The 2001 National Championship Miami football team was named the best ever by the Bleacher Report. Miami was the only program from Florida to have a team ranked in the top 10. The 2008 Florida National Championship team and 2013 Florida State title winners were named as honorable mention.
The 2001 Miami football team set the standard for greatness. No other team can claim the talent Miami had. Miami had Clinton Portis, Frank Gore and Willis McGahee on the three deep at running back. Ed Reed was an All-American safety backed up by future All-American safety Sean Taylor.
Miami set the record for margin of victory in back-to-back weeks outscoring number 14 Syracuse and number 12 Washington 124-7. The Hurricanes began the season ranked number two, earned the number one ranking following a 33-7 victory at Penn State. The Hurricanes dropped to second after a 38-7 win over Troy.
Miami moved back to number one following a 49-27 pasting of Florida State in Tallahassee. The victory over the Seminoles began a stretch of 22 straight weeks in the top spot that lasted into the 2002 season. Beginning in the 2000 season, Miami program had one of the most dominant stretches in college football history.
The Hurricanes were 34-2 in those three seasons combined and due to outside influences only won one National Championship. Both Bleacher Report and 247 Sports had their own analysis about what made the 2001 Miami football team great. Both used stats illustrating the Miami dominance.
Bleacher Report: “The ‘Canes allowed just 9.8 points per game and defeated five Top 15 opponents by a combined score of 236-72.”
247Sports take: The 2001 Hurricanes entered the season on a 10-game winning streak with a chip on their shoulder after being excluded by the BCS computers in the previous year’s national championship game.
Ken Dorsey and Miami responded by destroying every team on the schedule, finishing 12-0 with an average margin of victory at 32.9 PPG. In all, 38 players would become future NFL Draft picks including 17 future first-rounders.
Miami became the first program (at the time) to see its first-, second- and third-string running backs all start a game in the NFL later in their careers.
Dorsey became the starting quarterback for Miami as a freshman in 1999. During his four seasons as the Hurricanes starting QB, Miami was 38-2. In addition to the victories over Washington and Syracuse, Miami defeated Florida State and Virginia Tech who were both ranked 14 at their time of the victories over them.
Nebraska finished second in the BCS rankings but was number four in the final Associated Press poll of the 2001 regular season. A stated by 247, Miami used finishing 0.32 points behind FSU in the 2000 final BCS standings as motivation for the 2001 season. Florida State lost 13-2 to Oklahoma for the National Championship.
Miami lost out on a chance to win a National Championship in the Orange Bowl game for the fourth time. The Seminoles instead were shutout on offense in the loss. Miami defeated Florida State 27-24 at the Orange Bowl in 2000. Approaching the 20 year anniversary of the 2001 season, Miami is still the best team ever.