When trying to determine what college football team would qualify as the best of all time; the question what variables should be used.
Often, a team would be thought of as outstanding; but if in depth research was made would they?
For example, 1956 Oklahoma is often considered among the elite. But this was based on the fact, I am sure, that one’s making the observation was only looking how the Bud Wilkinson-led team dominated their 10 game schedule.
Of the 10 teams that the Sooners met that autumn, 9 had a losing record; easily to see why the scores were high.
Dominating opponents just on the scoreboard; should not be a determining factor; at least not the lone one.
Weekly poll ranking are a good gage of strength of a team; but it is based on the opinions of others; but also these all come together as one to select whom they think should be the weekly #1 or the national champion. A Weekly poll ranking are a good gage of strength of a team; but it is based on the opinions of others; but also these all come together as one to select whom they think should be the weekly #1 or the national champion.
How well a team fared against similar competition should be considered and add ones that would be included in the polls are a key factors.
So with all that in mind, I would say that the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers would be the most obvious choice for the best team of all-time.
The 1971 Cornhuskers were ranked #1 in the weekly AP surveys in every poll and counting the final poll from the 1970 season shows that this team was #1 for 15 straight weeks—a record for that period of history.
Statistically, the Big Red was the 8th highest team in Total Offense, 437.7 and third in finding the end zone at 39.1 per game.
But the Cornhuskers, known for its famed Black shirt D is where the team really stood out.
In stopping the run, the unit was second, 85.9 per game; and ninth in total defense at 202.9; while allowing 12 opponents to 98 points—with 31 coming during the Game of the Century vs Oklahoma.
And when the final AP Poll was released, the Top 4 Teams included #1 Nebraska and in 2-3-4 order: Oklahoma-Colorado (Big 8 Opponents) and #4 Alabama, Nebraska’s Orange Bowl opponent.
So, out of countless teams that deserved to be called the Greatest College Football Team ever, the Nebraska Cornhuskers of 1971 gets the nod.
A closing note there have been lots of divisional teams worthy of this mention as well; not saying that the would have beaten Nebraska—probably not; but in their divisions; they were not only the best for a season or two, but also for all-time.
Then if you pick a divisional team, more things would be considered and would best to select them per division rather than overall.
By Tex Noel, Executive Director, Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association.
For a different opinion, about another great defensive college football team, check out 1961 Alabama Crimson Tide Best CFB Team Ever
Wondering which is the worst all-time college football team? Or, which players compose the all-time NCAA college football fantasy team?
Which is the top all-time College Football Team? Simple, the Michigan Wolverines. After all, they have the most wins of any team. Here's our Top All Time College Football Team.
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