College Football National Champions


Past National College Champions Selected by Polling Organizations

Bowl Championship Series
Consensus Poll Associated Press Poll Retroactive Poll


The NCAA does not hold a national championship tournament for Division I-A football. Since 1869, there have been nearly 30 selectors of national champions using polls, historical research and mathmatical rating systems. Beginning in 1936, The Associated Press began the best-known and most widely circulated poll of sportswriters and broadcasters. Before 1936 there were several systems for establishing a mythical national college football champion.

In 1926, Frank Dickinson, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, developed a system based on quality of opponents and scoring differentials, similar to many of today's "power rating" methods (except that he had to do it by hand instead of using a computer).

Dickinson chose national champions for 1924 and 1925, as well as 1926, and he continued selecting champions through 1940. Similar systems were devised by Dick Dunkel Sr. in 1929, by Paul Williams in 1932, and by Edward E. and Frank Litkenhous in 1934.

In 1936, the Associated Press began its annual poll of sportswriters and sportscasters. United Press initiated a poll of college coaches in 1950 and the International News Service began polling its own sportswriters in 1952. When they merged into United Press International, the coaches' poll became the UPI poll.

Other organizations got onto the poll bandwagon in the 1950s, most notably the Football Writers Association of America in 1954 and the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in 1959.

One problem these polls faced for many years was that they came out with their final results a few days after the regular season ended, and bowl games sometimes made those results look questionable.

The FWAA in 1955 began conducting its final poll after the bowls. AP did the same in 1965, then went back to a pre-bowl poll for the next two seasons. Since 1968, however, the final AP poll has been taken after the bowl results. The NFFHF began doing so in 1971, UP in 1974.

In the meantime, the UP/UP poll of coaches became the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll, which moved to USA Today/CNN in 1991 and to USA Today/ESPN in 1997.

Two organizations, the College Football Researchers Association (CFRA) and the National Championship Foundation (NCF), conducted polls of their members to determine national champions beginning with the 1869 season, when the first college "football" game was played--even though it was actually soccer.

The Helms Athletic Foundation (HAF) conducted a similar poll of members beginning in 1883, the first year that American football used a point scoring system.

Among all these polls, there are three trophies actually awarded. The Associated Press originally gave the championship team the AP Trophy, which became the Bear Bryant Trophy in 1983. The NFFHF award is the MacArthur Bowl, named for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and the FWAA trophy is the Grantland Rice Award.

The BCS matches the number one and two teams based on polls, computer rankings, schedule strength and number of losses in a national championship game.

Bowl Championship Series
    The Key to the selectors:

  • AFCA = American Football Coaches Association
  • AP = Associated Press
  • BCS = Bowl Championship Series
  • CFRA = College Football Researchers Association
  • Di = Dickinson
  • Du = Dunkel
  • FWAA = Football Writers Association of America
  • HAF = Helms Athletic Foundation
  • HP = Harris Poll
  • INS = International News Service
  • Li = Litkenhous
  • NCF = National Championship Foundation
  • NFF = National Football Foundation
  • UP = United Press/UP International
  • USA/CNN = USA Today/CNN
  • USA/ESPN = USA Today/ESPN
  • USA = USA Today
  • Wi = Williamson

BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
YEAR SCHOOL RECORD COACH SELECTING ORGANIZATION
2013 Florida State 13-0 Jimbo Fisher USAToday, AP
2012 Alabama 12-1 Nick Saban USAToday, AP
2011 Alabama 11-1 Nick Saban USAToday, AP
2010 Auburn 14-0 Gene Chizik BCS, USAToday, AP
2009 Alabama 14-0 Nick Saban BCS, USAToday, AP
2008 Florida 13-1 Urban Meyer BCS, USAToday, AP
2007 LSU 12-2 Les Miles BCS, USAToday, AP
2006 Florida 13-1 Urban Meyer BCS, USAToday, AP
2005 Texas 13-0 Mack Brown BCS, USAToday, ESPN, AP
2004 Southern Calf. 13-0 Pete Carroll BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP
2003 LSU
Southern Calf.
13-1
12-1
Nick Saban
Pete Carroll
BCS, USAToday/ESPN
AP
2002 Ohio State 14-0 Jim Tressel BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP
2001 Miami, Fla 12-0 Larry Coker BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP
2000 Oklahoma 13-0 Bob Stoops BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP
1999 Florida State 12-0 Bobby Bowden BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP
1998 Tennessee 13-0 Phillip Fulmer BCS, USAToday/ESPN, AP

CONSENSUS POLL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
YEAR SCHOOL RECORD COACH SELECTING ORGANIZATION
1997 Michigan
Nebraska
12-0
13-0
Lloyd Carr
Tom Osborne
AP, FWAA, NFF
AF, USA/ESPN
1996 Florida 12-1 Steve Spurrier AP, FWAA, NFF,USA/CNN
1995 Nebraska 12-0 Tom Osborne AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1994 Nebraska 13-0 Tom Osborne AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1993 Florida St. 12-1 Bobby Bowden AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1992 Alabama 13-0 Gene Stallings AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1991 Washington
Miami (Fla.)
12-0
12-0
Don James
Dennis Erickson
AF, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
AP
1990 Colorado
Georgia Tech
11-1-1
11-0-1
Bill McCartney
Bobby Ross
FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, AP
UPI
1989 Miami (Fla.) 11-1-0 Dennis Erickson AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1988 Notre Dame 12-0-0 Lou Holtz AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1987 Miami (Fla.) 12-0-0 Jimmy Johnson AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1986 Penn St. 12-0-0 Joe Paterno AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1985 Oklahoma 11-1-0 Barry Switzer AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1984 Brigham Young 13-0-0 LaVell Edwards AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1983 Miami (Fla.) 11-1-0 Jimmy Johnson AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1982 Penn St. 11-1-0 Joe Paterno AP, FWAA, NFF, USA/CNN, UPI
1981 Clemson 12-0-0 Danny Ford AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1980 Georgia 12-0-0 Vince Dooley AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1979 Alabama 12-0-0 Bear Bryant AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1978 Alabama
Southern Cal.
11-1-0
 
Bear Bryant
 
AP, FWAA, NFF
UPI
1977 Notre Dame 11-1-0 Dan Devine AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1976 Pittsburg 12-0-0 Johnny Majors AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1975 Oklahoma 11-1-0 Barry Switzer AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1974 Southern Cal.
Oklahoma
10-1-1
11-0-0
John McKay
Barry Switzer
FWAA, NFF, UPI
AP
1973 Notre Dame
Alabama
11-0-0
11-1-0
Ara Parseghian
Bear Bryant
AP, FWAA, NFF
UPI
1972 Southern Cal. 12-0-0 John McKay AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1971 Nebraska 13-0-0 Bob Devaney AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1970 Nebraska
Texas
Ohio St.
11-0-1
10-1-0
09-1-0
Bob Devaney
Darrell Royal
Woody Hayes
AP, FWAA
NFF, UPI
NFF
1969 Texas 11-0-0 Darrell Royal AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1968 Ohio St. 10-0-0 Woody Hayes AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1967 Southern Cal.
Tennessee
10-1-0
09-2-0
John McKay
Doug Dickey
AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
Li
1966 Notre Dame
Michigan St.
09-0-1
09-0-1
Ara Parseghian
Duffy Daugherty
AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
NFF
1965 Michigan St.
Alabama
10-1-0
09-1-1
Duffy Daugherty
Bear Bryant
FWAA, NFF, UPI
AP, FWAA
1964 Alabama
Arkansas
Notre Dame
10-1-0
11-0-0
09-1-0
Bear Bryant
Frank Broyles
Ara Parseghian
AP, UPI
FWAA
NFF
1963 Texas 11-0-0 Darrell Royal AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1962 Southern Cal. 11-0-0 John McKay AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1961 Alabama
Ohio St.
11-0-0
08-0-1
Bear Bryant
Woody Hayes
AP, NFF, UPI
FWAA
1960 Minnesota
Mississippi
08-2-0
10-0-1
Murray Warmath
Johnny Vaught
AP, NFF, UPI
FWAA
1959 Syracuse 11-0-0 Ben Schwartzwalder AP, FWAA, NFF, UPI
1958 LSU
Iowa
11-0-0
08-1-1
Paul Dietzel
Forest Evashevski
AP, UPI
FWAA
1957 Ohio St.
Auburn
09-1-0
10-0-0
Woody Hayes
Shug Jordan
FWAA, UPI, INS
AP
1956 Oklahoma 10-0-0 Bud Wilkinson AP, FWAA, UPI
1955 Oklahoma 11-0-0 Bud Wilkinson AP, FWAA, UPI
1954 UCLA
Ohio St.
09-0-0
10-0-0
Red Sanders
Woody Hayes
FWAA, UPI
AP, INS
1953 Maryland 10-1-0 Jim Tatum AP, UPI
1952 Michigan St.
Georgia Tech
09-0-0
12-0-0
Biggie Munn
Bobby Dodd
AP, UPI
INS
1951 Tennessee
Maryland
10-1-0
10-0-0
Bob Neyland
Jim Tatum
AP, UPI
Du
1950 Oklahoma
Tennessee
10-1-0
11-1-0
Bud Wilkinson
Bob Neyland
AP, UPI
Du, Li,

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL CHAMPIONS
YEAR SCHOOL RECORD COACH SELECTING ORGANIZATION
1949 Notre Dame 10-0-0 Frank Leahy AP
1948 Michigan
Notre Dame
09-0-0
09-0-1
Bennie Oosterbaan
Frank Leahy
AP
Wi
1947 Notre Dame
Michigan
09-0-0
10-0-0
Frank Leahy
Fritz Crisler
AP
Du, Li, Wi
1946 Army
Notre Dame
Georgia
09-0-1
08-0-1
11-0-0
Earl "Red" Blaik
Frank Leahy
Wally Butts
HAF
AP
Wi
1945 Army 09-0-0 Red Blaik AP
1944 Army 09-0-0 Red Blaik AP
1943 Notre Dame 09-1-0 Frank Leahy AP
1942 Ohio St.
Georgia
09-1-0
11-1-0
Paul Brown
Wally Butts
AP
Li, Wi
1941 Minnesota
Texas
08-0-0
08-1-1
Bernie Bierman
Dana Bible
AP
Wi
1940 Minnesota
Tennessee
08-0-0
10-0-0
Bernie Bierman
Bob Neyland
AP
Du, Di, Wi
1939 Texas A&M
Cornell
11-0-0
08-0-0
Homer Norton
Carl Snavely
AP
Li
1938 Texas Christian
Tennessee
Notre Dame
11-0-0
11-0-0
08-1-0
Dutch Meyer
Bob Neyland
Elmer Layden
AP
Li, Du
Di
1937 Pittsburg
California
09-0-1
10-0-1
Jock Sutherland
Stub Allison
AP
Du
1936 Minnesota
Louisiana State
07-1-0
09-1-1
Bernie Bierman
Bernie Moore
AP
Wi

RETROACTIVE POLL CHAMPIONS
YEAR SCHOOL RECORD COACH SELECTING ORGANIZATION
1935 Minnesota
SMU
Princeton
Louisiana State
08-0-0
12-1-0
09-0-0
09-2-0
Bernie Bierman
Matty Bell
Fritz Crisler
Bernie Moore
CFRA, HAF, NCF, Li
Di
Du
Wi
1934 Minnesota
Alabama
08-0-0
09-0-0
Bernie Bierman
Frank Thomas
CFRA, HAF, NCF
Du, Wi
1933 Michigan
Ohio State
Southern Cal.
08-0-0
07-1-0
10-1-1
Harry Kipke
Sam Willaman
Howard Jones
CFRA, HAF, NCF, Di
Du
Wi
1932 Southern Cal.
Michigan
10-0-0
08-0-0
Howard Jones
Harry Kipke
CFRA, HAF, NCF, Du, Wi
Di
1931 Southern Cal. 10-1-0 Howard Jones CFRA, HAF, NCF
1930 Alabama
Notre Dame
10-0-0
10-0-0
Wallace Wade
Knute Rockne
CFRA
HAF, NCF, Di, Du
1929 Notre Dame 09-0-0 Knute Rockne CFRA, HAF, NCF
1928 Georgia Tech.
Southern Cal.
10-0-0
09-0-1
Bill Alexander
Howard Jones
CFRA, HAF, NCF
Di
1927 Illinois
Yale
07-0-1
07-1-0
Bob Zuppke
Tad Jones
HAF, NCF, Di
CFRA
1926 Alabama
Stanford
09-0-1
10-0-1
Wallace Wade
Pop Warner
CFRA, HAF, NCF
HAF, Di
1925 Alabama
Dartmouth
10-0-0
08-0-0
Wallace Wade
Jesse Hawley
CFRA, HAF, NCF
Di
1924 Notre Dame 10-0-0 Knute Rockne CFRA, HAF, NCF
1923 Illinois
Michigan
08-0-0
08-0-0
Bob Zuppke
Hurry Up Yost
CFRA, HAF, NCF
NCF
1922 California
Cornell
Princeton
09-0-0
08-0-0
08-0-0
Andy Smith
Gil Dobie
Bill Roper
NCF
HAF
CFRA, NCF
1921 California
Cornell
09-0-0
08-0-0
Andy Smith
Gil Dobie
CFRA
NCF, HAF
1920 California 09-0-0 Andy Smith CFRA, HAF, NCF
1919 Harvard
Illinois
Notre Dame
Texas A&M
09-0-1
06-1-0
09-0-0
 
Bob Fisher
Bob Zuppke
Knute Rockne
 
CFRA, HAF, NCF
CFRA
NCF
NCF
1918 Michigan
Pittsburg
05-0-0
04-1-0
Hurry Up Yost
Pop Warner
NCF
HAF, CFRA
1917 Georgia Tech. 09-0-0 John Heisman HAF, NCF
1916 Pittsburgh 08-0-0 Pop Warner HAF, NCF
1915 Cornell 09-0-0 Al Sharpe HAF, NCF
1914 Army 09-0-0 Charley Daly HAF, NCF
1913 Harvard 09-0-0 Percy Haughton HAF, NCF
1912 Harvard
Penn St.
09-0-0
08-0-0
Percy Haughton
Bill Hollenback
HAF, CFRA
NCF
1911 Penn St.
Princeton
08-0-1
08-0-2
Bill Hollenback
Bill Roper
NCF
HAF, CFRA
1910 Harvard
Pittsburgh
08-0-1
09-0-0
Percy Haughton
Joe Thompson
HAF, CFRA
NCF
1909 Yale 12-1-0 Howard Jones HAF, NCF
1908 LSU
Pennsylvania
10-0-0
11-0-1
Edgar Wingard
Sol Metzger
NCF
HAF, CFRA
1907 Yale 09-0-1 Bill Knox HAF, NCF
1906 Princeton 09-0-1 Bill Roper HAF, NCF
1905 Chicago 10-0-0 Amos Alonzo Stagg HAF, NCF
1904 Michigan
Pennsylvania
10-0-0
12-0-0
Hurry Up Yost
Carl Williams
NCF
HAF, CFRA
1903 Princeton
Michigan
11-0-0
 
Art Hillebrand
 
HAF, NCF
NCF
1902 Michigan 11-0-0 Hurry Up Yost HAF, NCF
1901 Michigan
Harvard
11-0-0
12-0-0
Hurry Up Yost
Bill Reid
HAF, NCF
CFRA
1900 Yale 12-0-0 Malcolm McBride HAF, NCF
1899 Harvard
Princeton
10-0-1
12-1-0
Benjamin H. Dibblee
----
HAF, NCF
CFRA
1898 Harvard 11-0-0 W. Cameron Forbes HAF, NCF
1897 Pennsylvania 15-0-0 George W. Woodruff HAF, NCF
1896 Lafayette
Princeton
11-0-1
10-0-1
----
----
NCF
HAF, CFRA
1895 Pennsylvania 14-0-0 George W. Woodruff HAF, NCF
1894 Yale 16-0-0 William C. Rhodes HAF, NCF
1893 Princeton 11-0-0 ---- HAF, NCF
1892 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp HAF, NCF
1891 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp HAF, NCF
1890 Harvard 11-0-0 G. Stewart/G. Adams HAF, NCF
1889 Princeton 10-0-0 ---- HAF, NCF
1888 Yale 13-0-0 Walter Camp HAF, NCF
1887 Yale 09-0-0 ---- HAF, NCF
1886 Yale 09-0-1 ---- HAF, NCF
1885 Princeton 09-0-0 ---- HAF, NCF
1884 Yale 08-0-1 ---- HAF, NCF
1883 Yale 08-0-0 ---- HAF, NCF
1882 Yale 08-0-0 ---- NCF
1881 Yale 05-0-1 ---- NCF
1880 Princeton
Yale
04-0-1
04-0-1
----
----
NCF
CFRA
1879 Princeton 04-0-1 ---- NCF
1878 Princeton 06-0-0 ---- NCF
1877 Yale 03-0-1 ---- NCF
1876 Yale 03-0-0 ---- NCF
1875 Harvard
Princeton
04-0-0
02-0-0
----
----
NCF
CFRA
1874 Yale 03-0-0 ---- NCF
1873 Princeton 01-0-0 ---- NCF
1872 Princeton 01-0-0 ---- NCF
1871 None Selected      
1870 Princeton 01-0-0 ---- NCF
1869 Princeton 01-1-0 ---- NCF




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