— Retired Nebraska coach Tom Osborne won't get drawn into an argument over how his 1990s teams that won three national championships in four years would fare against the Alabama teams that just accomplished the same feat.
"It doesn't come off very well when you try to compare a team that played 12, 14, 15 years ago with a team playing today and say this team would beat that team. Nobody knows," Osborne said Wednesday. "The only way to do it is to play them. No question we had some very good teams. No question Alabama is very good, well-coached, very solid and certainly one to be admired."
Osborne won all or part of national championships in three of his final four years with unbeaten teams. His 1994 and '95 teams were crowned by The Associated Press. In 1997, the Huskers won the coaches' vote and Michigan was first in the AP poll of writers and broadcasters.
Nebraska also played for the title in 1993 but lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl on a missed field goal as time ran out. The '96 team was poised to play for the national title but was upset by Texas in the inaugural Big 12 championship game.
The Huskers' 60-3 record from 1993-97 remains the greatest five-year stretch in college football history. Alabama is 61-7 since 2008.
Grant Wistrom, who played defensive end on all three of Osborne's title teams, said the 1990s Huskers would be hard-pressed to beat the 21st-century Tide.
"It's only been 15 years, but it's a faster game now," Wistrom said. "We dominated back then, but I don't know if our teams would have had the success (Alabama's) had now. It's tough to do what they've done in this day and age — not that it was easy for us back then."