On Tuesday ESPN put out its list of the best 25 teams not to win a championship. This immediately caught my attention, given we recently examined the best Miami teams not to win a title here at State of the U with a number of great articles/arguments.
As I scrolled down the top 25, there were plenty of memorable teams and some that I would’ve never thought of. I thought, well, I guess they must have at least a few Miami teams in the conversation near the top.
Checking in at number 10 was the 1986 Miami Hurricanes team. ESPN had this to say about the ‘86 Canes:
“Miami came out of nowhere to win the 1983 national title, but this was the Hurricanes’ first truly great team. The offense featured Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde throwing to Michael Irvin, Brett Perriman and Brian Blades. The defense boasted Bennie Blades and Bubba McDowell in the secondary and dual All-Americans Jerome Brown and Dan Sileo at tackle.
Miami moved to No. 1 after a startlingly easy 28-16 win over top-ranked Oklahoma and dominated teams such as Florida State and West Virginia. This wasn’t the most challenging schedule, but Miami rolled. Until the Fiesta Bowl. In that famous 1987 Fiesta Bowl, the Hurricanes outgained No. 2 Penn State by a ridiculous 445-162 margin, but they somehow turned the ball over seven times when six would have probably provided a victory. Instead of going down as one of the greatest teams ever, they became vanquished villains instead.”
The ‘86 Canes were an obvious choice, with all of the talent, the devastation it wrought during the season, the swagger and attention they brought with them, and the shot-themselves-in-the-foot way they lost the game despite looking like the far better team.
So, moving down the list, there were two more teams I completely expected to see: the 2000 and 2002 talent-dripping squads. Neither made the list. I find that astonishing, given the staggering All-Pro-level talent on the 2000 team that finished the year by whipping Florida’s butt on Bourbon Street and then again in the Superdome. The 2002 team literally won the title before it was taken away on a criminally late (and wrong) call.
What’s interesting is how many of these teams Miami relegated to this list. 1983 Nebraska, 1985 Oklahoma, 1986 Oklahoma, 1987 Oklahoma, 1980 Florida State, 1987 Florida State, and 1992 Florida State all fell victim to Miami that cost them shots at the title. No other school can lay claim to knocking seven teams to the ranks of the best never to win the title. That’s absolutely crazy.
Personally, of the teams on the list, I would’ve put 1994 Penn State and 2005 USC closer to the top. I think 2011 LSU should be much higher, as they crushed teams all year and had an extremely talented defense with Michael Brockers, Barkevious Mingo, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne. I wouldn’t have had 2019 Ohio State that near the top even though they won 8 games against ranked teams, but that’s because they lost to the team that got thrashed by eventual champion LSU.
What do you guys think? Which other Miami teams would you put in the top 25 and where? What do you think of the other schools on the list? Let’s hear it.