Who did it best? Comparing FSU’s championship teams

Florida State celebrates its BCS championship victory over Auburn on Monday night.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — National championships are like children. No one will admit that one is the favorite.

Florida State now has three national titles after rallying to defeat Auburn 34-31 in the BCS championship game on Monday night.

They are all unique and remarkable in their own way. Florida State’s 14-0 season raises the question: Was this the best of the championship teams?

Let’s analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the 1993, 1999 and 2013 teams.

1993 FSU (12-1)

Wide receiver Matt Frier.

THE CASE FOR

Florida State dominated the ACC, held Miami to 10 points (after two years of Wide Right losses) and defeated Florida in the Swamp. The 1993 team had a Heisman Trophy winner in Charlie Ward. A memorable 12-play, goal-line stand against Kansas was part of what was a stingy defense that allowed just 129 points in 13 games. Florida State beat Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl to win the title.

THE CASE AGAINST

The ACC was Florida State and the eight dwarfs in the first few years that the Seminoles joined the conference. Coaches and players from the 1993 team admitted that they didn’t play well at Notre Dame. While the Seminoles weren’t the first or last team to struggle in that environment against a very good team, it’s a definite knock on the 1993 team when comparing the three titles.

KEY STATS

1999 FSU (13-0)

THE CASE FOR

Wide receiver Peter Warrick (9).

Florida State went wire-to-wire No. 1. Bobby Bowden had been chasing a perfect regular season and he finally got it. Chris Weinke to Peter Warrick was one of the best quarterback-receiver combos in school history. And Florida State put up 46 points in a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech, the most the Seminoles have ever scored in a bowl game, to take the title.

THE CASE AGAINST

FSU 34, Auburn 31

We’re nit-picking here, but neither Florida nor Miami were ranked in the top 10. The defense allowed 203 points in 12 games, not bad but not as good as the 1993 or 2013 teams. And the 1999 team needed to play just 12 games and not 13 (like 1993) or 14 (like 2013).

KEY STATS

2013 FSU (14-0)

THE CASE FOR

Florida State routed 12 of 14 opponents. The defense allowed just 10.7 points per game going into the BCS championship game. The 2013 team had a Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston. Florida State set the FBS scoring record of 723. And Florida State stopped the SEC’s seven-year streak of BCS titles.

THE CASE AGAINST

The regular-season schedule included just a few challenging opponents. The Seminoles didn’t look good on offense for three quarters of the BCS title game.

KEY STATS

THE VERDICT

Fast memories

Despite the criticisms over the soft schedule that Florida State played in 2013, the Seminoles dominated in the regular season and shredded Duke in the ACC championship game. With a freshman at quarterback.

How soon many critics forgot that the Florida State-Clemson game was billed as a showdown. The Seminoles routed then-No. 3 Clemson at Death Valley, holding Tajh Boyd and Co. to 14 points while scoring 51. And Florida State also beat then-No. 7 Miami at home and No. 2 Auburn on a neutral site. That’s three wins over teams that were ranked in the top 10 when they faced off.

Give the 1993 team credit for being first to win a title. And the 1999 team plenty for going wire-to-wire. But the 2013 team is the best of the trio.