Dynasties and the Big Ten

December, 24, 2012
12/24/12
12:00
PM ET
We're talking dynasties today on ESPN.com, as Ivan Maisel points out that Alabama can call itself a dynasty if the Crimson Tide win their third BCS title in four years on Jan. 7.

That led us to wonder what the sport's true dynasties were, and we identified seven previous dynasties in the modern era. Two of them are current Big Ten programs. They are:

Minnesota: 1936-41


Why it started? If the AP poll had launched a few years earlier, Bernie Bierman's Minnesota teams would have sat atop it. The Gophers went 8-0 in both 1934 and 1935, and claimed a NCAA-record third consecutive national title in 1936. Although Minnesota's title streak ended the following year, it continued to dominate the Big Ten with consecutive championships in 1937 and 1938.

Why it ended? The incredible stretch included two more national titles (1940, 1941) before Bierman enlisted in the Marines in January 1942 to serve during World War II. He returned to coach Minnesota in 1945 but never reclaimed the same dominance at the school.

Did you know? Bud Wilkinson, who would go on to coach his own dynasty at Oklahoma, quarterbacked the Gophers from 1934 to 1936 -- Adam Rittenberg

Nebraska: 1994-97

Why it started? From 1987-93, Nebraska met either Florida State or Miami in a bowl six times -- and lost all six. Nebraska bludgeoned people in the regular season but couldn't match the Florida schools' speed in January. Tom Osborne changed his approach and put more speed on the field, epitomized when he recruited Tommie Frazier out of Bradenton, Fla.

Why it ended? Osborne retired after his third and final title following the 1997 season. His handpicked successor, Frank Solich, won 42 games his first four seasons but couldn't recapture the magic and was fired after a 9-3 season in 2003.

Did you know? The 1995 Cornhuskers outscored opponents 638-174 and beat four teams that finished in the AP Top 10 by an average of more than 30 points each. They averaged 399.8 rushing yards per game. -- Brian Bennett

What do you think of our dynasty choices? And more importantly, do you think a Big Ten team can start another dynasty in this day and age?

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