Being totally uninspired to write, after a couple of dull weekends followed by two overly stressful weekends (thanks Buckeyes!), we look to the past for inspiration, as we are often wont to do. We have read a couple of sports writers recently who were already putting forward the question of who would make it into a four game playoff for the national championship. We wouldn’t think that it’s rare to still have so many undefeated teams left, only being six games into the season. But we guess that with the impending playoff system being so near, people are starting to get a little antsy in the pantsy. As Gene Wojciechowski pointed out, there are seventeen undefeated teams left, being Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Fresno State, Houston, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Texas Tech and UCLA. Who is going to make it?
We have always found it interesting to look at the history of college football and to see the old list of national champions. It’s rare to find a year without multiple “champions” crowned by this poll or that. This is one of the unfortunate features of this, the greatest sport, when over 120 teams only play twelve or thirteen others. With teams regularly playing non-regional opponents and the amount of in-depth coverage college sports receive, it is getting easier to compare them and the strength of their schedules. But it is not uncommon to see five teams listed at “national champions”. As recently as 1990 and 1993 there were four teams crowned champion (whether those schools claimed them or not, and whether they were “consensus” or not), although we fail to see how two-loss teams can be considered champion when there is an undefeated team in the mix. We’re sure Nebraska’s 1984 team and Miami’s 1990 team were very talented, but if you can’t show it on the field surely there is a more deserving champ. The 1981 season saw SIX teams crowned champion by the various polls, including a THREE-loss Nebraska.
We found an interesting source of information this past week that, though we have no idea how reputable their rating system is, shows the year by year final power ratings for each season. More importantly, the NCAA Division IA Football Power Ratings show the final records of each team back to 1869. This includes a catch-all Wild Card U, which must represent all the non-Division IA teams that the IA teams played that year. This sight shows that 100 years ago, in 1913, 24 teams finished the season with one loss or less. Pollsters back then had quite an unenviable task to choose a champion! It is worth mentioning that our Buckeyes finished a respectable 4-2-1 that year, while TTUN was not even a member of the Big Ten (or Western Conference, as it was then known), having been voted out of the conference in 1907 for failing to adhere to league rules. Also, possibly of interest to the Buckeye Ninja himself, Colorado College finished 5-2-1, the University of Colorado was 5-1-1, and the Colorado School of Mines was 5-1. Colorado State was a workmanlike 3-2, and Denver brought up the rear at 2-5. But, all in all, it was a successful year for Colorado football.