I got the idea for this topic from a discussion on my 1973 video of The Game I posted here awhile ago.
Michigan had an undefeated season in 1973 finishing 10-0-1 with their 3rd straight Big Ten title. The only blemish was a 10-10 tie with ohio. To determine who would go to the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten athletic directors voted in favor ohio 6-4 to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl, despite going the year before. Bo was furious and in many on-video interviews in his book he said he'll never forget or forgive the ADs who voted against Michigan. While ohio took a 10-0 halftime lead in The Game, Michigan stormed back in the second half to tie the game 10-10.
There were four schools selected as national champions in 1973, and only two of them claim it. ND & Alabama both claim titles while Michigan and ohio don't claim theirs. Michigan was selected by the Polling System and the National Championship Foundation.
Before you criticize the NCF as a BS selector, Michigan claims two titles with NCF as the sole selector.
1973 is one of Alabama's most fraudulent titles. They claim the national title with a record of 11-1-0. Their only loss? To undefeated ND in the Sugar Bowl that season.
So let's put alabama out of the discussion. Michigan and ND resumed playing in 1978. Let's compare schedules of Michigan and ND with their opponents records being taken into consideration.
Michigan's 1973 Schedule
|9/15||at Iowa||W 31-7||0-11-0|
|9/22||vs Stanford||W 47-10||7-4-0|
|9/29||vs Navy||W 14-0||2-9-0|
|10/6||vs Oregon||W 24-0||2-9-0|
|10/13||at State||W 31-0||5-6-0|
|10/20||vs Wisconsin||W 35-6||4-7-0|
|10/27||at Minnesota||W 34-7||7-4-0|
|11/3||vs Indiana||W 49-13||2-9-0|
|11/10||vs Illinois||W 21-6||5-6-0|
|11/17||at Purdue||W 34-9||5-6-0|
|11/24||vs #1 Ohio||T 10-10||10-0-1|
ND's 1973 Schedule
|9/22||vs Northwestern||W 44-0||4-7-0|
|9/29||at Purdue||W 20-7||5-6-0|
|10/6||vs State||W 14-10||5-6-0|
|10/13||at Rice||W 28-0||5-6-0|
|10/20||at Army||W 62-3||0-10-0|
|10/27||vs #6 USC||W 23-14||9-2-1|
|11/3||vs Navy||W 44-7||2-9-0|
|11/10||at Pitt||W 31-10||6-5-1|
|11/22||vs Air Force||W 48-15||6-4-0|
|12/1||at Miami||W 44-0||5-6-0|
|12/31||Alabama (Sugar Bowl)||W 24-23||11-1-0|
There are 3 comparisons you can make with both Michigan and ND in 1973. The games in bold both teams share as common opponents.
- ND struggled with a state team with a losing record at home, while Michigan, blew them out on the road.
- ND beat purdue on the road by only 13 while Michigan demolished purdue on the road
- Michigan shut out but didn't have the most dazzling offensive performance against navy while ND put up 44.
Michigan wins the common opponent comparison 2-1. Michigan clearly had the more dominating defense not letting one opponent score above 20 points.
That comes to the million dollar question. Based on the information given, and the fact that Bo Schembechler deserves a national title added to his legacy, should Michigan go and claim it?
It wouldn't be the first time a team went back and claimed a title. In 2004, USC went back and claimed the 1939 national title.
Another thing I just realized is, Dave Brandon may also be pretty interested in this proposal not only due to the facts, but the fact that he would have played on a national championship team.