Reminder: the 2018 college football season kicks off exactly 100 days from today.
In honor of that seems-so-far-away milestone, there’s been yet another development in the run-it-into-the-ground storyline of the 2018 college football offseason. In summation, Alabama won the real 2017 national championship… undefeated UCF claiming a mythical 2017 national championship… Alabama players flaunted their “real championship rings“… UCF’s former head coach stated he would have had a hard time getting behind” his former school’s national championship claims had he remained with the football program… and Alabama’s current head coach took a shot at UCF’s title claims by stating “self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it.”
In stating he’d have a hard time getting behind the mythical claims, Scott Frost, the former head coach at UCF who left for the same job at Nebraska in early December, did allow that “[i]f you look at the history of college football, there’s a lot of cases where multiple teams have claimed national championships.” During an interview with KETV in Omaha this week, Frost doubled-down on the latter comment by getting specific when it comes to schools who may have played fast and loose with their title claims.
“Alabama’s probably got one or two [national] championships they claim that weren’t necessarily recognized by everybody,” Frost told the television station, likely a direct response to Nick Saban‘s “there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves” shot aimed squarely at Frost’s former school.
On this, Frost very much has a point.
Including the one from 2017, Alabama has now claimed 17 national championships in football. The NCAA, however, only recognizes 15. The two not recognized by the NCAA but claimed by the school? 1934 and 1941, which The Association recognizes as being owned by Minnesota; even the Associated Press tapped the Gophers as the latter season’s lone champion. ‘Bama, meanwhile, used something called the Houlgate System for its 1941 title claim.
Even a couple of Alabama’s titles recognized by the NCAA are somewhat in dispute.
The AP and United Press International awarded Alabama the 1964 championship after the regular season, only to see UA go out and lose to Texas in the Rose Bowl to finish 10-1. Arkansas, which beat Texas, won its bowl game to finish that season at 11-0; the NCAA recognizes the Razorbacks and Crimson Tide as shared national champs.
The 1973 title is likely the most infamous claim as Notre Dame beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, yet the Crimson Tide is still recognized as co-champions along with the Fighting Irish by the NCAA. The UPI was the only major media outlet to vote ‘Bama No. 1, although, again, their voting took place prior to the bowl game being played. The Golden Domers, meanwhile, were the top-ranked team according to the AP — they had the Crimson Tide fourth in their final poll — Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation.
That 1973 season was also the year that Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma all finished 10-0-1. Oklahoma’s tie came against USC, ranked No. 1 at the time before finishing the year No. 8 at 9-2-1, in their second game of the year, while Michigan and Ohio State played to their iconic 10-10 tie to close out the regular season.
Again, 100 days folks. 100 days.