And here y’all thought the SEC was the sole proprietor of questionable or retroactively-claimed national championships.
Thursday afternoon, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced that it has retroactively awarded Oklahoma State, then known as Oklahoma A&M, its 1945 national championship. This is “officially” the Cowboys’ first national title in football.
In its release, the AFCA explains the whys and the hows of its decision.
At the request of multiple schools, the AFCA established a Blue Ribbon Commission of coaches to retroactively select Coaches’ Trophy winners from 1922 (when the AFCA was founded) up to 1949 (the year before the Coaches’ Poll was first published). That panel of coaches took information submitted by schools who felt they were worthy of consideration and used that data in the research and selection process
“After gathering all the pertinent information and doing our due diligence, it is the pleasure of our Blue Ribbon Commission of coaches to officially recognize Oklahoma State’s 1945 championship season with the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy,” said AFCA executive director Todd Berry.
The Oklahoma State squad of 1945 (then-referred to as Oklahoma A&M) had an average margin of victory of 23.2 points and still hold numerous school records, including fewest points allowed, lowest average points allowed, fewest first downs allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards allowed per game. The 1945 squad also ranks in the top 10 in several more offensive and defensive categories, all of which is remarkable considering that season was played 70 years ago.
There’s one — OK, at least one — problem with this: the 1945 Army team.
That Army squad, which featured the famed duo of Mr. Inside (Doc Blanchard) & Mr. Outside (Glenn Davis), rolled to a 9-0 record that season, winning those games by a combined score of 412-46. Five of their wins were by shutout, including ones over No. 2 Notre Dame (48-0) and No. 6 Penn (61-0). They also boasted wins over another pair of ranked teams — No. 9 Michigan (28-7) and No. 19 Duke (48-13).
The “closest” any team came to knocking off was Navy, which lost by 19 in their annual regular-season finale. And that’s without even mentioning Army, after getting down early, defeating Germany and Italy on the road earlier in the year.
In the official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records book, The Association recognizes 15 national titles handed out for the 1945 season. 14 of those titles went to Army. The other? Unbeaten Alabama.
Leave it to a Crimson Tide beat writer to put this OSU silliness into its proper perspective:
And, yes, they don’t claim ’45 as one of their self-acknowledged 15.