Best 15 Miami Teams Ever

Best 15 Miami Teams Ever

Canes Legacy
Since the early 00s, the talk about the best team in program history tends to fall into a few pretty consistent opinions: '01 is the unquestioned GOAT, the five natty squads are the best five, and a lot of the others tend to blend together. We wanted to separate things and see what fans thought, so we found to perfect type of survey to do that.

Last week we selected, in our opinion, the 15 best teams from Miami's history and put them into a wiki survey that has respondents answer all questions in an A or B format (found here: The fifteen different teams represented were 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. 1700+ votes later, and we had a ranking.

1. 2001- 12-0 CHAMPS (Coker) Wins: #13 FSU, #15 Cuse, #11 Washington, #14 VTech, #4 Nebraska - Key Players: Dorsey, Portis, Johnson, Shockey, …
2. 1987- 12-0, CHAMPS Key Wins: #10 Arkansas, #4 FSU, #10 ND, #1 Oklahoma - Key Players: Walsh, W. Williams, Gary, Irvin, Blades, Stubbs, Mira
3. 1991- 12-0, CHAMPS (Erickson) Wins: #10 Houston, #9 PSU, #1 FSU, #11 Nebraska Key Players: Torretta, McGuire, Thomas, Searcy, Meadaris, B.T…
4. 1986- 11-1, #2 (Johnson) Wins: Florida, #1 Oklahoma, #20 FSU, Losses: #2 PSU Key Players: Vinny T, Highsmith, Irvin, J. Brown, Moss, Blades.
5. 2002- 12-1, #2 (Coker) Wins: #6 Florida, #9 FSU, #18 VTech “Losses” #2 Ohio State Key Players: Taylor, Dorsey, McGahee, Johnson, K2, Wilfor…
6. 1989- 11-1 CHAMPS (Erickson) Wins: #14 Pitt, #1 ND, #7 Alabama Losses: #9 FSU Key Players: Erickson, Dawkins, Chudzinski, Clark, Kennedy, M…
7. 1983- 11-1, CHAMPS (Schnell.) Key Wins: #13 ND, #12 WVU, FSU, #1 Nebraska Losses: #16 UF Key Players: Kosar, Brown, Dennison, Brophy, Calho…
8. 2000- 11-1, #2 (Davis) Wins: #1 FSU, #2 VTech, #7 Florida Losses: #15 Washington Key players: Dorsey, Moss, Wayne, Gonzalez, Lewis, Morgan,…
9. 1988- 11-1, #2 (Johnson) Wins: #1 FSU, #15 Michigan, #11 LSU, #8 Ark, #6 Nebraska Losses: #4 ND-Key Players: Walsh, Brown, Gary, Kennedy, H…
10. 1992- 11-1, #3 (Erickson) Wins: #23 Iowa, #3 FSU, #7 PSU, #8 Syracuse Losses: #2 Bama Key Players: Torretta, Bennett, Thomas, Patrick,…
11. 1990- 10-2, #3 (Erickson) Wins: #2 FSU, #3 Texas Losses: #16 BYU, #6 ND Key Players: Erickson, Hill, Carroll, Sullivan, Maryland, Medearis,…
12. 1985- 10-2, #9 (Johnson) Wins: #3 Oklahoma, #10 FSU, Notre Dame - Losses: #5 Florida, #8 Tenn - Key Players: Vinny T, Highsmith, Willie Smi…
13. 2003- 11-2, #5 (Coker) Wins: #18 Florida, #5 FSU x2, Losses: #10 VTech, #18 Tenn Key Players: Taylor, Berlin, Payton, K2, Carey, Wilfork, V…
14‪. 1981- 9-2, #8 (Schnell.) Wins: #17 Florida, #1 Penn State, #14 FSU- Losses: #4 Texas, #16 MSU- Key Players: Kelly, Brodsky, Dennison, Bail…
15. 1994- 10-2, #6 (Erickson) Wins: #3 FSU, #13 VTech, #10 Cuse, #25 BC Losses: #17 Washington, #1 Nebraska Key Players: Costa, Stewart, Jones,…

The number on the right side is the likelihood of victory when a respondent answered a prompt between that team and one other one from the survey.

Here's what we learned:

2001 is still the one: There was very little opposition to the 2001 Canes, much like in real life. They were offered to voters 228 times and chosen on 98% of those opportunities.

National Titles are NOT automatic for the top 5: Many tend to start there and the trend for many of the voters was to put them in a special category where they'd go over all non-title teams, but the reality is that when you break down the wins and losses, 11-1 (or 12-1) teams are really tough to separate. The '83 and '89 teams were passed up by two non-champs, but all four had one loss and the argument could easily be made that '02 and '86 lost to better teams. An important factor might be the "what if" aspect of '86 and '02, because even if '89 and '83 had emerged undefeated, most would likely still rank them behind '01, '87, and '91. Speaking of what ifs...

"What if" finds a home with the '02 and '86 teams: Probably the two most devastating losses for Miami create the most obvious chances for the "what if" game to be played, but it goes beyond just winning the title. The fact that voters put them ahead of two other champs means that we could be having a very interesting conversation right now about the #1 overall team had either of these teams emerged victorious against OSU or PSU. I personally think that an undefeated 1986 team with Jerome Brown, a Heisman Winning #1 overall pick, AND Alonzo Highsmith plus the larger than life event of the fatigues walk out mixed with the Boz coin toss would put 1986's team in the top spot.

2000 is the Best of the Rest: As confident as the voters seemed to be slotting 86 and 02 ahead of two title teams, so were they with the 2000 squad who very nearly caught 1983 (though I'm guessing a recency bias was a factor). Their loss to Washington and the '88 Catholics vs Convicts game are two that tend to stick in the minds of Canes fans, though I'd argue to a lesser degree than the aforementioned bowl losses. The '92 squad being so low is a bit surprising considering they, like '86, just completely fell apart in the (basically) championship game after a very good season.

The two loss teams bunch together: All of these two loss teams are not totally created equal, but the voters separated them that way. Four of the five are very much fringe teams that were either just before something really clicked or on the downside of an era.

Below is a link to the first post of the thread with a video of the honorable mention squads, then in the following posts we'll link to all of the other posts in the threads.


Comments (26)

C. Legacy bringing that 🔥🔥🔥.
Appreciate the Canes football related thread.
The 2003 team is the biggest disappointment of all time.
Agree, if we hadn’t blown that game against Tennessee we would have played for another national title since both Oklahoma and LSU also had one loss each that year. Smh
The 1988 team I think was the least ‘sexy’ team but was better than 1989. They and 2000 should be higher. Steve Walsh was immensely underrated.

I still think the relative schedule they faced that year beating 5 absolute stud teams and getting screwed over by Notre Dame (nc winner) was the most accomplished by any Miami team ever.

Looking at that list we should have 8 national championships: (add 86, 88, and 2002).
The 1988 team should be #4. That team embarrassed FSU in the opener, beat 4 conference champions, and loss to Notre Dame on one of the worst calls in college football history. I know we put the 1986 team on a pedestal. Other than beating Oklahoma at home that schedule was easy. The call was so bad in South Bend that the officials had two different stories after the game. Gary was clearly down and he easily picked up the first down.

The 1981 team should be in the top 10. The two games we lost that year were due to home cooking. The mystery holding penalty against the Longhorns was a travesty. Multiple hometown calls against Mississippi State. Back in those days the conferences supplied the officials against independents. By the end of the year, Miami was arguably the best team in the country. They were certainly playing the best football.
Who would vote 02 over 00?
Agree, if we hadn’t blown that game against Tennessee we would have played for another national title since both Oklahoma and LSU also had one loss each that year. Smh
That was an ugly offense working against itself for much of that year. Wasted an epic defense.
The 2003 team is the biggest disappointment of all time.
That team shows you how much poor coaching can negatively impact a team. Both our losses that year were the result of offense inepitude. We put up a pair of field goals at home against Tennessee and against Virginia Tech, they had two defensive scores and we put them in our redzone on another drive.
That was an ugly offense working against itself for much of that year. Wasted an epic defense.
Agree, when Gore went down with another knee injury for the second year in a row, I knew our offense wasnt gonna be what it should have been. Moss was a good running back but not even close to being frank.
The 81 team was without question...the most underrated of all time...they'd have beat Clemson in the NC Game....
The 86 and 02 teams aren't that high imo. They did everything in there power to lose title games to inferior teams. We had teams that were robbed from even playing in title games that would've curb stomped PSU and OSU.
The 1990 team would have destroyed just about any team as well. They were angry in that Cotton Bowl.
They should’ve showed up with those same intentions at BYU and Notre Shame.

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