College Football: Schools with the Most Championships All Time

The Figthing Irish Are the Greatest Modern Champions

The Figthing Irish Are the Greatest Modern Champions (chicagonow.com)

Believe it or not, Yale has the most college football national championships of all time.  The last one (chuckle) was over 100 years ago – 1909.

The Bulldogs’ Ivy League mates, The Princeton Tigers, are just two crowns behind.  Their last was in 1922.

Now of course there weren’t many teams playing back in the ol’ 1800′s, and the level of competition was surely wanting, but those are the official numbers.

Notre Dame is the first school on the list that has won all of their titles after 1900, followed by Alabama and Michigan.  Those three are more representative of the modern state of the game.

Interesting how in the last two decades or so, you so often hear about teams like the Florida State Seminoles, the Florida Gators, and the current reigning champions, the Auburn Tigers, but relatively, these teams are babes in the long life of college football.

One other very important item to note.  The controversy over who is the national champion is not a modern phenomenon.  This has been going on forever.  In fact, as early as 1880, two champs were crowned (Princeton and Yale).  In the 141 years of declaring a No. 1, at least two schools claimed the title, depending on which sports or news organization you ask, 29 times.

I have included all the No. 1 schools below, regardless of which organization selected them. So, this is a comprehensive, nonselect list of those schools that were declared champion one way or another. For example, in 1961, Alabama was named champ by the Associated Press (AP), National Football Fund (NFF), and United Press International (UPI ) and Ohio State was named champ by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Both titles are accounted for in today’s list.

For a look at the year-by-year breakdown of all the college football championships, those years when there were more than one champion – and the organizations that voted for each, check out my source: sports-reference.com.

One quick note: the year noted is the season, not the year of the title game itself.

UPDATED LIST: Through Florida State’s win over Auburn for the 2013 Title. That’s the Seminoles’ 3rd championship.

LAST SCHOOL TITLES SEASONS
1. 1909 Yale 17 1874, 1876, 1877, 1880-1884, 1886-1888, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1900, 1907, 1909
2. 1922 Princeton 15 1869, 1870, 1872, 1873, 1878-1880, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1896, 1903, 1906, 1911,1922
3. 1988 Notre Dame 13 1919, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1964, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988
4. 2012 Alabama 12 1925, 1926, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012
5. 1997 Michigan 9 1901-1904, 1919, 1923, 1933, 1948, 1997
5. 2004 USC 9 1931, 1932, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978, 2003, 2004
7. 1919 Harvard 8 1875, 1890, 1898, 1899, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1919
8. 2002 Ohio State 7 1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002
8. 2000 Oklahoma 7 1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000
10. 1960 Minnesota 6 1934-1936, 1940, 1941, 1960
11. 2001 Miami 5 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001
11. 1997 Nebraska 5 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997
11. 1976 Pittsburgh 5 1910, 1916, 1918, 1937, 1976
14. 2007 Louisiana State 4 1908, 1958, 2003, 2007
14. 1986 Penn State 4 1911, 1912, 1982, 1986
14. 1908 Pennsylvania 4 1895, 1897, 1904, 1908
14. 2005 Texas 4 1963,1969, 1970, 2005
18. 1945 Army 3 1914, 1944, 1945
18. 1922 Cornell 3 1915, 1921, 1922
18. 2008 Florida 3 1996, 2006, 2008
18. 2013 Florida State 3 1993, 1999, 2013
18. 1990 Georgia Tech 3 1917, 1928, 1990
18. 1966 Michigan State 3 1952, 1965, 1966
24. 2010 Auburn 2 1957, 2010
24. 1922 California 2 1920, 1922
24. 1927 Illinois 2 1923, 1927
24. 1998 Tennessee 2 1951, 1998
24. 1939 Texas A&M 2 1919, 1939
29. 1964 Arkansas 1 1964
29. 1984 Brigham Young 1 1984
29. 1905 Chicago 1 1905
29. 1981 Clemson 1 1981
29. 1990 Colorado 1 1990
29. 1980 Georgia 1 1980
29. 1958 Iowa 1 1958
29. 1896 Lafayette 1 1896
29. 1953 Maryland 1 1953
29. 1960 Mississippi 1 1960
29. 1926 Stanford 1 1926
29. 1959 Syracuse 1 1959
29. 1938 Texas Christian 1 1938
29. 1954 UCLA 1 1954
29. 1991 Washington 1 1991
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Posted on November 25, 2011, in NCAA Football and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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