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Topic: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP

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OrangeAfroMan

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Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« on: January 09, 2019, 11:25:42 PM »
It's December 2, 1991, and this is the playoff setup.  No bowls have been played.  Who do you think would win and why?
1 Miami vs 4 Michigan
2 Washington vs 3 Florida
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The Teams:
#1 Miami, 11-0, Big East Champions
16th in scoring offense
1st in scoring defense
26th in strength of schedule
Hurricanes were ranked #2 most of the season, before beating #1 FSU on the road by 1 point.  Other wins vs. ranked teams were by thirty over #10 Houston and by six over #9 Penn State.  
Typical pro set Miami offense passed the ball effectively and ran the ball as a change-up.  QB Torretta was good/not great and they had a RB-by-committee.  The strength of this team was the defense, especially the pass D - allowing only 150 yards through the air and snagging 19 INTs.  Great PR in Kevin Williams (3 TD) and the always solid Huerta at K.
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#2 Washington, 11-0, Pac-10 Champions
2nd in scoring offense
2nd in scoring defense
8th in strength of schedule
Huskies were ranked in the top 4 all season.  Won both games vs ranked teams on the road (#9 Nebraska, #7 Cal).  Held 7 opponents to single-digit scoring.  Prolific offense hit 50+ points four times.
QB Billy Joe Hobert managed the offense, throwing to 1,000-yard WR Mario Bailey (17 TD) and hading off to Bryant and Barry.  Very balanced offense (240 yds passing/232 rushing) and an all-time great defense, led by DT Steve Emtman and LB Dave Hoffmann.  UW allowed only 67 yards rushing per game (1.9 per rush) AND opponents completed only 46% of their passing, with the Huskies picking off 22 passes.  The special teams weren't great, but they didn't have to be.
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#3 Florida, 10-1, SEC Champions
14th in scoring offense
20th in scoring defense
9th in strength of schedule
Gators started out ranked 5th, but had to work their way back into the playoff after losing @ #18 Syracuse early.  Schedule included six ranked teams, with Florida blowing out #16 Alabama, #21 Miss State, #4 Tennessee, and #23 Georgia before a close win over #3 FSU.  This is Florida's first official SEC champion team.  
QB Shane Matthews threw for 300+ yards per game, but suffered from 18 INT.  Despite this, he had a strong passer rating.  The Gators could run as well, led by 1,000-yard rusher Errict Rhett (10 TD).  Matthews spread the ball around to many targets.  The defense was solid vs run and pass.  Special teams weren't very good, aside from punter Shayne Edge.
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#4 Michigan, 10-1, Big Ten Champions
8th scoring offense
24th scoring defense
4th strength of schedule
Wolverines started the year ranked 2nd, but an early blowout loss to #1 FSU at home had UM fighting their way back into the playoff.  UM beat 4 other ranked teams - #4 ND, @#9 Iowa, @#25 Illinois, and #18 OSU.  Defense held seven opponents to two scores or less.
Run-first offense led by RB Ricky Powers (1200 yards).  Efficient QB Grbac had luxury of throwing to Heisman-winner Desmond Howard (19 TD).  Howard was also prolific kick and punt returner.  Defense was very stingy against both run and pass (85 yds allowed rushing per game).  Poor kicking game all-around.
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Notable players involved:
WR Desmond Howard, Michigan (Heisman, Maxwell, Camp, All-American)
LB Erick Anderson, Michigan (Butkus)
DT Steve Emtman, Washington (Outland, Lombardi, AA)
HC Don James, Washington (Coach of the Year)
WR Mario Bailey, Washington (AA)
OT Greg Skrepenak, Michigan (AA)
K  Carlos Huerta, Miami (AA)
DT Brad Culpepper, Florida (AA)
DB Darryl Williams, Miami (AA)
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

ELA

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 12:00:25 AM »
Miami was great, but that Washington was an all timer.  One of the best teams ever.

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 07:24:14 AM »
It wouldn't have been the Wolverines. 
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OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 08:36:13 AM »
I voted for Washington as well.  I think Miami's offense was too ordinary to have won this playoff, although their defense was legit.  I think Florida would have the 2nd-best shot at winning it because of this being Spurrier's 2nd season at UF.  Teams still weren't really ready or able to combat his passing game yet.  Alabama went 11-1, and their only loss was 35-0 to the Gators, and the Tide had the #3 scoring defense in the country that year.  So while UW was probably the best team, the unfamiliarity of the Florida offense very well could have given them fits.  It took the SEC probably 7-8 years to "catch up" and deal with it.
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

MarqHusker

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 09:12:51 AM »
I like Wash, big.  This was that period where Nebraska played all four coMNC during 90 and 91.

SFBadger96

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 11:20:19 AM »
Maybe it's just trying to move away from the Miami juggernaut and remembering how Washington shut Michigan down in the Rose Bowl, but I went with Washington, too. I was a Stanford football season ticket holder at the time (ok, my parents were, and they always took me), and in the Pac-10 everyone feared that Washington team.

OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 12:38:25 PM »
In the moment, Miami was the incumbent and got the benefit of the doubt, despite their coming back to the pack on offense.  Statistically, looking back, Washington had the superior season.  They beat UM comfortably (which we must ignore for this exercise), but so did FSU in Ann Arbor.  FSU had their chances, but lost to Miami by 1 and to Florida by 5.  

Miami shut out Nebraska in their bowl, which is all you need to know about that defense.  But UW had as good a defense AND a great offense AND a tougher schedule.
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

Entropy

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 12:44:35 PM »
Nebraska played both Wash and Miami that season.  They lost both games.   Washington won 36-21 in Lincoln and Miami won 22-0 in the orange bowl (Miami's home field).  UNL was up 14-13 at Half vs Washington.  Vs Miami they were down 0-13 at half.   Washington took it to UNL in the 2nd half where Miami controlled the game.   I voted Washington but that would have been a great game.  

medinabuckeye1

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 05:41:08 PM »
I realize that this isn't what you are trying to determine here, but there would have been a fierce debate over which teams to include.  

Miami and Washington would have been obvious as both were undefeated and conference Champions (BigEast and Pac respectively) but after that it would have been highly debatable.  

Florida was #3 in the December 2, 1991 AP Poll and SEC Champions at 10-1.  That is the argument for the Gators.  The argument against is their 17 point loss to #16 Syracuse.  The Orangemen (as they were still known back then) got annihilated by the Seminoles in Tallahassee, lost to East Carolina at home, and somehow avoided playing Miami despite both being in the Big East.  

Michigan was #4 in the December 2, 1991 AP Poll and BigTen Champions at 10-1.  That is the argument for the Wolverines.  The argument against is their 20 point home loss to Florida State.  

Florida State was #5 in the December 2, 1991 AP Poll and a 10-2 independent.  The argument against them is that they had just lost back-to-back games to Miami (by a point, one of the famous missed FG games I believe) and Florida (by five points in the Swamp).  The argument for them is that those were their only two losses and both were considerably better than Michigan's or Florida's losses.  Their SoS would be through the roof with games against #1 Miami, #3 Florida, #4 Michigan, and #16 Syracuse.  

Penn State was #6 in the December 2, 1991 AP Poll and a 10-2 independent.  Their SoS wasn't as good as FSU and one of their losses was to an uncharacteristically weak (3-8) USC along with a close loss to the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl (Stadium, it was a Miami home game).  

Iowa was #7 and a 10-1 BigTen co-champ but they got drilled at home by the Wolverines so they wouldn't have been a factor.  

Alabama was #8 and a 10-1 SEC co-champ but they got drilled in the Swamp by the Gators so they wouldn't have been a factor.  

aTm was #9 and a 10-1 SWC (remember them?) Champion.  Their only loss was early in the season by one point on the road to Tulsa which finished the year ranked #23.  They would have had an argument as a Power Conference Champion with only one loss and that loss being arguably better than either Florida or Michigan.  Their problem was that their best win was over an 8-3 Baylor team that received votes in the 12/2/91 poll but wasn't ranked.  The problem for them was that Texas (5-6) and basically the entirety of the SWC had weak records that year.  

Another interesting memory from those days was how many teams went into the Bowls with at least a somewhat plausible chance at the NC:
  • Miami played #11 Nebraska
  • Washington played #4 Michigan
  • Florida played #18 Notre Dame
  • Michigan played #2 Washington
  • Florida State played #9 aTm
  • Penn State played #10 Tennessee
  • Iowa played nr BYU
  • Alabama played #15 Colorado
  • aTm played #4 Florida State
Plausible paths:
  • Miami:  Simply win and root for Michigan or at least a close Rose Bowl.  
  • Washington:  Win and root for Nebraska.  
  • Florida:  Win and root for Nebraska and Michigan.  
  • Michigan:  Win and root for Nebraska and Notre Dame.  
  • Florida State:  Win bit, root for Nebraska and Notre Dame and hope for a sloppy Michigan win over Washington.  
  • Penn State:  No real chance.  
  • Iowa:  No real chance.  
  • Alabama:  No real chance.  
  • aTm:  Win, root for Nebraska and Notre Dame, and hope for a sloppy Michigan win over Washington.  


Brutus Buckeye

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 05:46:34 PM »
It was awesome when the SWC and the Big East simultaneously existed. 
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OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 07:25:13 PM »
Eh, only 4 teams had a shot at the NC.  I don't care how messy the win would be, UM wins it if the top 3 lose.  Helmet, 1-loss, conf champ.  Done deal.  As a Gators fan, I was really pulling for Michigan to win so Florida would have a shot.  But it didn't matter, because Florida forgot how to get the ball in the end zone and kept kicking FGs for 3 quarters in the Sugar Bowl.
I wasn't hopeful at all that Nebraska would beat Miami.  
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 07:28:37 PM »
And FSU's argument to get into the playoff would be undone by people lamenting rematches, imo.  To have had 2 games with playoff teams and to have lost both....FSU should have (hypothetically) been too embarrassed to want in.  
Imagine if this year, Georgia had lost to Bama and ND already, but was trying to stump for inclusion - they'd get laughed out of the convo.
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2019, 07:31:08 PM »
It was awesome when the SWC and the Big East simultaneously existed.
I hadn't realized how weak the SWC was into the 90s...it was A&M and a bunch of nothing.  And that's separate from the cesspool it was, ethics-wise.
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

FearlessF

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2019, 08:08:52 PM »
Nebraska played both Wash and Miami that season.  They lost both games.   Washington won 36-21 in Lincoln and Miami won 22-0 in the orange bowl (Miami's home field).  UNL was up 14-13 at Half vs Washington.  Vs Miami they were down 0-13 at half.   Washington took it to UNL in the 2nd half where Miami controlled the game.   I voted Washington but that would have been a great game.  
yup
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FearlessF

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 08:10:04 PM »
Eh, only 4 teams had a shot at the NC.  I don't care how messy the win would be, UM wins it if the top 3 lose.  Helmet, 1-loss, conf champ.  Done deal.  As a Gators fan, I was really pulling for Michigan to win so Florida would have a shot.  But it didn't matter, because Florida forgot how to get the ball in the end zone and kept kicking FGs for 3 quarters in the Sugar Bowl.
I wasn't hopeful at all that Nebraska would beat Miami.  
me either
I was watching from Tempe.  It was ugly
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OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2019, 09:14:30 PM »
It's funny - researching this has given me a new slant on the expanded playoff idea.
Back then, #1 Miami wound up playing #11 Nebraska in the bowl game.  Considering the BCS gave us 1 vs 2 was supposed to have been better or what we all wanted, now we have #1 vs #4, and if/when it's an eight-team playoff, we'll have #1 vs #8....nearly back to the 1 vs 11 we had here in the '91 season.  
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Nearly full-circle...."advancing" to get 1 vs 2, then whittling it all back away.  Hmmph.  Silly.
“The Swamp is where Gators live.  We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." - Steve Spurrier

MarqHusker

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2019, 10:42:36 PM »
That was probably Osborne's worst ever home beating by a long shot.   Washington had 600+ yards .  4th qtr was a train wreck. 

FearlessF

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Re: Vote - What If? 1991 CFP
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2019, 11:19:31 PM »
I was in the stadium

I was shocked by the 4th quarter

brutal
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