College football’s history is strange, sordid, storied … and not that well-shared.
We know some of the national champions and title controversies, and we know a lot of the Heisman winners. We know the dynasties and the great coaches, and we remember some of the particularly important bowls. But my history is not your history, and yours isn’t that person’s over there.
Creating a list of the top 50 college football teams of all-time would certainly be an exercise in debate and argument. But instead, let’s do something more enjoyable. Let’s create a list of 50 of the most fun, interesting, tragic, and/or most historically important teams. Some examples:
The 1941 Northwestern team that featured both Otto Graham and the top recruit in the country (and went 5-3).
The 1959 Ole Miss and Syracuse teams, two nearly perfect squads on opposite sides of the segregation line.
The 1968 Texas team that created the Wishbone out of sheer necessity.
The 1970 Alabama team that transitioned the Tide into a decade of dominance.
The 1988 Miami team that was maybe the best Hurricanes squad of the era but didn’t take home the national title.
The 1990 Virginia team that went to No. 1, then crumbled to the ground.
The 2007 Oregon team that redefined everything we knew about the spread offense, then burned out like a supernova.
Et cetera. Greatness denied, greatness out of nowhere, greatness on the horizon, necessity turning into invention. I want to tell college football’s story by telling the stories of its mostinteresting teams, not necessarily its champions (though a few champs made it through the cracks). The list of candidates was immense, but I’ve narrowed it to 49. And now I need your help.
* I want to hire a research assistant to build background on these teams that goes beyond what I could compile myself. (This project will be done on the side, not replacing any of my day-to-day SB Nation work.) That means having someone to help with in-depth research (especially on the older teams), communication, transcription, etc.
* I want to self-publish, which costs a little bit of money.
* I want your help picking the 50th team. You’ll find voting rights among the reward tiers. At a later date, I will provide a list of candidates (with a write-in option).
Thanks for any support you can give. Hopefully this is as interesting an idea to others as it is to me.