Alabama’s 21–0 shutout win over LSU made for one of the more lopsided contests in NCAA football championship history. Their defense allowed just five first downs, 92 total yards, and no penetration past midfield until midway through the fourth quarter. Had their offense not settled for seven field goal attempts, the game very well could have been much higher on the list below of the most-lopsided title games in NCAA football over the last 20 years. On to the list:
5. Jan. 9, 2012: Alabama 21, LSU 0—LSU’s defense, which held Alabama to just a pair of field goals in the regular season matchup just two months before this title bout, kept bending (seven field goal attempts) but didn’t break until midway through the fourth quarter, when they put nearly everyone in the box in trying to stuff a Trent Richardson run. The gamble backfired when Richardson bounced to the outside and ran in a 34-yard touchdown.
The LSU defense though was surely exhausted by the ineptness of their offense which kept putting them back on the field. The Tigers ran just 44 plays and had the ball for 24:34 of a possible 60 game-time minutes, while the Crimson Tide ran 69 plays in all.
Why here: The defensive performance was possibly the best in a BCS title game and the first shutout in a bowl game with championship implications since Miami blanked Nebraska 22–0 in the 1992 Orange Bowl. Only the lack of offense kept this game too close for too long, otherwise this could have been much higher in this list.
4. Jan. 8, 2007: Florida 41, Ohio State 14—Ohio State’s Ted Ginn Jr. actually started this one with a 93-yard touchdown return to put the Buckeyes up 7–0, seconds into the game. An unfazed Gator squad though, led by a pair of quarterbacks in senior Chris Leak and freshman Tim Tebow, scored a pair of touchdowns before the first quarter ended and then put up two more in the next quarter, plus a pair of field goals, to take a nearly-insurmountable 34–14 lead into halftime.
Meanwhile, an out-of-sync Buckeyes offense managed little against Urban Meyer’s defense. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith finished just 4/14 passing for 35 yards as the offense as a whole managed just 82 total yards in the loss.
Why here: The game was essentially over by halftime and people forget how dominating the Florida defense was (10 less yards than the Tide gave up) because they allowed 14 points.
3. Jan. 3, 2002: Miami 37, Nebraska 14—The Cornhuskers, fresh off a 62–36 loss to Colorado that knocked them out of their own conference title match, somehow (through a string of other losses) made it to the big game, where the Hurricanes quickly dispatched the unpopular notion that Nebraska belonged there in the first place.
Miami, with a roster stacked with future NFL stars Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, and Jeremy Shockey (and that’s just on offense), quickly blitzed Nebraska with a 27-point second quarter to take a commanding 34–0 lead into halftime and were never threatened after.
Why here: The game was probably over by the second quarter, and had the Hurricanes stayed aggressive, this one could have been a lot worse.
2. Jan. 4, 2005: USC 55, Oklahoma 19—After USC was snubbed the year before in their bid for a BCS title-game berth (LSU beat Oklahoma instead), the Trojans came out with a vengeance and knocked the Sooners, with stars Adrian Peterson and Jason White, out of the game by the second quarter.
Despite scoring the game’s first touchdown, the Sooners defense soon became unraveled and found themselves behind 38–10 after two quarters, and 55–10 early in the fourth.
Trojans quarterback and newly-minted Heisman Award-winner Matt Leinart threw five touchdowns on the day while former Heisman-winner Jason White was picked off three times.
Why here: A tough call over Miami’s romp (both were essentially over by halftime) but USC gets bonus points in that the win came against much better competition.
1. Jan. 2, 1996: Nebraska 62, Florida 24—The lopsided-score doesn’t even say it all. Tom Osborne’s club racked up 524 rushing yards, gained 27 first downs, out-gained the Gators 183 yards to zero in the second quarter, while outscoring them 29–0, and held Steve Spurrier’s team to -28 yards rushing on for the game.
Both Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier (199 yards rushing) and running back Lawrence Phillips (165) ran wild on the Florida defense, while the 62 points scored are still a Fiesta Bowl record.
Florida’s only statistical advantage (297–105 in passing yards) yielded three interceptions while quarterback Danny Wuerffel was sacked seven times.Why here: Another tough call here over USC but Nebraska’s performance just kept going. Up 35–10 at the half they didn’t let up (though their backups were playing) until their final drive, mercifully electing to take a knee while in the red zone to prevent further embarrassment.