1993 College Football Recap
The 1993 season belonged to Florida State's QB Charlie Ward, who threw for 3,032 yards, completed 70 percent of his passes and became the first player to win the Heisman Trophy and the national championship in the same season since Pitt's Tony Dorsett in 1976. The Heisman Trophy vote was a runaway win as Ward received 740 of a possible 790 first place points. Conversely, the national championship was anything but a runaway win.
Unlike the 1992 season when Alabama was the clear-cut national champ, 1993 saw a continuous jumble at the top of the heap with Florida St., Notre Dame, Florida, and undefeated teams Nebraska and West Virginia all vying for the championship going into the post-season. And that list doesn't include undefeated Auburn, who was on probation and ineligible for post-season competition.
Florida St. and Nebraska went head-to-head in the Orange Bowl with the Seminoles eeking out an 18-16 win thanks to a last-minute Scott Bentley field goal and a hurried 45-yard field goal miss by Nebraska's Byron Bennett with no time left on the clock. West Virginia's demands for national champion consideration flew out the window with a 41-7 loss to Florida. And Notre Dame scraped by Texas A&M 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl on what was essentially the Aggies' home turf.
Bottom line? No. 1 Florida St. beat No. 2 Nebraska so they should be champs. End of story. Right? Pollsters thought so with both AP and UPI each voting for the Seminoles. But there was one problem. In week 10, the then No. 2 Fighting Irish beat the No. 1 Seminoles 31-24 in their only head-to-head matchup. Notre Dame could have cruised to the national championship had they not lost a 41-39 stunner to Boston College just a week later on a last-second David Gordon 41-yard FG.
Notre Dame and coach Lou Holtz continued to lobby after the bowls, pointing to the head-to-head victory as the true indication of the better team. Maybe he's right. Maybe not. But the championship went to Florida St. (Bobby Bowden's first in his 28 years as head coach) and added still more fuel to the burning argument over the need for a sanctioned national title game.