Minnesota adds 108-year-old national title

The Minnesota football program has touted itself as six-time national champions since 1960. As it turns out, it’s been short-changing itself for five-plus decades. Minnesota owns seven national titles. The confusion arises because the Gophers were deemed 1904 national champions retroactively, but the school hadn’t been recognizing it. That team went 13-0 and outscored its opponents, 725-12.

How did this happen? Let’s take a look at Tyler Mason’s FoxSportsNorth.com story:

It happened last winter when Jeff Keiser, the creative director for the University of Minnesota athletics department, was helping renovate some trophy cases and displays at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. As Keiser searched for information regarding the Gophers’ 18 Big Ten titles, he stumbled upon something in the NCAA record books: Minnesota had actually won seven national titles, not six as previously thought.

“It listed 1904, and I was kind of curious. I’m like, ‘It seems like that’s a mistake,'” Keiser said. “I knew 1903 and 1904 were undefeated seasons and they were really good and we were dominating games. But I didn’t know we won the national championship.”

Nobody at the school did until a few months ago, as it turns out. Previously, the first national championship recognized by the university was won by the 8-0 1934 team. But according to Richard Billingsley, a college football rankings guru from Oklahoma who has been ranking teams since 1970, Minnesota was a champion 30 years before that — in 1904.

How crazy is this? Enjoy it, Minnesota fans!


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (9 Comments)
Joe on 8/17/2012 @ 7:31pm EDT Said:

That’s seven more than Wisconsin and Iowa have to rub together.

aroznowski on 8/17/2012 @ 10:47pm EDT Said:

Awesome! Hopefully “1904” will be added to TCF Bank Stadium before the start of this upcoming season.

Brett on 8/18/2012 @ 12:11am EDT Said:

Nice try, Joe. I don’t know about Minnesota, but in the rest of the country 7 – 1 = 6.

jason on 8/18/2012 @ 12:12am EDT Said:

dude you are pathetic if you are talking about Iowa an wisconsin and championships. maybe people forgot about the championship because minnesota hasn’t won 1 in years. there national championship is floyd . lol

Kevin on 8/18/2012 @ 8:04am EDT Said:

Actually, Joe, you are wrong, as Iowa has a consensus, recognized title from 1958. Go ahead and check the NCAA’s list of “recognized champs” and you will see. But you are right about Wisconsin, as they don’t have a recognized title.

aroznowski on 8/18/2012 @ 7:28pm EDT Said:

The link below should clear up any confusion. Minnesota’s 1904 national championship is not yet listed.

trx suspension boot camp on 8/19/2012 @ 3:08am EDT Said:

TRX Evaluate What I Don’t Like.

Andy Coppens on 8/19/2012 @ 11:59am EDT Said:

I’d love for this guy to show us the NCAA record book that shows this “national title” actually happening. I’ve researched not only the NCAA record books but any and all data available on that team and not a single one lists Minnesota as a National Champion…. So, looks like Minnesota can’t count once again.

aroznowski on 8/25/2012 @ 12:24am EDT Said:

“The Gophers were awarded the 1904 national title by Billingsley while Michigan and Pennsylvania were given national titles by other organizations retroactively. All national titles prior to the beginning of the Associated Press wire poll in 1936 were decided retroactively by math formulas or historical resource groups.” (http://www.gophersports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/1904-champions.html)