|National championships in NCAA Division I FBS|
|National championship trophies|
|Longest continuous selector||Associated Press (1936–present)|
|First season awarded||1869 (in 1933)|
|Last completed season||2021|
A national championship in the highest level of college football in the United States, currently the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), is a designation awarded annually by various organizations to their selection of the best college football team. Division I FBS football is the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sport for which the NCAA does not sanction a yearly championship event. As such, it is sometimes unofficially referred to as a "mythical national championship".
Due to the lack of an official NCAA title, determining the nation's top college football team has often engendered controversy.A championship team is independently declared by multiple individuals and organizations, often referred to as "selectors". These choices are not always unanimous. In 1969 even the President of the United States Richard Nixon declared a national champion by announcing, ahead of the season-ending game between No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas, that the winner of that game would receive a plaque from the President himself, commemorating that team as the year's national champion. Texas went on to win that game, 15–14.
While the NCAA has never officially endorsed a championship team, it has documented the choices of some selectors in its official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records publication.In addition, various analysts have independently published their own choices for each season. These opinions can often diverge with others as well as individual schools' claims to national titles, which may or may not correlate to the selections published elsewhere. Currently, two of the most widely recognized national champion selectors are the Associated Press (AP), which conducts a poll of sportswriters, and the Coaches' Poll, a survey of active members of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Since 1992, various consortia of major bowl games have aimed to invite the top two teams at the end of the regular season (as determined by internal rankings, or aggregates of the major polls and other statistics) to compete in what is intended to be the de facto national championship game. The current iteration of this practice, the College Football Playoff, selects four teams to participate in national semi-finals hosted by two of six partner bowl games, with their winners advancing to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
The concept of a national championship in college football dates to the early years of the sport in the late 19th century,and the earliest contemporaneous polls can be traced to Caspar Whitney, Charles Patterson, and The Sun in 1901. Therefore, the concept of polls and national champions predated mathematical ranking systems, but it was Frank Dickinson's math system that was one of the first to be widely popularized. His system named 10–0 Stanford the national champion of 1926, prior to their tie with Alabama in the Rose Bowl. A curious Knute Rockne, then coach of Notre Dame, had Dickinson backdate two seasons, which produced Notre Dame as the 1924 national champion and Dartmouth in 1925.
A number of other mathematical systems were born in the 1920s and 1930s and were the only organized methods selecting national champions until the Associated Press began polling sportswriters in 1936 to obtain rankings. Alan J. Gould, the creator of the AP Poll, named Minnesota, Princeton, and SMU co-champions in 1935, and polled writers the following year, which resulted in a national championship for Minnesota.The AP's main competition, United Press, created the first Coaches Poll in 1950. For that year and the next three, the AP and UP agreed on the national champion. The first "split" championship occurred in 1954, when the writers selected Ohio State and the coaches chose UCLA. The two polls also disagreed in 1957, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1997, and 2003.
Though some of the math systems selected champions after the bowl games, both of the major polls released their rankings after the end of the regular season until the AP polled writers after the bowls in 1965, resulting in what was perceived at the time as a better championship selection (Alabama) than UPI's (Michigan State).After 1965, the AP again voted before the bowls for two years, before permanently returning to a post-bowl vote in 1968. The coaches did not conduct a vote after the bowls until 1974, in the wake of awarding their 1973 championship to Alabama, who lost to the AP champion, undefeated Notre Dame, in the Sugar Bowl. The AP and Coaches polls remain the major rankings to this day.
From the 1930s to the advent of the College Football Playoff, each top team played a single postseason bowl game per season. The process of selecting a national champion during this period was complicated by the fact that the champions of major conferences were tied to specific bowls (for example, the Big 8 champion was tied to the Orange Bowl), and the top two teams in the nation often played in different bowls. A few bowls over the years featured a #1 vs. #2 matchup; one example was the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, played January 2 following the 1986 season.
Two attempts to annually crown a champion on the field were the Bowl Coalition (1992–1994) and Bowl Alliance (1995–1997). However, their effort to host a national championship was hampered by the lack of participation of the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions, who had a contractual obligation to play in the Rose Bowl.
The Bowl Championship Series, famous for its use of math, was the successor of the Coalition and Alliance.Besides the many adjustments it underwent during its tenure, including a large overhaul following the 2004 season that included the replacement of the AP Poll with the Harris poll, the BCS remained a mixture of math systems and human polls since its inception in 1998, with the goal of matching the best two teams in the nation in a national championship bowl game which rotated yearly between the Sugar, Fiesta, Rose, and Orange Bowls from 1998 to 2005, and later a standalone game titled the BCS National Championship Game (2006 to 2013). The winner of the BCS Championship Game was awarded the national championship of the Coaches Poll thus winning the AFCA National Championship Trophy. The BCS winner also received the MacArthur Bowl from the National Football Foundation. Neither the AP Poll, nor other current selectors, had contractual obligations to select the BCS champion as their national champion. The BCS resulted in a number of controversies, most notably after the 2003 season, when the BCS championship game did not include eventual AP champion USC, the only time the two championships have diverged since the advent of the BCS. After many seasons of controversy, the BCS was replaced with the College Football Playoff, a Plus-One system aimed at reducing the controversy involved in which teams get to play in a championship game through use of a tournament.
The NCAA maintains an official records book of historical statistics and records for football. In the records book, with consultation from various college football historians, it has created and maintains a list of "major selectors"of national championships throughout the history of college football along with their championship picks for each season.
A variety of selectors have named national champions throughout the years. They generally can be divided into four categories: those determined by mathematical formula, human polls, historical research, and recently, playoffs. The selectors below are listed in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records as having been deemed to be "major selectors" for which the criterion is that the poll or selector be "national in scope either through distribution in newspaper, television, radio and/or computer online".The former selectors, deemed instrumental in the sport of college football, and selectors that were included for the calculation of the BCS standing, are listed together.
The mathematical system is the oldest systematic selector of college football national champions. Many of the math selectors were created during the "championship rush"[ citation needed ] of the 1920s and 1930s, beginning with Frank Dickinson's system, or during the dawn of the computer age in the 1990s. Selectors are listed below with years selected retroactively in italics.
|A&H||Anderson & Hester a||1997–present|
|B(QPRS)||Berryman (QPRS)||1920–1989, 1990–2011|
|BR||Billingsley Report b||1869–1870, 1872–1969, 1970–present|
|BS||Boand System||1919–1929, 1930–1960|
|CCR||Congrove Computer Rankings||1993–present|
|DeS||DeVold System||1939–1944, 1945–2006|
|DiS||Dickinson System||1924–1925, 1926–1940|
|ERS||Eck Ratings System||1987–2005|
|HS||Houlgate System||1885, 1887–1905, 1907–1926, 1927–1949|
|L||Litkenhous||1934–1972, 1974, 1978, 1981–1984|
|MCFR||Massey College Football Ratings||1995–present|
|MGR||Matthews Grid Ratings||1966–1972, 1974–2006|
|NYT||The New York Times||1979–2004|
|PS||Poling System||1924–1934, 1935–1955, 1957–1984|
|R(FACT)||Rothman (FACT)||1968–c.1970, c.1971–2006|
|SR||Sagarin Ratings||1919–1977, 1978–present|
|WS||Williamson System||1931, 1932–1963|
aThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book shows Anderson & Hester listed as "Seattle Times."
bThe Billingsley Report also provides an alternate selection that uses margin-of-victory in its calculation. The NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book notes both selections in years where they disagree. : 112–119
cWolfe did not provide rankings for the 2020 season, stating that there were not "enough games played to allow meaningful analysis," due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The poll has been the dominant national champion selection method since the inception of the AP Poll in 1936. The National Football Foundation merged its poll with UPI from 1991 to 1992, with USA Today from 1993 to 1996, and with the FWAA since 2014.
For many years, the national champions of various polls were selected before the annual bowl games were played, by AP (1936–1964 and 1966–1967), Coaches Poll (1950–1973), FWAA (1954), and NFF (1959–1970). In all other latter-day polls, champions were selected after bowl games. : 112–119
During the BCS era, the winner of the BCS Championship Game was automatically awarded the national championship of the Coaches Poll and the National Football Foundation.
Selectors are listed below with years selected retroactively in italics.
| American Football Coaches Association |
AFCA Blue Ribbon Commission
United Press International
|CFRA||College Football Researchers Association||1919–1935, 1936–1981, 1982–1992, 2009–present|
|FWAA||Football Writers Association of America||1954–2013c|
|FWAA/NFF||FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16||2014–presentc|
|HAF||Helms Athletic Foundation||1883–1935, 1936–1946, 1947–1982|
|INS||International News Service||1952–1957|
|NCF||National Championship Foundation||1869–1870, 1872–1935, 1936–1979, 1980–2000|
|NFF||National Football Foundation||1959–1990, 1997–2013c d e|
|UPI||United Press International||1993–1995f|
|UPI/NFF||United Press International/National Football Foundation||1991–1992e|
|USAT/NFF||USA Today/National Football Foundation||1993–1996d|
aAt the request of several schools, the AFCA established a "Blue Ribbon Commission" in 2016 to begin retroactively selecting Coaches' Trophy winners from 1922 through 1949.Oklahoma State was the only team to apply for any of the 28 years considered (1945). As yet, there are no selections for years other than 1945.
bServed as the Coaches Poll during the designated years, but also conducted their own poll at different times.
cThe Football Writers Association of America merged its poll with that of the National Football Foundation members beginning in 2014; as a result, the Grantland Trophy was retired and the FWAA/NFF national champion now receives the MacArthur Bowl. : 113–114
dUSA Today took over, from the UPI, the poll of the National Football Foundation's members in 1993, and its winner was designated by the NFF as its national champion and received the MacArthur Bowl. The poll was conducted by USA Today through the 1996 season, although national championship selections in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records do not distinguish the NFF from the USAT/NFF poll in 1995 and 1996. Not to be confused with the USA Today/CNN Coaches Poll, which USA Today conducted separately.
eUPI conducted the Coaches Poll through the 1990 season, which was subsequently taken over by CNN/USA Today. UPI then conducted a poll of National Football Foundation members in 1991 and 1992, the winner of which was designated by the NFF as its national champion and received the MacArthur Bowl.
fUPI conducted its own poll from 1993 to 1995, after the National Football Foundation Poll was taken over by USA Today.
gUSA Today conducted its own poll of college football sportswriters in 1982, then joined with CNN to do their own joint poll until they took over the Coaches Poll starting with the 1991 season.
hThe Harris Interactive College Football Poll was contracted by the BCS to help formulate its standings. It did not conduct a final poll following the BCS National Championship Game or award or name a national champion on its own, so is not included in the table of national championship selections.
College football historian Parke H. Davis is the only selector considered by the NCAA to have primarily used research in his selections. : 117 Davis did all of his work in 1933, naming retroactive national champions for most of the years from 1869 to 1932 while naming Michigan and Princeton (his alma mater) co-champions at the end of the 1933 season. In all, he selected 94 teams over 61 seasons as "Outstanding Nationwide and Sectional Teams." For 21 of these teams (at 12 schools), he was the only major selector to choose them. Their schools use 17 of Davis' singular selections to claim national titles. His work has been criticized for having a heavy Eastern bias, with little regard for the South and the West Coast.
|PD||Parke H. Davis||1869–1870, 1872–1909, 1911–1916, 1919–1932, 1933|
The Bowl Championship Series used a mathematical system that combined polls (Coaches and AP/Harris) and multiple computer rankings (including some individual selectors listed above) to determine a season ending matchup between its top two ranked teams in the BCS Championship Game. The champion of that game was contractually awarded the Coaches Poll and National Football Foundation championships.
|BCS||Bowl Championship Series||1998–2013|
Unlike all selectors prior to 2014, the College Football Playoff does not use math, polls or research to select the participants. Rather, a 13-member committee selects and seeds the teams.The playoff system marked the first time any championship selector arranged a bracket competition to determine whom it would declare to be its champion.
|CFP||College Football Playoff||2014–present|
Below is a list of the national champions of college football since 1869 chosen by NCAA-designated "major selectors" listed in the official Football Bowl Subdivision Records publication.
Many teams did not have coaches as late as 1899. The first contemporaneous poll to include teams across the country and selection of a national champions can be traced to Caspar Whitney in 1901.The last retroactive selection in the list is Clyde Berryman's choice of Notre Dame for 1989. The tie was removed from college football in 1995 and the last consensus champion with a tie in its record was Georgia Tech in 1990.
As designated by the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records publication:
A letter next to any season, team, record, coach or selector indicates a footnote that appears at the bottom of the table.
|1869||Princeton||1–1||BR, NCF, PD|
|1870||Princeton||1–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1871||None||No games played|
|1872||Princeton||1–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1873||Princeton||2–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1876||Yale||3–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1878||Princeton||6–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1879||Princeton||4–0–1||BR, NCF, PD|
|Yale||4–0–1||BR, NCF, PD|
|1882||Yale||8–0||BR, NCF, PD|
|1883||Yale||9–0||BR, HAF, NCF, PD|
|Yale||8–0–1||HAF, NCF, PD|
|1885||Princeton||9–0||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Yale||9–0–1||HAF, NCF, PD|
|1887||Yale||9–0||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1888||Yale||13–0||Walter Camp||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1889||Princeton||10–0||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1890||Harvard||11–0||George C. Adams, George A. Stewart||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1891||Yale||13–0||Walter Camp||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1892||Yale||13–0||Walter Camp||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1893||Princeton||11–0||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|1894||Penn||12–0||George Washington Woodruff||PD|
|Yale||16–0||William Rhodes||BR, HAF, NCF, PD|
|1895||Penn||14–0||George Washington Woodruff||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Yale||13–0–2||John A. Hartwell||PD|
|1896||Lafayette||11–0–1||Parke H. Davis||NCF, PD|
|Princeton||10–0–1||Franklin Morse||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1897||Penn||15–0||George Washington Woodruff||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1898||Harvard||11–0||William Cameron Forbes||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|1899||Harvard||10–0–1||Benjamin Dibblee||HAF, HS, NCF|
|1900||Yale||12–0||Malcolm McBride||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1901||Harvard||12–0||Bill Reid||BR, PDa : 206 : 233|
|Michigan||11–0||Fielding H. Yost||HAF, HS, NCF|
|1902||Michigan||11–0||Fielding H. Yost||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Yale||11–0–1||Joseph R. Swan||PD|
|1903||Michigan||11–0–1||Fielding H. Yost||NCF|
|Princeton||11–0||Art Hillebrand||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1904||Michigan||10–0||Fielding H. Yost||NCF|
|Penn||12–0||Carl S. Williams||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1905||Chicago||10–0||Amos Alonzo Stagg||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|Yale||10–0||Jack Owsley||CW, PD|
|1906||Princeton||9–0–1||William Roper||HAF, NCF|
|Yale||9–0–1||Foster Rockwell||BR, CW, PD|
|1907||Yale||9–0–1||William F. Knox||BR, CW, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Penn||11–0–1||Sol Metzger||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1909||Yale||10–0||Howard Jones||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1910||Harvard||8–0–1||Percy Haughton||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|Pittsburgh||9–0||Joseph H. Thompson||NCF|
|1911||Minnesota||6–0–1||Henry L. Williams||BR|
|Penn State||8–0–1||Bill Hollenback||NCF|
|Princeton||8–0–2||William Roper||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1912||Harvard||9–0||Percy Haughton||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Penn State||8–0||Bill Hollenback||NCF|
|Chicago||7–0||Amos Alonzo Stagg||BR, PD|
|Harvard||9–0||Percy Haughton||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1914||Army||9–0||Charles Daly||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Illinois||7–0||Robert Zuppke||BR, PD|
|1915||Cornell||9–0||Albert Sharpe||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Minnesota||6–0–1||Henry L. Williams||BR|
|Pittsburgh||8–0||Glenn "Pop" Warner||PD|
|Georgia Tech||8–0-1||John Heisman||BR|
|Pittsburgh||8–0||Glenn "Pop" Warner||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1917||Georgia Tech||9–0||John Heisman||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|1918||Michigan||5–0||Fielding H. Yost||BR, NCF|
|Pittsburgh||4–1||Glenn "Pop" Warner||HAF, HS, NCF|
|Harvard||9–0–1||Bob Fisher||CFRA, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Illinois||6–1||Robert Zuppke||BR, BS, CFRA, PD, SR|
|Notre Dame||9–0||Knute Rockne||NCF, PD|
|Texas A&M||10–0||Dana X. Bible||BR, NCF|
|1920||California||9–0||Andy Smith||CFRA, HAF, HS, NCF, SR|
|Notre Dame||9–0||Knute Rockne||BR, PD|
|Princeton||6–0–1||William Roper||BS, PD|
|1921||California||9–0–1||Andy Smith||BR, BS, CFRA, SR|
|Cornell||8–0||Gil Dobie||HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Iowa||7–0||Howard Jones||BR, PD|
|Lafayette||9–0||Jock Sutherland||BS, PD|
|Washington & Jefferson||10–0–1||Greasy Neale||BS|
|1922||California||9–0||Andy Smith||BR, HS, NCF, SR|
|Cornell||8–0||Gil Dobie||HAF, PD|
|Princeton||8–0||William Roper||BS, CFRA, NCF, PD, SR|
|Illinois||8–0||Robert Zuppke||BS, CFRA, HAF, NCF, PD, SR, B(QPRS)|
|Michigan||8–0||Fielding H. Yost||BR, NCF|
|1924||Notre Dame||10–0||Knute Rockne||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HAF, HS, NCF, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|1925||Alabama||10–0||Wallace Wade||BR, BS, CFRA, HAF, HS, NCF, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|Dartmouth||8–0||Jesse Hawley||DiS, PD|
|Michigan||7–1||Fielding H. Yost||SR|
|1926||Alabama||9–0–1||Wallace Wade||BR, CFRA, HAF, NCF, PS, B(QPRS)|
|Michigan||7–1||Fielding H. Yost||SR|
|Navy||9–0–1||Bill Ingram||BS, HS|
|Stanford||10–0–1||Glenn "Pop" Warner||DiS, HAF, NCF, SR|
|1927||Georgia||9–1||George Cecil Woodruff||BS, PS, B(QPRS)|
|Illinois||7–0–1||Robert Zuppke||BR, DiS, HAF, NCF, PD|
|Notre Dame||7–1–1||Knute Rockne||HS|
|Texas A&M||8–0–1||Dana X. Bible||SR|
|Georgia Tech||10–0||William Alexander||BR, BS, CFRA, HAF, HS, NCF, PD, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|USC||9–0–1||Howard Jones||DiS, SR|
|1929||Notre Dame||9–0||Knute Rockne||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, DuS, HAF, NCF, PS, SR|
|USC||10–2||Howard Jones||HS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|1930||Alabama||10–0||Wallace Wade||CFRA, PD, SR, B(QPRS)|
|Notre Dame||10–0||Knute Rockne||BR, BS, DiS, DuS, HAF, HS, NCF, PD, PS|
|USC||10–1||Howard Jones||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, DuS, HAF, HS, NCF, PS, SR, WS, B(QPRS)|
|Michigan||8–0||Harry Kipke||DiS, PD, SR|
|USC||10–0||Howard Jones||BR, BS, CFRA, DuS, HAF, HS, NCF, PD, PS, SR, WS, B(QPRS)|
|1933||Michigan||7–0–1||Harry Kipke||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HAF, HS, NCF, PD, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|Ohio State||7–1||Sam Willaman||DuS|
|1934||Alabama||10–0||Frank Thomas||DuS, HS, PS, WS, B(QPRS)|
|Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HAF, L, NCF, SR|
|Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||BR, BS, CFRA, HAF, L, NCF, PS|
|SMU||12–1||Matty Bell||DiS, HS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|LSU||9–1–1||Bernie Moore||SR, WS|
|Minnesota||7–1||Bernie Bierman||AP, BR, DiS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, PS|
|Pittsburgh||8–1–1||Jock Sutherland||BS, CFRA, HS|
|1937||California||10–0–1||Stub Allison||DuS, HAF|
|Pittsburgh||9–0–1||Jock Sutherland||AP, BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS, B(QPRS)|
|1938||Notre Dame||8–1||Elmer Layden||DiS|
|TCU||11–0||Dutch Meyer||AP, HAF, NCF, WS|
|Tennessee||11–0||Robert Neyland||BR, BS, CFRA, DuS, HS, L, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|1939||Cornell||8–0||Carl Snavely||L, SR|
|Texas A&M||11–0||Homer Norton||AP, BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, NCF, PS, SR, WS, B(QPRS)|
|1940||Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||AP, B(QPRS), BS, CFRA, DeS, DiS, HS, L, NCF, SR|
|Stanford||10–0||Clark Shaughnessy||BR, HAF, PS|
|Tennessee||10–1||Robert Neyland||DuS, WS|
|Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||AP, BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, PS, SR|
|Texas||8–1–1||Dana X. Bible||B(QPRS), WS|
|1942||Georgia||11–1||Wally Butts||B(QPRS), BR, DeS, HS, L, PS, SR, WS|
|Ohio State||9–1||Paul Brown||AP, BS, DuS, CFRA, NCF|
|1943||Notre Dame||9–1||Frank Leahy||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|1944||Army||9–0||Earl Blaik||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Ohio State||9–0||Carroll Widdoes||NCF, SR|
|Army||9–0||Earl Blaik||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Ohio State||7–2||Carroll Widdoes||BR|
|Oklahoma A&M||9–0||Jim Lookabaugh||BRC|
|1946||Army||9–0–1||Earl Blaik||BR, BS, CFRA, HAF, HS, PS|
|Notre Dame||8–0–1||Frank Leahy||AP, B(QPRS), BS, DeS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, PS, SR|
|1947||Michigan||10–0||Fritz Crisler||B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR|
|Notre Dame||9–0||Frank Leahy||AP, HAF, WS|
|1948||Michigan||9–0||Bennie Oosterbaan||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|1949||Notre Dame||10–0||Frank Leahy||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|1950||Kentucky||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||SR|
|Oklahoma||10–1||Bud Wilkinson||AP, B(QPRS), HAF, L, UP, WS|
|Princeton||9–0||Charley Caldwell||BS, PS|
|Tennessee||11–1||Robert Neyland||BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, NCF, SR|
|1951||Georgia Tech||11–0–1||Bobby Dodd||B(QPRS), BS|
|Maryland||10–0||Jim Tatum||CFRA, DeS, DuS, NCF, SR|
|Michigan State||9–0||Biggie Munn||BR, HAF, PS|
|Tennessee||10–1||Robert Neyland||AP, L, UP, WS|
|1952||Georgia Tech||12–0||Bobby Dodd||B(QPRS), BR, INS, PS, SR|
|Michigan State||9–0||Biggie Munn||AP, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, SR, UP, WS|
|1953||Maryland||10–1||Jim Tatum||AP, INS, UP|
|Notre Dame||9–0–1||Frank Leahy||BR, BS, DeS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Oklahoma||9–1–1||Bud Wilkinson||B(QPRS), CFRA|
|1954||Ohio State||10–0||Woody Hayes||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, HAF, INS, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|UCLA||9–0||Henry Sanders||CFRA, DuS, FWAA, HAF, L, NCF, UP|
|1955||Michigan State||9–1||Duffy Daugherty||BS|
|Oklahoma||11–0||Bud Wilkinson||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FWAA, HAF, INS, L, NCF, PS, SR, UP, WS|
|1956||Georgia Tech||10–1||Bobby Dodd||B(QPRS), SR|
|Oklahoma||10–0||Bud Wilkinson||AP, BR, BS, DeS, DuS, FWAA, HAF, INS, L, NCF, SR, UP, WS|
|1957||Auburn||10–0||Ralph Jordan||AP, BR, CFRA, HAF, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Michigan State||8–1||Duffy Daugherty||DuS|
|Ohio State||9–1||Woody Hayes||BS, DeS, FWAA, INS, L, UP|
|LSU||11–0||Paul Dietzel||AP, B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, HAF, L, NCF, PS, SR, UPI, WS|
|1959||Ole Miss||10–1||Johnny Vaught||B(QPRS), DuS, SR|
|Syracuse||11–0||Ben Schwartzwalder||AP, BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, NCF, NFF, PS, SR, UPI, WS|
|1960||Iowa||8–1||Forest Evashevski||B(QPRS), BS, L, SR|
|Minnesota||8–2||Murray Warmath||AP, FN, NFF, UPI|
|Ole Miss||10–0–1||Johnny Vaught||BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FWAA, NCF, WS|
|1961||Alabama||11–0||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, HAF, L, NCF, NFF, SR, UPI, WS|
|Ohio State||8–0–1||Woody Hayes||FWAA, PS|
|Ole Miss||10–0||Johnny Vaught||BR, L, SR|
|USC||11–0||John McKay||AP, B(QPRS), CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, PS, UPI, WS|
|1963||Texas||11–0||Darrell Royal||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, NCF, NFF, PS, SR, UPI, WS|
|1964||Alabama||10–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, B(QPRS), L, UPI|
|Arkansas||11–0||Frank Broyles||BR, CFRA, FWAA, HAF, NCF, PS, SR|
|Notre Dame||9–1||Ara Parseghian||DeS, FN, NFF|
|1965||Alabama||9–1–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, CFRA, FWAA, NCF|
|Michigan State||10–1||Duffy Daugherty||B(QPRS), BR, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, NFF, PS, SR, UPI|
|1966||Alabama||11–0||Paul "Bear" Bryant||B(QPRS), SR|
|Michigan State||9–0–1||Duffy Daugherty||CFRA, HAF, NFF, PS|
|Notre Dame||9–0–1||Ara Parseghian||AP, BR, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, MGR, NCF, NFF, PS, SR, UPI|
|1967||Notre Dame||8–2||Ara Parseghian||DuS|
|USC||10–1||John McKay||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, FN, FWAA, HAF, MGR, NCF, NFF, SR, UPI|
|Ohio State||10–0||Woody Hayes||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|Texas||9–1–1||Darrell Royal||DeS, MGR, SR|
|1969||Ohio State||8–1||Woody Hayes||MGR|
|Penn State||11–0||Joe Paterno||R(FACT), SR|
|Texas||11–0||Darrell Royal||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|1970||Arizona State||11–0||Frank Kush||PS|
|Nebraska||11–0–1||Bob Devaney||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, R(FACT), SR|
|Notre Dame||10–1||Ara Parseghian||MGR, R(FACT), SR|
|Ohio State||9–1||Woody Hayes||NFF|
|Texas||10–1||Darrell Royal||B(QPRS), L, NFF, R(FACT), UPI|
|1971||Nebraska||13–0||Bob Devaney||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, MGR, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|1972||USC||12–0||John McKay||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, MGR, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|1973||Alabama||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||B(QPRS), UPI|
|Michigan||10–0–1||Bo Schembechler||NCF, PS|
|Notre Dame||11–0||Ara Parseghian||AP, BR, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF|
|Ohio State||10–0–1||Woody Hayes||NCF, PS, R(FACT), SR|
|Oklahoma||10–0–1||Barry Switzer||CFRA, DeS, DuS, SR|
|1974||Ohio State||10–2||Woody Hayes||MGR|
|Oklahoma||11–0||Barry Switzer||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, HAF, L, NCF, PS, R(FACT), SR|
|USC||10–1–1||John McKay||FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, UPI|
|1975||Alabama||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||MGR|
|Arizona State||12–0||Frank Kush||NCF, SN|
|Ohio State||11–1||Woody Hayes||B(QPRS), HAF, MGR, PS, R(FACT)|
|Oklahoma||11–1||Barry Switzer||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|1976||Pittsburgh||12–0||Johnny Majors||AP, BR, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|USC||11–1||John Robinson||B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, MGR|
|1977||Alabama||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||CFRA|
|Notre Dame||11–1||Dan Devine||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, MGR, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|Texas||11–1||Fred Akers||B(QPRS), R(FACT), SR|
|1978||Alabama||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, CFRA, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, R(FACT)|
|Oklahoma||11–1||Barry Switzer||DeS, DuS, HAF, L, MGR, PS, R(FACT), SR|
|USC||12–1||John Robinson||B(QPRS), BR, FN, HAF, NCF, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|1979||Alabama||12–0||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, B(QPRS), BR, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|1980||Florida State||10–2||Bobby Bowden||R(FACT)|
|Georgia||12–0||Vince Dooley||AP, B(QPRS), BR, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|Oklahoma||10–2||Barry Switzer||DuS, MGR|
|Pittsburgh||11–1||Jackie Sherrill||CFRA, DeS, NYT, R(FACT), SR|
|1981||Clemson||12–0||Danny Ford||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI|
|Penn State||10–2||Joe Paterno||DuS|
|Penn State||11–1||Joe Paterno||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, L, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, PS, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT|
|1983||Auburn||11–1||Pat Dye||BR, CFRA, NYT, R(FACT), SR|
|Miami (FL)||11–1||Howard Schnellenberger||AP, DuS, FN, FWAA, NCF, NFF, SN, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|Nebraska||12–1||Tom Osborne||B(QPRS), DeS, L, MGR, PS, R(FACT), SR|
|1984||BYU||13–0||LaVell Edwards||AP, BR, CFRA, FWAA, NCF, NFF, PS, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|Florida||9–1–1||Galen Hall||DeS, DuS, MGR, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR|
|Washington||11–1||Don James||B(QPRS), FN, NCF|
|Oklahoma||11–1||Barry Switzer||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|1986||Miami (FL)||11–1||Jimmy Johnson||R(FACT)|
|Oklahoma||11–1||Barry Switzer||B(QPRS), CFRA, DeS, DuS, NYT, SR|
|Penn State||12–0||Joe Paterno||AP, BR, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NFF, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|1987||Florida State||11–1||Bobby Bowden||B(QPRS)|
|Miami (FL)||12–0||Jimmy Johnson||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|1988||Miami (FL)||11–1||Jimmy Johnson||B(QPRS)|
|Notre Dame||12–0||Lou Holtz||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|1989||Miami (FL)||11–1||Dennis Erickson||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|Notre Dame||12–1||Lou Holtz||B(QPRS), ERS, R(FACT), SR|
|1990||Colorado||11–1–1||Bill McCartney||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NFF, R(FACT), SN, USAT/CNN|
|Georgia Tech||11–0–1||Bobby Ross||DuS, NCF, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|Miami (FL)||10–2||Dennis Erickson||ERS, NYT, R(FACT), SR|
|1991||Miami (FL)||12–0||Dennis Erickson||AP, BR, CFRA, ERS, NCF, NYT, SN, SR|
|Washington||12–0||Don James||B(QPRS), DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, R(FACT), SR, UPI/NFF, USAT/CNN|
|1992||Alabama||13–0||Gene Stallings||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MGR, NCF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI/NFF, USAT/CNN|
|Florida State||11–1||Bobby Bowden||SR|
|Florida State||12–1||Bobby Bowden||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CCR, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, NCF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN, USAT/NFF|
|Notre Dame||11–1||Lou Holtz||MGR, NCF|
|1994||Florida State||10–1–1||Bobby Bowden||DuS|
|Nebraska||13–0||Tom Osborne||AP, AS, B(QPRS), BR, FN, FWAA, NCF, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN, USAT/NFF|
|Penn State||12–0||Joe Paterno||CCR, DeS, ERS, MGR, NCF, NYT, R(FACT), SR|
|1995||Nebraska||12–0||Tom Osborne||AP, AS, B(QPRS), BR, CCR, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, UPI, USAT/CNN|
|1996||Florida||12–1||Steve Spurrier||AP, B(QPRS), BR, CCR, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT/CNN|
|Florida State||11–1||Bobby Bowden||AS|
|1997||Michigan||12–0||Lloyd Carr||AP, BR, FN, FWAA, NCF, NFF, SN|
|Nebraska||13–0||Tom Osborne||A&H, AS, B(QPRS), BR, CCR, DeS, DuS, ERS, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NYT, R(FACT), SR, USAT/ESPN|
|1998||Ohio State||11–1||John Cooper||SRb|
|Tennessee||13–0||Phillip Fulmer||A&H, AP, AS, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, USAT/ESPN|
|1999||Florida State||12–0||Bobby Bowden||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT/ESPN|
|2000||Miami (FL)||11–1||Butch Davis||NYT|
|Oklahoma||13–0||Bob Stoops||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NCF, NFF, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT/ESPN|
|2001||Miami (FL)||12–0||Larry Coker||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT/ESPN, W|
|2002||Ohio State||14–0||Jim Tressel||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, ERS, FN, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT/ESPN, W|
|USC||11–2||Pete Carroll||DuS, MGR, SR|
|2003||LSU||13–1||Nick Saban||A&H, BCS, BR, CM, DeS, DuS, MCFR, NFF, R(FACT), SR, USAT/ESPN, W|
|USC||12–1||Pete Carroll||AP, CCR,f ERS, FWAA, MGR, NYT, SN|
|2004||USC c||11–0d||Pete Carroll||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, MCFR, MGR, NFF, NYT, R(FACT), SN, SR, W|
|Vacatedc||–||–||BCS, FWAA, USAT/ESPN|
|2005||Texas||13–0||Mack Brown||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DeS, DuS, ERS, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NFF, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT, W|
|2006||Florida||13–1||Urban Meyer||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, MGR, NFF, R(FACT), SN, SR, USAT, W|
|Ohio State||12–1||Jim Tressel||DeS,g R(FACT)h|
|2007||LSU||12–2||Les Miles||AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|2008||Florida||13–1||Urban Meyer||AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CM, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT|
|Utah||13–0||Kyle Whittingham||A&H, Wi|
|2009||Alabama||14–0||Nick Saban||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CCR, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|2010||Auburn||14–0||Gene Chizik||A&H, AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|2011||Alabama||12–1||Nick Saban||AP, B(QPRS), BCS, BR, CFRA, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|LSU||13–1||Les Miles||A&H,n CCRk|
|Oklahoma State||12–1||Mike Gundy||CM|
|2012||Alabama||13–1||Nick Saban||A&H, AP, BCS, BR, CCR, CFRA, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|Notre Dame||12–1||Brian Kelly||CM|
|2013||Florida State||14–0||Jimbo Fisher||A&H, AP, BCS, BR, CCR, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA, MCFR, NFF, SR, USAT, W|
|2014||Ohio State||14–1||Urban Meyer||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2015||Alabama||14–1||Nick Saban||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|Clemson||14–1||Dabo Swinney||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2017||Alabama||13–1||Nick Saban||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2018||Clemson||15–0||Dabo Swinney||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2019||LSU||15–0||Ed Orgeron||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2020||Alabama||13–0||Nick Saban||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY|
|2021||Georgia||14–1||Kirby Smart||A&H, AP, BR, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, DuS, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
aParke Davis' selection for 1901, as published in the Spalding's Foot Ball Guide for 1934 and 1935 (to which he contributed until his death), was Harvard. : 206 : 233 The NCAA Records Book states "Yale" for 1901, which is an error that has been perpetuated since the first appearance of Parke Davis' selections in the NCAA book about 1995.
bThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists Sagarin as having selected Tennessee, while Sagarin's official website gives Ohio State as its 1998 selection.
cThe FWAA stripped USC of its 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy and vacated the selection of its national champion for 2004. The BCS also vacated USC's participation in the 2005 Orange Bowl and USC's 2004 BCS National Championship, and the AFCA Coaches Poll Trophy was returned.
dRecord does not count wins against UCLA, or against Oklahoma in the BCS Championship game on January 4, 2005, as they were vacated by the NCAA.
eThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists Dunkel as having selected LSU, while Dunkel's official website gives USC as its 2007 selection.
fThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists CCR as having selected LSU, while CCR's official website gives USC as its 2003 selection.
gThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists DeVold (DeS) as having selected Florida, while DeVold's official website gives Ohio State as its 2006 selection.
hThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists R(FACT) as having selected Florida, while R(FACT)'s official website gives co-champions Ohio State and Florida as its 2006 selection.
iThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists Wolfe as having selected Florida, while Wolfe's official website gives Utah as its 2008 selection.
j The NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists CCR as having selected Auburn, while CCR's official website gives TCU as its 2010 selection.
kThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists CCR as having selected Alabama, while CCR's official website gives LSU as its 2011 selection.
mThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists Anderson & Hester (A&H) as having selected LSU, while A&H's official website gives Missouri as its 2007 selection.
nThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists Anderson & Hester (A&H) as having selected Alabama, while A&H's official website gives LSU as its 2011 selection.
pKansas' defeat of Missouri was overturned by the Big Eight Conference on December 8 (ineligible player). The reversal erased the only loss on Missouri's record.
The national title count listed below is a culmination of all championship awarded since 1869, regardless of "consensus"or non-consensus status, as listed in the table above according to the selectors deemed to be "major" as listed in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records.
The totals can be said to be disputed. Individual schools may claim national championships not accounted for by the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records or may not claim national championship selections that do appear in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (see National championship claims by school below).
|Washington & Jefferson||1|
National championship selectors came to be dominated by two competing news agencies in the later half of the 20th century: the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI).
These wire services began ranking college football teams in weekly polls, which were then promptly published in the sports sections of each agency's subscribing newspapers across the country. The team ranking No. 1 in each agency's final poll of the season was awarded that agency's national championship.
National championships are often popularly considered[ by whom? ] to be "consensus" when both of these polls are in agreement with their national championship selections, although other selectors exist and do make alternative selections.
The AP college football poll has a long history. The news media began running their own polls of sports writers to determine who was, by popular opinion, the best football team in the country at the end of the season. One of the earliest such polls was the AP College Football Poll, first run in 1934 (compiled and organized by Charles Woodroof, former SEC Assistant Director of Media Relations, but not recognized in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records) and then continuously from 1936. Due to the long-standing historical ties between individual college football conferences and high-paying bowl games like the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl, the NCAA has never held a tournament or championship game to determine the champion of what is now the highest division, NCAA Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (the Division I, Football Championship Subdivision and lower divisions do hold championship tournaments). As a result, the public and the media began to take the leading vote-getter in the final AP Poll as the national champion for that season.
In the AP Poll's early years, the final poll of sportswriters was taken prior to any bowl games and sometimes even prior to the top teams' final games of the regular season.In 1938, the poll was extended for one week after Notre Dame, No. 1 in the scheduled "final" poll, subsequently lost to rival USC.
Following the 1947 season the AP held a special post-bowl pollwith only two teams on the ballot, Notre Dame and Michigan, but stated that the result would not supersede that of the final poll conducted following the end of the regular season. The rivals, both unbeaten and untied, had been ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the final poll. January voters were impressed by Michigan's 49–0 win over common opponent USC in the Rose Bowl and elevated the Wolverines above the Irish in the special post-bowl poll.
In 1965 the AP decided to delay the season's final poll until after New Year's Day, citing the proliferation of bowl games and the involvement of eight of the poll's current top ten teams in post-season play.In the next season, 1966, neither of the top two teams were attending bowl games so no post-bowl poll was taken, even after two-time defending AP national champion No. 3 Alabama won the Sugar Bowl and finished the season unbeaten and untied. In 1967 the final poll crowning USC national champion was taken before No. 2 Tennessee or No. 3 Oklahoma had even played their final games of the regular season, and well before those two teams met in the Orange Bowl.
In 1968 the final poll was again delayed until after the bowl games so that No. 1 Ohio State could meet No. 2 USC in a "dream match" in the Rose Bowl.Every subsequent season's final AP Poll would be released after the bowl games going forward. The UPI did not follow suit with the Coaches Poll until the 1974 season.
Until the 1968 NCAA University Division football season, the final AP Poll of the season was released following the end of the regular season, with the exception of the 1965 season. In 1964, Alabama was named the national champion in the final AP Poll following the completion of the regular season, but lost in the Orange Bowl to Texas, leaving Arkansas as the only undefeated, untied team after the Razorbacks defeated Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl Classic. In 1965, the AP's decision to wait to crown its champion paid off, as top-ranked Michigan State lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, number two Arkansas lost to LSU in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and fourth-ranked Alabama defeated third-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, vaulting the Crimson Tide to the top of the AP's final poll. Michigan State was named national champion in the final United Press International poll of coaches, which did not conduct a post-bowl poll.
The AP Poll was used as a component of the Bowl Championship Series computer ranking formula starting in 1998, but without any formal agreement in place like the contract made between the BCS and the Coaches Poll.For the 2003 season the AP Poll caused a split national title and BCS controversy when it awarded its national championship to No. 1 USC instead of BCS champion LSU. In December 2004 the AP opted out of the BCS formula, requesting that the BCS "discontinue its unauthorized use of the AP poll as a component of BCS rankings", in response to three AP voters from Texas elevating Texas above California into the Rose Bowl in the last regular season AP Poll.
News agency United Press (UP), the main competitor to the Associated Press, began conducting its own college football ratings during the 1950 season.The wire service came to be known as United Press International (UPI) following a merger with International News Service in 1958.
The weekly ranking was a joint polling effort between the news agency and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), with UP/UPI sports writers gathering and tabulating the coaches' votes and publishing the results in newspapers across the nation.
The UP/UPI rankings were originally conducted by polling 35 of the nation's college football coaches.The coaches were chosen to represent every major football conference, with 5 coaches from each of 7 regions, in an apparent effort to combat the perceived East Coast bias of the rival AP Poll's constituent sports writers.
Their votes will provide the only football rating based on the opinion of the men who know the sport best. The nature of the board, giving each section of the country equal representation, avoids the sectional bias and ballot box stuffing for which other football polls have been criticized.
Each season's final Coaches Poll was initially published following the regular season and did not take bowl game results into account; the UP/UPI national champion lost its bowl game 8 times between 1950 and 1973. Since the 1974 season the poll has awarded its national championship following the postseason bowls.That same year the AFCA voted to thereafter not rank any team currently under NCAA or conference-sanctioned probation.
Following the decline of UPI in the 1980s, the AFCA ended their 42-year relationship with the wire service in 1991.The Coaches Poll continued, with new sponsorship and distribution partners, as the USA Today/CNN poll (1991–1996), USA Today/ESPN poll (1997–2004), USA Today poll (2005–2014), and USA Today/Amway poll (2014–present).
The Bowl Championship Series included the Coaches Poll as a major factor in its ranking formula.In return, voting AFCA members were contractually obligated to award their Coaches Poll national championship selections to the winner of the BCS National Championship Game. Lacking its own dedicated trophy, the BCS champion was awarded The Coaches' Trophy on the field immediately following the game.
The following table contains the national championships that have been recognized by the final AP or Coaches Poll. Originally both the AP and Coaches poll champions were crowned after the regular season, but since 1968 and 1974 respectively, both polls crown their champions after the bowl games are completed (with the exception of the 1965 season). The BCS champion was automatically awarded the Coaches Poll championship. Of the current 120+ Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) schools, only 30 have won at least a share of a national title by the AP or Coaches poll. Of these 30 teams, only 20 teams have won multiple titles. Of the 20 teams, only 7 have won five or more national titles: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Miami (FL), Nebraska, and Ohio State. The years listed in the table below indicate a national championship selection by the AP or Coaches Poll. The selections are noted with (AP) or (Coaches) when a national champion selection differed between the two polls for that particular season, which has occurred in twelve different seasons (including 2004, for which the coaches selection was rescinded) since the polls first came to coexist in 1950.
|Alabama||13||1961, 1964, 1965 (AP), 1973 (Coaches), 1978 (AP), 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020|
|Notre Dame||8||1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973 (AP), 1977, 1988|
|Oklahoma||7||1950, 1955, 1956, 1974 (AP), 1975, 1985, 2000|
|USC||7||1962, 1967, 1972, 1974 (Coaches), 1978 (Coaches), 2003 (AP), 2004 (AP)†|
|Ohio State||6||1942, 1954 (AP), 1957 (Coaches), 1968, 2002, 2014|
|Miami (FL)||5||1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 (AP), 2001|
|Nebraska||5||1970 (AP), 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997 (Coaches)|
|LSU||4||1958, 2003 (Coaches), 2007, 2019|
|Texas||4||1963, 1969, 1970 (Coaches), 2005|
|Minnesota||4||1936, 1940, 1941, 1960|
|Florida||3||1996, 2006, 2008|
|Florida State||3||1993, 1999, 2013|
|Clemson||3||1981, 2016, 2018|
|Army||2||1944, 1945 (AP)|
|Auburn||2||1957 (AP), 2010|
|Michigan||2||1948, 1997 (AP)|
|Michigan State||2||1952, 1965 (Coaches)|
|Penn State||2||1982, 1986|
|Georgia Tech||1||1990 (Coaches)|
|Oklahoma State||1||1945 (Coaches)‡|
† USC's 2004 BCS National Championship was vacated by the BCS and the AFCA Coaches Trophy returned.
‡ Retroactively awarded in 2016 by AFCA Blue Ribbon Panel. Oklahoma State was the only school to apply for the award.
The AP Poll and Coaches Poll have picked different final national poll leaders at the end of 11 different seasons since their first concurrent polls in 1950. This situation is referred to as a "split" national championship.
|Season||Champion||Record||Wire service poll|
College football fans and administrators have long sought to match the No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams in an end-of-season National Championship Game to determine an undisputed national champion on the gridiron.
Following back-to-back years of split AP and Coaches Poll national champions in 1990 and 1991, the Bowl Coalition was formed in 1992 to increase the probability of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship game matchup in one of the Coalition's participating bowls.
The Coalition's rules retained traditional bowl game conference tie-ins but provided some flexibility for scheduling a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between two teams selected from among the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Eight, SEC, and SWC conferences, or independent Notre Dame, in the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, or Sugar Bowl.
The Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences were notably not members of the Bowl Coalition, with their champions retaining their traditional and contractual matchup in the Rose Bowl. Likewise, mid-major teams had no route to the Bowl Coalition National Championship Game.
In 1995 the Bowl Alliance replaced the Bowl Coalition.Going further than the Coalition, the Alliance guaranteed a postseason matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams of its same five conference champions plus Notre Dame. Beginning in 1996, the Big 12 champion joined the Alliance in place of the champions of the disbanded Big Eight and Southwest conferences.
Unlike the Coalition, the Alliance eliminated traditional conference tie-ins to its associated bowls. The Bowl Alliance National Championship Game would be rotated amongst the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl, with the Cotton Bowl dropped from the slate.
The Rose Bowl remained independent of the Alliance, leaving open the possibility of a split national title between the Alliance's champion and a Big Ten or Pac-10 Rose Bowl champion.
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), starting in 1998, finally succeeded in bringing the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences together with the former Coalition and Alliance members for a combined national championship game.
Following the regular season, the BCS paired its No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams to play for the title in the BCS National Championship Game. This designation initially rotated in order between four BCS Bowls: the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Rose Bowl. For the 2006 season onward the BCS National Championship Game became its own separate contest, played one week later at the site of the bowl in the same rotation.
The BCS formula varied over the years, with the final version relying on a combination of the Coaches' and Harris polls and an average of various computer rankings to determine relative team rankings.
The winners of the BCS National Championship Game were crowned the Coaches' Poll national champions and were awarded the Coaches' Trophy on the field following the game. They were also awarded the MacArthur Bowl by the National Football Foundation.
|Alabama||3||2009, 2011, 2012|
|Florida State||2||1999, 2013|
† USC's victory in the 2005 Orange Bowl and subsequent 2004–05 BCS National Championship was vacated by the BCS.
The College Football Playoff (CFP) was designed as a replacement for the BCS. While the NCAA still does not officially sanction the event, organizers sought to bring a playoff system similar to all other levels of NCAA football to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The College Football Playoff relies on a 13-member selection committee to choose the top four teams to play in a two-round single-elimination playoff bracket. The winner of the final game is awarded the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy.
|Alabama||3||2015, 2017, 2020|
The following is a table of known schools' claims on national championships at the highest level of play in college football. Several of these schools no longer compete at the highest level, which is currently NCAA Division I FBS, but nonetheless maintain claims to titles from when they did compete at the highest level.
Because there is no one governing or official body that regulates, recognizes, or awards national championships in college football, and because many independent selectors of championships exist, many of the claims by the schools listed below are shared, contradict each other, or are controversial. : 107–119 In addition, because there is no one body overseeing national championships, no standardized requirements exist in order for a school to make a claim on a national championship, as any particular institution is free to make any declaration it deems to be fit. The majority of these claims, but not all, are based on championships awarded from selectors listed as "major" in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records. : 112–114 Not all championships awarded by third party selectors, nor those listed in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records, are necessarily claimed by each school. Therefore, these claims represent how each individual school sees their own history on the subject of national championships. For the pre-poll era from 1901 through 1935, 41 major selections of teams from 20 schools have not been used to make national title claims.
This table below includes only national championship claims originating from each particular school and therefore represents the point-of-view of each individual institution. Each total number of championships, and the years for which they are claimed, are documented by the particular school on its official website, in its football media guide, on a prominent stadium sign, or in other official publications or literature (see Source). If a championship is not mentioned by a school for any particular season, regardless of whether it was awarded by a selector or listed in a third-party publication such as the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records, it is not considered to be claimed by that institution.
|Princeton||28||1869, 1870, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1889, 1893, 1894, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1906, 1911, 1920, 1922, 1933, 1935, 1950|
|Yale||27||1872, 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1900, 1901g, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1927|
|Alabama||18||1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020|
|Michigan||11||1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1918, 1923, 1932, 1933, 1947, 1948, 1997|
|Notre Dame||11||1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988|
|USC||11||1928, 1931, 1932, 1939, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978, 2003, 2004a|
|Pittsburgh||9||1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934h, 1936, 1937, 1976|
|Ohio State||8||1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014|
|Harvard||7||1890, 1898, 1899, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1919|
|Minnesota||7||1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1960|
|Oklahoma||7||1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000|
|Penn||7||1894, 1895, 1897, 1904, 1907b, 1908, 1924|
|Michigan State||6||1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965, 1966|
|Tennessee||6||1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967, 1998|
|California||5||1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1937|
|Cornell||5||1915, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1939|
|Illinois||5||1914, 1919, 1923, 1927, 1951|
|Iowa||5||1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960||[ better source needed ]|
|Miami||5||1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001|
|Nebraska||5||1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997|
|Georgia Tech||4||1917, 1928, 1952, 1990|
|LSU||4||1958, 2003, 2007, 2019|
|Texas||4||1963, 1969, 1970, 2005|
|Army||3||1944, 1945, 1946|
|Clemson||3||1981, 2016, 2018|
|Florida||3||1996, 2006, 2008|
|Florida State||3||1993, 1999, 2013|
|Georgia||3d||1942, 1980, 2021|
|Lafayette||3||1896, 1921, 1926|
|Ole Miss||3||1959, 1960, 1962|
|SMU||3||1935, 1981, 1982|
|Texas A&M||3||1919, 1927, 1939|
|Penn State||2||1982, 1986|
aUSC's January 4, 2005 win over Oklahoma in the BCS Championship Game was vacated as mandated by the NCAA, its 2004 BCS National Championship vacated by the BCS, and its AFCA Coaches' Trophy returned. NCAA sanctions mandate that "any reference to the vacated results, including championships, shall be removed." USC still retains the 2004 Associated Press National Championship and has not abandoned its claim to a 2004 national championship.
bNo major selectors chose Penn for 1907. Penn's football fact book states that the Billingsley Report named the 1907 team National Champions, but other sources show Billingsley naming Yale for 1907.
cNo major selectors chose Columbia for 1933. Columbia's media guide states that the team "was referred to as a national champ."
dGeorgia's website has multiple pages which list national championships by sport and only spells out three seasons for football (1942, 1980, and 2021). The Georgia football media guide contains a year-by-year results section in which six seasons (1927, 1942, 1946, 1968, 1980, 2021) have "National Champions" headers paired with selector callouts, : 169–174 but also a "Championship History" page which places 1942, 1980, and 2021 into a "The Consensus National Champions" section and groups 1927, 1946, and 1968 together as "The other three..." without description as national champions beyond identification of those specific selectors. : 207
eAuburn's website notes to five titles that appear in the NCAA Record Book, while not claiming three of them (1913, 1983, and 1993).
fNo major selectors chose Boston College for 1940.
gNo major selectors chose Yale for 1901. The original source for Parke Davis' "Outstanding Nationwide and Sectional Teams" states "1901 Harvard".
hNo major selectors chose Pittsburgh for 1934. Parke Davis died in June, 1934; his successor selected Pitt but is not designated as a major selector by the NCAA.
In addition to the NCAA-designated "major selectors" listed above, various other people and organizations have selected national champions in college football. Selections from such notable "minor selectors" are listed below.
Teams in the following table were selected by notable "minor" national championship selectors not listed in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book. In the interest of brevity, this table contains only teams that were not also selected by any NCAA-designated major selector for the given year.
|1904||Yale||10–1||Charles D. Rafferty||Caspar Whitney|
|1910||Washington||6–0||Gil Dobie||Bill Libby (BL)|
|1911||Carlisle||11–1||Glenn "Pop" Warner||BL|
|1913||Notre Dame||7–0||Jesse Harper||BL|
|1914||Harvard||7–0–2||Percy Haughton|| World Almanac, |
Alexander Weyand (AW)
|1915||Washington State||7–0||William "Lone Star" Dietz||Washington State Senate|
|1917||Pittsburgh||10–0||Glenn "Pop" Warner||AW|
|1921||Notre Dame||10–1||Knute Rockne||AW|
|Tulane||11–1||Bernie Bierman||John Kent Boyd|
|1934||Pittsburgh||8–1||Jock Sutherland||Walter R. Okeson|
|1935||Stanford||8–1||Tiny Thornhill||Kenneth Massey (MCFR)|
|1936||Santa Clara||8–1||Buck Shaw||MCFR|
|1941||Duquesne||8–0||Aldo Donelli/Steve Sinko||MCFR|
|1942||Georgia Navy Pre-Flight||7–1–1||Raymond Wolf||MCFR|
|1943||March Field||9–1||Paul J. Schissler||MCFR|
|1953||Michigan State||9–1||Biggie Munn||MCFR|
|1955||Ole Miss||10–1||Johnny Vaught||MCFR|
|1963||Navy||9–2||Wayne Hardin||Washington Touchdown Club|
|1974||Alabama||11–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||Washington Touchdown Club|
|1978||Penn State||11–1||Joe Paterno||Washington Touchdown Club|
|2010||Oregon (co-champion)||12–1||Chip Kelly||R(FACT)|
|2014||Alabama (co-champion)||12–2||Nick Saban||R(FACT)|
|Oregon (co-champion)||12–1||Chip Kelly|
|TCU (co-champion)||12–1||Gary Patterson|
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was a selection system that created five bowl game match-ups involving ten of the top ranked teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of American college football, including an opportunity for the top two teams to compete in the BCS National Championship Game. The system was in place for the 1998 through 2013 seasons and in 2014 was replaced by the College Football Playoff.
The USC Trojans football program represents University of Southern California in the sport of American football. The Trojans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12).
The BCS National Championship Game, or BCS National Championship, was a postseason college football bowl game, used to determine a national champion of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), first played in the 1998 college football season as one of four designated bowl games, and beginning in the 2006 season as a standalone event rotated among the host sites of the aforementioned bowls.
The Auburn Tigers football program represents Auburn University in the sport of American college football. Auburn competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
The Associated Press Poll provides weekly rankings of the top 25 NCAA teams in one of three Division I college sports: football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The rankings are compiled by polling 62 sportswriters and broadcasters from across the nation. Each voter provides their own ranking of the top 25 teams, and the individual rankings are then combined to produce the national ranking by giving a team 25 points for a first place vote, 24 for a second place vote, and so on down to 1 point for a twenty-fifth place vote. Ballots of the voting members in the AP Poll are made public.
A mythical national championship is national championship recognition that is not explicitly competitive. This phrase has often been invoked in reference to American college football, because the NCAA does not sponsor a playoff-style tournament or recognize official national champions for the Football Bowl Subdivision. The relevant recognition before 1998 came from various entities, including coach polls and media ballots, which each voted to recognize their own national champions, and is similar to the newspaper decision used in early boxing matches. The contrary term would be an undisputed national championship.
Three human polls and one formulaic ranking make up the 2005 NCAA Division I-A football rankings, in addition to various publications' preseason polls. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), does not bestow a National Championship title for Division I-A football. That title is bestowed by different polling agencies. There are several polls that currently exist. The main weekly polls are the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll. About halfway through the season, two additional polls are released; the Harris Interactive Poll and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings.
Three human polls and one formulaic ranking make up the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings, in addition to various publications' preseason polls. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a National Championship title. That title is bestowed by one or more of four different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason: the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. About halfway through the season, two additional polls are released, the Harris Interactive Poll and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. The Harris Poll and Coaches Poll are factors in the BCS Standings. At the end of the season, the BCS Standings determine who plays in the BCS bowl games as well as the BCS National Championship Game.
The Coaches Poll is a weekly ranking of the top 25 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football, Division I college basketball, and Division I college baseball teams. The football version of the poll has been known officially as the Amway Coaches Poll since 2014.
The Harris Interactive College Football Poll was a weekly ranking of the top 25 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision college football teams. The rankings were compiled by Harris Interactive, a market research company that specializes in Internet research.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama in the sport of American football. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team's head coach is Nick Saban, who has led the Tide to six national championships over his tenure. The Crimson Tide is among the most storied and decorated football programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program claims 18 national championships, including 13 wire-service national titles in the poll-era, and five other titles before the poll-era. From 1958 to 1982, the team was led by Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national titles with the program. Despite numerous national and conference championships, it was not until 2009 that an Alabama player received a Heisman Trophy, when running back Mark Ingram II became the university's first winner. In 2015, Derrick Henry became the university's second Heisman winner. The Crimson Tide won back to back Heisman trophies in 2020 and 2021, with DeVonta Smith and Bryce Young.
The 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season was the highest level of college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As of 2022, there are 10 conferences and 131 schools in FBS.
Three human polls and one formula ranking make up the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football rankings, in addition to various publications' preseason polls. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship title. That title is bestowed by one or more of four different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason: the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. Two additional polls are released midway through the season; the Harris Interactive Poll is released after the fourth week of the season and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings is released after the seventh week. The Harris Poll and Coaches Poll are factors in the BCS Standings. At the end of the season, on Sunday, December 6, 2009, the BCS Standings determines who plays in the BCS bowl games as well as the 2010 BCS National Championship Game on January 7, 2010 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
The Legends Poll was a poll that rated the Top 25 teams weekly during the college football season. Its aim was to identify the two best teams in its opinion by the end of the season who should compete in a national championship game. The voters were a group of retired coaches, most of whom were in the College Football Hall of Fame. The Legends Poll was founded by Andy Curtin in 2005 as the Master Coaches Survey, but changed its name in 2008 to better reflect the make-up of its voting members. Curtin and his partner, Pete Wolek implemented the original plan and operated the Legends Poll since its inception. The Legends Poll was published by ESPN and the Sporting News.
The College Football Playoff (CFP) is an annual postseason knockout invitational tournament to determine a national champion for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football competition in the United States. Four teams play in two semifinal games, and the winner of each semifinal advances to the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
The Colley Matrix is a computer-generated sports rating system designed by Dr. Wesley Colley. It is one of more than 40 polls, rankings, and formulas recognized by the NCAA in its list of national champion selectors in college football. Though it was created in 1998, its retroactive selections since 1992 are recognized by the NCAA.
The criteria for being included in this historical list of poll selectors is that the poll be national in scope, either through distribution in newspaper, television, radio and/or computer online. The list includes both former selectors, who were instrumental in the sport of college football, and selectors who were among the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) selectors.
Around April of 1970 or 1971, I came up with the method now used. [...] Championships have been awarded on this basis by the Foundation for the Analysis of Competitions and Tournaments since the 1970s, and retroactive to 1968.
Since 1950 — AP, UPI, FW, NFF, USA/CNN, USA/ESPN, USA
I will support these assertions by examining the Colley system. I have coded it based on the outline provided on Colley's web site. Colley publishes ratings back to the 1998 season, and I have verified that my program exactly duplicates his ratings for 1998 through 2007. [...] I ran Colley's system on some seasons prior to 1998. It did not take long to find an objectionable ranking, as Colley's #1 team for 1997 was Tennessee. [...] Colley's top ten teams before and after the 1997 bowl season (as calculated by my Colley Matrix emulation) are as follows:
The move gave MU a 10-0 season record and a 7-0 record in league play.
When the University of Iowa rose to No. 1 in The Associated Press and the United Press International college football rankings last week, it was reason for elation across the state. ... The polls, since the first one began 50 years ago this month, have been the prime measuring stick for determining the champion, albeit an unofficial one.
The poll was extended for another week because of the select quality of last Saturday's games, three of which had a direct bearing on the ranking.
Southern California is king of 1967 college football. [...] Tennessee, 8–1 with one regular season game remaining before its Orange Bowl date with Oklahoma, received 11 first-place votes.
In the final Associated Press football ranking poll of the year, ninety sports writers and editors chose Notre Dame as the nation's No. 1 team with Duke in third place. Texas Christian, which hoped for a Rose bowl bid, came in between them.
The AP's final poll of the top ten teams, released Dec. 8 at the conclusion of the regulation season, resulted in Notre Dame Winning first place with 1,410 points. Michigan was second with 1,289. While the latest poll—which will be released to afternoon papers of Tuesday, Jan. 6—will not supersede the regular season-end poll, it is intended to serve as a final summing up of the opinion on the two teams.
This post-season poll, conducted by the Associated Press by popular demand after Michigan thumped Southern California in the Rose bowl, 49–0, doesn't supersede the weekly A. P. poll held during the regular season. The final poll released Dec. 8 gave Notre Dame 1410 points for first place, with Michigan 1289 for second. The Irish had just polished off Southern California 38–7.
Another poll will be staged after this week's few remaining games and the final balloting, determining the national championship, will be held after the bowl games on New Year's Day. The decision to delay the final poll until after the New Year was made because of the broad growth of the post-season attractions and the involvement of most of the teams in the Top Ten. Actually, eight of the Top Ten will be in action after the regular season.
Ironically, when the Tide won last year, the poll was taken at the close of the regular season and 'Bama went on to lose to Texas in the Orange Bowl. This year the final poll of the season was conducted after the New Year's bowl games—the first time it had been held until after the bowls—because the six top teams were in action New Year's Day.
Last year, the AP took a post-Bowl game poll because Michigan State and Alabama were involved in Bowl games. This year, with the No. 1 and 2 teams not in Bowl games, so no post-season poll is planned.
That Dream Match—the No. 1 team against the No. 2 outfit in the Rose Bowl—remained a reality today... but just barely. [...] Because the race is so tight, the final AP poll of the season won't be released until after the Jan. 1 bowl games.
Thirty-five of the nation's foremost football coaches will rate the country's top collegiate football teams each week for the United Press this coming season.
“After more than six months’ discussion, UPI and AFCA have ended the joint polling effort which began in 1950,” said Milt Capps, senior vice president for UPI, a wire service agency. For more than 40 years, UPI sportswriters gathered votes from coaches each week, tallied the results and reported them. But UPI’s rankings now will be determined by the votes of the sportswriters independent of the AFCA, which will produce its own, separate coaches rankings.
The American Football Coaches Association, acting on a proposal by United Press International, has voted to permit member coaches to extend their future U.P.I. rankings of the top 10 teams to include results of postseason bowl games. Since their Inception in 1950, rankings by the U.P.I. board of 35 coaches—five from each of the nation's seven geographical areas—have ended each year with the final Saturday of the regular season. This action will conform with the practice of the Associated Press, whose final ratings based on the votes of sports writers and broadcasters, include the bowl results. — A.F.C.A. members for many years expressed preference for including only regular‐season games in the U.P.I. board's final rankings, A factor in the decision was the circumstance of first‐ranked Alabama losing to fourth‐ranked Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl this season. — In a separate action, the A.F.C.A. recommended that no votes be cast by them or anyone else for football teams the National Collegiate A.A. has placed on probation, with sanctions, for violating the N.C.A.A. code.
The college football coaches poll, carried by United Press International since 1950, will now be distributed by USA Today.
The triumphant Miami and Washington teams exulted on separate coasts yesterday, each celebrating the outcome of at least one major poll that proclaimed it the national college football champion for 1991.
...under an agreement hammered out yesterday by the College Football Bowl Coalition that also provides enhanced opportunity for a national championship game.
Briefly, the Bowl Coalition has been replaced by the Bowl Alliance, which will spread five conference champions (ACC, Big East, Big Eight, Southeastern, Southwest) plus Notre Dame around three different bowls. The championship game between the Nos. 1 and 2 alliance teams will be rotated among the Fiesta (this year), Sugar (1996) and Orange (1997) bowls. Unlike the coalition, the alliance has eliminated conference tie-ins to its respective bowls.
On Not Finishing No. 1 – "While there is certainly some disappointment about not finishing No. 1, we prefer to look on the positive side."
National Championships – 18 – 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020
Ohio State's National Champion Teams: 2014, 2002, 1970, 1968, 1961, 1957, 1954, 1942
Iowa Quick Facts – National Champions: 1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960 | the Hawkeyes were named national champions by the Football Writers Association in 1958, and by various rating services in 1921, 1922, 1956, and 1960. | Mythical National Champions – Iowa football has been voted mythical national champions by different media services on five occasions. 1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960
FOOTBALL (3) 1942 • 1980 • 2021 – The 1927, 1946, 1968 teams were also recognized as National Champions but these were not consensus and thus not officially recognized as National Championships.
The Consensus National Champions: 2021, 1980, 1942 | The other three... 1927, 1946, 1968
2 - Football: 2010, 1957
Columbia has claimed two mythical national championships: in 1875 and 1933. The 1875 team went 4-1-1 and was named national champions, while the 1933 squad defeated Stanford and was referred to as a national champ.
National Championships – 1926, 1940
The 1926 team was declared national champions by the Dickinson System, Helms Athletic Foundation, National Championship Foundation and Sagarin Ratings. Although Minnesota was declared national champions in the final 1940 Associated Press Poll, which was the best-known and most widely circulated poll of sportswriters and broadcasters in determining the national champion, Stanford was recognized as national champions by the Billingsley Report, Helms Athletic Foundation and Poling System.
Washington officially claims two national championships in football: 1960 and 1991.
1940 — An undefeated (11-0) season, capped by the Sugar Bowl championship and the claim of a national championship made this arguably the greatest season in Eagle football annals. [...] On Jan. 1, the Eagles would lay claim to the national championship with a 19-13 victory over Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.
Boston College, Minnesota and Stanford were all crowned as "National Champions" by various media outlets – and each school has a case for the right to fly the 1940 championship banner. In the East and South, sentiment was strong in favor of the Eagles: the sports editor of the New York Herald Tribune wrote that the victory over Tennessee "entitled Boston College to be the undefeated champions of the United States." Twenty-five years after the Sugar Bowl game, in 1966, The Boston Globe sponsored a gala downtown honoring the declared 1940 National Champions. [...] But now – 75 years later – let's all raise our glasses and our voices to a National Championship pennant that can fly proudly and rightfully in Chestnut Hill.
The undefeated 1928 U-D squad was deemed a Co-national champion, along with Georgia Tech, by Parker[ sic ] Davis.
In today’s modern era, three undefeated teams with nearly identical records would cause a stir among fans and pollsters alike. This was the case when Navy earned its lone national championship in 1926, as the Midshipmen shared the honor with Stanford and Alabama.
A 7-7 tie between Alabama and Stanford in the 1926 Rose Bowl gave the Cardinal a 10-0-1 mark, while the Crimson Tide and the Mids each had identical 9-0-1 records.
The [Army–Navy Game] tie gave the Midshipmen a share of the national championship, as a pair of polls (sic), Boand and Houlgate, named Navy the national champion.
Data created by: World Almanac
Data created by: Alexander M. Weyand — Data obtained from: "The Real National Champions"
Harvard and the Army Powerful, 1914 | Although the Army was the only one of the larger teams to win all games, the majority of the critics favored Harvard for the championship.(Note: The author, Alexander Weyand, was an All-American player on the Army team in 1914.)