Who Would Have Met The "Nine-Win Standard" In The 1990s?

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Each school's win/loss record from 1993-1998 is examined to determine who would have met the "Nine-Win Standard".

Unless you've been living under a rock since the Huskers' Gator Bowl victory, I'll take hibernation as a legit excuse given the recent weather, you've probably seen the following tweet reposted and repurposed in some form or another:

Whether or not those two programs even acknowledge the nine-win barrier or you think this feat should be even celebrated as much as it is, you've got to admit Nebraska is in pretty impressive company when it comes to consistently not totally flaming out over more than half a decade.

No, I'm not going to beat that nine-wins horse again. I might have an opinion or two on that benchmark being a benchmark in the first place, but that's for another time.

What sparked my interest about this stat was while arguing the merits of this accomplishment, I thought to myself, "Which schools pulled this off during Nebraska's 60-3 run and the year following that dominant stretch?"

Why that specific time frame? Well, for one, Nebraska being lumped in with dominant programs like Alabama and Oregon is because of a stat that spanned over six years. Nebraska's dominant run in the 90s was five years and adding that extra year, which happens to be Frank Solich's first year* as the head man, provides me with an equal time frame.

*Different circumstances I know, but remember how devastated we all were when Solich posted a 9-4 record that season?

I also intentionally used the beginning of Tom Osborne's three-titles-in-five-years stretch as the starting point since I could use Alabama's recent title success as a modern-day comparison.

So how would the nine win teams compare to the dominant programs back in the mid-to-late 90's? Let's take a look.

Schools with at least nine wins every season from 1993-1998 (w/ win totals for each season):

Florida State: 12, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11

Nebraska: 11, 13, 12, 11, 13, 9

Florida: 11, 10, 12, 12, 10, 10

Penn State: 10, 12, 9, 11, 9, 9

Ohio State: 10, 9, 11, 11, 10, 11

Kansas State: 9, 9, 10, 9, 11, 11

With the exception of Kansas State, those are some pretty elite programs. Now Bill Snyder and Company were trending up and nearly made the national title game in 1998, but if Wildcat fans back then tried to lump their program with Nebraska and Florida State I would have asked them for their dealer's contact info. Pulling off 11 wins back then was no easy feat, but WE WERE ONE ONE OF THE GREATEST DYNASTIES OF ALL-TIME. We were too busy worrying about making hotel arrangements for the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl to worry about arbitrary win totals. Go away, K-Stater.

Given the fact teams played fewer games back then, I decided to drop the standard down to eight wins. Here are the schools that had at least eight wins over the same stretch:

Schools with at least eight wins every season from 1993-1998 (w/ win totals for each season):

Florida State: 12, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11

Nebraska: 11, 13, 12, 11, 13, 9

Florida: 11, 10, 12, 12, 10, 10

Penn State: 10, 12, 9, 11, 9, 9

Ohio State: 10, 9, 11, 11, 10, 11

Kansas State: 9, 9, 10, 9, 11, 11

Tennessee: 9, 8, 11, 10, 11, 13

Michigan: 8, 8, 9, 8, 12, 10

Including Tennessee in this list doesn't look too bad, even with that one eight win season. I'm sure they wouldn't trade that national title in 1998 and those 10+ win seasons for one more nine win season.

Michigan stands out to me because after four mediocre seasons, they made "the jump" in 1997. I should note that in the 1993 and 1994 seasons, the Wolverines were coached by Gary Moeller. Lloyd Carr took over head coaching duties following the 1994 season after this drunken outburst.

Just out of curiosity and because they were in this year's BCS Championship game, I looked up Auburn's win totals from 1993-1998. Here's how the Tigers fared:

Auburn: 11, 9, 8, 8, 10, 3

They were one season away from being included in this group, but the bottom fell out in 1998. I don't know much about those Auburn teams and Terry Bowden other than the fact he inherited a few sanctions from Pat Dye, but it was interesting to see them fall completely off the map after having 9, 9, 8, and 10 wins in consecutive seasons. I guess it's no guarantee you'll make "the jump" after being above-average for a few seasons.

What can we take from all this? Well, for starters, if I see the K-State Athletics Twitter account using this data to pound their chest about being in the same company as us and Florida State in the mid-to-late 90s my head will explode. Secondly, just imagine how awesome Twitter would have been if the social media site was around during our run. I'm sure our fan base would have been as hated on as much as Alabama's is now.

The final thing you can take from all this? I think my obsession for Husker football is getting out of hand when I decided to research these numbers instead of going to lunch today.

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