- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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I hope everybody had a good Fourth of July weekend, but now it is time to get back to football.
This link was from a little more than a week ago, but I think it is still worth debating. NFL.com writer Chase Goodbread ranked the top 10 college football teams from the 1990s, but the kicker is the team had to finish undefeated, although it was not required they won a national championship.
When all 10 teams in the ranking are undefeated, every single one of those teams has a claim to the No. 1 spot, making the list purely subjective. However, it is still fun to dissect and debate.
For the ACC blog’s purposes, we’re looking at Florida State’s 1999 team that went 12-0 and defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl en route to Bobby Bowden’s second national championship. NFL.com ranks that Seminoles squad, led by Heisman winner Chris Weinke, second on the list. If it is any consolation to Seminoles fans, the 1995 Nebraska team was ranked No. 1, and the Huskers thrashed Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl that season.
So, the first question is whether Florida State deserved to be No. 1 or even fall a little bit? Weinke was as pure a passer as there was during the decade and spent a few seasons in the NFL. Peter Warrick was a great receiver and went No. 4 overall in the NFL draft, and the following season Jamal Reynolds was a top-10 pick. Let’s not forget kicker Sebastian Janikowski was also a first-round selection … but it was the Raiders who took him.
Let’s add another layer here, though. Is that 1999 team even the best Florida State team of the decade? The 1993 team certainly has a legitimate claim to being the program’s best of the 1990s. That team was also led by a Heisman winner, but they suffered a loss to Notre Dame late in the season. Quarterback Charlie Ward was able to get the Seminoles to regroup and win the national championship.
The best could have been even another FSU team, as Bowden led the Noles to double-digit wins every year, and the Seminoles had five seasons during the decade with just a single loss.
And let’s add one more layer and ask if it is even the greatest FSU team ever? The 2013 team can certainly lay claim to that distinction when you consider the undefeated record, the single-season records, Jameis Winston winning the Heisman and the number of draft picks the Seminoles had. By mid-January, the 2014 Florida State team could be in the discussion, too.
What say you?
Here are a few more links to get you through the work day:
Athlon Sports released its bowl projections and expects 11 ACC teams to reach a bowl. The site also projects Florida State to defeat Alabama for the national championship.
Nate Mink of Syracuse.com talked to a Notre Dame expert to preview the Orange's upcoming game against the Fighting Irish this season.
Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll had a profound effect on Cole Stoudt and his family.
The seventh-most important player for Clemson this season is a bit of a surprise.
5dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon