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Best Northwestern football team of all-time: The Final Four

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The semis bring a pair of very intriguing matchups.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The voting in the elite eight matchups wasn’t particularly close, with each of the remaining teams winning by a fairly comfortable margin. Hopefully, with some of the weaker competition eliminated, we’ll get more hotly contested battles here in the semifinal.

Again, feel free to share your arguments for or against any of the final four teams in the comments down below. We’re depending on all of you in order to determine who truly was the best Northwestern football team of all-time.

Have at it!


Poll

1995 Northwestern vs 2017 Northwestern

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    ‘95 Northwestern
    (366 votes)
  • 8%
    ‘17 Northwestern
    (34 votes)
400 votes total Vote Now

1995 Northwestern: 10-2 (8-0), Highest Ranking: #3, Final Ranking: #8

Best Win: 17-15 @ #9 Notre Dame. Worst Loss: 28-30 vs Miami (OH)

Starting quarterback: Steve Schnur

Top rusher & receiver: Darnell Autry and D’Wayne Bates

Best defensive player: Pat Fitzgerald

Widely regarded as the season that saved the program

2017 Northwestern: 10-3 (7-2), Highest Ranking: #17, Final Ranking: #17

Best Win: 39-31 vs #16 Michigan State. Worst Loss: 17-41 @ Duke

Starting quarterback: Clayton Thorson

Top rusher & receiver: Justin Jackson and Bennet Skowronek

Best defensive player: Joe Gaziano/Paddy Fisher/Kyle Queiro

Two of their three losses were to Penn State and Wisconsin, who finished ranked 8th and 7th in the final AP poll, respectively.

Poll

1948 Northwestern vs 1996 Northwestern

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    ‘48 Northwestern
    (271 votes)
  • 28%
    ‘96 Northwestern
    (106 votes)
377 votes total Vote Now

1948 Northwestern: 8-2 (5-1), Highest Ranking: #3, Final Ranking: #7

Best Win: 20-14 vs #4 California, Worst Loss: 0-28 @ #4 Michigan

Notable players: Art Murakowski (first-team all-american fullback), George Sundheim (halfback selected in the NFL Draft following that season), Don Burson (starting quarterback), Frank Aschenbrenner (Rose Bowl MVP)

Only Northwestern team to ever win the Rose Bowl, even though Michigan would have gone instead if not for the Big Ten’s former rule against repeat Rose Bowl-bids

1996 Northwestern: 9-3 (7-1), Highest Ranking: #11, Final Ranking: #15

Best Win: 17-16 vs #6 Michigan. Worst Loss: 27-28 @ Wake Forest

Starting quarterback: Steve Schnur

Top rusher & receiver: Darnell Autry and D’Wayne Bates

Best defensive player: Pat Fitzgerald

Finished with a worse record than the ‘95 team, but returned most of the same players, so they might have been overall a better and more experienced team