Alabama has won five national championships in the last 11 seasons, Clemson has won two of the last four national championships and was in the hunt all four years. What is the closest Oklahoma has come to a football dynasty?
Webster’s dictionary defines the word dynasty as:
“A powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time.”
In the late 19th century, a period when there weren’t that many college teams, Princeton or Yale was declared the national champion seemingly every year. In fact, between 1881 and 1892, Yale won nine national titles. And in the 38 years between 1872 and 1909, the Bulldogs took home the championship trophy 26 times.
Minnesota won five national championships from 1934 to 1941. Notre Dame and Army were dominant teams in the 1940s.
And then came the 1950s, the decade that many will tell you put Oklahoma on the national map. Bud Wlkinson’s Oklahoma teams in the 10 years of the 1950s won 93 games and lost just 10. They also tied two games. The .895 winning percentage during that decade is the best of any decade ending in zero in the 125-year history of Oklahoma football.
The Sooners won their first three national championships during the 1950s decade — winning it all in 1950 and again in 1955 and 1956 — and also put together a remarkable string of 47 consecutive games without a loss, an NCAA record established between 1953 and 1957 that still stands today. The next closest is 40 consecutive wins by the Washington Huskies, set almost 40 years before OU’s record-breaking 47 straight.
Only one time in the ten 1950 seasons did Oklahoma finish outside the top 10 in the final Associated Press rankings. Those same teams produced three undefeated seasons (1954, ’55 and ’56), and five others with just one loss.
Between 1950 and 1959, the Sooners recorded 34 shutouts in 105 games, including one stretch of games during the 47-game winning streak during which Oklahoma held its opponents scoreless in seven of eight consecutive games.
Bob Stoops never had a losing season in 18 years as Oklahoma head coach, but neither did Barry Switzer in 16 seasons. Switzer’s 1970s Sooners’ teams enjoyed the second best decade in OU’s decorated history. The 1970s Oklahoma teams compiled a 10-year record of 102-13-3, an .877 winning percentage.
Like Wilkinson, Switzer won back-to-back national championships (1973 and 1974). He also won a national title 11 years later, in 1985. In his first three seasons a head coach (1973-1975), Oklahoma posted a combined record of 33-1-1. In those three seasons, OU finished No. 2, No. 1 and No. 1, respectively, in the final AP rankings.
As good as Switzer’s Oklahoma teams were during the 1970s, the 1950s Oklahoma teams under Wilkinson were even better and are worthy of recognition as the closest thing to an Oklahoma football dynasty.
It’s not really even close.