StatTiger: AU's Bowl Opponent Built Dynasty

Stuart Carter (StatTiger) takes a look at some of the great runs in college football history. Auburn's bowl opponent is one of the teams featured.

Despite its recent loss to the UCLA Bruins this past weekend, the University of Southern California remains in a league shared by only three other Division I programs. During the modern era of college football, which will be defined as football played since 1960, only five other major universities have won 90 percent of its games over a five-year span.

The Trojans became the sixth team to accomplish this feat by winning 90.6 percent of their games between 2002 and 2006.

From 2002-2006, the USC Trojans have compiled a 58-6 record, giving them a .906 win percentage over a five-year period. The University of Nebraska holds the record at 60-3 from 1993 through 1997, winning 95.2 percent of its games. The Miami Hurricanes are second with a 56-4 record from 1987-1991, a .933 win percentage.

Win percentage of .900 over a five-year period since 1960:

1993-1997 Nebraska -- 60-3-0
1987-1991 Miami -- 56-4-0
1970-1974 Michigan -- 50-4-1
1985-1989 Miami -- 55-5-0
1986-1990 Miami -- 55-5-0
1988-1992 Miami -- 55-5-0
1994-1998 Nebraska -- 58-6-0
2002-2006 Southern Cal -- 58-6-0
1992-1996 Nebraska -- 56-6-0
1996-2000 Florida State -- 56-6-0
1995-1999 Florida State -- 55-6-0
1961-1965 Alabama -- 49-5-1
1962-1966 Alabama -- 49-5-1
1971-1975 Alabama -- 54-6-0
1975-1979 Alabama -- 54-6-0

Judging by the above list, Southern Cal moves up to 8th place on an elite list of 15. Winning 90 percent of your games in one season makes for a very good year but to accomplish the same feat over a five-year period makes the history books. Nebraska and Miami separate themselves from the pack as the only two programs to win more than 92 percent of their games during a five-year span.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 1993-1997

The Big Red Machine under Tom Osborne was one last-second field goal miss against Florida State in the 1994 Orange Bowl from winning four national championships over a five-year period. Even with the heart-breaking defeat to the Seminoles, Nebraska still compiled an amazing 60-3 record, which included three national championships. The Huskers did it with talent, depth and coaching, placing 38 players in the NFL draft from 1994-1998.

Average score: 43-15
Win percentage: .952
Opponents' win percentage: .536
Record against opponents with .750 win percentage: 14-2-0 (.875)
Record against opponents with a winning record: 28-2-0 (.933)
Final rankings: 3rd, 1st, 1st, 6th and 1st
Victories against opponents with .750 win percentage or better:
- 1993: Kansas State 45-28, Oklahoma 21-7
- 1994: Kansas State 17-6, Colorado 24-7 and Miami 24-17
- 1995: Kansas State 49-25, Colorado 44-21, Kansas 41-3 and Florida 62-24
- 1996: Kansas State 39-3, Colorado 17-12 and Virginia Tech 41-21
- 1997: Kansas State 56-26, Tennessee 42-17

No major Division I football team ran the ball as effectively as the Nebraska Cornhuskers from 1993-1997. The Cornhuskers averaged 344 yards rushing and 480 yards per game in total offense for five years. From 1992-2001, Nebraska compiled a 111-15-0 record, better than any other program during that time period.

Miami Hurricanes 1987-1991

The Miami Hurricanes were voted No. 1 at the conclusion of three of five seasons from 1987-1991. The Canes had 42 players drafted into the NFL from 1988-1992, which was a primary reason they were able to compile a 56-4 record. The five-year run from 1987-1991 was the best in school history, but just a portion of a magnificent 10-year run from 1983-1992 when the Canes were 107-14-0.

Average score: 35-11
Win percentage: .933
Opponents' win percentage: .567
Record against opponents with .750 win percentage: 14-4-0 (.778)
Record against opponents with a winning record: 29-4-0 (.879)
Final Rankings in order: 1st, 2nd, 1st, 3rd and 1st
Victories against opponents with .750 win percentage or better:
- 1987: FSU 26-25, Oklahoma 20-14
- 1988: FSU 31-0, Michigan 31-30, Arkansas 18-16 and Nebraska 23-3
- 1989: Notre Dame 27-10, Alabama 33-25
- 1990: FSU 31-22, Texas 46-3
- 1991: Penn State 26-20, FSU 17-16 and Nebraska 22-0

During their best five-year run, the Miami Hurricanes finished no lower than 2nd in scoring defense in four of five seasons. In 1989, they were the only national championship team other than the 1994 Cornhuskers to finish in the top 10 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense and total defense during the same season.

Michigan 1970-1974

Surprisingly, Michigan's five-year run from 1970-1974 was the 3rd best in college football but it failed to capture one national championship. It was all about tough defense for the Wolverines as they were the most dominating defensive team during that time period. Michigan posted a 50-4-1 record but unfortunately, this was during a time period of only 11 bowl games. It was either win the Big 10 and go to the Rose Bowl or sit at home during the holidays.

Average score: 30-7
Win percentage: .918
Opponents' win percentage: .439
Record against opponents with .750 winning percentage: 0-4-1 (.100)
Record against opponents with a winning record: 13-4-1 (.750)
Final Rankings in order: 9th, 6th, 6th, 6th and 3rd
Victories against opponents with .750 win percentage or better:
- 1970: None - 1971: None - 1972: None - 1973: Ohio State 10-10 (tie) - 1974: None

The Michigan Wolverines finished no lower than 4th in the country in scoring defense from 1970-1974. They were No. 1 in 1971, 1972 and 1973 in scoring defense and no lower than 5th in total defense from 1971-1974. The Wolverine defense allowed an average of 207 yards per game on defense from 1971-1974. Michigan was 96-15-3 from 1969-1978 posting the highest win percentage during that time period.

Florida State Seminoles 1996-2000

From 1996-2000 the Florida State Seminoles established their best five-year run by posting a 56-6-0 record. This reeled in one national championship and put them in position to play for two more in 1996 and 1998. They were explosive on offense and dominating on the defensive side of the ball. Like Nebraska and Miami, the Seminoles were loaded with talent sending 36 players to the NFL draft from 1997-2001.

Average score: 37-14
Win percentage: .903
Opponents' win percentage: .596
Record against opponents with .750 win percentage: 15-5-0 (.750)
Record against Opponents with a winning record: 33-6-0 (.846)
Final Rankings in order: 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 1st and 5th
Victories against opponents with .750 win percentage or better:
- 1996: North Carolina 13-0, Miami 34-16 and Florida 24-21
- 1997: North Carolina 20-3, Ohio State 31-14
- 1998: Texas A&M 23-14, Miami 26-14, Georgia Tech 34-7, Virginia 45-14 and Florida 23-12
- 1999: Virginia Tech 46-29
- 2000: Georgia Tech 26-21, Louisville 31-0, Clemson 54-7 and Florida 30-7

Except for the 1998 season, the Florida State Seminoles finished the season ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense and scoring defense every year during their best five-year run. From 1991-2000, Florida State had the highest win percentage in the country posting a 110-13-1 record.


Though controversial in this part of the country, Matt Leinart led the Trojans to two AP National Championships.

Southern California Trojans 2002-2006

The Trojans' loss to UCLA prevented USC from competing in its third BCS national championship game. Like Nebraska, the Trojans nearly put themselves into position to play for a national championship in four of the last five years. Pete Carroll's USC Trojans established a new NCAA record by scoring at least 20 points in 63 consecutive games. There is no doubt the Trojans have been the most dominant team during this decade.

Average score: 39-18
Win percentage: .906
Opponents' win percentage: .572
Record against opponents with .750 win percentage: 14-3-0 (.824)
Record against opponents with a winning record: 32-6-0 (.842)
Final Rankings in order: 4th, 1st, 1st and 2nd
Victories against opponents with .750 win percentage or better:
- 2002: Notre Dame 44-13, Iowa 38-17
- 2003: Washington State 43-16, Michigan 28-14
- 2004: Virginia Tech 24-13, California 23-17, Arizona State 45-7 and Oklahoma 55-19
- 2005: Oregon 45-13, Notre Dame 34-31 and UCLA 66-19
- 2006: Arkansas 50-14, Nebraska 28-10 and Notre Dame 44-24

Had the Trojans defeated UCLA, it was almost certain they would have competed against Ohio State for an opportunity to play for a third BCS national championship in five years. The Trojans also finished No. 1 in the 2003 Associated Press Poll. Despite the lost opportunity, Southern Cal's five-year run is one of the best during the modern era of college football.


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