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March 2006 Archives



March 20, 2006

National Champions: 1880-1889

Continuing our Retrospective National Championship Project, here are our picks for the years 1880-1889. Yale wrested control from Princeton as the team of the decade, winning eight championships in these ten seasons. Yale and Princeton met late in the season, usually in the finale, each year during this decade. Amazingly, the teams battled to scoreless ties four times. Yale won the decade series 4-2-4.

1880: Yale (4-0-1) -- Yale and Princeton enter the final game of the season both with 4-0 records. They battle to a scoreless tie, but Yale is the pick for the national championship by performing better earlier in the season. While each team defeated Harvard by one point (Princeton 2-1; Yale 1-0), Yale gained the edge by soundly defeating Pennsylvania 8-0, a team that Princeton had defeated only 1-0 just three weeks earlier.

1881: Yale (5-0-1) -- Again Yale and Princeton play to a scoreless tie in the final game of the year, but Princeton's scoreless tie against Harvard the week before kills their shot at a title. Thus, Yale wins their second in a row.

1882: Yale (8-0) -- Yale defeats Harvard 1-0 and Princeton 2-1 in the final two weeks of the season to finish the year as the country's only undefeated team and secure their third consecutive national championship.

1883: Yale (9-0) -- Once again Yale finds a way to defeat Princeton 6-0 and Harvard 23-2 in the final two weeks of the season to go undefeated, the only team to do so in 1883, and win a fourth consecutive national championship.

1884: Yale (8-0-1) -- Yale's 25-game winning streak is ended by Princeton in a 0-0 tie in the final game of the year, but Yale's strong play earlier in the season is enough to give them a slight edge over Princeton for an unprecedented fifth straight national title. Yale defeated Wesleyan three times by a combined score of 140-0 and defeated Harvard once 52-0. Conversely, Princeton "struggled" against both teams, only defeating Wesleyan 22-2 and Harvard 36-6.

1885: Princeton (9-0) -- On Nov. 21, Princeton beats Yale for the first time since 1878, snapping Yale's 48-game unbeaten streak. The following week, on Thanksgiving Day, Princeton knocks off Penn 76-10 to clinch their first national championship since 1879.

1886: Yale (9-0-1) -- Princeton and Yale tie 0-0 in the season's final game. Neither team played a very rigorous schedule up until that point. Princeton had faced Stevens twice and Penn three times. Yale, on the other hand, padded their schedule with three games against Wesleyan, including one that they won 136-0. Yale gains the slight edge with their tenacious defense, which allowed only four points (all against Harvard in a 29-4 win) in ten games. Princeton's defense, on the other hand, allowed points in four of their games (27 points in all).

1887: Yale (9-0) -- Yale blanks Princeton 12-0 then knocks off Harvard 17-8 to finish the year as the nation's only undefeated team with more than four games on its slate.

1888: Yale (13-0) -- Yale finishes the season as the only undefeated team that played more than twice. Their 10-0 victory over previously undefeated Princeton on Nov. 24 clinched their third consecutive national title.

1889: Princeton (10-0) -- Princeton finishes 1889 as the nation's only undefeated squad. Five of the eleven consensus All-Americans are Princeton men, including three of the four backs.

March 13, 2006

National Champions: 1869-1879

Welcome to College Football Blog's first edition of the Retrospective National Championship Project. Each week we will be releasing our national championship picks, five years at a time, with the exception of the first two weeks, during which time we will release ten years each. Today, here are our national championship picks for the years 1869-1879. Note that there was no college football played in 1871.

1869: Princeton (1-1) -- Only two college football games were played in this inaugural season. While Rutgers defeated Princeton 6-4 in the first meeting on November 6, Princeton won the rematch late in the season when it counted, 8-0 on November 13.

1870: Princeton (1-0) -- Princeton became the first college football team to finish a season undefeated, beating perennial foe Rutgers in the season opener/finale, 6-2 on November 12. Rutgers had beaten Columbia earlier in the season, but it simply wasn't enough.

1872: Princeton (1-0) -- After the 1871 hiatus, Princeton returned to the playing field ready to defend their back-to-back national championships and did just that with a 4-1 victory over Rutgers on November 16. While Yale also had a 1-0 record this season, their win came against lowly Columbia.

1873: Princeton (1-0) -- Yale, still upset at being snubbed for the 1872 national title, hosted Princeton on November 15, 1873 to exact some revenge. Princeton, however, was too great an opponent for Yale, winning the match 3-0 to secure their fourth consecutive national title and claims to a dynasty.

1874: Yale (3-0) -- After finishing 2-1 the previous season, Yale defeated Stevens once and Columbia twice to finish with the most impressive mark in college football history, 3 wins and no losses. Defending national champion Princeton finished 2-0, defeating Columbia and Rutgers. But Yale gets the nod for national champion in this season due to their tougher schedule.

1875: Harvard (4-0) -- In only their second season of playing college football, Harvard wins the national championship by not allowing a single point all season, shutting out their opponents by a combined score of 7-0, including a 4-0 win at Yale, the defending national champ from the year before.

1876: Yale (3-0) -- Yale defeats defending national champion Harvard in the season opener, 1-0. They then go on to defeat Princeton and Columbia, each by the score of 2-0, to finish the season with a nation-best 3 wins and no losses.

1877: Princeton (2-0-1) -- While Yale finished with a better mark of 3-0-1, Princeton wins the national championship with their tougher schedule. Princeton's shutout victories over Harvard and Columbia are more impressive than Yale's shutout wins over Tufts, Trinity, and Stevens. Yale and Princeton met in the season finale, but the game finished in a scoreless tie; thus, neither team was scored upon all season.

1878: Princeton (6-0) -- Princeton is scored upon only once all season (by Pennsylvania in a 2-1 win on November 9). They defeat defending champion Yale in the season finale, 1-0, to finish the season as the nation's only undefeated team.

1879: Princeton (4-0-1) -- Yale (finished 3-0-2) was Princeton's toughest match yet again. The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the season finale for the second time in three seasons. As for common opponents, Yale and Princeton each defeated Columbia 2-0; but Princeton put up a better win over Pennsylvania (6-0 vs. 3-0); and Yale tied Harvard 0-0, but Princeton beat Harvard 1-0. The slight edge goes to Princeton yet again, and they close out the 1870s as the undisputed team of the decade.

March 11, 2006

Retrospective National Championship Project

On Monday, March 13, 2006, College Football Blog will launch its Retrospective National Championship Project, the aim of which is to retroactively award one national championship for each of the 136 college football seasons from 1869-2005. (Note that there was no football played in 1871.) In addition to naming one single national champion for each season, we will also take a brief look at each of our championship picks and describe why we felt that they were worthy of the title for that particular season.

Each Monday for the next 25 weeks of off-season boredom, we will release five years' worth of picks. To kickoff the project, we will actually be releasing 10 picks on each of the first two Mondays. Monday, March 13 will feature 1869-1879. Monday, March 20 will feature 1880-1889. On the final Monday of the project, August 28, we will release our picks for 2000-2004. Finally on Wednesday, August 30, we will take a look back on the 2005 season.