It sounds strange to say in today’s sports environment, where Alabama wins a national title seemingly every other year. But in 1992, the Crimson Tide were the plucky underdogs. They were undefeated, sure. But no one really believed they could beat #1-ranked Miami. The Hurricanes were the defending national co-champs and racked up an undefeated season of their own. Miami and Alabama were on a collision course for the Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide’s victory was surprising enough. The fact it was a blowout simply shocked everyone.
Maybe we shouldn’t have been as surprised as we were at the display of dominance the Tide put on in New Orleans on New Year’s Night. After all, the Hurricanes had gone through a series of harrowing escapes in keeping their perfect season. One of them—as was becoming the norm—was against Florida State. The Seminoles missed a field goal wide right for the second straight year at Miami, a game that was their only defeat.
These three teams shaped the national championship race. That was much to the chagrin of Texas A&M, who was undefeated and unrespected during the regular season. But the Aggies did a little too much talking about how disappointed they were to play Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. The Irish whipped A&M in the trenches and it would be Notre Dame that finished the season in the final top five.
Michigan had what has to be the strangest undefeated season in college football history. The Wolverines played to a tie three different times, in this era when overtime was still four years off. Had OT existed, Michigan might have won a share of the national championship…or they might have been in the Hall of Fame Bowl. As it was, they were Big Ten champs for the fourth time in five years and they won the Rose Bowl, going into the record books as an undefeated team.
The links below take you to articles about the seasons of Alabama, Miami, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan. You’ll read about their key players, big games and significant moments. The articles will capture the spirit of the 1992 college football season through the eyes of its most consequential teams.