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The 1992 college football season was (allegedly) about more than just George Teague

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First things first:

I'm realizing as I write this that George Teague basically erased every single other memory I might have had about this season.

I can peruse the internet and find that this was the year of Wide Right II (FSU missed a field goal that would have tied Miami and kept the Seminoles unbeaten), that this was Bill Walsh's first year back at Stanford (and his only successful season in that run), that this was the first truly awesome Desert Swarm defense for Dick Tomey at Arizona, that Syracuse was awesome with Marvin Graves throwing to Qadry Ismail and Chris Gedney, etc. And I remember from the #SECStoried documentary that this was the first year of the 12-team SEC and that the SEC title game between Alabama and (a not quite fully-formed) Florida was immensely important for the league and the idea of superconferences.

But that all comes from what I've read since then. The only thing I actually, truly remember living through that year, besides family members' angst at OU falling to 5-4-2, was Teague. Alabama was up only 13-6 on Miami at halftime but scored early in the third quarter (I also vaguely remember Derrick Lassic running like a man possessed in this game), then scored 20 seconds later on Teague's high-stepping pick six.

Then, of course, he took a terrible angle on a back-footed bomb by Geno Torreta but straight-up tracked Lamar Thomas down to prevent a touchdown, then took the ball from him in stride. Alabama had jumped offside, so the fumble didn't count, but the touchdown would have.

More than 23 years later, I still don't know if I've seen a more athletic play. Lamar Thomas was FAST. And Teague made up, what, five yards or so on him?

I mentioned in the 1993 that my memory of that season didn't allow for an elite team, but that the numbers suggested FSU was just that. 1992, however, didn't feature a team in the 99th percentile but ended up with four between 97.7 and 98.9 percent. This was a tight year at the top, and while FSU indeed lost to Miami, Notre Dame lost to Walsh's Stanford and tied Michigan, and Nebraska lost at Washington and suffered a baffling upset loss to Iowa State, Alabama just won and won. The Tide only beat Southern Miss by seven, Louisiana Tech by 13, Tennessee by seven, Mississippi State by nine, and Florida by seven (and the SEC didn't grade out very well this year), but they kept surviving, and Teague's two plays gave them basically a 14-point cushion in a 21-point win.

S&P+ Rk Team Record Est S&P+ Percentile Off. S&P+ Rk Def. S&P+ Rk
1 Florida State 11-1 21.9 98.86% 37.4 2 15.5 11
2 Notre Dame 10-1-1 20.0 98.13% 35.8 4 15.8 12
3 Alabama 13-0 19.6 97.93% 28.5 20 8.9 2
4 Nebraska 9-3 19.2 97.72% 36.3 3 17.1 20
5 Washington 9-3 18.0 96.92% 30.8 10 12.8 5
6 Michigan 9-0-3 17.6 96.63% 33.9 5 16.3 17
7 Miami-FL 11-1 17.5 96.59% 31.1 8 13.6 6
8 Stanford 10-3 15.3 94.40% 27.4 26 12.1 4
9 Georgia 10-2 13.6 92.16% 28.9 18 15.3 10
10 Arizona 6-5-1 13.0 91.13% 20.9 65 7.9 1
11 Tennessee 9-3 12.8 90.80% 29.0 17 16.2 16
12 USC 6-5-1 12.2 89.81% 27.5 25 15.2 9
13 Ohio State 8-3-1 12.2 89.71% 23.8 46 11.7 3
14 Syracuse 10-2 11.3 87.93% 28.3 21 17.1 21
15 Colorado 9-2-1 10.7 86.72% 28.9 19 18.2 27
16 Texas A&M 12-1 10.4 85.92% 26.2 33 15.9 14
17 NC State 9-3-1 10.0 85.02% 25.8 38 15.8 13
18 Penn State 7-5 9.6 84.19% 30.9 9 21.3 47
19 BYU 8-5 9.6 84.00% 30.7 11 21.2 46
20 Florida 9-4 9.1 82.90% 27.6 24 18.5 30
21 Fresno State 9-4 8.5 81.09% 38.1 1 29.6 91
22 Arizona State 6-5 8.2 80.31% 23.1 49 14.9 8
23 Washington State 9-3 7.5 78.17% 30.2 13 22.7 59
24 Kansas 8-4 6.7 75.62% 29.9 14 23.2 62
25 Ole Miss 9-3 6.1 73.70% 20.3 70 14.2 7
S&P+ Rk Team Record Est S&P+ Percentile Off. S&P+ Rk Def. S&P+ Rk
26 Bowling Green 10-2 5.9 73.09% 26.3 32 20.3 40
27 Virginia 7-4 5.8 72.67% 29.5 16 23.7 64
28 Boston College 8-3-1 5.7 72.35% 26.5 30 20.8 43
29 Memphis 6-5 5.6 71.81% 25.2 41 19.6 35
30 West Virginia 5-4-2 4.5 67.88% 26.1 34 21.6 52
31 Hawaii 11-2 4.2 66.96% 30.6 12 26.4 73
32 North Carolina 9-3 4.0 66.11% 24.4 44 20.4 41
33 Oregon 6-6 3.8 65.21% 22.1 56 18.4 28
34 Mississippi State 7-5 3.8 65.21% 20.5 69 16.7 19
35 Arkansas 3-7-1 3.6 64.70% 20.1 72 16.5 18
36 California 4-7 3.5 64.37% 27.7 23 24.1 66
37 San Diego State 5-5-1 3.5 64.35% 32.5 7 29.0 88
38 Baylor 7-5 3.5 64.06% 27.7 22 24.3 67
39 Oklahoma 5-4-2 3.1 62.63% 22.7 50 19.6 38
40 Wake Forest 8-4 2.8 61.47% 24.5 43 21.7 54
41 Utah 6-6 2.7 61.05% 26.8 29 24.1 65
42 Michigan State 5-6 2.5 60.38% 23.9 45 21.4 49
43 Clemson 5-6 2.3 59.64% 22.0 59 19.6 36
44 Toledo 8-3 2.3 59.38% 20.2 71 18.0 25
45 Central Michigan 5-6 1.9 57.73% 19.8 75 17.9 24
46 Southern Miss 7-4 1.7 57.16% 19.6 77 17.9 22
47 Texas 6-5 1.5 56.31% 27.1 28 25.6 71
48 Wisconsin 5-6 0.9 53.85% 19.0 79 18.1 26
49 Louisville 5-6 0.8 53.36% 21.1 62 20.3 39
50 Georgia Tech 5-6 0.6 52.61% 23.7 47 23.0 60
S&P+ Rk Team Record Est S&P+ Percentile Off. S&P+ Rk Def. S&P+ Rk
51 Iowa 5-7 0.6 52.48% 22.0 58 21.4 48
52 UCLA 6-5 0.6 52.45% 19.7 76 19.1 32
53 South Carolina 5-6 0.4 51.49% 18.3 84 17.9 23
54 Illinois 6-5-1 -0.5 47.90% 19.0 80 19.5 33
55 Iowa State 4-7 -0.8 46.59% 21.4 61 22.2 56
56 Vanderbilt 4-7 -0.8 46.49% 22.3 54 23.2 61
57 Maryland 3-8 -0.9 46.48% 29.6 15 30.4 95
58 Auburn 5-5-1 -1.4 44.28% 18.1 86 19.5 34
59 Purdue 4-7 -1.6 43.45% 20.9 64 22.5 58
60 Wyoming 5-7 -1.6 43.22% 26.1 35 27.7 83
61 Virginia Tech 2-8-1 -1.7 43.19% 23.4 48 25.0 70
62 Texas Tech 5-6 -1.8 42.42% 27.3 27 29.2 89
63 Rutgers 7-4 -2.1 41.44% 26.3 31 28.4 84
64 Houston 4-7 -2.8 38.38% 33.6 6 36.4 107
65 Missouri 3-8 -2.9 38.30% 19.4 78 22.3 57
66 Kentucky 4-7 -3.0 37.75% 20.6 67 23.6 63
67 Indiana 5-6 -3.0 37.66% 15.4 96 18.4 29
68 Louisiana Tech 5-6 -3.2 36.97% 12.9 101 16.1 15
69 Western Michigan 7-3-1 -3.3 36.48% 15.2 97 18.5 31
70 Miami-OH 6-4-1 -3.7 35.01% 16.9 92 20.6 42
71 LSU 2-9 -3.7 34.99% 17.9 87 21.6 51
72 Akron 7-3-1 -4.1 33.68% 17.1 89 21.1 45
73 Air Force 7-5 -4.4 32.45% 17.2 88 21.6 50
74 Rice 6-5 -4.6 31.55% 22.5 52 27.2 78
75 Kansas State 5-6 -4.7 31.14% 17.0 90 21.7 53
S&P+ Rk Team Record Est S&P+ Percentile Off. S&P+ Rk Def. S&P+ Rk
76 Oklahoma State 4-6-1 -4.7 31.13% 16.2 94 21.0 44
77 Duke 2-9 -4.9 30.58% 25.3 39 30.2 93
78 Colorado State 5-7 -5.1 29.67% 22.2 55 27.3 79
79 Utah State 5-6 -5.4 28.77% 26.0 37 31.4 96
80 Northwestern 3-8 -5.5 28.45% 22.0 57 27.5 81
81 Northern Illinois 5-6 -5.9 26.90% 13.7 100 19.6 37
82 Ball State 5-6 -6.1 26.19% 15.7 95 21.8 55
83 New Mexico 3-8 -6.4 25.21% 21.1 63 27.5 82
84 Cincinnati 3-8 -6.6 24.78% 18.3 82 24.8 69
85 Tulsa 4-7 -6.6 24.75% 22.4 53 28.9 87
86 Oregon State 1-9-1 -6.9 23.75% 20.5 68 27.4 80
87 Minnesota 2-9 -7.0 23.33% 19.8 74 26.8 75
88 East Carolina 5-6 -8.0 20.38% 26.0 36 34.0 102
89 San Jose State 7-4 -8.0 20.34% 25.2 40 33.2 100
90 SMU 5-6 -8.0 20.32% 18.3 81 26.3 72
91 Tulane 2-9 -8.5 18.80% 18.2 85 26.8 74
92 Nevada 7-5 -8.7 18.34% 20.9 66 29.6 90
93 TCU 2-8-1 -10.2 14.48% 18.3 83 28.5 86
94 Pacific 3-8 -10.3 14.14% 20.1 73 30.4 94
95 Army 5-6 -10.6 13.51% 16.5 93 27.1 76
96 Pittsburgh 3-9 -10.7 13.25% 24.7 42 35.4 105
97 New Mexico State 6-5 -13.1 8.63% 21.5 60 34.6 103
98 UTEP 1-10 -13.1 8.60% 22.7 51 35.8 106
99 Navy 1-10 -13.3 8.37% 13.9 99 27.1 77
100 Ohio 1-10 -14.0 7.34% 10.4 106 24.4 68
S&P+ Rk Team Record Est S&P+ Percentile Off. S&P+ Rk Def. S&P+ Rk
101 Kent 2-9 -17.5 3.46% 10.9 105 28.4 85
102 UNLV 6-5 -17.9 3.17% 16.9 91 34.8 104
103 Temple 1-10 -17.9 3.16% 15.1 98 33.0 99
104 Eastern Michigan 1-10 -18.8 2.57% 11.2 103 29.9 92
105 Arkansas State 2-9 -21.0 1.45% 11.4 102 32.4 98
106 UL-Lafayette 2-9 -22.7 0.91% 8.8 107 31.5 97
107 Fullerton State 2-9 -22.8 0.89% 10.9 104 33.7 101

What would the Committee have thought of ties?

We obviously won't ever have to find out how a hypothetical College Football Playoff committee would have reacted to tie scores because college football overtime came into effect almost 20 years before the Playoff did. But this might have been a fascinating year from a selection standpoint.

Or it might have been super-easy.

Alabama and Miami were unbeaten and would have obviously made it into the field of four.

We forget it now (at least, I did), but Texas A&M was actually 12-0 this year, too -- the Aggies beat Stanford in the Pigskin Classic, then slogged through a pretty terrible SWC. The only other SWC teams with winning records were 7-5 Baylor, 6-5 Rice, and 6-5 Texas, but A&M managed to nearly trip up against 5-6 Texas Tech (19-17), Baylor (19-13), and 4-7 Houston (38-30) before whomping Texas by three touchdowns. The Aggies would have made the Playoff because they hadn't lost, but they ranked only 17th in Est. S&P+ before the bowls.

But then what would have happened with the final spot? Does FSU -- 10-1 with only a loss to Miami -- get in? Probably, but the Committee would have been forced to weigh Notre Dame (9-1-1 with a loss to Stanford and a tie with Michigan) and, hilariously, 9-0-3 Michigan.

I assume FSU gets the nod here, but the overall committee top 25 would have been interesting for this reason. Michigan basically killed its opponent in every win Rose Bowl and trip to Purdue aside) but tied Notre Dame, tied Ohio State, and tied Illinois.

But yeah, since the committee has shown it will rank unbeaten teams below teams with losses if circumstnace dictates, we'd have probably ended up with...

1 Miami vs. 4 Texas A&M

2 Alabama vs. 3 Florida State

Miami likely advances, but Alabama-FSU would have been dynamite.

Next up: 1991, the land of split national titles (and only one superior team).