOTAL SCORE: 30.780
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.
Photo courtesy of Florida State University
CFN 20th Anniversary lists compiled by Rich Cirminiello, Pete Fiutak, Phil Harrison & Russ Mitchell