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NCAA Division I-A national football champions

From Academic Kids

Division I-A football is the only NCAA-sponsored sport without an organized tournament to determine its champion. It is also, ironically, the most popular NCAA sport and the one in which public interest in the "championship" is highest.

Over the years various polls and formulas have been used to determine a "mythical champion". For champions prior to 1936, retro polls and research were used to determine the champion of major college football. The method has evolved over the years, as have the polls being used.

The tradition, and the controversy, is carried on today with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), created for the 1998 season. The AP and coaches' polls, computer rankings, strength of schedule and performance against other top teams were combined into a formula, and the top two teams played in a championship game.

In 2003, LSU won the BCS title game, giving them the BCS title and #1 in the coaches poll, while the sportswriters voted USC #1 in their AP poll. Consequently, for the 2004 season, the BCS formula was once again tweaked. For more detail, see the Bowl Championship Series article.

The term Division I-A was not used until 1978, and before that the term 'major college champion' was often used. Below are some of the selectors:

  • National Championship Foundation (NCF) (1869-1935)
  • College Football Researchers Association (CRFA) (1869-1935)
  • Helms Athletic Foundation (H) 1883–1935
  • The Dickinson System (D) 1924–40
  • The Associated Press (AP) 1936–present,
  • Coaches' polls, as published by:
    • United Press International (UPI) 1958–90,
    • USA Today/CNN (CNN) 1991–96,
    • USA Today/ESPN (ESPN) 1997–present (has recognized BCS winner since 1998)
Year Champion Record Bowl Head Coach
1869 Princeton (NCF) 1-1-0
1870 Princeton (NCF) 1-0
1871 None selected
1872 Princeton (NCF) 1-0
1873 Princeton (NCF) 1-0
1874 Yale (NCF) 3-0
1875 Harvard (NCF) 4-0
Princeton (CRFA) 2-0
1876 Yale (NCF) 3-0
1877 Yale (NCF) 3-0-1
1878 Princeton (NCF) 6-0-0
1879 Princeton (NCF) 4-0-1
1880 Princeton (NCF) 4-0-1
Yale (CFRA) 4-0-1
1881 Yale (NCF) 5-0-1
1882 Yale (NCF) 8-0-0
1883 Yale 8-0-0 Ray Tomkins (Captain)
1884 Yale 9-0-0 Eugene L. Richards (Captain)
1885 Princeton 9-0-0 Charles DeCamp (Captain)
1886 Yale 9-0-1 Robert N. Corwin (Captain)
1887 Yale 9-0-0 Harry W. Beecher (Captain)
1888 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp
1889 Princeton 10-0-0 Edgar Poe (Captain)
1890 Harvard 11-0-0 George A. Stewart/George C. Adams
1891 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp
1892 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp
1893 Princeton 11-0-0 Tom Trenchard (Captain)
1894 Yale 16-0-0 William C. Rhodes
1895 Pennsylvania 14-0-0 George Woodruff
1896 Princeton 10-0-1 Garrett Cochran
1897 Pennsylvania 15-0-0 George Woodruff
1898 Harvard 11-0-0 W. Cameron Forbes
1899 Harvard 10-0-1 Benjamin H. Dibblee
1900 Yale 12-0-0 Malcolm McBride
1901 Michigan 11-0-0 Won Rose Fielding Yost
1902 Michigan 11-0-0 Fielding Yost
1903 Princeton 11-0-0 Art Hillebrand
1904 Pennsylvania 12-0-0 Carl Williams
1905 Chicago 11-0-0 Amos Alonzo Stagg
1906 Princeton 9-0-1 Bill Roper
1907 Yale 9-0-1 Bill Knox
1908 Pennsylvania 11-0-1 Sol Metzger
1909 Yale 10-0-0 Howard Jones
1910 Harvard 8-0-1 Percy Houghton
1911 Princeton 8-0-2 Bill Roper
1912 Harvard 9-0-0 Percy Houghton
1913 Harvard 9-0-0 Percy Houghton
1914 Army 9-0-0 Charley Daly
1915 Cornell 9-0-0 Al Sharpe
1916 Pittsburgh 8-0-0 Pop Warner
1917 Georgia Tech 9-0-0 John Heisman
1918 Pittsburgh 4-1-0 Pop Warner
1919 Harvard 9-0-1 Won Rose Bob Fisher
1920 California 9-0-0 Won Rose Andy Smith
1921 Cornell 8-0-0 Gil Dobie
1922 Cornell 8-0-0 Gil Dobie
1923 Illinois 8-0-0 Bob Zuppke
1924 Notre Dame 10-0-0 Won Rose Knute Rockne
1925 Alabama (H) 10-0-0 Won Rose Wallace Wade
Dartmouth (D) 8-0-0 Jesse Hawley
1926 Alabama (H) 9-0-1 Tied Rose Wallace Wade
Stanford (D)(H) 10-0-1 Tied Rose Pop Warner
1927 Illinois 7-0-1 Bob Zuppke
1928 Georgia Tech (H) 10-0-0 Won Rose Bill Alexander
USC (D) 9-0-1 Howard Jones
1929 Notre Dame 9-0-0 Knute Rockne
1930 Alabama 10-0-0 Won Rose Wallace Wade
Notre Dame 10-0-0 Knute Rockne
1931 USC 10-1-0 Won Rose Howard Jones
1932 USC (H) 10-0-0 Won Rose Howard Jones
Michigan (D) 8-0-0 Harry Kipke
1933 Michigan 7-0-1 Harry Kipke
1934 Alabama 10-0-0 Won Rose Frank Thomas
Minnesota 8-0-0 Bernie Bierman
1935 Minnesota (H) 8-0-0 Bernie Bierman
SMU (D) 12-1-0 Lost Rose Matty Bell
1936 Minnesota 7-1-0 Bernie Bierman
1937 Pittsburgh 9-0-1 Jock Sutherland
1938 TCU (AP) 11-0-0 Won Sugar Dutch Meyer
Notre Dame (D) 8-1-0 Elmer Layden
1939
Texas A&M (AP) 11-0-0 Won Sugar Homer Norton
1940 Minnesota 8-0-0 Bernie Bierman
1941 Alabama 9-2-0 Frank Thomas
Minnesota 8-0-0 Bernie Bierman
1942 Ohio State 9-1-0 Paul Brown
1943 Notre Dame 9-1-0 Frank Leahy
1944 Army 9-0-0 Red Blaik
1945 Army 9-0-0 Red Blaik
1946 Notre Dame 8-0-1 Frank Leahy
1947 Notre Dame 9-0-0 Frank Leahy
Michigan* 10-0-0 Won Rose Fritz Crisler
1948 Michigan 9-0-0 Bennie Oosterbaan
1949 Notre Dame 10-0-0 Frank Leahy
1950 Oklahoma 10-1-0 Lost Sugar Bud Wilkinson
1951 Tennessee 10-1-0 Lost Sugar Bob Neyland
1952 Georgia Tech (INS) 12-0-0 Won Sugar Bobby Dodd
Michigan State 9-0-0 Biggie Munn
1953 Maryland 10-1-0 Lost Orange Jim Tatum
1954 Ohio State 10-0-0 Won Rose Woody Hayes
UCLA (UPI) 9-0-0 Red Sanders
1955 Oklahoma 11-0-0 Won Orange Bud Wilkinson
1956 Oklahoma 10-0-0 Bud Wilkinson
1957 Auburn 10-0-0 Shug Jordan
Ohio State (UPI) 9-1-0 Won Rose Woody Hayes
1958 LSU 11-0-0 Won Sugar Paul Dietzel
1959 Syracuse 11-0-0 Won Cotton Ben Schwartzwalder
1960 Minnesota 8-2-0 Lost Rose Murray Warmath
1961 Alabama 11-0-0 Won Sugar Paul "Bear" Bryant
1962 USC 11-0-0 Won Rose John McKay
1963 Texas 11-0-0 Won Cotton Darrell Royal
1964 Alabama 10-1-0 Lost Orange Paul "Bear" Bryant
1965 Alabama 9-1-1 Won Orange Paul "Bear" Bryant
Michigan State (UPI) 10-1-0 Lost Rose Duffy Daugherty
1966 Notre Dame 9-0-1 Ara Parseghian
1967 USC 10-1-0 Won Rose John McKay
1968 Ohio State 10-0-0 Won Rose Woody Hayes
1969 Texas 11-0-0 Won Cotton Darrell Royal
1970 Nebraska 11-0-1 Won Orange Bob Devaney
Texas (UPI) 10-1-0 Lost Cotton Darrell Royal
1971 Nebraska 13-0-0 Won Orange Bob Devaney
1972 USC 12-0-0 Won Rose John McKay
1973 Notre Dame 11-0-0 Won Sugar Ara Parseghian
Alabama (UPI) 11-1-0 Lost Sugar Paul "Bear" Bryant
1974 Oklahoma 11-0-0 Barry Switzer
USC (UPI) 10-1-1 Won Rose John McKay
1975 Oklahoma 11-1-0 Won Orange Barry Switzer
1976 Pittsburgh 12-0-0 Won Sugar Johnny Majors
1977 Notre Dame 11-1-0 Won Cotton Dan Devine
1978 Alabama 11-1-0 Won Sugar Paul "Bear" Bryant
USC (UPI) 12-1-0 Won Rose John Robinson
1979 Alabama 12-0-0 Won Sugar Paul "Bear" Bryant
1980 Georgia 12-0-0 Won Sugar Vince Dooley
1981 Clemson 12-0-0 Won Orange Danny Ford
1982 Penn State 11-1-0 Won Sugar Joe Paterno
1983 Miami (FL) 11-1-0 Won Orange Howard Schnellenberger
1984 BYU 13-0-0 Won Holiday LaVell Edwards
1985 Oklahoma 11-1-0 Won Orange Barry Switzer
1986 Penn State 12-0-0 Won Fiesta Joe Paterno
1987 Miami (FL) 12-0-0 Won Orange Jimmy Johnson
1988 Notre Dame 12-0-0 Won Fiesta Lou Holtz
1989 Miami (FL) 11-1-0 Won Sugar Dennis Erickson
1990 Georgia Tech (UPI) 11-0-1 Won Citrus Bobby Ross
Colorado (AP) 11-1-1 Won Orange Bill McCartney
1991 Miami (FL) 12-0-0 Won Orange Dennis Erickson
Washington (CNN) 12-0-0 Won Rose Don James
1992 Alabama 13-0-0 Won Sugar Gene Stallings
1993 Florida State 12-1-0 Won Orange Bobby Bowden
1994 Nebraska 13-0-0 Won Orange Tom Osborne
1995 Nebraska 12-0-0 Won Fiesta Tom Osborne
1996 Florida 12-1 Won Sugar Steve Spurrier
1997 Michigan (AP) 12-0 Won Rose Lloyd Carr
Nebraska (ESPN) 13-0 Won Orange Tom Osborne
1998 Tennessee 13-0 Won Fiesta Phillip Fulmer
1999 Florida State 12-0 Won Sugar Bobby Bowden
2000 Oklahoma 13-0 Won Orange Bob Stoops
2001 Miami (FL) 12-0 Won Rose Larry Coker
2002 Ohio State 14-0 Won Fiesta Jim Tressel
2003 LSU (BCS, ESPN) 13-1 Won Sugar Nick Saban
USC (AP) 12-1 Won Rose Pete Carroll
2004 USC 13-0 Won Orange Pete Carroll

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