Just like with Michigan, the point of this post is to look at our big-name opponent’s claimed National Championships the same way everybody else seems to like to look at ours. So I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, I’m going to drop a link to my previous article right here: http://www.rollbamaroll.com/2012/4/19/2961482/michigans-bogus-national-championships, and refer to some of the argument and analysis from that previous post in an effort to make this one a little shorter. A lot of what remains in this post is copied and pasted from the one about Michigan. So... allons-y. Notre Dame claims eleven National Championships: 1. 1924 (10-0) 2. 1929 (9-0) 3. 1930 (10-0) 4. 1943 (9-1) 5. 1946 (8-0-1) 6. 1947 (9-0) 7. 1949 (10-0) 8. 1966 (9-0-1) 9. 1973 (11-0) 10. 1977 (11-1) 11. 1988 (12-0) Notre Dame was awarded a National Championship by at least one major selector in twenty-one seasons – the eleven claimed National Championships, plus: 1. 1919 (9-0) 2. 1920 (9-0) 3. 1927 (7-1-1) 4. 1938 (8-1) 5. 1953 (9-0-1) 6. 1964 (9-1) 7. 1967 (8-2) 8. 1970 (10-1) 9. 1989 (12-1) 10. 1993 (11-1) (Interesting sidenote that Alabama also claims the 1930 and 1973 National Championships.) So, let’s look at National Championship claiming criteria. If anyone wants me to discuss one that I didn’t include, please mention it in the comments and I can update this. 1. “You can’t claim retroactive MNCs!” If one only counts contemporaneously awarded National Championships recognized by any major selector (as defined by the NCAA), Notre Dame has eighteen, of which they claim ten: 1. 1927 (unclaimed) 2. 1929 3. 1930 4. 1938 (unclaimed) 5. 1943 6. 1946 7. 1947 8. 1949 9. 1953 (unclaimed) 10. 1964 (unclaimed) 11. 1966 12. 1967 (unclaimed) 13. 1970 (unclaimed) 14. 1973 15. 1977 16. 1988 17. 1989 (unclaimed) 18. 1993 (unclaimed) As an interesting sidenote no this particular argument, the wikipedia article that is the source of much of this research indicates that: …the concept of polls and national champions predated mathematical ranking systems, but it was Frank Dickinson's math system that was one of the first to be widely popularized. His system named 10–0 Stanford the national champion of 1926, prior to their tie with Alabama in the Rose Bowl. A curious Knute Rockne, then coach of Notre Dame, had Dickinson backdate two seasons, which produced Notre Dame as the 1924 national champion and Dartmouth in 1925. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_football_national_championships_in_NCAA_Division_I_FBS#History but includes no citation for this assertion. It is worth mentioning here that different systems, but not the Dickinson system, retroactively name Notre Dame the National Champions in 1919 and 1920, but the 1924 season is the only retroactive championship claimed by Notre Dame. 2. “You can’t claim National Championships unless you were either: (a) the pick of a majority of major selectors, OR (b) you were a ‘“consensus” [champion] according to official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records designation, 1950 to present.’” By these criteria, Notre Dame has twelve, of which they claim ten. 1. 1924 2. 1929 3. 1930 4. 1943 (unanimous among major selectors) 5. 1946 6. 1949 7. 1953 (unclaimed) (selected by a majority of major selectors, seven contemporaneous and three retroactive, but by neither the AP or UPI – those went for 10-1 Maryland.) 8. 1964 (unclaimed) (considered “consensus” due to the National Football Foundation selection, but Alabama won AP and UPI, and Arkansas won FWAA, along with a majority of major selectors.) 9. 1966 (Notre Dame won all of the NCAA’s defined “consensus” selectors but one outright – the NFF went for both Notre Dame and Michigan State as co-champions.) 10. 1973 (Notre Dame was selected by AP, FWAA and NFF, Alabama by UPI.) 11. 1977 12. 1988 It is worth noting that in 1947, although there was no “consensus” National Champion (didn’t exist until 1950), and although they were not selected as National Champion by a majority of “major selectors” (Michigan was), Notre Dame was the 1947 AP National Champion. 3a. You can’t claim a National Championship if you lost your bowl game! OR, alternatively… 3b. You can’t claim a National Championship unless you won a bowl game! Very different things. Surprisingly enough, Notre Dame actually has an overall losing record in bowl games (15-16), whereas Alabama is 34-24-3. However, after beating Stanford in the 1935 Rose Bowl, Notre Dame declined to play in another bowl game until 1970. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083174/index.htm As such, Notre Dame only played in bowl games after seven of their potential National Championship seasons, of which they claim four: 1. 1924 (Beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl) 2. 1970 (unclaimed) (Beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl) 3. 1973 (Beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl) 4. 1977 (Beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl) 5. 1988 (Beat West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl) 6. 1989 (unclaimed) (Beat Colorado in the Orange Bowl) 7. 1993 (unclaimed) (Beat Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl) Applied to Notre Dame, rule 3a. would allow them to claim all of their claimed National Championships, as they’ve never claimed a championship after losing a bowl game. However, applying rule 3b. would reduce them to claiming those National Championships in which they won bowl games. Conclusion Applying all three of the criteria set out above cumulatively (using rule 3a), Notre Dame could still claim eleven National Championships: 1. 1929 2. 1930 3. 1943 4. 1946 5. 1949 6. 1953 (unclaimed) 7. 1964 (unclaimed) 8. 1966 9. 1973 10. 1977 11. 1988 I found this interesting, because it is exactly as many National Championships as they actually do claim, but not the exact same years. Notre Dame doesn’t claim the 1953 or 1964 MNCs, but does claim the retroactive 1924 and the non-majority/”consensus” but AP 1947 titles. If we switch over to rule 3b (which is am admittedly stupid standard), that would leave Notre Dame with three: 1. 1973 2. 1977 3. 1988 On the other hand, applying all three of the criteria set out above cumulatively (regardless of whether using rule 3a or 3b), Alabama could still claim 7 National Championships: 1. 1961 2. 1965 3. 1978 4. 1979 5. 1992 6. 2009 7. 2011 ANALYSIS AND OPINION (aka the tl;dr version) In my opinion, Notre Dame’s Championships aren’t so bogus, and really does seem to hold the high ground on this one. Some people might laugh that 1943 Notre Dame team only beat the Iowa Navy Pre-Flight Seahawks by a single point (14-13), but those people probably don’t know that that was the Seahawks’ only loss that year, and that they actually finished ranked second in the final AP Poll (receiving 12 first-place votes). http://www.collegepollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?seasonid=1943. They might also laugh at the Irish’s five-point loss to Naval Station Great Lakes, but the Bluejackets finished at 8-2 and ranked #6 in the final AP Poll (with one first-place vote). By the same token, that 0-0 tie with Army in 1946 doesn’t look so silly when you realize that that was the Black Knights’ only non-win that year, and that they were co-champions. I don’t believe any discussion is necessary here about Notre Dame’s tie with Michigan State in 1966. The 13-20 loss to unranked, 6-5, Ole Miss in 1977 looks pretty bad, especially when you think that 11-1 Alabama had beaten them by three touchdowns (34-13). Alabama should have beaten 9-3 Nebraska, who finished the season #12. All in all, Notre Dame has an exceptionally rich and proud history of football excellence, and deserves our respect. They’re 5-1 against us all-time. They were the only team in America to beat us in 1973 (23-24), and they were the only team in America to beat us in 1974 (11-13), by a combined total of a field goal.