"Claimed" National Titles

Submitted by severs28 on May 25th, 2011 at 4:05 PM

During the most recent stretch of football at the University of Michigan, I am constantly reminded by opposing fan bases that we have won 1/2 a NC since 1948.  The majority of these fans are MSU fans OSU fans, but the rest of the Big 10 is picking it up.  

I don't know how many more times I can take hearing from Sparty that they have won 6 in 51, 52, 55, 57, 65 and 66 in that same time frame that we have 1/2. 

Of course because of all this I had to check out the "claimed national championships", and realized there are an additional 11 NC for Michigan, most notablly in 85, 73, 64. 

Why are we not more apt to include these additional NC's when defending ourseleves to the drones of Sparties and other fan bases. 

What exactly is the difference between our 11 claimed yet not claimed NC, and the othres that clearly "claim" their "claimed NC's".

Maybe I am just letting them get to me after all this time, being that I have to work with a boatload of Spartans and Buckeyes, but next time Sparty boasts their 6 claimed titles, be sure to remind them that if we count that way, we have 22.






May 25th, 2011 at 4:10 PM ^

"Why are we not more apt to include these additional NC's when defending ourseleves to the drones of Sparties and other fan bases?"

We're better than them. Ask Sparty how many couches have been burned in East Lansing since '48. If there's a Buckeye nearby, ask him if he thinks the total exceeds the number of underpriced vehicles driven by OSU football players since Tressel was hired.


May 25th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

Sparty claims a National Championship in any poll or math selector system that names them.  Michigan only claims Championships granted by the major polls of the time.

If Sparty followed Michigan's guidelines for claiming legitimate championships, they'd only have 2 in their history.  1952 (Consensus AP and UPI champion) and 1965 (UPI, Alabama was AP Champ).  Of course, since they like to only grant us credit for half a title in 1997, then I guess they only have 1.5 real championships to their name.

Of course, I'm not sure why anyone would give two shits what the Spartans thought of us, but whatever.

Michigan Shirt

May 25th, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

Well going by the National Poll Championships (1936-Present) located down at the bottom which is described as


The following table contains the National Championships that have been recognized by the AP or Coaches' Poll. The BCS champion is automatically awarded the Coaches' Poll championship.

then they only have two (1952 and 1965) and we only have two (1948 and 1997). So if they are counting their other 4 Championships than you should be able to count our other 3 in that argument, however I would only count them if they are given by one of the major polls.

Patent Pending

May 25th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

MSU's claim of 6 titles is a joke. Their claimed 1955 and 1957 NCs are each based on ONE mathematical model, while everybody else in the world gave it to a better team.

The reason we don't claim those other NCs is because we were not really the champs. Just because someone, somewhere says we're number one doesn't make it so.

MSU, being a little brother, takes those accolades when they can get them. The fact that they actually crow about those NCs is just further evidence of their inferiority.


May 25th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

By that logic, Sparty has 2.28 NCs in their history (dividing their "claimed" NCs by the number of other schools also given the title by some organization that year).


It is all smoke and mirrors anyway.  There was an article about all the NCs Alabama "claims" a while back.  In short, many of them are bunk.

EDIT:  Found it:



May 25th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

When someone wants to continually denegrate an undefeated season in modern-day college football which resulted in National Championship Trophy, they're not really arguing their point.  They're just verbalizing their biased, unadulterated hatred for that particular school.  No matter how you look at it, Michigan won a National Championship in 1997.  End. Of. Story.


May 25th, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

Alabama and many other schools do the same thing. Just because some podunk organiation or publication declares you the national champion doesn't make it so. To me it's the Coaches Poll, the AP Poll or nothing.


May 25th, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^

Claimed national championships is one of the most moronic things on college football message boards today. If people would just go by the AP poll, they could clear up a lot of confusion. Even when I see Michigan sell merchandise with the NC claims or list the years in the stadium (which includes the totally unoffical and flimsy claim on 1947), I cringe a bit.

Michigan has won one national championship after 1948. We should own that it's an obviously less than desirable number for an elite program but also be thankful that the one was recent enough for most of us to enjoy and remember fondly.

If you are bothered by the catcalls of "half-title," you have thin skin and can't be helped. That team did everything it could -- they won all their games and were victims of a political campaign in the other poll. It is a far greater accomplishment than a "full" NC in which LSU had two losses or any of Florida's three NCs, all with a loss apiece.

Just remember that OSU fans are also quite bare in the NC department as well (just one NC in 40+ years) and MSU's program hasn't been nationally relevant in close to half a century. So consider the source.






May 25th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

Why is the claim in 1947 flimsy? I get why you would call it unofficial, but saying that ND deserved it seems even flimsier. Plus, until the BCS came out, every poll was unofficial, which is why we have this mess to begin with. Even then, there was controversy and split titles until the NCG was introduced. If you want to get really unofficial, you should look at Yost's NC titles considering the AP poll didn't even come out until Kipke was coaching.


May 25th, 2011 at 10:31 PM ^

They  r the ones who went to the AP and requested they come up w/a "recognized NC" at the end of each season. They, along with the AP writers declared this vote to the "the recognized NC."  They did so during the best run of ND football in its history. Couple this w/the fact that, as in any profession, you will have more Catholics than any other, they were bound to receive more votes. However, after their NC in 47 was taken away from them because UM dominated USC in far greater fashion than did the Irish that same year, they wouldn't reqlinquish claim, even though they were the ones that made up the rules.

Consider also you had Heisman winners like Hart - the lineman, and Hornung(losing team) - same year Jim Brown was running for Syracuse, and you'll begin to realize ND has a hell of a lot more myth than it does credibility. Take a look at their Heisman winners, and you'll recognize immediately the most inconsequential winners of the award.

Facts that can't be denied are M has most all-time wins, highest all-time winning %, and perhaps the strongest barometer of historical significance, the strongest all-time SOS, also. ND had shit compared to us. Let's not forget the head-to-head record either. They're step-sisters, red-headed at that.


May 25th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

Because the AP even said that the second poll they sent out, which was after the bowl season, was essentially for novelty and would not count. For Michigan to take a poll put out by an organization that said this doesn't count and say "It counts!" is fudging the numbers, just as State does.

I don't recognize the Yost ones or anything before the AP poll. It gets way too hairy. Hell, I don't even recognize the coaches poll as legit after they made the final vote nothing of a real vote at all, strong-handing the coaches to vote for the BCS champion whether they thought they were the best team or not.



May 25th, 2011 at 4:31 PM ^

Post 1936-If it isn't a Coaches or AP title it probably shouldn't be claimed. Claiming those 6 national titles is like claiming they are now a national recruiting power.

Edit: I think I remember reading that MSU was the first school to allow blacks to play football and that once the south started recruiting and playing black players the well dried up for MSU. That's probably the only reason they have any of those titles anyway.


May 25th, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

They probably also claim responsibility for ending Jim Crow laws, inventing the game of football, discovering the polio vaccine, ending the Cold War, and being a national recruitng power based on minor coincidences or small shreds of evidence.  It doesnt make their claims any less preposterous.

Everyone Murders

May 25th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

To each his own, but I wouldn't let braggadocio about national championships (legit or not) that are more than four decades old bother me much.  It's like the University of Chicago bragging about its early 20th Century dominance of the gridiron.  It may or may not be true, but it doesn't make them relevant today.

Referencing national titles, the most recent of which is (by their measure) 1966, displays a charming degree of insecurity.  Perhaps they can put up a billboard on I-96 to remind us of their 1960s prowess.

(The Sparty rap that does get under my skin is the "we beat Michigan the past three years, brah" - because that's true.  I expect Michigan to right that ship soon, but they do have that bragging right for now.)


May 25th, 2011 at 5:08 PM ^

Keep in mind we were also screwed in 1974 with the home cooking of tsio When we were undefeated and also in 1989 when we were driving for the winning touchdown against usc and there was a phantom holding.


May 25th, 2011 at 5:31 PM ^

Miami went into the bowl games ranked #2, with ND close behind. However, they beat ND convincingly late in November, and ND beat us early in the season, so we were regarded as definitely one step behind those two teams. We would have needed a convincing win against a #12 USC team in combination with losses by both Miami and ND to get there, an unlikely occurrence. But you are 100% correct in getting screwed by the refs in both that Rose Bowl and in the 1974 game against OSU. Lantry's field goal was good. He just kicked it too damn high, and they didn't use instant replay back then.

That game still hurts, because it was the third year in a row we had only one or fewer losses during the season and still didn't go to a bowl game, thanks to the criminally stupid policy of the Big Ten back then to send only one team to a bowl game. If the conference had allowed conference teams to play in the Orange or Sugar or Cotton Bowls, Bo wouldn't have had to wait until 1/1/1981 for his first bowl victory, because the '70 or '72 or '73 or '74 teams would have beaten the crap out of some SWC or SEC team. We matched up much better with teams from those conferences than we did the PAC 10 teams, unfortunately.


May 25th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

The only NCs that matter are the ones determined by the AP and UPI back in the polls and bowls era, and the BCS since then. All those other championships awarded by those minor polling outfits that nobody has ever heard of are simply irrelevant. Trying to increase our number of NCs that way is embarrassing. We don't need to apologize for what we've got legitimately.



May 25th, 2011 at 5:21 PM ^

Its obvious no one in the Big Ten can touch us statistically or historically. Our numbers against everyone else in the big ten in all aspects is by far superior. RECOGNIZE! GO BLUE

oriental andrew

May 25th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

Discussion on what they count as a "recognized national championship"


michigan state national championships (claimed and recongized):



Michigan's national championships:



Note in that last link that if we counted every team some random guy or organization called a national champion, Michigan would have 21 national championship teams, including 1964, 1973, 1976, 1980, and 1985 (because we topped the ARGH Power Ratings in '85, you know).  



May 25th, 2011 at 5:47 PM ^

Oddly enough I recently had this argument with a friend and until he brought up the 6 NCs thing I honestly had no idea they claimed that many.

My primary response was "I would be embarrassed to be such a die-hard fan of a school so desperate for attention that they put a ring of fame in their stadium citing fake championships from organizations that haven't existed in decades".

His argument was that football didn't count until they started wearing helmets.  Wow.  Inspiring work sparty (I refuse to use an upper-case s)


May 25th, 2011 at 6:46 PM ^

What they have done in the last 15 years or so in hoops is what we've done for over 130 years in football, so no, your basketball program is not like our football program.  You are nouveau riche in the NCAA historical sense.   You only have 2 NTs in hoops and you are currently enjoying your legacy coach.  He will retire at some point, or his head will explode when trying to decide whether or not to go to the NBA.  Remember, transitions are never easy.

Lastly, when you lose multiple games per season by 30+ points, you don't get any bragging rights in re: to national relevancy.  If you think you do, you are arguing your own inferiority.


May 26th, 2011 at 1:21 AM ^

Some of Alabama's championships are a fucking joke.  I believe in one season, they were like 8-3 or something and claim the damn championship.  A bunch of teams claim championships before their bowl game (a whole bunch of 'national championship' teams lost those bowl games).  I personally hate the whole claimed championships thing because Michigan could claim a shitload more but don't because we take a more 'honorable' approach while teams like Michigan State and Alabama claim so pretty nonsensical NCs.