An era that often saw teams accept Bowl bids before the end of the regular season prevented another chance to match one and two in a Bowl game. Notre Dame had accepted a bid to the Orange Bowl before Miami and the Fighting Irish played in the final regular-season game ironically at the Orange Bowl.
Miami crushed Notre Dame 27-10 to finish the season 10-1. Notre Dame into the game undefeated and the Orange Bowl committee was matching them with 11-0 Big Eight Champion Colorado. Miami’s win over the Irish featured the legendary Craig Erickson and Randall Hill connection for a first down on third and 43.
Notre Dame defeated Colorado 21-6 in the Orange Bowl and had to scoreboard watch as the Hurricanes beat number seven Alabama 33-25 in the Sugar Bowl to win the National Championship in Dennis Erickson’s first season. Six teams were ranked behind number two Miami with one loss at the end of the regular season.
Michigan was third with its one loss to number four Notre Dame. Florida State was fifth but had two losses. Florida State had finally defeated Miami later in the season but began the year with opening losses to Southern Mississippi and their upstart Quarterback Brett Favre and to Clemson.
Nebraska, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas also finished the season with one loss. The likelihood is that the playoff would have been Colorado, Miami, Notre Dame and Michigan. Tennessee’s only regular season loss was to Alabama, whose only regular-season loss came to archrival Auburn in their final regular season game.
The Tide went to the Sugar Bowl as the SEC Champion. Nebraska’s only loss was to Colorado and Arkansas’ to Texas.