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If Power 5 teams can claim these 24 dubious national titles, 2017 UCF can do whatever the hell it wants

Making up national titles is an ancient college football tradition, and it’s high time we get back to it.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - UCF v Auburn Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCF didn’t make the Playoff and seems to have declared itself national champ anyway. Its AD threw out the term while on the field during the Peach Bowl win over Auburn, a game that gave the undefeated Knights transitive wins over both teams in the actual title game, and they are throwing themselves some sort of championship parade, with “national champions” plastered all over official school social media accounts.

And why not? You tell me the name of the team that beat 2017 UCF.

There might literally be nothing more fundamentally college football than disputing national title claims.

This is the sport that had no official title mechanism for almost 130 years.

Even in the formalized championship era, an official title game still isn’t a guarantee. USC claims the 2003 title despite LSU beating Oklahoma in the BCS Championship, because the AP Poll kept the Trojans No. 1.

The AP Poll isn’t the only independent selector. The Knights just need one of the many NCAA-recognized, yet publicly ignored rankings (page 108) to go rogue (one has UCF No. 1 before the title game) in order to authoritatively claim a piece, based on decades of precedent established by power-conference schools.

If Bama can claim titles based only on what a computer thinks, so can UCF.

All of the following title claims would remain just as debatable as UCF’s.

1904 Minnesota
1919 and 1927 Texas A&M
1939 USC
1945 Oklahoma State
1950 Kentucky
A whole bunch of Alabama’s!
Probably a ton more of these!

Any claim from before the polls really took over as authorities is usually based on some guy’s historical research or mathematical formula. That’s usually fine.

The suspect thing about a few old claims, though, was how long it took them to become claimed. USC discovered its ancient title in 2004, Kentucky added one about 50 years after the fact, and A&M tacked on a couple in 2012, the same year Minnesota proclaimed one from more than a century earlier.

But the old gold rush was started by a big boy. In the mid-’80s, Bama went back and added five from half a century earlier, highlighted by the legendary 1941 claim, which is based on a single person’s analysis in a year when the two-loss Tide finished NUMBER TWENTY in the AP Poll. I respect the gall. NUMBER TWENTY.

The strangest of these has to be 1945 Oklahoma State; 71 years later, the AFCA up and decided 1945 Army, arguably the greatest team ever, was actually worse than the AP No. 5 Cowboys. OSU put it on the stadium.

1940 Tennessee
1950 Oklahoma
1951 Tennessee
1953 Maryland
1960 Minnesota
1964 Alabama
1965 Michigan State
1967 Tennessee
1970 Texas
1970 Ohio State
1973 Alabama

It took the polls decades to decide to wait until after bowl season to release their final rankings. These teams were all named final No. 1 in either the AP or UPI (Coaches) before losing their last games of the year.

They all still claim these championships, which is both 1.) fair, and 2.) hilarious. Leaving the banner up based on the standards of the year in which it was won: valid. Giving the banner retroactive scrutiny: also valid.

1957 Ohio State
1974 USC

Auburn is 1957’s champion. Oklahoma is 1974’s champion. The UPI poll didn’t award the actual champs in these seasons, via probation over previous recruiting violations.

This could include SO MANY MORE.

This doesn’t even include titles enabled by on-field nonsense like Colorado’s 1990 Fifth Down and Nebraska’s 1997 Flea Kicker (both against Missouri, LOL), the many years of legitimately split national titles, that time a few years ago when Auburn thought hard about slapping on three titles, or really old stuff like Princeton officially claiming its 1870 record of 1-0 to this day as a national title.

What a mess!

These are all fine, as is UCF’s. I’ll take a T-shirt, Knights.

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