Four months ago, we didn’t know if there would be an Oklahoma football season, let alone the crowning of a true national champion.
On Monday night, Alabama and Ohio State will meet in south Florida to find out which team will be the last one standing in this pandemic impacted 2020 college football season.
Alabama leads all schools in the Associated Press poll era of college football (1936 to present) with 12 national championships to its credit. Ohio State has won six national championships during that time, and with a win over the top-ranked and favored Crimson Tide would tie Oklahoma with the third most in the AP era.
A school’s first national championship would generally be considered the most memorable. After all, you never know if you will ever get another one. Oklahoma won its first national championship in 1950, the first of three Sooner national title teams led by legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson.
It’s hard enough to win a national championship. It’s even harder to win a national title in back-to-back seasons. There will be no back-to-back champion this season. Last year’s national champion. LSU, did not make the Playoff this year. Nor did last year’s runner-up, Clemson.
Oklahoma is one of six teams that have won back-to-back national title in the AP poll era.
The Sooners have achieved that grand feat twice (1955-56 and 1974-75) and they almost accomplished it a third time. Oklahoma was 11-0 in 1949, including a 35-0 win over No. 9 LSU in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners finished No. 2 in the final AP poll that season behind Notre Dame, which won its third national crown in a four-year span (1946, ’47 and ’49)..
The Fighting Irish finished No, 2 in the country in the 1948 season, thus missing out on the opportunity of becoming the only team to win four consecutive national championships in football.
Notre Dame’s last national championship was in 1988, but the Irish have eight total since 1936, and that ranks second behind Alabama.
Besides Oklahoma, only Alabama and Nebraska have won back-to-back championships more than once, and Alabama holds the distinction of having done it three different times (1964-65, 1978079 and 2011-12).
The Crimson Tide just missed out making it three straight national championships, having finished No. 2 in the country in 1977. They followed that up with consecutive national titles the next two seasons.