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Posted: Wednesday January 7, 2009 11:08AM; Updated: Wednesday January 7, 2009 11:15AM

SI's Coverage of College Football's National Championship

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Matt Leinart led USC to the 2004 National Championship as the Trojans beat the Sooners, 55-19.
Bob Rosato/SI

SI looks back at 40 years of national championship coverage:

• Two-Timing Tigers (LSU, 2007)
By Austin Murphy
In sending Ohio State to a second straight crushing defeat in the title game, marauding LSU became the first school to win the BCS twice.

• Urban Renewal (Florida, 2006)
By Austin Murphy
With Chris Leak running the spread-option offense to perfection, Florida blew by Ohio State and won the BCS title in coach Urban Meyer's second season.

• The Night Is Young's (Texas, 2005)
By Austin Murphy
In perhaps the most stunning bowl performance ever, Texas quarterback Vince Young put the Longhorns on his back and carried them to the title, beating USC in the final seconds to end the Trojans' 34-game winning streak.

• Without A Doubt (USC, 2004)
By Austin Murphy
After a thundering Orange Bowl victory, a young USC team has back-to-back national titles, 22 straight wins and the makings of a dynasty.

• Geaux Tigers (LSU, 2003)
By Tim Layden
Were three little pennies responsible for the Tigers' 21-14 victory over Oklahoma, a win that secured LSU's first national title in 45 years and sent tens of thousands of Tigers fans spilling deliriously into the French Quarter and far beyond?

• The Best Damn Team Wins the Big One (Ohio State, 2002)
By Austin Murphy
Underdog Ohio State stunned mighty Miami in a two-overtime thriller to win its first national championship since 1968.

• Cane Whuppin' (Miami, 2001)
By Austin Murphy
Unbeaten Miami flogged Nebraska early and often to win an undisputed national title.

• Sooner Boomers (Oklahoma, 2000)
By Austin Murphy
Near-perfect execution by a crunching defense clinched an unbeaten, untied, unbelievable season for Oklahoma.

• Perfect Ending (Florida State, 1999)
By Tim Layden
Unbeaten Florida State made up for past missteps -- and won the national title -- with a storybook finish against feisty Virginia Tech.

• Rocky Top (Tennessee, 1998)
By Tim Layden
Resilient and unselfish Tennessee completed an unbeaten season and claimed the national title by beating Florida State in a raggedly played Fiesta Bowl.

• True Blue (Michigan, 1997)
By Tim Layden
Inspired by the confidence of a coach who pushed all the right buttons, Michigan's Brian Griese played the game of his life.

• Grateful Gators (1996)
By Tim Layden
A shift in strategy by Florida coach Steve Spurrier finally brought his alma mater a national title.

• Headed For A Fall? (Nebraska, 1995)
By Tim Layden
Nebraska may win another national title, but the days when such a colossus ruled the game are over.

• Ghost Busters (Nebraska, 1994)
By S.L. Price
If you're Tom Osborne looking to win your first national title, who you gonna call? Tommie Frazier.

• Wide Left (Florida State, 1993)
By Rick Reilly
Florida State claimed the national title with a down-to-the-wire win over Nebraska.

• The End Of The Run (Alabama, 1992)
By Austin Murphy
With a resounding 34-13 Sugar Bowl victory, Alabama put a stop to Miami's 29-game winning streak and won its first national title since 1979.

• The Dream Game (Miami, 1991)
By Austin Murphy
Would you believe it? Washington beat Miami in the battle of two No. 1's.

• Clip Off The Old Block (Colorado, 1990)
By Austin Murphy
A called-back Orange Bowl TD was an apt end to a strange college football season.

• Miami is The One (Miami, 1989)
By William F. Reed
By thrashing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, the Hurricanes not only won the national crown but proved they are the team of the decade as well.

• No. 1 With A Bullet (Notre Dame, 1988)
By Rick Telander
Notre Dame is the tops after beating West Virginia

• Raising 'Canes (Miami, 1987)
By Rick Telander
Miami won the national title by snapping Oklahoma's wishbone in a surprisingly one-sided 20-14 victory in the Orange Bowl.

• Guts, Brains and Glory (Penn State, 1986)
By Rick Reilly
Underdog Penn State forced five interceptions to beat Miami for the national title.

• No Doubt About It: Oklahoma's No. 1 (Oklahoma, 1985)
By Rick Reilly
After resolving several off-field problems, much maligned Barry Switzer led a group of youngsters to the national crown.

• And So It Came To Pass ... (BYU, 1984)
By John Underwood
... that with the help of scholarship limits, anything-goes pass-blocking rules and quarterbacks like Doug Flutie (22), Bernie Kosar (20) and Robbie Bosco (6), many college teams accustomed to the slag heap have sailed by traditional powers. Result: the wackiest season ever and BYU No. 1.

• No Team Was Ever Higher (Miami, 1983)
By John Underwood
Aroused Miami climbed all over mighty Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to lay claim to the national championship.

• But How 'Bout Them Lions? (Penn State, 1982)
By John Papanek
Penn State's defeat of Georgia ended a long quest for a national title.

• Year Of The Tigers (Clemson, 1981)
By John Papanek
Scratching and clawing, Clemson upset Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win its first national championship ever.

• The Ball Bounces Georgia's Way (Georgia, 1980)
By Douglas S. Looney
Taking advantage of every gift Notre Dame offered -- and there were plenty -- the Bulldogs seized an early lead and then held on to win 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl, remain undefeated and nail down the national title.

• A Beautiful Rose, Even For 'Bama (Alabama, 1979)
By Douglas S. Looney
USC's one-point victory over Ohio State in Pasadena provided all the excitement anyone could ask for, and it gave the Crimson Tide something more its first undisputed national championship since 1964.

• The Rising Of The Tide (Alabama, 1978)
By John Underwood
Alabama beat Penn State 14-7 in the Sugar Bowl to lay claim to the national title.

• At Last, Lou Holtz Has The Last Laugh (Notre Dame, 1977)
By Douglas S. Looney
Though the odds were great, old Notre Dame won over all the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns on a day of astonishing upsets and lopsided scores.

• Marching Through Georgia (Pittsburgh, 1976)
By John Underwood
Tony Dorsett was the general, but Pitt had an army of heroes -- Cavanaugh, Romano, Jones, Walker -- as it wrapped up the national title, bulldozing the Bulldogs in a manner that was hardly civil.

• Ohio State Folds, It's Oklahoma's Pot (Oklahoma, 1975)
By John Underwood
When the Buckeyes gambled with passes and lost to UCLA, the Sooners cashed in to win the national title.

• Top Of The Ladder, With A Boost (USC and Oklahoma, 1975)
By John Underwood and Joe Jares
USC's upset of Ohio State in the Rose Bowl gave it a share of the national championship, but only after a big assist from an old foe, Notre Dame.

• Number 1 By Just The Number 1 (Notre Dame, 1973)
By John Underwood
Ara Parseghian got the kick of his life when his Fighting Irish climaxed a wild New Year's Eve party with a gasper of a field goal that meant a 24-23 victory over Alabama and the national championship.

• No Doubt About Who's Champ (USC, 1972)
By Dan Jenkins
Nebraska looked awesome, Oklahoma won in spite of itself and Texas was heroic, but the national title belongs to the undefeated USC Trojans, who overpowered Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

• All Yours, Nebraska (Nebraska, 1971)
By Dan Jenkins
The powerful Cornhuskers demolished poor Alabama 38-6 to nail down their second straight national title. Earlier on New Year's Day, Oklahoma crushed Auburn 40-22 to prove it is a worthy runner-up, and on Saturday's lone thriller a gambling Stanford upset Michigan 13-12 after the season's least-safe safety.

• The One-Day Season (Nebraska, 1970)
By Dan Jenkins
It began with a convulsion in Dallas as Notre Dame whipped No. 1 Texas, scorched on to Pasadena and Stanford's stunner over No. 2 Ohio State and climaxed in Miami, where No. 3 Nebraska became top dog.

• Texas Hangs On To Its No. 1 (Texas, 1969)
By Dan Jenkins
Notre Dame came close -- and Penn State was rooting for the upset -- but after Cotton Speyrer made a heroic catch in the fading moments, Texas nailed down the national championship.

• Defense And Rex Make A King (Ohio State, 1968)
By Dan Jenkins
Ohio State's Buckeyes came from 10 points behind to win the Rose Bowl and the national championship with a crushing display of excellence that kept USC's offense in hand and its defense dismayed.

 
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