CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 18 1999 Florida State
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. 18, 1999 Florida State
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.
1999 Florida State Season
It was the high point of a phenomenal run, and as it would turn out in the end, it would be the last national championship of the Bobby Bowden era.
The 1998 team was nasty, tough, and talented, but it lost QB Chris Weinke to a neck injury and had to scramble – helped by a few phenomenal defensive performances – to get to the first BCS Championship. With Marcus Outzen at quarterback, FSU lost to Tennessee 23-16 in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
The 1999 team finished off the drill, but it wasn’t without a few struggles.
The Seminoles started the season No. 1 and never let it go, fighting through a good Georgia Tech team in a 41-35 fight, put the clamps down on Miami, and slipped by Clemson 17-14 as the wins kept on coming.
They were the easy choice as the BCS No. 1 team when the first standings came out in late October, but Penn State was looking good enough to be on a possible collision course for the national title.
A loss to Minnesota triggered a three-game losing streak to knock out the Nittany Lions, and after Tennessee spent a week in the No. 2 spot, the focus turned to a Michael Vick-led Virginia Tech team that won out to go 11-0.
No. 3 Nebraska was lurking – hoping for BCS No. 4 Florida to pull off the win over FSU at home – but the Noles hung on to beat the Gators 30-23 in Gainesville.
For the third time under Bowden, Florida State finished the regular season unbeaten. The previous two times – 1998 and 1979 – ended in bowl losses. This time around, with Vick and Virginia Tech lurking, Bowden was one win away from his second national title.
– A theme developed as the season went along – the defense locked down in the second halves of games. Eight times, FSU allowed eight points or fewer in the second half, and six times it didn’t allow a point in the fourth quarter. That would turn out to be a big deal in the Sugar Bowl win over the Hokies.
– Even though it was the Michael Vick show – pulling rabbits out of his hat time and again making great play after great play – FSU WR Peter Warrick took over.
The Seminole star started out the scoring with a 64-yard touchdown catch, and finished it off with a 43-yard score to finish with six catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Weinke threw for 329 yards and four scores, with two coming in the fourth quarter – FSU outscored the Hokies 18-0 to win 46-29 for the national title.
– Warrick almost wasn’t a part of the fun. He and fellow receiver Laveranues Coles were arrested after being given clothes in a Dillard’s department store, turning into one of the biggest stories of the college football season. Coles was booted off the team, but Warrick was suspended and came back late in the year.
– The next season, Florida State managed to keep the machine rolling, getting a break from the BCS despite losing to Miami along the way to go 11-1 with a berth in its third straight national title game. Weinke and the high-powered offense got stoned by Oklahoma 13-2 in the Orange Bowl loss, and the program was never the same again under Bowden.
– How good were the 1999 Seminoles? 16 players were taken over the next two NFL drafts including five first rounders.
– As good as FSU was in 1999, why is it so low on the list? Virginia Tech was the only Elite Win, and while the offense was strong, the 458 points were just okay in the Point Differential.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Aug. 28 Florida State 41, Louisiana Tech 7 (8-3)
Sept. 11 Florida State 41, Georgia Tech 35 (8-4)
Sept. 18 Florida State 42, NC State 11 (6-6)
Sept. 25 Florida State 42, at North Carolina 10 (3-8)
Oct. 2 Florida State 51, Duke 23 (3-8) (in Jacksonville)
Oct. 9 Florida State 31, Miami 21 (9-4)
Oct. 16 Florida State 33, Wake Forest 10 (7-5)
Oct. 23 Florida State 17, at Clemson (6-6)
Oct. 30 Florida State 35, at Virginia 10 (7-5)
Nov. 13 Florida State 49, Maryland 10 (5-6)
Nov. 20 Florida State 30, at Florida 23 (9-4)
BCS Championship: Sugar Bowl.
Jan. 4 Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29 (11-1)
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 12 (Louisiana Tech, Georgia Tech, NC State, at North Carolina, Duke, Miami, Wake Forest, at Clemson, at Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Virginia Tech)
Quality Wins: 7 (Louisiana Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest, at Virginia, Florida, Virginia Tech)
Elite Wins: 1.5 (BCS Championship vs. Virginia Tech)
Point Differential: Florida State 458, Opponents 203
Winning %: 1,000
TOTAL SCORE: 23.550
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: Florida State Athletic Department