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College football dream tournament, Day 3: There’s no stopping 1990 Colorado (for now)

On to the second round we go.

Darian Hagan

Our dream tournament pitting 128 national champions against each other continues. You can review the first round (and the means for choosing winners) here:

We had a couple of huge upsets and lost at least one significant favorite (1995 Nebraska) in Round 1, and now we take a look at the first half of round 2.

1899-1920 Region

  • (1) 1902 Michigan (win prob: 65.6%) def. (17) 1913 Auburn
  • (9) 1892 Yale (win prob: 49.3%) def. (8) 1891 Yale

As a whole, the 1910s were a time of transition in college football, as a couple of rounds of rules changes gave new coaches and programs opportunities to take advantage. That means that teams from the 1980s and 1900s were a little bit more dominant for the most part, and it means 1902 Michigan easily advances to the Round of 32.

  • (5) 1920 California (win prob: 63.7%) def. (21) 1915 Cornell
  • (13) 1917 Georgia Tech (win prob: 41.7%) def. (4) 1900 Yale

There are a couple of exceptions to the 1910s rule, though: First, California was a pretty brilliant program in the aftermath of World War I. Second, that 1917 Georgia Tech team was truly ridiculous. Down goes a Yale team.

1921-52 Region

  • (11) 1924 Notre Dame (win prob: 41.7%) def. (6) 1944 Army
  • (3) 1931 USC (win prob: 65.5%) def. (19) 1951 Tennessee

The Four Horsemen pull an upset! The 1944 Army team wasn’t quite at the standard of 1945 Army, but it was really strong. But Knute Rockne’s most famous (but not best!) backfield advances.

  • (7) 1943 Notre Dame (win prob: 61.3%) def. (23) 1940 Minnesota
  • (2) 1932 USC (win prob: 71.3%) def. (18) 1927 Georgia

No upsets here. Notre Dame’s footprint is all over this region.

1953-84 Region

  • (1) 1971 Nebraska (win prob: 68.1%) def. (16) 1981 Clemson
  • (8) 1972 USC (win prob: 58.9%) def. (9) 1982 Penn State

Chalk produces one hell of a third-round matchup between Bob Devaney’s best Nebraska team and John McKay’s best USC team. Jeff Kinney, and Johnny Rodgers vs. Anthony Davis, Lynn Swann, and USC? I approve.

  • (28) 1984 BYU (win prob: 35.8%) def. (12) 1954 Ohio State
  • (13) 1953 Maryland (win prob: 36.2%) def. (4) 1974 Oklahoma

UPSET CITY. The bottom of Region 3 is imploding as Robbie Bosco and 1984 BYU pull another significant upset, and the underrated Jim Tatum’s best Maryland team takes down a dynamic Sooner wishbone squad.

1985-2016 Region

  • (6) 2012 Alabama (win prob: 62.7%) def. (22) 2007 LSU
  • (30) 1990 Colorado (win prob: 40.5%) def. (19) 1997 Nebraska

If 1984 BYU isn’t the biggest story of the early going, that honor might belong to Bill McCartney’s 1990 Buffaloes. One of the luckiest national champions of all time, CU has now taken down two Tom Osborne squads — first 1995, then 1997. The reward: facing Nick Saban.

  • (23) 1985 Oklahoma (win prob: 37.1%) def. (7) 2001 Miami
  • (2) 2005 Texas (win prob: 65.2%) def. (18) 2003 LSU

ANOTHER FAVORITE GOES DOWN. My first favorite college football team, Barry Switzer’s 1985 Sooners, is evidently too much for 2001 Miami. We’ll say Oklahoma harasses quarterback Ken Dorsey, and the Sooner wishbone does just enough damage to get the job done. That sets up one hell of an OU-Texas game.

The path is clearing for Vince Young and 2005 Texas. Can the Horns take advantage?