Greatest Team of All-Time: 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers

by Biased Husker -- David
(Denver, CO)

The '61 Bama team was surely great. So was the '92 team I think and many more. Bama has an absolutely wonderful football tradition.

The greatest college football team of all time though is the 1995 Huskers. Most of the season they played without their and arguably the nation's top running back - Lawrence Phillips - because he was a mentally ill young man who was suspended most of the season and they still dominated without him. They averaged something like 50+ points to 10 per game.

Most of the 10 per game from opponents came against 3rd, 4th and 5th teamers on defense while the 3rd, 4th and 5th teamers on offense were instructed to just dive up the middle and punt as often as possible. This happened almost every 4th quarter that year and in huge chunks of the 3rd.

The '95 Huskers won only one game by less than several touchdowns. That was to a tough Washington State team who scored a couple late against Husker reserves to pull within a final 35 - 21 margin. And of course, undefeated number 2 Florida with future Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel was HUMILIATED in the Fiesta Bowl.

And, of course, the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers were coached by the best college football coach ever -- Tom Osborne.

Billingsley and ESPN page 2 argue that the '71 Huskers were the greatest team ever. That's also hard to argue. Of 22 starters, 14 were named to at least an honorable mention All-American squad: FOURTEEN OF TWENTY-TWO!!! And of course, that included consensus first team All Americans, Johnny Rodgers, Rich Glover and Willie Harper (all just Juniors that year).

We were so deep that Monte Jacobson who became an all pro MLB with the Oakland Raiders his rookie year, never even started 1 game in 5 years there. NOT ONE! He was a back up DT.

The one counter argument for the '71 Huskers NOT being the greatest of all times, is the '71 Sooners. How could anyone who ranks the '71 Huskers as the best or one of the best ever NOT have the '71 Sooners a team or two behind them?

Look at any top teams list and the '71 Sooners are either nowhere to be found or way down the list, which is myopic and a shame (relative to this discussion which has no verifiable winner anyway...but hell, it's fun to throw our opinions out there anyway - thanks for sponsoring this blog/site).

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Feb 01, 2008
'95 Huskers Impressive
by: Anonymous

1995 Nebraska is definitely a worthy contender as the best team ever. They were strong on both sides of the ball and their very physical offense could run over most defenses. My only concern about them is their lack of a potent passing game and top notch receivers if they got behind against team with a balanced offense and a strong defense that could control their option. 95' Florida did not have the horses on defense to stop them. Nor did anyone else on Nebraska's schedule, for that matter. A case in point: I thought the 1983 Huskers were, perhaps, the best team in the history of college football up till that time as they took the field in the Orange Bowl. Like their 95' team, they averaged approximately 400 yards per game on the ground and dominated their opponents. But they fell short in the Orange Bowl, 31-30, against a team with a pro style offense and a strong, speedy defense. Always thought of the possibility of the Huskers kicking the extra point to tie the game. Then they go for an onside kick to silence critics who would claim they were backing into a title. If Miami recovers, they have to drive down the field during the last minute and wrest the National Title from Nebraska instead of the Huskers whole season going up in smoke because of a failed two point conversion. I admit, however, this would have been a very unorthodox strategy.

Always had a great deal of respect for Coach Osbourne and am glad he won 3 National Championships before he retired. He was truly a great coach and the epitome of class. I would rank 95' Nebraska in the top three of all time. (Think the 1971 team lacked the speed to compete against some of the great teams since then). If there were an all time final four in college football, I think, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, the 2004 U.S.C. Trojans, and the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers, would comprise 3 of the four team field. My opinion, anyway.

Feb 01, 2008
Good comments
by: Biased Husker

I like what you say Mr. Objectivity/Anonymous (it showed up under both). Yeah, I agree about the '83 Huskers...I wish they would have done what you describe. My wife and I as lifelong fans have only actually both cried over one game in our lives - that Orange Bowl.

The '71 Huskers may have lacked the speed but, they were so dominant it was incredible. Tommie Frazier was actually a fair passer and occasionally would throw some doozies. And, as a great athlete, there were a few long touchdown passes in the 93, 94 and 95 seasons that he put the ball 60 - 70 yards in the air right in the bread basket. Of course, they were often wide open cuz we ran so damn much. I think if Frazier wouldn't have developed blood clots again while in the pros, he might have had a shot at being a good running and passing qb - it's just that they didn't throw enough in practice for him to develop completely.

Anyway, I'd love to see someone televize a simulated 16 team play-off between the greatest teams of all times. There would have to be some sort of formula to rate the teams relative to the sizes of their era. Certainly some of the great Army teams of the '40's or the great Bud Wilkinson teams of the '50's would actually probably get pounded by any decent division I-AA or even div. II teams these days...I think - just shearly on the difference in size, speed and understanding of the game that's evolved. But relative to their era, they were unstoppable at times. It would be fun for us hard cores who like to think about things like this. Athlon Sports did a computer play-off between 16 teams(they did this somewhere around the late 90's/early 2000's). The '95 Huskers beat the '69 Longhorns 31 - 17 in the "final". Now to have that but televized and spread out over several weeks would be fun. The only catch to Athlon's system is they made a rule that no more than 1 school could be represented in the final 16. So, as a pre-tournament thing, they did "in-school" play-offs at places like Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, Nebraska, Army - the schools that had multiple champions. I remember that for my team, the Huskers, that the '95 Huskers beat the '94 Huskers in one semi and the '71 Huskers beat the '83 Huskers in the other. Then the '95 beat the '71 to make the 16 team field. I wouldn't do that, I'd just have a wider field. And if 2 teams from Nebraska or Oklahoma or USC made the final 8, 4 or even what? The whole thing would be fun.

Jan 22, 2010
Tom Osborne best coach of all time
by: MIkey

Best coach of all time no one can beat tom in coaching wish u still were head coach. Best athlete of all time you were awesome heard about track to! go tom

Nov 28, 2010
'95 Huskers
by: Anonymous

Nebraska faced Kansas State in '95-- and believe it or not K-State had the best defense in the country statistically that season and they were destroyed just like the rest of the teams on Nebraska's schedule.

Jun 09, 2011
84 orange bowl.
by: Pacific Northwest husker fan.

Like 2 of you mentioned aabove if Nebraska had kicked the point in the 84 orange bowl that would have forced Miami to scramble to win. That is if they had gotten the ball. Why the Nu coaches had not prepared for the situation where it would come to a 2 point try instead of tying the game I do not know? It took me a few seconds to figure that if we kicked the point, they might assume that we were going to kick it deep. No after the point we would have kicked an onside kick because we would not be going for the tie, but would be willing to give Mu field position if we did not get the onside kick. Again the point is we would not be going for the tie, but would be trying to surprise them into thinking we were and then if we got the onside kick we would have tried to have won it. Now that is not going for a tie

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