Auburn’s not the only one with ‘unclaimed’ national championships

TrophiesOne of the more absurd stories in a pretty absurd week was the news out of the Loveliest Village on the Plains that Auburn is considering padding its football resume by recognizing as many as seven more teams from its past as “national champions.”

Up to now, the Tigers have only flown championship flags over Jordan-Hare Stadium for their 1957 and 2010 teams, which were pretty much consensus national champions. But, prompted by several other schools like Texas A&M, Minnesota and Ole Miss suddenly discovering previously unclaimed national championships, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs announced he’s considering doing the same for the 1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004 teams.

While it’s true most of them were recognized as national champs by someone, they’re for the most part polls that don’t exist any more or retroactive rankings cooked up decades later by some revisionist football wonk.

Still, Jacobs said in a report by 247Sports’ Auburn Undercover blog, “If other schools are using these same polls to declare a national championship, we should at least consider it. I don’t think there’s a better time for the Auburn family to consider it than right here at the end of the BCS era. As we transition into another playoff format for the national champion, I just think we need to look hard at it.”

Well, perhaps they shouldn’t look too hard at a couple of those teams.

I guess it would be somewhat churlish to point out that the 1993 team was actually on probation and ineligible for postseason play, but Jacobs apparently is considering elevating its status because it was named national champion that year by the short-lived and now-defunct National Championship Foundation. (Actually, the NCF declared a four-way tie between FSU, Notre Dame, Auburn and Nebraska that season, not that many people noticed.)

And, of course, the 2004 Tigers team has been a particularly sore point for AU loyalists, since it finished undefeated with a 13-0 record but didn’t get to play for the BCS championship. Ultimately, Auburn finished No. 2 in the AP and coaches polls that year, which hardly supports a national championship claim, but somehow AU has dredged up that it was recognized as national champion by Darryl Perry and GBE College Football Ratings. Perry is a former radio station manager and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in Birmingham who, as a hobby, calculates college football rankings using his own system. The GBE ratings, created in 2003, are similarly obscure.

But since USC was stripped of that year’s BCS title after being hit by NCAA sanctions, Jacobs thinks Auburn ought to be able to stake a claim on the championship.

If you think Auburn and these other schools suddenly discovering previously unclaimed national championships is pretty lame, well, I agree with you. But it’s worth pointing out that UGA also has a few other football national championships in its pocket that might merit flags flying over Sanford Stadium if that’s the game everyone else is going to play.

Currently, Georgia claims only two national championships — the undefeated 1980 team and the 11-1 1942 team, which lost to Auburn but won the SEC championship and went on to beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The school declares those two teams as “consensus” national champions, meaning they were ranked No. 1 by at least half of the national polls recognized by the National College Football Hall of Fame and included in the official NCAA Football Record Book. The 1980 team was the choice of the vast majority of rankings. In 1942, AP declared Ohio State the champ, but Georgia was the pick of the Berryman, DeVold, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Poling, Williamson polls.

In addition, though, the UGA football media guide notes that three other teams were declared national champ at season’s end by at least one of those national polls. The 1927 team topped the Boand and Poling rankings, the 1946 team was declared champion by the Williamson poll, and the 1968 team was the Litkenhous poll’s national champ.

Maybe Charley Trippi deserves another national championship ring. (University of Georgia)

Maybe Charley Trippi deserves another national championship ring. (University of Georgia)

My son and I were discussing this and we concluded that the Georgia team with the strongest claim (in this newfound loose Auburn fashion) is the 1946 team, led by the great Charley Trippi, as that group of Bulldogs went undefeated and crushed everyone, including No. 7 Tech, and beat UNC and Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice 20-10 in one of the greatest Sugar Bowls ever played. Despite that team’s undefeated record, the majority of the polls chose Notre Dame, back in an era when the Fighting Irish were basically handed the title every year that they were any good at all.

The 1927 “dream and wonder team” of Coach George “Kid” Woodruff has something of a claim, since it won its first nine games, including over then powerhouse Yale, and ranked No. 1 in the nation before losing is season-ending game to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. But that loss is hard to overlook.

As for Vince Dooley’s 1968 team, which featured the likes of Bill Stanfill and Jake Scott, it did make it through the regular season undefeated (albeit with two ties) but lost dismally to Arkansas 16-2 in the Sugar Bowl. Although the Litkenhous poll, which used a difference-by-score formula, still ranked them No. 1, claiming that title would be pretty sketchy.

Still, if Auburn can base a national championship claim on what some guy in Birmingham said, maybe being the choice of the new King & King Retroactive Ranking should be good enough for the 1946 Bulldogs!

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84 comments Add your comment

SeriousBlack

February 1st, 2014
12:00 pm

Why not? Georgia Tech claims about a dozen national championships, including years when the Cartoon Network declared them #1.

KJ

February 1st, 2014
12:01 pm

If you didn’t go to a bowl game, you shouldn’t be allowed to claim a championship.

1942 is a great example; UGA went across the country and shut out the PAC-10 champion in their own backyard, and the cowards at lolOSU predictably sat on their worthless hides at home. They get nothing.

Bazooka Joe

February 1st, 2014
12:44 pm

I thought we had more than 3 other teams that “someone” had declared national Champs ? Or were you just concentrating on the ones that a rational person could argue (i.e. leave out the thre stooges polls that bama uses to claim theirs).
Actually, I think Bama is the real reason awlbarn is considering it…… its the old ___ envy.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 1st, 2014
1:24 pm

It didnt take long for the boredom to kick in with articles and stories like this. I thought these where generally reserved for June and July,lol.

Bulldawg35

February 1st, 2014
1:32 pm

How about we claim a title from 2013 year! Called the best the 5 loss national champions of the year….beat 2 bowl champions Sc and Lsu! You Disney’s would love that! Woo hoo!

UA Grad

February 1st, 2014
1:51 pm

The only illegitimate title UA claims is 1941……and I claiming it both silly and dishonest Every other title is based on post 1936 wire polls or the criteria based on objective, historical facts as they were accepted pre 1936.

UA Grad

February 1st, 2014
2:03 pm

Our biases, however, must be acknowledged in this discussion. True, UGA got cheated out of the 1942 NC just like Bama got ROYALLY CHEATED out of 1966 & 1977. But historical facts can’t be changed or bent to please our bias. Great article Bill.

P-Man

February 1st, 2014
2:56 pm

Bulldawg35:

Do you EVER have anything good to say? I believe most of us wish you had listened to your mother when she said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

The silly debates and claims mentioned in this article is the whole reason we have a playoff, finally. Voting on a champion is just silly.

SEC Historian

February 1st, 2014
3:07 pm

If Alabama can claim these 9 national championships….does that mean Auburn and Georgia should too? Lie Tide Lie. They have repeated these lies so often enough they have convinced everyone to believe them, well almost. Alabama should be embarrassed to hang the flags and boast about all of these:

1925 National Championship- Alabama claims they share this one with Dartmouth. Who awarded the NC? Houlgate and Helms. Houlgate started his system in 1927. So Bama won their 1925 NC using a formula that didn’t exist until 1927? Helms Athletic Foundation started in 1941. Another incredible retroactive NC.

The Associated Press Poll has been active since 1936. The AP took their final poll prior to bowl games from 1936 – 1964 and in 1966 and 1967. They took their final poll after the bowl games in 1965 and from 1968 – Current.

1926 National Championship- Alabama claims they share this one with 3 other teams with equal or better records! Once again it is the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1941 that awards it!

1930 National Championship- The Davis poll says that Bama tied Notre Dame for NC this year. This was the only one to award it to Bama. Notre Dame was named NC in 6 polls! Parke Davis is another retroactive system! He (an individual, not an organization) did his in 1933!

1934 National Championship- Alabama says they share this with two other teams. The awarders are Dunkel, Williamson, and Football Thesaurus. Dunkel was an individual who came up with his own system. Williamson was a geologist who came up with his own system. Football Thesaurus first appeared in 1946!

1941 National Championship- This is a complete joke. The AP ranked Alabama 20th in the nation with 14 teams with better records in the top 20. Once again it is the Football Thesaurus that retroactively awards it. Alabama finished 3rd in the SEC that year. Mississippi State won the SEC title..yet Bama claims a National title!

1964 National Championship- While the AP did award the NC to Bama (10-1-0), Arkansas had the better record, 11-0. Alabama played Texas in their bowl and LOST. The AP final poll was before the bowl.

1965 National Championship- The AP gave this to Bama. That year there were three teams with better records than Bama. Bama 9-1-1, Michigan St 10-1-0, Arkansas 10-1-0, Nebraska 10-1-0.

1973 National Championship- AP puts Bama 4th after their bowl game loss. Bama claims a NC from the UPI poll that was taken before they met Notre Dame in the bowl game and lost. There were 3 teams with better records than Bama that year. The embarrassment of naming Alabama number one caused the UPI to name champions after bowl games. Yet Bammer has no shame in claiming it of course.

1978 National Championship- AP gives this to Alabama(11-1-0) even though USC (12-1-0) had the better record Guess who Alabama lost to that year? USC!!!!!!!!!. UPI gave the NC to USC.

So much for the truth. Just keep wearing a lie.

Bulldawg35

February 1st, 2014
3:39 pm

P-man

My mom never told me this…..even she doesn’t drink kool aid.

Bulldawg35

February 1st, 2014
3:59 pm

UGA just lost for the 3rd time in a row….time to fire mark fox! Gee….I bet I will never attend a basketball game as long as fox is our head coach.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 1st, 2014
6:04 pm

BS35 (aka Milk Dud) – We would fire you but you don’t have a real job – so can it!

Bulldogged

February 1st, 2014
7:01 pm

All national championships in 1A are mythical, anyway. The fact that multiple teams can claim titles from the same year is proof of that. There are too many teams and not enough games to really sort out who’s the best. It’s part of what makes college football unique and fun. If some school wants to call themselves NCs because they went 8-1 eighty five years ago and the New York Times said they were No. 1, let them. Who cares.

Bulldawg35

February 1st, 2014
7:26 pm

Dear Bill King…

Will you please consider making a mark fox hot seat blog your next blog you post??? Thanks in advance….
Best regards

Bulldawg 35

Bulldawg35

February 1st, 2014
7:29 pm

I mean seriously I felt embarrassed for the players watching auburn close out the game. I’m so ashamed of the sorry coaching in this game. I know we are not a basketball school….but it would be nice to win the NIT every once in a while.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

February 1st, 2014
7:49 pm

1946 for sure since we were the only undefeated team that year
1927 as well; as everyone had a loss or tie that year

dawgfan

February 1st, 2014
10:06 pm

I about fell asleep reading that.

RED DOG 77

February 1st, 2014
10:50 pm

I did fall asleeeee…………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

crowell

February 1st, 2014
10:59 pm

DAWGS next SEC Champs under my Coach Mark!!!!

crowell

February 1st, 2014
10:59 pm

And Natl Champs!…Save This Post.

TnDawg

February 1st, 2014
11:33 pm

Why is this news, really?? Alabama has been doing this for decades. Many of their early championships were from little known publications. One of the Tide championships was announced before the final bowl game (which they lost). My preference would be for teams not to pronounce those seasons as National Championship. I have argued repeatedly with Alabama fans about their real number of national title.
I am surprise you haven’t written about this before.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 1st, 2014
11:35 pm

It all starts with a clean slate in 2014 – finally some semblance of a playoff.

There’s just not much to talk about right now with college football over and only the Super Bowl remaining. Claiming a bunch of phony championships is embarrassing for a program that has nothing to prove like Bama. YET they aren’t willing to settle for the titles they really won and have to embellish the facts. Just shows their arrogance.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 1st, 2014
11:39 pm

pop quiz – Who is the only team currently in the SEC that Bama doesn’t have a winning record against?

answer: Missouri they are tied at 2-2

Bg

February 2nd, 2014
9:24 am

Auburn is always up to something sketchy.

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
9:46 am

Didn’t the bamards notch another nc this past season? Lol

UA Grad

February 2nd, 2014
9:48 am

SEC Historian,

Forget college football, I’m claiming that the 15th Alabama Regiment made it to the top of Little Round Top at Gettysburg. After all, we had the better soldiers, plus the terrain was against us.

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
10:04 am

@SEC Historian…..That was a very good, detailed description of the farce called alabama football.
I knew of their many iffy claims to titles, but did not know how ludicrous they really are.
Then again, I don’t give a crap about stupid bamard stuff, nor troll their blogs, or claim harvey updyke as the poster boy fan of my program.
Unlike bamards that are UGA obssesed and troll Georgia blogs.

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
10:11 am

Bill, like your new King & King Retroactive Poll

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
10:18 am

Let’s see what the ncaa recognizes at the new CFHOF in Atlanta.

Opening in August 2014. Buy your legacy bricks now Dawg Nation!

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
10:33 am

Met Mr. Trippi at a Georgia game. He is a world class gentleman.
Told him all of us younger pups very much appreciated his contributions to our beloved university, and his service to our nation. His smile was so genuine and he was very appreciative.
Would’ve been nice to meet Frank Sinkwich also before he passed, but did see him honored at stadium years ago.

Castle pine canine

February 2nd, 2014
10:59 am

It appears the folks across the stat line are becoming mor like WWE and WWF than college football! I think that if they do that, the they should claim the last one too? After all they were the champs for 58 of the 60 minutes!

GHWB

February 2nd, 2014
11:24 am

Alabama has never won a National Championship.

They’re delusional. Georgia should claim 100 NCs. That’ll show ‘em!

Dog4Life

February 2nd, 2014
12:51 pm

UA grad they may have made it almost to the apex of Little Round Top but superior Maine troops blasted their azzzezzz off.

HotDawg

February 2nd, 2014
1:07 pm

Guess Georgia should also claim ‘82 national championship, since they were #1 before a bowl loss.
Like Bamalama dingdongs claimed after bowl losses in ‘64 and ‘73.

Bulldawg35

February 2nd, 2014
1:21 pm

Let’s just claim a national title every year no matter what kind of season we have. I bet Richt would love that!

Bulldawg35

February 2nd, 2014
1:24 pm

We will not flip

Andrew Williams

Bryson Allen Williams

Wesley green

UGA is wasting their money on their recruiting trips!

Bulldawg35

February 2nd, 2014
1:26 pm

Another fail by Richt at crunch time….another disappointing signing day! Oh well, doesn’t surprise me!

DawgVoiceofReason

February 2nd, 2014
4:14 pm

Hey, Bulldawg35, the handle “BulldawgVoiceofNegativity” appears to still be available. It would be a good fit for you. You’re declaring us out of the running on guys before signing day is even here. You are a hoot. If that doesn’t prove your complete lack of rationality, nothing does.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 2nd, 2014
4:18 pm

Bill, Fix the blog, please. I’m talking about the software.

But, I do wonder if you care at all about the number of mindless comments posted in supposed response to your blog. Please explain your perspective. Is it any response is better than no response?

Also, how often do you read the comments? Why do you very rarely respond to the comments? Just wondering.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 2nd, 2014
4:22 pm

I would prefer we not attempt to claim more mythical national championships. I would much prefer we win one on the field in the new playoff format. Let’s win some more SEC championships too!

Auburn can claim all they want. It doesn’t mean anything to anybody else, except those who believe in integrity and would challenge them.

DawgVoiceofReason

February 2nd, 2014
4:25 pm

Two hours until kickoff. Everyone must be heading to whatever Super Bowl party they are going to.

KJ

February 2nd, 2014
11:26 pm

“The Great Unwashed UGA fantards declare Their team to be the national champion every year during the preseason”

Nobody does this, but feel free to think so, if it makes you feel better about your miserable life.

crowell

February 2nd, 2014
11:43 pm

Gant goes to Marshall? lmfao…Over Dawgs? uh ok

crowell

February 2nd, 2014
11:44 pm

Enter your comments here

crowell

February 2nd, 2014
11:47 pm

Voice: More titles than Dawgs! Why hating?

carroll vs JIm Harbu

February 2nd, 2014
11:54 pm

#35 making Voice irrelevant with better posts!

missyDAWG

February 3rd, 2014
12:10 am

TIRED of Dawg HATERS!
Lets WIN CHAMIONSHIPS! NATL!

HotDawg

February 3rd, 2014
1:08 am

UGA should aspire to play defense and special teams like seattle.
That was a dominant effort.
Congrats to Chris Clemons for his great super bowl effort. DGD

dawgfan

February 3rd, 2014
6:42 am

UGA should aspire to have a coach like Pete Carroll.

dawgfan

February 3rd, 2014
6:45 am

Actually KJ we’re already talking about how our defense is “going to surprise some folks” and its only February. Usually we wait until at least after spring practice to start up such nonsense.

This will be the 6th year in a row that our defense is supposed to surprise some folks. The folks are getting tired and want to go home.