Here is a well-worn photograph of 1907 national champion Yale at practice. For the first time since 1900, we have a unanimous national champion amongst NCAA-recognized selectorswith 9-0-1 Yale. Not that Yale 1907 was particularly powerful. It's just that there isn't really anyone else to select.
Dartmouth was 8-0-1, and defeated 7-3 Harvard 22-0 (a team Yale
beat 12-0), but Harvard was the only good team they played. They were
tied by 4-2-1 Vermont, and barely got by Tufts, Massachusetts, and
Amherst, none of whom were top 25 material. So Dartmouth would be lucky to even make a top ten.
10-1 Carlisle and 11-1 Penn fielded powerful teams, but Penn lost
to Carlisle 26-6, Carlisle lost to 7-2 Princeton 16-0, and Princeton
lost to Yale in the game of the year. It must be noted that Penn claims
a national championship for this season, but I have no idea what they
are basing it on, and since no one agreed with them, then or now, I
will not be addressing the claim.
The West was knocked out
by the East again. 5-1 Michigan won their first 5 games by more than a
touchdown, and shut out every opponent, but they lost their season
finale at home to Penn 6-0. 4-1 Chicago lost at home to Carlisle 18-4.
The only perfect records came from unremarkable regional teamssuch as 6-0 Oregon State, 8-0 Washburn, 7-0 Utah State, and 6-0 Marquette.
All rankings in the following article, except as noted, come from my 1907 top 25, which is based on a hypothetical AP poll (within logical reason of course).
This season brings Yale the elusive and coveted "threepeat." I
wrote summaries of previous Yale seasons for my 1902, 1904, 1905, and 1906 national
articles. Yale lost 3 of their 4 consensus All Americans from the
1906 team, but for the third straight season, they still had 4 consensus All Americans in 1907:
tackle L. Horatio Bigelow (the lone repeat selection from 1906), end
Clarence Alcott, quarterback Tad Jones, and most importantly,
hall of fame fullback Ted Coy. Considered one of the greatest players
of the decade, Coy was selected a consensus AA three straight seasons
'07-'09, and more than anyone else, he made the difference that
delivered the national championship to Yale this season.
Three other players would become consensus AA over the next couple of years.
every opponent they faced in 1907 except 7-2 Princeton (#2), but they suffered a scoreless tie against their greatest bane of
this decade, 6-2-1 Army (#11).
Army was the team that had tied 11-0-1 Yale in 1902. Then they beat
10-1 Yale in 1904, knocking them out of the national championship. And
now they are the team that has tied 9-0-1 Yale teams in back-to-back
seasons 1906-'07. Uncanny. Yale was 3-1-3 against Army 1901 to 1907,
but 6-1 against Harvard and 5-1-1 against Princeton, two much stronger
programs (Army was 0-6 against Harvard and 0-2-1 against Princeton over
this same time span).
game was played at West Point, as it always was, and was marked by lots
of fumbles and penalties, but little offense. Army was missing their
best players, and they produced no offense at all, and had only one
scoring opportunity, a missed 21 yard field goal following a Yale
fumble in the first half. Yale missed a 30 yarder in the half, and in
the second, neither team could gain until late, when Army started to
tire out. Yale drove to the Army 5, but a penalty set them back, and as
they were lining up for the field goal, time was called.
was the only other team that
came close to Yale in 1907. Yale defeated 7-2 Washington &
Jefferson (#17) 11-0, 7-3 Brown (#14) 22-0, and 7-3 Harvard (#8) 12-0 in their finale.
It was their 6th win in a row against Harvard, and until Harvard's
recent winning streak over Yale (at 7 as of this writing), it was the
winning streak by either team in the series. Ted Coy was the star of
the game with his punting and rushing, scoring both touchdowns.
The Game of the Year
into their finale at New Haven with a record of 7-1, and since they had
beaten 10-1 Carlisle, who had beaten 11-1 Penn, this game with Yale was
viewed as the national championship game. And it ended up being a
classic, one of the greatest and most famous games of the decade.
struck first on a blocked punt that was returned 70 yards for a
touchdown. Princeton halfback Edwin Harlan later added a field goal for
a 10-0 halftime lead (field goals being worth 4 points), but crucially,
Harlan missed a huge 4 field goals in the half, wasting a lot of great
punt returns, and he missed a total of 5 in the game! Princeton
had far more scoring chances than Yale in this game, but could not cash
Yale, of course, came back in the second half. Tad Jones returned a
punt 40 yards to the Princeton 30, and Ted Coy did most of the work
from there and scored Yale's first touchdown.
that, Yale repeatedly tried to pass the ball on fake field goals-- the
same play they repeatedly ran against Harvard in 1906, and to the same
receiver, Clarence Alcott. But quarterback Tad Jones was doing
the throwing rather than the graduated Paul Veeder. The winning
touchdown was set up by two such plays, the first gaining a first down
to the Princeton 24, the second to the Princeton 10. Ted Coy took over
from there and scored his second touchdown for the 12-10 win.
1907 #1: 9-0-1 Yale Contenders: None.
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
considered a co-champion with the #1 team.
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.
Everyone selected Yale, so everyone gets a grade of 5.