In BCS title game era, which team was best?

Hurricanes blow 'em away

Matt Murschel


Orlando Sentinel

The 2001 Miami Hurricanes were by far the best national champion in the BCS era. They ran over just about everybody, including a talented Nebraska team in the Rose Bowl.


Offensively, the 'Canes were led by quarterback Ken Dorsey, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist in both 2001 and 2002. With Clinton Portis, Frank Gore and Willis McGahee at running back and future NFL stars Andre Johnson and Jeremy Shockey lining up as Dorsey's top targets, the Hurricanes put up more than 42 points per game.

Defensively, the team was one of the stingiest in NCAA history, allowing 10 points per game. The unit featured NFL stars like hard-hitting safeties Ed Reed and Sean Taylor along with Jonathan Vilma and Phillip Buchanon.

Trojans trump all

Gary Klein

Los Angeles Times

Tough call because Texas QB Vince Young was incredible during the 2005 season and especially in the 2006 BCS title-game victory over USC that ended the Trojans' 34-game winning streak.

But the best was USC's 2004 team that routed Oklahoma 55-19 in the 2005 BCS title game in Miami and finished 13-0. The Trojans had plenty of star power on offense, including Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart and future Heisman-winning tailback Reggie Bush. But defense — and the ability to play its most complete game when it counted most – made this team the best.

USC held opponents to fewer than 80 yards rushing per game and forced 38 turnovers. Both marks led the nation.

USC's '04 squad No. 1

David Teel


Daily Press

Southern California's 2004 national champions showcased a Hollywood-red-carpet offense that included Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White and Dwayne Jarrett. The undefeated Trojans struck in every fashion imaginable and in the national title game scored 55 points against an unbeaten Oklahoma bunch that had yielded six in its previous three games combined.

But as good as USC was on offense, it was better statistically on defense, ranking third nationally in points allowed. Mix talents such as defensive tackle Shaun Cody and linebacker Lofa Tatupu with Leinart and company, and you get a complete team for the BCS ages which sat atop the AP poll from preseason through the bowls.

USC a balanced beast

Brian Hamilton

Chicago Tribune

If a team goes 13-0 and wins a national title and then, by NCAA decree, becomes 11-0 without a national title, does it make a sound?

Yes, and one that echoes through the BCS era despite sanctions that say USC's 2004 juggernaut never actually stampeded its way to a crystal bowl trophy. The Trojans were completely and thoroughly balanced in their rump-whippery, boasting the No. 6 scoring offense and the No. 3 scoring defense, winning by 25 points on average.

Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy. Reggie Bush finished fifth in the voting. Shaun Cody was the Pac-10 co-defensive player of the year, and 53 players on that team played or play in the NFL. They were, officially, really good.

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