The Unanimous Champions of College Football, 1869–2019

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About the Book

In the 150 years of college football history, the national championship has been decided by unanimous vote only 33 times. This book analyzes the various methods of selecting these champions and what made the teams special. Drawing on archives and early published works, a firsthand description of the 1869 inaugural game between Princeton and Rutgers is provided, along with details of how these earliest teams were managed. The contributions and innovations of Walter Camp, the “Father of Football,” are explored, as is the evolution of the game itself. Each unanimous season since the turn of the 20th century—from Yale in 1900 to LSU in 2019—is covered in detail, with a brief history of each school’s football program. The question “is there a best ever team” is explored.

About the Author(s)

Robert J. Reid, a former research technician in biology, lives in Syracuse, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Robert J. Reid
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8355-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4265-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
1. Polling and Mathematical Selection Systems 9
2. Why Were Certain Teams Not Unanimous? 13
3. The Early Years 24
4. Yale 1900 30
5. Yale 1909 39
6. Georgia Tech 1917 47
7. Notre Dame 1943 55
8. Michigan 1948 70
9. Texas 1963 79
10. Nebraska 1971 90
11. Southern California 1972 102
12. Nebraska 1995 112
13. Tennessee 1998 122
14. Florida State 1999 134
15. Miami 2001 143
16. Southern California 2004 151
17. Texas 2005 162
18. Alabama 2009 171
19. Florida State 2013 180
20. Ohio State 2014 188
21. Alabama 2015 199
22. Clemson 2018 210
23. LSU 2019 220
24. Summary and Conclusions 229
25. Is There a “Best Ever” Team? 240
Appendix A: Walter Camp 247
Appendix B: Awards and Coaches 250
Appendix C: Francis Gordon Brown Letters 301
Appendix D: Service Teams of 1943 304
Chapter Notes 307
Bibliography 311
Index 315