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IrishDodger
06-05-2012, 10:36 AM
ND, now more than ever, catches a lot of flack for remaining steadfast in their independence. I think a lot of us realize it's a matter of time before they align w/ a conference...just a matter of which one. It got me thinking of some of the nation's football powers who once roamed the country as fellow independents. I think there's an agrument to be made that they've regressed since joining a conference. But...money trumps all & success is cyclical based on the HC at the time.

Miami Hurricanes: Independent 1927-1990 where they won three NCs under three different HCs (Schnellenberger, Johnson & Erickson). They joined the Big East in 1991 where they promptly won a fourth NC and added another in the 2001 season. They have yet to accomplish anything since joining the ACC in 2004...other than scandal & probation

Pittsburgh Panthers: Independent 1890-1990 when they won two consensus NCs (1937, 1976). They won multiple NCs before the NCAA started recognizing consensus NCs...take that 'Bama! Pitt, along w/ the aforementioned Miami, joined the Big East Football Conference as charter members in 1991.

Penn State Nittany Lions: Independent for 106 seasons before joining the Big Ten in 1993. PSU won two consensus NCs (1982, 1986) as an Independent & were undefeated in '68, '69, '73 w/o even a share of a title. Since joining the Big Ten, the closest they have gotten is in '94 when the finished 12-0 but were not awarded a share of the NC. Their independence could have hindered them in their undefeated seasons in the 60s & 70s, but it put them in the spotlight in the '80s. Choosing the Big Ten likely hindered their aspirations in '94 b/c they were forced to go to the Rose Bowl to face Oregon rather than squaring off vs eventual NC, Nebraska. You also have to factor in the obvious that the team seem to decline nationally w/ the aging of Paterno.

Florida State Seminoles: Indpendent until joining the ACC in 1992. Here's the one that's more debatable than the others. Since FSU choked and went Wide Right a few times vs. Miami they never could close the deal on a NC before joining the ACC. Once they joined in '92, they won two NC's in that decade ('93, '99). Of course they should have had no more than a share in '93...but that's another thread. It's safe to say that once the '90s ended, FSU's dominance ended & they've been an also-ran in the ACC as well as nationally.

Any way, feel free to add any Indys that I omitted &/or give your opinion. With all the conference realignment it just got me thinking about how these particular powers have declined on the football field since choosing money over independence.