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Tommie Frazier says '90s Huskers better than Saban's Tide

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Tommie Frazier celebrates winning the 1995 Fiesta Bowl. (USATSI)
Tommie Frazier celebrates winning the 1995 Fiesta Bowl. (USATSI)

File this one under "not surprising, but noteworthy all the same": Tommie Frazier believes his powerhouse back-to-back national champions at Nebraska were better teams than Nick Saban's powerhouse back-to-back national champions at Alabama.

Speaking in the wake of his long-overdue election to the College Football Hall of Fame, the Huskers quarterbacking legend told reporters that though he respects what the current-era Crimson Tide have done, he believes the Nebraska teams of the mid-'90s were even more powerful.

"They won back-to-back championships. That right there compares," Frazier said, per the Lincoln Journal-Star. "But it's a different time, different era ... And there will always be that burning question in everyone's mind, 'Well, which team is better?' Well, in my mind, I already know which team is better. I say it publicly all the time that I don't think there's any team out there that would have beat that '95 team.

"And over a five-year span, I don't think there's too many teams that put up a record of [60-3]."

Yes, those are the right numbers, in case you've forgotten: from 1993 to 1997, the Huskers went 60-3, losing once in '93 (in a national title-deciding Orange Bowl) to Florida State and twice in '96. As incredible as the Tide's past five seasons have been -- equaling those Huskers teams' total of national crowns at three -- even Alabama's mark of 61-7 doesn't quite match up.

It's also hard to argue with Frazier on the overwhelming dominance of the 1995 team, which would probably represent the closest thing to a consensus choice for the greatest team in modern college football history. Though there's a hundred different ways to describe the ruthlessness of those Huskers, perhaps the best one is that they played four different top-10 teams that season -- including undefeated SEC champion Florida in the Fiesta Bowl -- and won by an average score of 49-18.

That said, this is also worth repeating, and repeating loudly: No one knows who would win if 1995 Nebraska and, say, 2009 Alabama played a football game. It's absolutely, completely, entirely, 100 percent hypothetical speculation. As the facts above show, Frazier and his teams earned the right to crow (and then some), but so have the Tide teams of recent vintage -- and of course, Saban's reign in Tuscaloosa is still ongoing. They're the definitive programs of their respective eras, both among the greatest dynasties in the history of the sport, both the kind of colossi which are mostly measured only against other colossi.

But there's a point at which that measuring should really come to a stop, and that point is "Who's better?" -- because really, when we're talking about Osborne's Huskers and Saban's Tide, who cares?

 
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