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College Football in 1993

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In the ongoing debate in college football of playoffs vs. bowls I certainly come on the side of playoffs. I personally think the bowls have out lived their usefulness and that any tradition left in the system was pissed away when the Big Ten and Pac-10 agreed to join the BCS a few years back thus no longer guaranteeing that those two conference’s champions would meet in the Rose Bowl. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998 it has only avoided controversy twice, in 2002 and 2005 simply because they lucked out by having two major conference, unbeaten teams left at the end of the year. Not surprisingly those are the only two years that the BCS title game hasn’t been terrible. It is only in years like 2002 and 2005 where the BCS “works” but if you look at college football’s history there are several years with scenarios where such a system would have been incapable of solving any controversy. One of those years was 1993.


After many near misses at a national title Bobby Bowden and Florida State came into 1993 the run away favorites to win the title. Led by the eventual Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward, the Seminoles destroyed every team in their path. I had forgotten how dominate they were, just look at their jaw dropping results from that year.


8/28 vs. Kansas 42-0

9/4 at Duke 45-7

9/11 vs. Clemson 57-0

9/18 at North Carolina 33-7

10/2 vs. Georgia Tech 51-0

10/9 vs. Miami 28-10

10/16 vs. Virginia 40-14

10/30 vs. Wake Forest 54-0

11/6 at Maryland 49-20


Not even their tormenters from Miami could give them a real challenge. Then came a trip to South Bend. The Irish were also undefeated and came in at #2 in both polls. The Noles fell behind 24-7 but made a furious comeback to pull the game to 31-24. They had the ball on the Irish 14 for one final play but Ward could not connect in the endzone and it looked like FSU’s national title hopes had been dashed but a late season loss yet again. Now going into that weekend Nebraska was undefeated and #3 in the Coaches’ Poll and #4 in the AP Poll (Miami was #3). The Cornhuskers had not been nearly as dominate as the Seminoles and Irish, with one point wins over UCLA and Kansas. The coaches would move Nebraska to #2 ahead of FSU but the media would leave the Seminoles ahead of the Huskers.


Things then of course got really interesting the following week as after their triumph over Florida State and now with strangle hold on the #1 ranking in both polls, the Irish were stunned at home by Boston College in another classic on a last second field goal 41-39. FSU that weekend slaughtered another ACC foe, N.C. State 62-3, and in the media poll reclaimed the #1 spot while Nebraska grabbed the #1 spot in the coaches poll. The Irish dropped all the way to #4 in both polls behind two different interesting stories. In the coaches poll at #3 was a surprising West Virginia team had upset Miami that week to improve to 10-0 which finally earned them some serious respect, but they were #5 in the media poll. #3 in that poll was Auburn. Auburn was on probation and ineligible for postseason, they concluded their regular season undefeated but nothing to show for it. The final weekend of the regular season would play out with FSU and Nebraska disposing of their rivals, Florida and Oklahoma, while West Virginia edged Boston College 17-14 and thus ending the season with a serious poll controversy. Here’s how the regular season concluded in the polls.



1. Florida State 11-1

2. Nebraska 11-0

3. West Virginia 11-0

4. Auburn 11-0

5. Notre Dame 10-1



1. Nebraska 11-0

2. West Virginia 11-0

3. Florida State 11-1

4. Notre Dame 10-1

5. Auburn 11-0


This is was a complete nightmare. The coaches felt the right thing to do was put Nebraska and West Virginia at the top two spots but many didn’t think either was on the level of Florida State and Notre Dame. Of course the media poll was ripped to shreds as how could you have FSU at #1 and the Irish at #5, let alone have West Virginia below FSU when they beat Boston College, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Florida State. This was the type of scenario that only a playoff could have solved. Interestingly enough there was one poll left after the SEC title game, which with Auburn ineligible didn’t have much meaning on the national scene, the media bumped the Irish past Auburn even though neither played.


In the bowl selection process the Orange Bowl held all the cards as who they picked would likely decide that national title. Nebraska had the automatic invite with winning the Big 8 so after that they had the choice of Florida State, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. The would choose the Seminoles, Notre Dame would head to the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M, and West Virginia to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. In the afternoon of January 1st the Irish edged A&M 24-21. West Virginia would prove their doubters right as they would get murdered by the Gators 41-7 and potentially helping the pollsters quite a bit. If Nebraska could beat Florida State they would get an undefeated and relatively undisputed national champion. They took a 16-15 lead with a little over a minute to go but Charlie Ward would march the Seminoles down the field in a drive that included a fourth down conversion and very controversial personal foul penalty for a field goal and an 18-16 lead with 21 seconds left. A celebration penalty though gave Nebraska life and get in field goal range but kicker Byron Bennett badly hooked the 45 yard attempt. Everyone waited for the polls the next day to see if Notre Dame jumped Florida State due to the way everything shook out but the Irish’s unconvincing win over the Aggies left them at #2 and Bobby Bowden with his long awaited first national title, despite losing to the team who was at #2.


Preseason AP Top 25


1. Florida State

2. Alabama

3. Michigan

4. Texas A&M

5. Miami

6. Syracuse

7. Notre Dame

8. Nebraska

9. Florida

10. Tennessee

11. Colorado

12. Washington

13. Gerogia

14. Arizona

15. Stanford

16. Penn State

17. Ohio State

18. USC

19. BYU

20. North Carolina

21. Boston College

22. Oklahoma

23. Clemson

24. Mississippi State

25. N.C. State


Top 25 Regular Season Match-ups


Week 1

#20 North Carolina 31, #18 USC 9


Week 2

#3 Miami 23, #20 Boston College 7


Week 3

#1 Florida State 57, #21 Clemson 0

#11 Notre Dame 27, #3 Michigan 23

#17 Oklahoma 44, #5 Texas A&M 14

#8 Tennessee 38, #22 Georgia 6

#10 Colorado 45, #24 Baylor 21

#16 Ohio State 21, #12 Washington 12


Week 4

#1 Florida State 33, #13 North Carolina 7

#9 Florida 41, #5 Tennessee 34

#20 Stanford 41, #7 Colorado 37


Week 5

#3 Miami 35, #13 Colorado 29

#18 North Carolina 35, #19 N.C. State 14


Week 6



Week 7

#1 Florida State 28, #3 Miami 10

#13 Washington 24, #16 California 23

#25 UCLA 68, #19 BYU 14


Week 8

#1 Florida State 40, #15 Virginia 14

#2 Alabama 17, #10 Tennessee 17 tie

#19 Auburn 38, #4 Florida 35

#5 Ohio State 28, #25 Michigan State 21

#18 Michigan 21, #7 Penn State 13

#20 Colorado 27, #9 Oklahoma 10

#22 UCLA 39, #12 Washington 25


Week 9

#6 Miami 49, #23 Syracuse 0

#7 Arizona 9, #25 Washington State 6

#21 Virginia 17, #12 North Carolina 10


Week 10

#3 Ohio State 24, #12 Penn State 6

#6 Nebraska 21, #20 Colorado 17

#15 UCLA 37, #7 Arizona 17

#25 Kansas State 21, #14 Oklahoma 14

#24 Michigan 13, #21 Wisconsin 21


Week 11

#3 Ohio State 14, #15 Wisconsin 14 tie

#7 Tennessee 45, #13 Louisville 10

#19 Penn State 38, #17 Indiana 31


Week 12

#2 Notre Dame 31, #1 Florida State 24

#5 Ohio State 23, #19 Indiana 17

#11 Texas A&M 42, #20 Louisville 7


Week 13

#17 Boston College 41, #1 Notre Dame 39

#9 West Virginia 17, #4 Miami 14

#6 Auburn 22, #11 Alabama 14

#16 UCLA 27, #22 USC 21

#25 Virginia Tech 20, #23 Virginia 17


Week 14

#1 Florida State 33, #7 Florida 21

#2 Nebraska 21, #16 Oklahoma 7

#5 West Virginia 17, #11 Boston College 14

#14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37


Week 15

#9 Florida 28, #16 Alabama 13 (SEC Title)

#10 Wisconsin 41, #25 Michigan State 20


Bowl Results (MVP)


Las Vegas: Utah State 42, Ball State 33 (Anthony Calvillo)

Sun: #19 Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10 (Jerald Moore)

Aloha: #17 Colorado 41, #25 Fresno State 30 (Rashaan Salaam)

Liberty: Louisville 18, Michigan State 7 (Jeff Brohm)

Copper: #20 Kansas State 52, Wyoming 17 (Andre Coleman)

Holiday: #11 Ohio State 28, BYU 21 (Raymont Harris)

Freedom: USC 28, Utah 21 (Johnnie Morton)

Gator: #18 Alabama 24, #12 North Carolina 10 (Brian Burgdorf)

Alamo: California 37, Iowa 3 (Dave Barr)

Peach: #24 Clemson 14, Kentucky 13 (Brentson Buckner)

Independence: #22 Virginia Tech 45, #21 Indiana 20 (Maurice DeShazo)

Fiesta: #16 Arizona 29, #10 Miami 0 (Chuck Levy)

Carquest: #15 Boston College 31, Virginia 13 (Glenn Foley)

Hall of Fame: #23 Michigan 42, N.C. State 7 (Tyrone Wheatley)

Cotton: #4 Notre Dame 24, #7 Texas A&M 21 (Lee Becton)

Citrus: #13 Penn State 31, #6 Tennessee 13 (Bobby Engram)

Rose: #9 Wisconsin 21, #14 UCLA 16 (Brent Moss)

Sugar: #8 Florida 41, #3 West Virginia 7 (Errict Rhett)

Orange: #1 Florida State 18, #2 Nebraska 16 (Charlie Ward)



Final AP Top 25


1. Florida State

2. Notre Dame

3. Nebraska

4. Auburn

5. Florida

6. Wisconsin

7. West Virginia

8. Penn State

9. Texas A&M

10. Arizona

11. Ohio State

12. Tennessee

13. Boston College

14. Alabama

15. Miami

16. Colorado

17. Oklahoma

18. UCLA

19. North Carolina

20. Kansas State

21. Michigan

22. Virginia Tech

23. Clemson

24. Louisville

25. California





Charlie Ward, Florida State



Marshall Faulk, San Diego State

LeShon Johnson, Northern Illinois

Errict Rhett, Florida



J.J. Stokes, UCLA

Johnnie Morton, USC

Ryan Yarborough, Wyoming



Carlester Crumpler, East Carolina

Pete Mitchell, Boston College



Mark Dixon, Virginia

Stacy Seegars, Clemson

Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame

Wayne Gandy, Auburn

Jim Pyne, Virginia Tech

Korey Stringer, Ohio State

Marcus Spears, Northwestern State

Rich Braham, West Virginia

Todd Steussie, California

Bernard Williams, Georgia



Rob Waldrop, Arizona

Dan Wilkinson, Ohio State

Sam Adams, Texas A&M

Lou Benfatti, Penn State

Derrick Alexander, Florida State

Shante Carver, Arizona

Kevin Patrick, Miami

Bryant Young, Notre Dame



Trev Alberts, Nebraska

Derrick Brooks, Florida State

Jamir Miller, UCLA

Barron Wortham, UTEP

Dana Howard, Illinois



Antonio Langham, Alabama

Aaron Glenn, Texas A&M

Jeff Burris, Notre Dame

Corey Sawyer, Florida State

Bobby Taylor, Notre Dame

Bracey Walker, North Carolina

Jaime Mendez, Kansas State



Bjorn Merten, UCLA

John Becksvoort, Tennessee

John Stewart, SMU



Terry Daniel, Auburn



David Palmer, Alabama

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I think by avoiding a split national championship, every season but 2003 they've avoided real controversy. Some debate and questions about who should be playing mostly in 2000, and 2001. They had the good fortune of having having the two undefeated teams win. Kind of boxing the naysayer for another season.

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You think undefeated Auburn being left out of the national title game for an Oklahoma team that wasn't even on USC's level "avoided controversy"? You're crazy. They need a plus one game at the bare minimum, and they really need an 8-team playoff.

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Auburn didn't go undefeated in 2003. They went undefeated in 2004. 2003 was the year that LSU and USC split the national championship, which is why Vern said "by avoiding a split national championship, every season but 2003 they've avoided real controversy."

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My biggest fault with Auburn was their schedule. They deserved to be the odd team out. The ratings take the entire season into account. I thought OU was the better team. After all is said and done. USC and Auburn remain undefeated. Auburn didn't do anything against Virginia Tech, that changed my opinion.

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The point is that Auburn won every game they played in a major conference agains tough competition, and they had no chance to win a national title. That's controversial almost by definition. Who cares if they didn't "look good" against Virginia Tech. It's pretty hard to get motivated to play at your absolute peak when you know you just got ratfucked out of a shot at the national title.


I think Utah deserved a shot too. They were extremely impressive all season long, and I think they could have given USC a hell of a game. 2004 was a perfect argument for a playoff. When you've got four legitimate teams that haven't lost at the end of the season (five altogether), no bowl system is going to crown a true national champion.

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