|Current season, competition or edition:|
2023 NCAA Division I FBS football season
|Most titles||Princeton (28 titles)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Division I (FCS)|
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 President of the United States Richard Nixon made a selection by announcing, ahead of the season-ending "game of the century" between No. 1 Texas and No. 2 (AP) Arkansas, that the winner would receive a presidential plaque commemorating them as national champions. Texas went on to win, 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.
|National championship trophies|
The concept of a national championship in college football dates to the early years of the sport in the late 19th century. Some of the earliest contemporaneous rankings can be traced to Caspar Whitney in Harper's Weekly, J. Parmly Paret in Outing, Charles Patterson, and New York newspaper The Sun.
"Football, however, is not a game where a great national championship is possible or desirable. The very nature of the sport would forbid anything like such a series of contests as are played in baseball."
Claimed intercollegiate championships were limited to various selections and rankings, as the nature of the developing and increasingly violent full-contact sport made it impossible to schedule a post-season tournament to determine an "official" or undisputed champion. National championships in this era were well understood to be "mythical".
Beyond rankings in newspaper columns, awards and trophies began to be presented to teams. In 1917 members of the 9–0 Georgia Tech squad were given gold footballs with the inscription "National Champions" by alumni at their post-season banquet. The Veteran Athletes of Philadelphia put up the Bonniwell Trophy for the national championship in 1919 under the stipulation that it was only "to be awarded in such years as produces a team whose standing is so preeminent as to make its selection as champion of America beyond dispute." Notre Dame was the first to be awarded the trophy, in 1924.
Professor Frank G. Dickinson of Illinois developed the first mathematical ranking system to be widely popularized. Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack F. Rissman donated a trophy for the system's national championship in 1926 onward, first awarded to Stanford prior to their tie with Alabama in the Rose Bowl. A curious Knute Rockne, then coach of Notre Dame, convinced Dickinson and Rissman to backdate the Rissman Trophy two seasons; thus Notre Dame is engraved on the trophy for 1924 and Dartmouth for 1925. The Rissman Trophy was retired by Notre Dame's three wins in 1924, 1929, and 1930; the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy was put into competition for 1931 following the untimely death of the legendary coach. The popularity of the Dickinson System kicked off a succession of mathematical rankings carried in newspapers and magazines such as the Houlgate System, Azzi Ratem rankings, Dunkel Power Index, Williamson System, and Litkenhous Ratings.
Two short-lived national championship trophies were contemporaries of the Dickinson System awards. The Albert Russel Erskine Trophy was won twice by Note Dame in 1929 and 1930, as voted by 250 sportswriters from around the country. The large silver Erskine trophy was last awarded to USC on the field in Pasadena following their "national championship game" victory over Tulane in the 1932 Rose Bowl. The Toledo Cup was meant to be a long-running traveling trophy, but was promptly permanently retired by Minnesota's threepeat in 1934, 1935, and 1936.
College football's foremost historian Parke H. Davis compiled a list of "National Champion Foot Ball Teams" for the 1934 edition of Spalding's Official Foot Ball Guide. Davis selected national champions for each year dating back to college football's inaugural season in 1869, for which he selected the sole competitors Princeton and Rutgers as co-champions. Similar retrospective analysis was undertaken in the 1940s by Bill Schroeder of the Helms Athletic Foundation and in Deke Houlgate's The Football Thesaurus in 1954.
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" national championship between the major polls occurred in 1954, when the writers selected Ohio State and the coaches chose UCLA. The two polls have disagreed 11 times since 1950.
Both wire servies originally conducted their final polls at the end of the regular season and prior to any bowl games being played. This changed when the AP Poll champion was crowned after the bowls for 1965 and then in 1968 onward. The Coaches Poll began awarding post-bowl championships in 1974. National champions crowned by pre-bowl polls who subsequently lost their bowl game offered an opportunity for other teams to claim the title based on different selectors' awards and rankings, such as the post-bowl FWAA Grantland Rice Award or Helms Athletic Foundation title.
Post-bowl polls allowed for the possibility of a "national championship game" to finally settle question on the gridiron. But a number of challenges made it difficult to schedule even the season's top two teams to play in a single post-season bowl game, let alone all of the deserving teams. Calls for a college football playoff were frequently made by head coach Joe Paterno of Penn State, whose independent teams finished the 1968, 1969, and 1973 seasons unbeaten, untied, and with Orange Bowl victories yet were left without a single major national title.
The 1980s were marked by a succession of satisfying national championship games in the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, but the 1990s began with consecutive split AP Poll and Coaches Poll national titles in 1990 and 1991. The Bowl Coalition and then Bowl Alliance were formed to more reliably set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in a bowl game on New Year's Day, but their efforts were hampered by the Rose Bowl's historic draw and contractual matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-10 conference champions.
The Bowl Championship Series in 1998 succeeded in finally bringing the Big Ten and Pac-10 into the fold with the other conferences for a combined BCS National Championship Game rotated amongst the Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose bowls and venues. BCS rankings originally incorporated the two major polls as well as a number of computer rankings to determine the end of season No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Although the BCS era did regularly produce compelling matchups, the winnowing selection of the top two teams resulted in many BCS controversies, most notably 2003's split national championship caused by the BCS rankings leaving USC, No. 1 in both human polls, out of the Sugar Bowl. The BCS victors were awarded The Coaches' Trophy "crystal football" on the field immediately following the game.
In 2014 the College Football Playoff made its debut, facilitating a multi-game single-elimination tournament for the first time in college football history. Four teams are seeded by a 13–member selection committee rather than by existing polls or mathematical rankings. The two semifinal games are rotated among the New Year's Six bowl games, and the final is played a week later. The competition awards its own national championship trophy.
Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has never bestowed national championships in college football at the topmost level, it does maintain an official records book for the sport. The records book, with consultation from various college football historians, contains a list of "major selectors" of national championships from throughout the history of college football, along with their championship selections.
While many people and organizations have named national champions throughout the years, the selectors below are listed in the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book as being "major selectors" of national championships. The criterion for the NCAA's designation is that the poll or selector be "national in scope, either through distribution in newspaper, television, radio and/or computer online". 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 NCAA records book divides its major selectors into three categories: those determined by mathematical formula, human polls, and historical research. The BCS is additionally categorized as a hybrid between math and polls, and the CFP as a playoff system.
Many of the math selection systems were created during the 1920s and 1930s, beginning with Frank Dickinson's system, or during the dawn of the personal computer age in the 1990s. Selectors are listed below with years selected retroactively in italics.
|A&H||Anderson & Hester [n1 1]||1997–present||–|
|B(QPRS)||Berryman (QPRS)||1920–1989, 1990–2011||–|
|BR||Billingsley Report [n1 2]||1869–1969, 1970–2019||–|
|BS||Boand System||1919–1929, 1930–1960||Boand trophy|
|CCR||Congrove Computer Rankings||1993–present||–|
|DeS||DeVold System||1939–1944, 1945–2006||–|
|DiS||Dickinson System||1924–1940||Rissman trophy (1924–1925, 1926–1930)|
Rockne trophy (1931–1940)
|ERS||Eck Ratings System||1987–2005||–|
|HS||Houlgate System||1885–1926, 1927–1958||Foreman & Clark trophy|
|L||Litkenhous Ratings||1934–1976, 1978, 1981–1984||Litkenhous trophy (1934–1962)|
|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, 1935–1984||–|
|R(FACT)||Rothman (FACT)||1968–c.1970, c.1971–2006||–|
|SR||Sagarin Ratings||1919–1977, 1978–present||–|
|W||Wolfe||1992–present [n1 3]||–|
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. Poll selections that constitute a "Consensus National Championship" in 1950 or later, as designated by the NCAA, are listed in bold.
|AP||Associated Press||1936–present||AP Trophy|
|American Football Coaches Association
Blue Ribbon Commission
United Press International
|1950–present, 1935, 1938, 1945
|The Coaches' Trophy|
|CFRA||College Football Researchers Association||1919–1981, 1982–1992, 2009–present||–|
|FWAA||Football Writers Association of America||1954–2013[n2 4]||Grantland Rice Award|
|FWAA/NFF||FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16||2014–present[n2 4]||MacArthur Bowl|
|HICFP||Harris Interactive||2005–2013[n2 5]||–|
|HAF||Helms Athletic Foundation||1883–1940, 1941–1982||–|
|INS||International News Service||1952–1957[n2 2]||–|
|NCF||National Championship Foundation||1869–1979, 1980–2000||–|
|National Football Foundation
United Press International/NFF
|Top 25 trophy|
|UPI||United Press International||1993–1995[n2 2]||–|
College football historian Parke H. Davis is the only selector considered by the NCAA to have primarily used research in his selections.: 117 Davis published his work in the 1934 edition of Spalding's Foot Ball Guide, naming retroactive national champions for the years 1869 to 1932 while naming Michigan and Princeton (his alma mater) contemporary co-champions for the 1933 season. In all, he selected 94 teams over 61 seasons as "National Champion Foot Ball 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||1869–1932, 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||The Coaches' Trophy|
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||CFP National Championship Trophy|
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 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|
|Yale||3–0–1||BR, NCF, PD|
|1878||Princeton||6–0||Woodrow Wilson||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||BR, HAF, NCF, PD|
|1885||Princeton||9–0||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Yale||9–0–1||BR, 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||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|1900||Yale||12–0||Malcolm McBride||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1901||Harvard||12–0||Bill Reid||BR, PDa|
|Michigan||11–0||Fielding H. Yost||BR, 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||BR, NCF|
|Princeton||11–0||Art Hillebrand||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1904||Michigan||10–0||Fielding H. Yost||BR, 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||Penn||11–1||Carl S. Williams||BR|
|Yale||9–0–1||William F. Knox||BR, CW, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Penn||11–0–1||Sol Metzger||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|1909||Yale||10–0||Howard Jones||BR, HAF, HS, NCF, PD|
|Harvard||8–0–1||Percy Haughton||BR, HAF, HS, NCF|
|Michigan||3–0–3||Fielding H. Yost||BR|
|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|
|Nebraska||8–0||Ewald O. Stiehm||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, 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||BR, DuS, HS, PS, WS, B(QPRS)|
|Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HAF, L, NCF, SR|
|1935||Minnesota||8–0||Bernie Bierman||BR, BS, CFRA, HAF, L, NCF, PS|
|SMU||12–1||Matty Bell||DiS, HS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|TCU||12–1||Dutch Meyer||BRC, WSo|
|Minnesota||7–1||Bernie Bierman||AP, BR, DiS, DuS, HAF, L, NCF, PS, WSp|
|Pittsburgh||8–1–1||Jock Sutherland||BS, CFRA, HS|
|1937||California||10–0–1||Stub Allison||DuS, HAF, WSq|
|Pittsburgh||9–0–1||Jock Sutherland||AP, BR, BS, CFRA, DiS, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, B(QPRS)|
|1938||Notre Dame||8–1||Elmer Layden||DiS|
|TCU||11–0||Dutch Meyer||AP, BRC, HAF, NCF, WSr|
|Tennessee||11–0||Robert Neyland||B(QPRS), BR, BS, CFRA, DuS, HS, L, PS, SR, WSr|
|1939||Cornell||8–0||Carl Snavely||BR, 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), BR, BS, CFRA, DeS, DiS, HS, L, NCF, SR|
|Stanford||10–0||Clark Shaughnessy||BR, HAF, PS, WSs|
|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, BR, 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,t BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Ohio State||9–0||Carroll Widdoes||BR,t NCF, SR|
|Army||9–0||Earl Blaik||AP, B(QPRS), BR,t BS, CFRA, DeS, DuS, HAF, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|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), BR, 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|
|Oklahoma||11–0||Bud Wilkinson||BR, CFRA|
|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, HS, NCF, SR|
|1951||Georgia Tech||11–0–1||Bobby Dodd||B(QPRS), BS, HS|
|Maryland||10–0||Jim Tatum||BR, 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, HS, INS, PS, SR|
|Michigan State||9–0||Biggie Munn||AP, BR, 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, HS, 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, HS, INS, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|UCLA||9–0||Henry Sanders||BR, 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, HS, INS, L, NCF, PS, SR, UP, WS|
|1956||Georgia Tech||10–1||Bobby Dodd||B(QPRS), HS, SR|
|Oklahoma||10–0||Bud Wilkinson||AP, BR, BS, DeS, DuS, FWAA, HAF, INS, L, NCF, PS, SR, UP, WS|
|1957||Auburn||10–0||Ralph Jordan||AP, BR, CFRA, HAF, HS, NCF, PS, SR, WS|
|Michigan State||8–1||Duffy Daugherty||BR, 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, HS, L, NCF, PS, SR, UPI, WS|
|1959||Ole Miss||10–1||Johnny Vaught||B(QPRS), BR, 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), BR, 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|
|1962||Alabama||10–1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||BR|
|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, BR, 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), L, 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||BR, 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, L, MGR, PS, R(FACT)|
|Oklahoma||11–1||Barry Switzer||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, NCF, NFF, R(FACT), SR, UPI|
|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||BR, 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||BR, 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|
|1982||Nebraska||12–1||Tom Osborne||B(QPRS), L|
|Penn State||11–1||Joe Paterno||AP, BR, CFRA, DeS, DuS, FN, FWAA, HAF, 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, BR, 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||BR, 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||BR, 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||Florida State||10–2||Bobby Bowden||BR|
|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||BR, 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), BR, 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||BR, 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||USCc||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, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY|
|2021||Georgia||14–1||Kirby Smart||A&H, AP, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
|2022||Georgia||15–0||Kirby Smart||A&H, AP, CCR, CFP, CFRA, CM, FWAA/NFF, MCFR, SR, USAT/AMWAY, W|
aParke H. Davis' selection for 1901, as published in the 1934 edition of Spalding's Foot Ball Guide, was Harvard. The NCAA Records Book states "Yale" for 1901, which is an error that has been perpetuated since the first appearance of Parke H. Davis' selections in the 1994 NCAA records book.
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 Coaches' 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.
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.
oThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Williamson System as having selected TCU and LSU as co-champions for 1935. However the system's post-bowl final rankings published in January 1936 show TCU first, SMU second, and LSU third. The accompanying column written by Paul B. Williamson states "There was no undisputable national champion in 1935".
pThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Williamson System as having selected LSU in 1936. However the system's post-bowl final rankings show Minnesota first and LSU fourth.
qThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Williamson System as having selected Pittsburgh in 1937. However the system's post-bowl final rankings show California first and Pittsburgh second.
rThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Williamson System as having selected TCU alone in 1938. However the system's post-bowl final rankings show a tie between TCU and Tennessee.
sThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Williamson System as having selected Tennessee in 1940. However the system's post-bowl final rankings show Stanford first and Tennessee sixth.
tThe NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book lists the Billingsley Report as having selected Army in 1944 and Ohio State and Army in 1945. According to Billingsley's official website, these selection years are reversed.
uKansas' 1960 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).
|Florida State, Miami (FL), Minnesota, Texas|
|Georgia Tech, Penn, Penn State, Tennessee|
|Auburn, Michigan State|
|Army, California, Cornell, Florida, Illinois, Iowa|
|Clemson, Lafayette, Ole Miss, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M|
|Arizona State, Arkansas, Chicago, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Wisconsin|
|BYU, Centre, Colgate, Colorado, Columbia, Dartmouth, Detroit, Duke, Kentucky, Navy, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCF, UCLA, Utah, Washington & Jefferson|
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 stated to be "consensus" when the two major polls are in agreement with their selections.
Main article: AP Poll
See also: AP Trophy
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. The first major nationwide poll for ranking college football teams, the Associated Press is probably the most well-known and widely circulated among all of history's polls. 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 poll with 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.
The AP champion would lose its bowl game five times, following the 1950, 1951, 1953, 1960, and 1964 seasons.
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 (Notre Dame and Michigan State) 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. UPI did not follow suit until the 1974 season; in the overlapping years, the Coaches Poll champion lost their bowl game in 1965, 1970, and 1973. The AP's earlier move to crown a post-bowl champion paid off, as in all three years the losing team had also been the No. 1 team in the pre-bowl penultimate AP rankings.
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.
In the playoff era, the Associated Press has continued to award the AP Trophy to the No. 1 team in the final AP Poll. AP rankings are not incorporated in the CFP selection committee's seeding, and voting AP sportswriters are not obligated to award their title to the winner of the CFP national championship game. In 2015 the Associated Press's global sports editor stated that "it is not out of the realm of possibility that a team could win the AP national championship without winning the College Football Playoff's national championship", although that scenario has yet to occur.
Main article: Coaches Poll
See also: The Coaches' Trophy
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.— United Press Football Ratings announcement, September 1950
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.
|1961, 1964, 1965 (AP), 1973 (Coaches), 1978 (AP), 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020|
|1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973 (AP), 1977, 1988|
|1950, 1955, 1956, 1974 (AP), 1975, 1985, 2000|
|1962, 1967, 1972, 1974 (Coaches), 1978 (Coaches), 2003 (AP), 2004 (AP)†|
|1942, 1954 (AP), 1957 (Coaches), 1968, 2002, 2014|
|1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 (AP), 2001|
|1970 (AP), 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997 (Coaches)|
|1958, 2003 (Coaches), 2007, 2019|
|1963, 1969, 1970 (Coaches), 2005|
|1936, 1940, 1941, 1960|
|1981, 2016, 2018|
|1996, 2006, 2008|
|1993, 1999, 2013|
|1980, 2021, 2022|
|1944, 1945 (AP)|
|1957 (AP), 2010|
|1948, 1997 (AP)|
|1952, 1965 (Coaches)|
|1935 (Coaches)‡, 1938|
† USC's 2004 BCS National Championship was vacated by the BCS and the AFCA Coaches Trophy returned.
‡ Retroactively awarded by AFCA Blue Ribbon Commission.
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.
Throughout most of the 20th century, a number of challenges made it impossible to ordinarily schedule the two top teams for a single post-season title fight:
Through luck and fortuitous scheduling, a "national championship game" was occasionally able to settle the matter on the field, as described in some contemporaneous reports.
|Season||National championship game||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Notes|
|1931||Rose Bowl||No. 2 USC||21–12||No. 1 Tulane||Title game for Erskine Trophy|
|1943||Notre Dame vs. Iowa Pre-Flight||No. 1 Notre Dame||14–13||No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight||Game played November 20. Each played another regular season game November 27, which for Notre Dame was a loss to Great Lakes Navy.|
|1944||Army–Navy Game||No. 1 Army||23–7||No. 2 Navy||Final regular season game. Navy finished 6–3 ranked No. 4.|
|1945||Game of the Century||No. 1 Army||32–13||No. 2 Navy|
|1962||Rose Bowl||No. 1 USC||42–37||No. 2 Wisconsin||FWAA only; USC had already been named No. 1 in the final AP and Coaches Polls four weeks earlier. |
|1963||Cotton Bowl||No. 1 Texas||28–6||No. 2 Navy||FWAA only; Texas had already been named No. 1 in the final AP and Coaches Polls three weeks earlier.|
|1965||Orange Bowl||No. 4 Alabama||39–28||No. 3 Nebraska||Became AP Poll championship game after No. 1 and 2 teams lost the Rose and Cotton Bowl games earlier in the day.|
|1966||Game of the Century||No. 1 Notre Dame||10–10||No. 2 Michigan State||The following week Notre Dame defeated USC in its last regular season game.|
|1967||Game of the Century||No. 4 USC||21–20||No. 1 UCLA||Game played November 18. UCLA played another regular season game November 25.|
|1968||Rose Bowl||No. 1 Ohio State||27–16||No. 2 USC|
|1969||Game of the Century||No. 1 Texas||15–14||No. 2 (AP) Arkansas||Winner was to be awarded a presidential plaque by game attendee Richard Nixon declaring them "the number-one college football team in college football's one-hundredth year." This was the final regular season game, and it determined the Coaches Poll title. Entering the game, Arkansas ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll and remained #3.|
|1971||Game of the Century||No. 1 Nebraska||35–31||No. 2 Oklahoma||Game played November 25 for Coaches Poll title, compiled before bowl games and released December 6. Each played another regular season game December 4.|
|Orange Bowl||No. 1 Nebraska||38–6||No. 2 Alabama||Title game for NFF MacArthur Bowl|
|1972||Rose Bowl||No. 1 USC||42–17||No. 3 Ohio State||One-loss Oklahoma, #2 in final regular season polls, won the Sugar Bowl and remained #2 after the bowls.|
|1973||Sugar Bowl||No. 3 Notre Dame||24–23||No. 1 Alabama||Title game for NFF MacArthur Bowl; #2 Oklahoma finished 10–0–1, was on probation and ineligible for a bowl game.|
|1978||Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Alabama||14–7||No. 1 Penn State||National championship was split; #3 USC finished atop Coaches Poll.|
|1982||Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Penn State||27–23||No. 1 Georgia|
|1983||Orange Bowl||No. 4 (Coaches) Miami (FL)||31–30||No. 1 Nebraska||No. 2 Texas had lost the Cotton Bowl earlier in the day. One-loss No. 3 Auburn won the Sugar Bowl played at the same time.|
|1984||Orange Bowl||No. 4 Washington||28–17||No. 2 Oklahoma||BYU won national titles in both AP and Coaches Polls. |
|1985||Orange Bowl||No. 2 Oklahoma||25–10||No. 1 Penn State|
|1986||Fiesta Bowl||No. 2 Penn State||14–10||No. 1 Miami (FL)|
|1987||Orange Bowl||No. 2 Miami (FL)||20–14||No. 1 Oklahoma|
|1988||Fiesta Bowl||No. 1 Notre Dame||34–21||No. 3 West Virginia|||
Main article: Bowl Coalition
Following back-to-back years of split AP and Coaches Poll national champions in 1990, between Colorado (AP) and Georgia Tech (Coaches), and 1991, between Miami (FL) (AP) and Washington (Coaches), 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.
|Season||Bowl||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Notes|
|1992||Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Alabama||34–13||No. 1 Miami (FL)|
|1993||Orange Bowl||No. 1 Florida State||18–16||No. 2 Nebraska|
|1994||Orange Bowl||No. 1 Nebraska||24–17||No. 3 Miami (FL)|||
Main article: Bowl Alliance
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 Bowl Alliance also awarded its own trophy to the winner of its national championship game.
The Rose Bowl remained independent of the Alliance, leaving open the possibility of a national title going to the Big Ten or Pac-10 Rose Bowl champion rather than the Alliance's champion. This occurred in 1997, when No. 1 Michigan won the Rose Bowl and retained their top ranking in the AP Poll. The Bowl Alliance National Championship Game winner Nebraska split the championship when they passed Michigan in the final Coaches Poll (a result denied by the Coaches Poll to Penn State three years earlier in the same situation).
|Season||Bowl||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Notes|
|1995||Fiesta Bowl||No. 1 Nebraska||62–24||No. 2 Florida|
|1996||Sugar Bowl||No. 3 Florida||52–20||No. 1 Florida State|||
|1997||Orange Bowl||No. 2 Nebraska||42–17||No. 3 Tennessee|||
Main article: Bowl Championship Series
See also: BCS National Championship Game
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 original BCS formula incorporated the AP Poll and Coaches Poll along with an average of various computer rankings. The formula underwent many adjustments over the years, including a large overhaul following the 2004 season in which the AP Poll was replaced with the Harris Interactive College Football Poll.
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 corresponding 2004–05 BCS National Championship was vacated by the BCS.
Main article: College Football Playoff
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 tables list schools' known national championship claims at the highest level of play in college football. Some 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.
"There is no official standard because there is no official national champion. It all depends on the standard the school wishes to utilize. The national champion is in the eye of the beholder."
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 publication. Not all championships awarded by third party selectors, nor all those listed in the NCAA records book, are necessarily claimed by each school.[n3 1] Therefore, these claims represent how each individual school sees their own history on the subject of national championships.
The tables below include only national championship claims originating from each particular school and therefore represent 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.
|School||Claims||Claimed national championship seasons||Source|
|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|||
|1872, 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1900, 1901,[n3 2] 1902, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1927|||
|1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020|||
|1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1918, 1923, 1932, 1933, 1947, 1948, 1997|||
|1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988|||
|1928, 1931, 1932, 1939, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978, 2003, 2004[n3 3]|||
|1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934,[n3 4] 1936, 1937, 1976|||
|1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014|||
|1890, 1898, 1899, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1919|||
|1904, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1960|||
|1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000|||
|1894, 1895, 1897, 1904, 1907,[n3 5] 1908, 1924|||
|1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965, 1966|||
|1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967, 1998|||
|1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1937|||
|1915, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1939|||
|1914, 1919, 1923, 1927, 1951|||
|1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, 1960||[better source needed]|
|1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001|||
|1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997|||
|1942, 1980, 2021, 2022|||
|1917, 1928, 1952, 1990|||
|1958, 2003, 2007, 2019|||
|1963, 1969, 1970, 2005|||
|1944, 1945, 1946|||
|1981, 2016, 2018|||
|1996, 2006, 2008|||
|1993, 1999, 2013|||
|1896, 1921, 1926|||
|1959, 1960, 1962|||
|1935, 1981, 1982|||
|1919, 1927, 1939|||
|1875, 1933[n3 6]|||
|1945||:  |
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 selectors are listed below.
Teams in the following table were selected by notable national championship selectors not listed as a "major selector" 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.
|1903||Minnesota (co-champion)||14–0–1||Henry L. Williams||Jim Koger (JK)|
|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, JK|
|1914||Harvard||7–0–2||Percy Haughton||World Almanac,|
Alexander Weyand (AW)
|1915||Washington State||7–0||William "Lone Star" Dietz||Bruce McLellan, Washington State Senate|
|1917||Pittsburgh (co-champion)||10–0||Glenn "Pop" Warner||AW|
|1921||Notre Dame||10–1||Knute Rockne||AW|
|Tulane||11–1||Bernie Bierman||Frank E. Wood, John Kent Boyd|
|1934||Pittsburgh||8–1||Jock Sutherland||Spalding's Foot Ball Guide (editor Walter R. Okeson)|
|Stanford||9–1–1||Tiny Thornhill||Houlgate System (HS)|
|1935||Stanford||8–1||Tiny Thornhill||Kenneth Massey (MCFR)|
|Saint Vincent||5–3||Red Edwards||Associated Press sportswriter via transitive property|
|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|
|1944||Randolph Field||12–0||Frank Tritico||Dr. L. H. Baker|
|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 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.
In 1969, President Nixon was the decider of the national championship
[Carlisle was] defeated by Harvard last Saturday, which gives the Crimson the best chance for national championship honors this year.
Coaches of top teams have long pretended they did not care about national rankings, but Notre Dame vs. Michigan State has changed that, and this season's excitement centers on the battle to be No. 1
With the football season at an end, the critics are busily engaged in reviewing the various big games and in rating the leading elevens according to merit.
Football, however, is not a game where a great national championship is possible or desirable. The very nature of the sport would forbid anything like such a series of contests as are played in baseball.
To each member of the team was presented from admiring alumni gold footballs with the inscription, "National Champions."
[The Bonniwell Trophy] is "to be awarded in such years as produces a team whose standing is so preeminent as to make its selection as champion of America beyond dispute."
The Albert Russell [sic] Eskine Trophy, emblematic of the national football championship as determined by 250 sports writers, will be presented to Notre Dame, 1929 winner, at the Pittsburgh–Notre Dame basketball game in this city, February 8.
Nation's sports writers pick Notre Dame football team as champions by record vote; Trophy awarded in New York January second.
Southern California's 21–12 victory over Tulane brought the Trojans the Albert Russell Erskine football trophy and the national grid championship for 1931. Presentation of the trophy was made in front of the Trojan rooting section following the game by William R. Moorehouse, member of the Erskine award board. The Erskine award brought a Studebaker President eight sedan to Coach Howard Jones, an engraved cup to the University of Southern California and a scroll signifying the national championship to the Trojan team.
1934, 1935, 1936 — University of Minnesota
List of the 11 split national titles since 1950: 1954, 1957, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1997, 2003
1950 Oklahoma, 1951 Tennessee, 1953 Maryland, 1960 Minnesota, 1964 Alabama
Washington officially claims two national championships in football: 1960 and 1991.
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.
Only luck ensures one of the many current bowl games gets the No. 1 and No. 2 teams to play each other.
...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.
Handcrafted piece of art to serve as new, iconic symbol of postseason college football
((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
The William F. Boand trophy... in recognition of the Bucks as the No. 1 football team of 1954 according to Board's Azzi Ratem system. Byron F. Boyd, editor of the Football News, will make the presentation
Places Dartmouth at the top of the column
In the Huddle with Deke Houlgate: College Football from 1869 through 1953; Annual Supplements for 1954–1958
The Foreman and Clark trophy, emblematic of the National football championship, won by SMU in 1935, will be sent to LSU. The Tigers were awarded the trophy for the past season under the ratings of Deke Houlgate, Los Angeles, grid statistician.
Alabama 123.0, Ohio State 122.8, Notre Dame 116.5
1. Ohio State 114.3
1. Michigan 115.2
The Difference By Score System
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
Since 1959, the MacArthur Bowl has been presented annually by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to the outstanding college football team of the season.
The American Football Coaches Association Honors The National Football Champion — Texas Christian University — 1935
No Undisputable National Champions Picked; Sugar Bowl Game One of Best
At the curtain of the 1936 football season, again like for 1935, the Williamson Rating System does not name any team that could be consistently called the out and out national football champion.
The American Football Coaches Association Honors The National Football Champion — Texas Christian University — 1938
1. Nebraska 145.8, 2. Penn State 144.0
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.
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.
The clause prohibits a team from playing in the [Rose Bowl] more than once in two years
This is a classic example of the Orange Bowl extending the invitation too early when they could have had the national championship game. The Orange Bowl has done this two years in a row.
With the Albert Russell Erskine national football championship at stake, Tulane University's Green Wave today met the University of Southern California Trojans at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
The result should establish one or the other definitely as the country's greatest football team—college or service. A crowd of 50,000 is expected to watch this unofficial championship battle at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Game for the National Championship — No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 2 Alabama [...] Bowl Games for the National Championship: 1963 Rose Bowl, 1964 Cotton Bowl, 1969 Rose Bowl, 1972 Orange Bowl
The nation's two top teams, Ohio State and Southern California, get a rare opportunity to settle which is the best as an entire season of undefeated play comes down to their face-to-face clash in Pasadena.
Texas, the nation's No. 1 team, will play Arkansas the No. 3 club, while Penn State, ranked second, waits for either to falter. The UPI national championship will be decided next Tuesday. Ratings are based on regular season performances and do not include post season play.
...college football's version of the Super Bowl. It will take place on New Year's Night in Miami's Orange Bowl when the two leaders clash for the national championship.
...it was decided not to award a championship by ballot but rather to let these teams meet on the field and play for the MacArthur Bowl.
Well, the college football world can stop arguing about who will be No. 1 after today's Rose Bowl game.
"A championship can only truly be settled on the playing field." Richard Kazmaier, chairman of the awards committee, said in announcing that this year the committee would not vote for the MacArthur Bowl winner.
Alabama, 11–1, toppled previously top-ranked Penn State, 14–7, in the Sugar Bowl game that was billed as the battle for the championship because the Nittany Lions went into the game ranked No. 1 and Alabama was rated No. 2.
No. 1–ranked unbeaten and untied Georgia and No. 2–ranked once-beaten Penn State meet in the Sugar Bowl New Year's night for what is being billed as "the national championship game."
Orange Bowl Next — For the National Championship — #4 Miami vs #1 Nebraska
Brigham Young's opponents as a group have a losing record; how can a team like that be the national champion?" said Nick Crane, chairman of the team selection committee. "As far as the Orange Bowl is concerned, we think ours is a national championship game (between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Washington).
In the minds of most people, tonight's Orange Bowl game between No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Oklahoma will decide the national championship. ... here in sunny and warm Miami everyone is calling the Orange Bowl the national championship game.
Monday afternoon's Fiesta Bowl between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 3 West Virginia, both 11–0, is billed as the national championship game.
Also here, commissioner of the Big-12 conference, Steve Hatchell to present the Alliance trophy.
We're billing this as the alliance national championship, which it is. Obviously if Michigan loses, it becomes the national championship. If they win, we're hoping for a split in the polls.
No wonder "mythical" is the word that often precedes national title. "There is no official standard because there is no official national champion," said Kent Stephens, historian at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. "It all depends on the standard the school wishes to utilize. The national champion is in the eye of the beholder."
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
Seven-Time National Champions
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1937
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
The 1927, 1946, 1968 teams were also recognized as National Champions but these were not consensus and thus not officially recognized as National Championships.
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National Championships: 3 (1935, 1981 & 1982)
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.
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.
[T]he game will come closer than any other that will be played to identifying the national champion.
Each will be out to the limit in speed, stamina and spirit to capture the honors in this classic which could rightfully be heralded as for the national football championship.
'The Eagles not only earned the national championship but they proved the greatest team ever to play in the Sugar Bowl,' said Fred Digby of the New Orleans Item.
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.
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.
1903: Michigan, Minnesota, Princeton | 1913: Chicago, Harvard, Notre Dame
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.)
1917 The famous 'Golden Tornado' of Georgia 'Tech.' coached by John W. Heisman (Pennsylvania) gained national recognition through the overwhelming defeat of Pennsylvania, and was entitled to rank with Pittsburgh as the best in the nation.
Undoubtedly the most spectacular team was Notre Dame, ranked by some critics as the strongest team in the country at the close of the season.
Tulane University, the pride of the south, is gridiron champion of the United States, the national football standings show.
Last year Stanford was [Houlgate's] choice and the presentation of the trophy was scheduled to take place after the Alabama–Stanford battle.
the St. Vincent College Bearcats of Latrobe, Pa., are the undisputed national champions: By arithmetic
Final ratings: 1. Tulane, B, 36
No. 1 Randolph Field 958, No. 2 Army 951 — The ratings listed here have been computed by a method devised by the author. It consists of a combination of a modification of the Dickinson method plus one used by the author for several years. This combination has proved highly accurate.
1 Auburn — 72.49 — Co-Champion* | 2 Oregon — 71.42 — Co-Champion* | *David Rothman wrote: "Teams within 1.8 points of the leader automatically share FACT's title. Any other teams within 3.0 points of the leader share at my discretion."
1 Ohio State — 81.81 — FACT Cochampion* | 2 Oregon — 80.67 — FACT Cochampion* | 3 Alabama – 79.45 – FACT Cochampion* | 4 TCU – 79.35 – FACT Cochampion* | *David Rothman wrote: "Teams within 1.8 points of the leader automatically share FACT's title. Any other teams within 3.0 points of the leader share at my discretion."