above is Pennsylvania at Harvard in 1904. It was 12-0 Penn's biggest game of the
season, and they won 11-0. But perhaps the star of this photo is the venue.
Built the year before, Harvard Stadium was the first concrete stadium.
For the fourth consecutive year, it's Michigan vs. the best team of
the East for the mythical national championship (MNC), though the Eastern champion has
been a different team each of the four years. This time it was 12-0
Penn's turn in the limelight. However, some writers at the time
insisted that 10-1 Yale was the "real" Eastern champion despite an
upset loss to Army, so I'll be giving them a look too.
the second consecutive year, Michigan shared the Western Conference
title with Minnesota. Michigan was 10-0, and Minnesota was 13-0 (and
rolled up their own "point-a-minute" numbers). There are a couple of
impressive darkhorses to take a peek at too.
But here is how the "major selectors" listed in the NCAA
Records Book, all selecting long after the fact, see the 1904 college football national
championship (omitting math/computer
ratings, which neither I nor
anyone else recognize as constituting titles):
You can click on the selector to read my review of that person or
Looks like Penn is a winner. And I'll end half the drama again by
agreeing with everyone else here. Penn is a mythical national champion
in 1904. The question is, can Michigan claim a share? Or Minnesota? Or
even Yale, who, despite taking a loss, would have gotten the
second-most first place votes had there been an AP poll at the time?
All rankings in the following article, except as noted, come from my 1904 top 25, which is based on a hypothetical AP poll (within logical reason of course).
and Princeton, the Eastern champions 1901-1903, as well as almost every
year since American football had been invented, were known as the "Big
Three." The term "Big Three" was not an official athletic organization,
just a popular and press-driven name. But when people of this time
referred to a "Big Four," they were generally adding Penn to the Big
Three. Penn first rose to greatness under Hall of Fame coach George
Woodruff (#3 in all-time FBS winning percentage) 1892-1901, winning
consensus championships in 1895 and 1897.
Penn's 1904 coach,
Dr. Carl Williams, had been the captain and quarterback of the 1895
championship team, which went 14-0, and Penn was 38-3 during his three
years as a player. He was 60-10-4 as coach at Penn 1902-1907, and was a practicing optometrist when he wasn't coaching.
1904, Penn was lightly regarded in terms of talent compared to Yale,
but over the next few years, people came to realize how deep with
top-notch players this Penn team was.
Hall of Famers
Penn 1904 featured four members of the College Football Hall of Fame, the most of any team I've covered thus far.
of them, however, was inducted as a coach rather than as a player.
Fullback Andy Smith was a consensus All American in 1904, and was
particularly strong on defense, but his greatest fame would come as
coach of California's "Wonder Teams," who went unbeaten five straight
seasons 1920-1924. Overall he was 116-32-13 at three schools.
best player of this decade, end Bill Hollenback (pictured), would miss the 1905
season with a broken leg, then come back as a consensus AA in 1906 and
1908 at fullback. Jim Thorpe, whose Carlisle team played Penn to a tie
in 1908, called him "my greatest and toughest opponent." Hollenback
played pro football and coached at Penn State, the highlight there
being a 16-0-1 run 1911-1912, contending for the MNC both seasons.
Quarterback Vince Stevenson, like
Andy Smith, was a consensus All American in 1904. He was small, 5' 9"
and 148 pounds, but he was a great open-field runner whose specialty
was hurdling would-be tacklers. I have read countless writers from the
time marveling at his leaping and elusive runs with the ball. Sounds
like he was fun to watch. Stevenson was also considered to be very
smart, creative, and a great gameday coach (sideline coaches were not
allowed to call the plays at that time). He was especially adept at
dissecting and outguessing opposing offenses.
The fourth Hall
of Famer was center and captain Bob Torrey, a consensus AA in 1905. A
great defensive player, Torrey is credited by most older sources as the
first "roving center," a center that played back off the line on defense (the original middle linebacker). This
later became standard for most college football teams. However, later
sources, and modern ones such as wikipedia, credit Michigan center
Germany Schulz (who will be introduced as a freshman below) with
inventing the roving center. But this is just another example of
Michigan successfully rewriting history, as Torrey was roving before
Schulz even enrolled at Ann Arbor.
were actually two other
Hall of Famers on this team. Guard Frank Piekarski, Penn's third
consensus AA in 1904, is in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame,
and was the first Polish All American. He scored 3 touchdowns in a
34-0 season-ending win over Cornell. End Garfield Weede, a
non-consensus All American, saw his season end with a broken leg
against Gettysburg. He is in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame as a player
and coach, going 70-37-10 at Washburn and Pittsburgh colleges in Kansas.
The Rest of the Team
Lamson, strong on defense and as a ball carrier, would be consensus All
American in 1905. Guard August Ziegler would be consensus AA in 1906
and '07. Halfback Marshall Reynolds was a nonconsensus AA in 1904. He
was a great punter and kicker who could kick equally well with either
In all, ten players from this team would make an All American list in their careers.
was tremendous from start to finish this season, as that was their
focus. Opening opponent Penn State (6-4, #26-31), usually
a patsy, was a program on the rise who went on to have a good season,
and they had their sights set on beating Penn. They could not move the
ball on Penn's defense, but succeeded in holding Penn scoreless
themselves for almost the entire game. Penn scored a touchdown with
only a minute left to win 6-0.
The next opponent, Swarthmore (6-3, #15), was deja vu all over again: usually
a patsy, suddenly strong this season, sights set on bringing down Penn.
Swarthmore was the only team that scored on Penn in 1904, losing just
6-4. The next season, this game
would be a bloodbath--literally. Allegedly, a picture of a player's mangled, bloody face from that game would become
exhibit A in the movement to abolish football in 1905. Penn would win
that one too, finishing 12-0-1, while Swarthmore would finish 7-1.
this 1904 game, Penn punted on first down the entire first half because
they wanted to work on their defense. Swarthmore hit a 42 yard field goal
just 2 minutes into the game, but those were the last points they (or
anyone in 1904) were able to get. Penn started to move the ball in the
second half, and drove 65 yards for their touchdown. Coach Williams saw
a good opportunity to toughen his team up, and he arranged for two
scrimmages with Swarthmore during the following week. Penn reportedly
the scrimmages. Then they dominated their next four opponents.
opening games aside (games Penn treated as practice for the "real"
games ahead), Penn's toughest game came in a midseason bout with Brown
(6-5, #32-50). And a bout it was,
with unusually rough play on both sides ("rough" being the euphemism of
the time for kicking, slugging, choking, etc.). Penn scored an early
touchdown that held up for the 6-0 win, then Brown outplayed them the
rest of the way. But Brown could not score, their best effort ending at
the Penn 15 with a fumble. Penn did most of the fumbling in this game,
but they were aided by Brown's weak punting.
Penn then cruised through the meat of their schedule without a real
The most important game was at 7-2-1 Harvard (#6), Penn winning
11-0 on great efforts from Piekarski and Stevenson, the latter scampering for several long
runs that constituted most of the offense. Penn's other big wins
were 16-0 over 7-3 Columbia (#13), Stevenson getting off 3 long runs to score
or set up touchdowns, 22-0 over 8-2 Lafayette (#14), and 18-0 over 10-2
I covered Yale in my article on the 1902 national championship.
End Tom Shevlin, tackle James Hogan, guard Ralph Kinney, and
quarterback Foster Rockwell, Yale's four consensus All Americans in
1904 (the most of any team), all started on that 1902 team. The 1904
coach, Charles Rafferty, had been an end on that team. But Walter Camp
was still the advisory coach.
five players were nonconsensus All Americans, and a further five
players would be consensus AA in later seasons. Among these were backs
Lydig Hoyt and Paul Veeder, both good kickers. Yale may have been the deepest and
most talented team in the East, but they were upset at 7-2 Army (#7) in one
of the most famous games of the decade.
that game, Army's offense went nowhere, but they still scored twice in
the first half. The first was a blocked Veeder punt returned for a
short touchdown. Yale dominated the half, but repeatedly fumbled to end
drives into Army territory. Near the end of the first half, Yale
fumbled at the Army 5, and the ball was returned 105 yards for a
touchdown. Army thus led 11-0 at the half. Yale continued to dominate
the second half, but also continued to fumble the ball away, giving
Army two field goal attempts, both missed. Yale finally got it together
late in the game, moving through Army easily for a long touchdown
drive, scored by Kinney. When Yale got the ball back, they moved
through Army with ease again, but time was called with the ball
on the Army 8 yard line, preserving an 11-6 win for Army.
Army game followed two other poor performances, a 6-0 win over
Springfield (4-4-1) and a 17-9 win over Syracuse (6-3, #27-31), neither opponent being
particularly tough that season. So the Army upset was the end of a
midseason 3-game slump.
that, they handled their opponents with ease, beating their season
ending rivals Princeton (8-2, #8) and Harvard (7-2-1, #6) by identical scores
of 12-0. Kinney blocked a punt in the Princeton game that was returned
for a touchdown.
Penn vs. Yale in 1904
writers of the time who favored Yale as the Eastern champion argued
that Yale was the best team, and that Army had just gotten lucky
against them. And Yale was, after all, one of the "Big Three," and had
beaten the other two members of the Eternal Triangle, Princeton and
Harvard, whereas Penn had just beaten Harvard. Also, Penn and Yale
played four common opponents, with Yale winning by more against each of
them. Yale beat Penn State 24-0, while Penn beat them 6-0; Yale beat Columbia 34-0, Penn 16-0; Yale beat Brown 22-0, Penn 6-0; Yale beat Harvard 12-0, Penn 11-0.
the common opponent comparison is extremely misleading. Both Penn and
Yale struggled in 3 games, but 2 of Penn's 3 are represented by their
common opponents, compared to none for Yale. And Yale's Columbia
outcome was their best game, whereas none of Penn's best games are
included amongst the common opponents. As for the Harvard game, 1 point
is not a relevant difference anyway, but Penn played them on the road,
Yale at home.
3 struggles were all against good teams, and they were all wins. Yale's
3 struggles, on the
other hand, included an actual loss, and one of them came against a
team that was just bad (4-4-1 Springfield). Furthermore, even if they
play Princeton, Penn played 9 major winning opponents, Yale 7. And
or not, the fact is that Yale lost to Army. I myself would not even
consider Yale a contender.
this wasn't actually much of a controversy even at the time. Most
writers and fans considered Penn the Eastern champion in 1904, and Yale
itself conceded the title to Penn. Still, if there had been an AP poll
in 1904, Yale would have finished second, ahead of 10-0 Michigan and
I covered Michigan's great coach, Fielding Yost, and their best player, halfback Willie Heston, in my review of the 1901 national championship, and I also wrote Michigan team summaries for both 1902 and 1903.
The main losses from the 1903 team were end Curtis Redden and tackle
Joseph Maddock. The important returnees were Heston, who was a
consensus All American for the second straight year, and 230 pound
tackle John Curtis. The team saw a lot more rotation of different
players starting, and players switching positions almost weekly, than
Michigan had experienced in the previous 3 years, but the results were
the same. This time they outscored opponents 567-22.
Most of the new players did not amount to much, but 3 were of
interest. The first was Walter Rheinschild, a Californian whose
recruiting was a big national story. While in high school, tales of his
football talent grew to mythical proportions, and there was a bidding
war among colleges to gain his services, including an offer of $2200
from Dartmouth (according to Rheinschild). He chose Michigan, but both
he and the school maintained that he was not paid at all to attend.
Rheinschild did not ever play up to the level of his recruiting
reputation, and was just a reserve on this 1904 team. But in 1907,
after a year-long academic suspension, he had a very good season at
John Garrels started at end for half the season, but did
not letter. He would become an excellent player in 1905 and '06, and
would win a silver medal in hurdles and a bronze in the shotput at the
Then there was the big man, Michigan's most famous player of this decade other than Heston...
"Germany" Schulz is considered the greatest center of his time, and a
1951 National Football Foundation poll named him the greatest center of
all time. He is credited with inventing the spiral snap and the roving
center (as was Penn's Bob Torrey, as noted above). Very big and fast,
he was tremendous on defense and kick coverage. He was also dogged by
controversy throughout his career at Michigan, and newspapers continued
digging up stories for a few years after he had left the school.
was a 21 year old who worked in a steel factory when he was recruited,
and had reportedly been paid to play for a number of amateur and
professional teams, leaving him ineligible according to most college's
standards. And he was, to be kind, not scholastically gifted, which
made keeping him academically eligible a challenge. Reforms swept
throughout college football after the 1905 season, and Michigan
withdrew from the Western Conference to avoid the bulk of these
reforms, but their own faculty fought for reforms from within,
rendering Schulz academically ineligible for 1906 (like Rheinschild).
He was back on the field in 1907, then cost Michigan reentry into the
Western Conference in 1908 when he returned for a fourth year (the
Western Conference allowed only 3 years eligibility after 1905). For
all that, he was ruled academically ineligible again that fall, and
Yost was unable to settle the matter and get him on the field until
late October. But he made it through the rest of the 1908
season, promptly abandoning all pretense of his "studies"
Schulz was the centerpiece of bad press for Michigan, involving a
number of players, that would continue for six more years, when their
quarterback was found to have played the entire 1909 season without
attending classes. That led to all the old improprieties being dug up
again throughout the 1910 offseason.
Schulz is described by all
who played him as a giant of a man who could also move very fast.
Reports put him at a pretty consistent 6'4" or 6'5", but references to
his playing weight are all over the map, from a low of 200 pounds (as a
freshman), to the more typical reports of 230#, to 250#, and up to a
high of 285#. He was consensus All American only one season, 1907, but
his legend grew over time.
fourth "point-a-minute" team again rolled up the big scores, including
a curious 130-0 mauling of Yost's alma mater West Virginia. He must
have had some issue with his old school, because he was famously
adamant about his team winning this game by as much as humanly
possible. Unfortunately, Michigan's schedule was incredibly weak this
season, the weakest of any of the "point-a-minute" teams. They only
played 2 conference opponents, and in fact those were the only major
football teams they faced at all (Ohio State and West Virginia were
minor schools, playing mostly other minor schools, at that time). Their
two game schedule consisted of a 28-0 win at 5-3 Wisconsin (#24) and a 22-12
win against 10-1-1 Chicago (#9) at home.
Chicago featured two
consensus All Americans, the first time a team from the West had more
than one in a season. And they had a third player who would be
consensus All American in 1905. But unfortunately, they were tied at home in a
big upset by 9-2-1 Illinois (#21), drastically reducing the value of Michigan
playing and defeating them. Illinois lost to 9-3 Nebraska (#22), who was not
nearly as strong as they had been in 1902 and 1903,
when they had back-to-back perfect seasons. Nebraska lost to unrated Colorado. So the well was poisoned.
I covered Minnesota in my 1903
article. They lost their best players from that team, tackle Fred
Schacht and end Ed Rogers, but rolled right along, finishing 13-0 and
outscoring their opponents 725-12, which got them a lot of national
attention. That was-- and still is-- the second most points ever scored
by a major (FBS) college football team in a season. Harvard 1886 holds
the record of 765 points. As a result of the publicity, Minnesota might
have edged out Michigan for a higher ranking if there had been an AP
poll (Caspar Whitney ranked them higher, as covered below). However,
Minnesota played 3 more games than Michigan did, and the fact is that
on a per game basis, Michigan outscored Minnesota 56.7 to 55.8.
schedule wasn't much better than Michigan's. They did play 5 major
teams, compared to 2 for Michigan, and 3 of their opponents were top 25
caliber, compared to 3 for Michigan, but none of
their opponents were as strong as #9 Chicago. Minnesota's top wins
were 17-0 at #20 Northwestern (who lost to Chicago 32-0), 16-12 over
#21 Nebraska, and 28-0 over #24 Wisconsin (the same score Michigan put
on them). They were rather
unimpressive in an 11-0 win at 7-4 Iowa, and even more unimpressive in
their come-from-behind 16-12 home win over #21 Nebraska, who, as
above, was not as good as they had been the previous two years.
that Nebraska game, and to a lesser degree the Iowa game, that
separates Michigan from Minnesota. Michigan was not threatened by any
opponent. And Michigan victim Chicago was a much tougher team than
anyone Minnesota played (Chicago beat Wisconsin as well as
Northwestern). So unlike 1901, when nothing really separated Michigan
and Wisconsin, and 1903, when the same could be said for Michigan and
Minnesota, in 1904 you can select Michigan over Minnesota for
Minnesota's one weak game against Nebraska and Michigan's one big win
the other hand, Minnesota was Nebraska's biggest rival, the team they
most wanted to beat every year (while Wisconsin was Minnesota's biggest
rival). And though Nebraska was not great, they were very good (they
were 9-3, and beat Illinois, who tied Chicago). And Nebraska was the
only team that came within a touchdown of Minnesota, and in fact they
were the only team that scored against Minnesota. So it was clearly
just one bad game, and thus there is plenty of reason to believe that
Minnesota was about equal to Michigan.
back on the first hand, one bad game is more than Michigan had. So I'm
boiling this national championship analysis down to Michigan vs. Penn.
vs. Michigan in 1904
Unfortunately, there isn't much to analyze. Here
significant games for each team in 1904. The
rankings come from my 1904 top 25, which is based on a hypothetical AP poll (within logical reason of course). Click on the links in the table headers to see Penn
Michigan's full schedule at the College Football Data Warehouse.
Penn defeated the rest of their opponents by an average of 26-0,
an average of 65-1.
One of the most prominent football writers of the time, Caspar Whitney,
ranks the relevant teams like this:
Yale #1, Penn #2, Harvard #5, Minnesota #7, Michigan #8,
Chicago #10, Lafayette #12, Wisconsin #13, Carlisle #14, Columbia #18,
and Brown #20.
actually think Whitney was adept at rating teams, and don't endorse his
top 20. I merely bring it up to demonstrate the prevailing feeling of
that time. He was obviously among those who favored Yale as best,
dismissing their upset loss. And he was also a bit overly impressed by
Minnesota's scoring total, ranking them higher than Michigan. And note
how far back he has both Minnesota and Michigan. This is an example of
why neither team would have had a chance at #1 in an AP poll in 1904.
Much of what I wrote for Harvard vs. Michigan for 1901
applies here as well. The East was a stronger region in general, and
Penn played a far, far tougher schedule in any sense. And Michigan's
propensity for running up the score is irrelevant.
East vs. West
addition to the East vs. West numbers I gave in my 1901 article, the
East continued to dominate the West 1901-1904, though significant games
were few. 10-5 Penn beat 8-6-2 Chicago 11-0 in 1901, though that game
was barely significant, Chicago not being particularly strong that
season. In 1903, 6-2-1 Army beat 12-2-1 Chicago 10-6, which was
significant precisely because Army was down that season, and it was
their only win of value. Also in 1903, 11-2-1 Carlisle beat 10-1-3
In 1904, there was only one significant East
vs. West game, but it was a big one that got nationwide publicity,
largely because it was held at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. The
game featured the best Indian school of the West, Haskell of Kansas,
against the best Indian school of the East, Carlisle of Pennsylvania.
Carlisle was coached by Minnesota's 1903 star and captain, Ed Rogers.
Haskell came in at 8-0, having dominated the Missouri Valley, including
a 23-6 win over 8-1-1 Kansas and a 14-6 win over 9-3 Nebraska. Carlisle
was 9-2, having lost to top ten teams Penn and Harvard, but with no
wins of value. On the way to St. Louis, Carlisle stopped in Columbus
and their second team stomped on 6-5 Ohio State 23-0 (Michigan beat
them 31-6). Haskell arrived in St. Louis early and their second team
stomped on Washington-Missouri 47-0 on the same day.
spectators were in attendance, along with press from across the nation,
but after Haskell took a quick 4-0 lead on a field goal, the game
quickly became a farce. Carlisle moved at will on offense and shoved
Haskell backward on defense, winning the game 38-4. That East-West
result presents us with the following chain:
Penn beat Carlisle 18-0, Carlisle beat Haskell 38-4, Haskell beat
Nebraska 14-6, Nebraska beat Illinois 16-10, and Illinois tied Chicago
6-6. Michigan beat Chicago 22-12. Minnesota beat Nebraska 16-12.
Victory chains are, of course, more worthless the longer they are. But
it is interesting, and it at least tells us a little bit more than no
East vs. West games would. And it only adds to the numbers that slowly
grew each and every year.
Penn vs. Michigan Conclusion
Michigan would actually play Penn every year 1906-1917. The first 3 games were Michigan losses,
17-0, 6-0, and 29-0, despite the heroic efforts of Germany Schulz. In
both 1906 and '07, their only loss came to Penn, and in 1908, their
only loss aside from Penn came to Syracuse 28-4. In fact, in 1907, Michigan beat
every other opponent they played by more than a touchdown, and shut
them all out as well, and they were hosting Penn in the game they lost
6-0. But after Penn's Big Bill Hollenback graduated in 1908, Michigan caught up with Penn, and they
ended up going a respectable 4-6-2 against Penn in that 12 year series. But what really matters is 1904, and the difference in schedules
here is simply ridiculous. This time, Michigan is not so much like Utah
2004 and Boise State 2009 as they are Marshall 1999. So if you consider
13-0 Marshall (AP #10) to be national co-champion with 12-0 Florida
State in 1999,
then sure, you could consider Michigan co-champion in 1904. They might
have been as good as Penn in 1904. I myself highly doubt it, but we'll
never know. What we do know is that Michigan chose to play a schedule
made up almost entirely of minor opponents. They really needed to play
and defeat 13-0 Minnesota, whom they tied 6-6 the previous season.
Michigan was in a 9 team conference, but only played 2 conference
opponents. That is weak.
But let's turn our attention now to a
couple of teams who had perfect records, though neither is really a national
Like a lot of small-time Eastern schools, Pittsburgh
decided in the early 20th century that they wanted to build themselves
into a strong football power. Penn State and Swarthmore, among many
others, were on the same drive. Pitt hired head coach Arthur Mosse away
from Kansas in 1903, and he brought half a dozen Kansas players along
with him, but they finished 0-9-1 that first season. Undaunted, Pitt
kept working, recruiting hard (which in those days required cold hard
cash more than anything else), nabbing good players from other small
schools, and they had one of the great turnarounds in college football
history in 1904, going 10-0.
The star was Hall of Fame halfback
Joe Thompson, who was recruited away from Geneva college. An Irishman
who came to America at age 18, he had been 27-2-3 in 3 years at Geneva
as a player-coach, and went 26-6 in a further 3 years at Pittsburgh
1904-'06. He then coached at Pitt 1908-'12, the highlight being a 9-0
season in 1910 in which they shut out every opponent. The National
Championship Foundation selects them as a national champion for that
season. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his
heroism in World War One.
Pitt outscored their opponents 406-5
in 1904, but the only major opponent they played was 6-4 Penn State (#26-31),
winning 22-5. National champion Penn only beat PSU 6-0, so that looks
good for Pitt. But their schedule makes them a non-contender. If
Michigan 1904 is like Marshall 1999, Pitt 1904 is more like an unbeaten
division 2 team. But Pitt would continue to get better over the years,
reaching the top of college football a decade later with the arrival of
Hall of Fame coach Pop Warner.
Hall of Fame coach Dan McGugin, a guard on a couple of Michigan's "point-a-minute" teams, had an immediate impact at Vanderbilt,
going 9-0 and outscoring opponents 474-4. He was 197-55-19 in a
long 30 year career at Vanderbilt, putting him on the list for top all-time FBS coaching win percentage, and he won 10 conference championships.
They have not won a conference title since. This 1904 team is the only
and untied team in Vanderbilt history. No one came close to them, but
the schedule was weak, with the one big game being a 27-0 victory over
7-1 Sewanee (#26-31) in their finale.
ruled the South under McGugin, at least for the first half of his
tenure. Over his first ten years, Vanderbilt went 71-3-2 against all
opponents except major teams from the Big Ten and Eastern regions, whom
they went 1-9-2 against. McGugin played his mentor and former coach
Fielding Yost frequently over the years, but never won. This included
four straight losses to Michigan over the following four seasons,
giving Vandy their only loss in 3 of them. But McGugin and Yost were
more than friends and competitors, they were family. They married
sisters, and were thus brothers in law.
the 1-9-2 record against major Big Ten and Eastern teams, Vanderbilt
experienced unprecedented success against such opponents for a Southern
team. They beat a very strong 9-3 Carlisle team 4-0 at home in 1906,
tied 9-2-1 Navy 6-6 in 1907, and tied 6-2-2 Yale in 1910. Even those
ties were celebrated like huge wins in Nashville.
1904 #1: 12-0 Penn Contenders: 10-0 Michigan and 13-0 Minnesota
are the awards I have been handing out for each season, except seasons
when there are no contenders. For this purpose, what I mean by a
contender is a team that I think is very close to being worthy of
sharing the national championship. A team that you could make an
argument for, even if that argument is weak. But they are
teams that I myself do not see as national champions.
A third category is also possible:
a "national co-champion" who is not #1, but who has done just enough to be
considered a co-champion with the #1 team.
Michigan is a certain contender, while Minnesota barely qualifies (if
at all... I went back and forth on including them). I think Michigan
should definitely be rated ahead of Minnesota in any case.
I have been grading the NCAA Records Book's selectors for each season,
and keeping a grade point average, so we can see who is relatively good
at selecting national champions and who is not. And although I do not
consider computer ratings to be legitimate national championship
selectors, I have been including them in this section as well,
just for comparison's sake. I am grading on a scale of 0
to 5, with 5 being the best.
The National Championship Foundation selected Penn and Michigan. Grade: 3.6