2001 Miami Hurricanes-Best College Football Team Ever
by Ed Talerico
(West Palm Beach, FL)
In my opinion, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes were the greatest college football team of all time. One may argue this, of course, but I don't know if one can argue against them being the most talented squad ever.
Not only 16 1st round draft picks but at least 6 Pro Bowlers(Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed, a former N.F.L. Defensive Player of the year, and Sean Taylor, R.I.P.). There may be more I'm not aware of and more on the way.
Their offensive line led by All Americans, Bryant McKinnie and Joaquin Gonzalez, was dominant and considered the best in the nation. McKinnie never allowed a sack in his career. In fact, Ken Dorsey, who finished 3rd in the Heisman voting and winner of the Maxwell Award was sacked only 5 times the entire season.
The running backs featured not only Portis and Gore, but also included Nadje Davenport and Willis McGahee. Andre Johnson was an exceptional pass reciever and tight end Jeremy Shockey was backed up by Kellen Winslow Jr. Miami averaged 43.2 points per game.
The defense was extremely fast and hard hitting. They allowed only 9.4 points per game and also led the nation with a remarkable 45 takeaways. The defensive line featured Jerome McDougle, Vince Wilfork, William Joseph, and Andrew Johnson, all N.F.L. players.
The linebackers, John Vilma, D.J. Williams, and Chris Campbell were among the best in the nation. The secondary, led by Ed Reed, was one of the best of all time and numbered at least 6 N.F.L. players on its roster.
The Canes special teams were also exceptional and possessed great speed. Phillip Bucannon was one of the most dangerous punt returners in the nation that year and Miami could block kicks as well. Their place kicker, Todd Sievers was an All American and connected on 21 of 26 field goals attempts.
Miami was a very dominant and complete football team. On successive weeks they decimated 13th ranked Syracuse and 11th ranked Washington by scores of 59-0 and 65-7 respectively. This was an NCAA record for margin of victory over consecutive ranked opponents.
The Canes crushed their opposition at the Orange Bowl that year by an average score of 51-3. They led Nebraska in the B.C.S. Championship Game played at the Rose Bowl 34-0 at halftime and cruised to victory 37- 14.
A remarkable stat about the 2001 Canes is the fact that they scored 11 non-offensive touchdowns while their defense allowed only 13. It was a truly amazing display of dominance for a team to score within a couple of touchdowns of what their defense allowed FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON without their explosive and very talented offense ever taking the field.
In conclusion, I have to pay my respects to 1995 Nebraska and 2004 U.S.C. since they were great teams as well. Also, the 1992 Crimson tide which destroyed Miami 34-13 in the 93' Sugar Bowl under Coach Stallings. They were not regarded as one of the best teams ever but possessed one of the greatest defenses I've ever seen.
Wish the Miami championship teams of the 80's and early 90's handled themselves with as much class as the great Alabama teams of the past, especially those under Coach Bryant. And all this from a Florida Gator fan.