Jon Gruden: 2001 Miami Hurricanes Best College Football Team Ever
As an unabashed Canes fan, you know I’m not going to miss an opportunity to give some love to my Hurricanes, especially when it was prompted by somebody else. After Andre Johnson caught a touchdown prior to halftime of the Ravens-Texans Monday night game, analyst and former coach Jon Gruden began praising Miami.
Introducing what seemed to be a prepared piece by ESPN, Chucky said that the 2001 Miami team was the best college football team ever. He pointed out how 38 of the 89 players on the team were drafted, including 17 in the first round. They showed a team photo and spot-shadowed Andre Johnson and Ed Reed (both of whom were playing in the Monday night game) and mentioned Willis McGahee, who was also playing in the game. Other running backs on that Miami team were Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, and Najeh Davenport. In addition to Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow II caught passes from Ken Dorsey. Defensive stars included Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vince Wilfork, and Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor as backups.
Gruden said he wished he had some of those players on his teams and that’s why he’s out of a job. Then he got in the ultimate line saying that team could win the NFC West this year. Of course that’s not true, but it’s funny and it shows how stacked Miami was. Now that we’ve gotten the sucking up out of the way, let’s dive into some real analysis.
While I believe Miami had the best collection of talent on one team, I don’t think they were the best college football team ever. They blew out most of their opponents but they had close calls on the road against Virginia Tech and Boston College. Nebraska was completely overmatched in the championship game and Miami was the beneficiary of a year where there was not another undefeated team.
Just running down a few teams that have stood out, the ’95 Nebraska team dominated their opponents more than Miami did, same with the ’71 Nebraska team. And if you want dominance, the 1956 Oklahoma team that went 10-0 shutout six of its opponents. Miami may have had the most impressive roster, but they were not the most dominant on the field.