Here's an interesting experiment. How many of you knew this season is the 25th anniversary of the Nebraska football team's first National Title under Tom Osborne? While I vividly remember almost everything about that game, I would not have guessed it happened 25 years ago. While this season marks a happy occasion in Huskerland, it's also looked at as the 25th anniversary of the year when Penn State was robbed of a National Title by the voters among Nittany Lions fans.

To mark the anniversary, one PSU beat writer has decided to take a longer look at just why the Cornhuskers were named the undisputed national champions despite both teams being very good and both teams finishing the season undefeated. For context, there are apparently conspiracy theories up around Happy Valley way that Ohio AP writers and Ohio State alums all decided they simply were not going to vote for Penn State no matter what.

This appears to be because Ohio State fans were still angry that Penn State was invited to the Big 10 at all, (having officially joined the season prior) and that the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes in 1994 by a 63-14 score. OSU fans would rather select a Nebraska football team they knew nothing about at the time, than a conference rival for the national championship, the theory goes.

Popular theories for why Nebraska football got the nod

Penn Live writer David Jones first laid out the theories that were tossed out by Penn State fans as to why the Huskers were overwhelmingly selected by the AP as the National Champs.

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Those were theories Cornhusker fans have like heard themselves to a large degree. "Liking Tom Osborne" is an old canard that's used more often than not by sore losers.

There were also issues like the NBC broadcasters being so impressed with the Huskers in their win over Miami that they influenced the polls. And then there was the theory mentioned above about Ohio area writers steering the poll towards Nebraska.

Actual reasons for the win

Jones debunks many of these when he lays out the real factors for why PSU was a distant second to NU. The first is that the 63-14 win over Ohio State wasn't as impressive as it would be today. The Buckeyes finished in the Top 25 in 1994 but they posted a 9-4 record.

This wasn't yet the juggernaut we've seen over the last decade.

Another theory the writer points out is that "defense wins championships" was the mantra of the era. Nebraska football's defense was second to none. Penn State, on the other hand, had a leaky defense but a super powerful offense. In the end, the Nittany Lions' defensive struggles were likely what sunk them in many polls. One of Jones' final shots in the article is that the four AP writers that were from Ohio simply could not have turned the tide the way some conspiracy theories claimed.

In short, the Nebraska football team didn't win out of spite, they won because many, many people thought they were the better team.

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