Is 2018 Clemson...

The best college football team of all time? I’m seeing a lot of discussion of that on the interwebz, particularly in the CFB section of Quora, where know-it-alls like me answer questions from know-nothings :slight_smile:

The best CFB team I’ve ever seen, and this is what I posted on Quora, remains Nebraska 1995, which hammered people by an average of 38.5 points, including a 62-24 massacre of Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to cap their perfect season. You will note that 62-24 is a 38-point margin, in the de facto NCG that year. (Joke from that game: How many Gators does it take to tackle Tommie Frazier? Answer: Nobody knows; they haven’t tackled him yet.)

But Clemson would have to be in the discussion, I think, after 15-0 capped by a complete outplaying/outcoaching of Bama in Santa Clara.


I though Alabama was the best college football team I’ve watched in my life time, until Tua got hurt. They haven’t been quite as good since then, but it’s syill the same team.

My sample size is probably considerably smaller than you consider I was born the year of your 95 Nebraska team.

I say yes, they are the best college football team I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to beat Alabama, but to absolutely kick their a**… that’s never happened, until now.

no, I think most sports experts would consider the Nebraska team (I forget what year) as the all time best. Their average winning margin was like 38 points (seems like the smallest margin was mid 20’s) and they beat a really good Florida team by similar numbers.

I don’t think we can accurately judge Clemson’s season until we are further removed from it. The benefit of hindsight helps shape the historical narrative of a team’s season. Many consider the 2001 Miami team to be one of the all-time greats, but it’s an opinion that has, rightly or wrongly, been reinforced by the professional success of the players on that team.

Pre Trevor Lawrence start no, After Trevor Lawrence start yes.
They had to win a game or 2 when TL was hurt as well & no KB there either.

maybe in "modern"times.still think that the Razorbacks’ National Championship team should be in the talk…undefeated and the defense had what?5 shutouts?one would be hard pressed to find a defensive team lately that could boast of such a feat.just my 2 cents worth…no football expert at all…63 at the end of the month…

Hard for the 1964 Hogs to be in this conversation when they weren’t even widely acknowledged as the best team in the country that year, much less of all time. Most of the versions of the '64 NC reside in Tuscaloosa, and Notre Dame, which didn’t play in a bowl, has as many versions of the '64 NC as we do.

Five shutouts in a row is impressive, but it wasn’t exactly murderers’ row we were shutting out. We blanked Wichita State (4-6 final record), A&M (1-9), Rice (4-5-1), SMU (1-9), and Tech (6-4-1). Four of the bottom five in the SWC standings plus a nonconference cupcake (Baylor finished third).

And 1964 football was a completely different animal. Most teams were still using starters going both ways; JFB was one of the first to commit to “two-platoon” football and that was a huge part of our advantage that year. Tulsa, which we beat 31-22 early in the season, was the only team in the country to average 30 points per game. Nebraska, our bowl victim, averaged 23. We averaged 21 which led the SWC. Bama led the SEC at 22 ppg. ND averaged 28.

I don’t think there’s any way to properly compare teams from different eras. Rules change. The whole game changes. In the 1960’s there were almost no African-American players on college teams–and none on southern teams. As Swine said, in 1964 we were barely out of one-platoon football. There were fewer games played then & there were very few intersectional games. There weren’t but about 10 bowls & often good teams didn’t go to bowls.

Even in more recent years the rules have changed substantially to favor offenses. O-linemen couldn’t use their hands at all until somewhat recently (70’s maybe?) Pass interference was called completely differently. Lots of blocking rules changes. And lord knows players are faster, stronger & bigger now.

I don’t know if one era’s game is better than the others, but they’re hard to compare.

Saban says “YES”…

This is true. Until Tua was hurt, SabaNation was seriously considering this year’s Tide to be the best, period, with their Heisman QB and all-world WRs and traditionally stiff defense. They went “uh-oh” when Tua began to show impacts of his injury, even though Hurts was able to play and lead them.

So, if the Tiders thought their team best, and Clemson whipped them, then Clemson would be the best. Right?

Alabama’s offense was one of the all-time great units, but its defense this year made me hesitant to say the Tide were a lock to win the championship, let alone call it an all-time great team. Arkansas scored 31 on Alabama and nearly 38. That had to raise red flags.

Minus the first quarter against Oklahoma, the defense was exposed the entire postseason. Georgia scored 28, Oklahoma scored 34 and Clemson scored 44, and could have scored more.

We’ve got to concede Clemson was the best team this year. Even if a healthy Tua would’ve changed that, he didn’t stay healthy & the result is just part of football. It made Clemson better this year.

However, one game doesn’t mean too much. I remember when Ark beat USC 23-7 (or something like that in 1974). USC went on to win the national championship with only that one loss. Ark lost the next week to Okla St & ended up with a rather poor season. There’s no doubt to anyone who saw the game, we were simply better than USC that night. In every facet of the game. But they had a better team over the course of the year. We can all recall similar games over the years where the better team lost. That’s one reason I tend to dislike a playoff to determine the national champion. Granted, had Bama not faced Clemson this year, there’s a chance we’d have had two 15-0 teams & huge argument about “who’s #1.” However, the old BCS system would have fixed that. To me, the best system would be to have the regular bowl system then after the bowls, have a committee like the current one pick the two top teams to meet in one game. I can’t think of many years when the bowls didn’t winnow it down to the two most deserving teams. Usually, there wasn’t too much dispute about who should be #1.