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What is the story behind the 1942 national championship?

16 years 3 months ago #1183 by UGAChemDawg
It seems like the 1942 title being associated with Georgia is a recent phenomenon. Growing up, before I came to UGA, the 1980 national championship was the only one that was ever mentioned. Whenever you hear sportscasters talk about UGA, they only mention the 1980 title.

A google search reveals that Ohio State was named national champion in 1942 by the AP poll. I also remember that several years ago if you went to the UGA website, they had like 5 years listed where they were named national champion by some organization or another, which is obvious nonsense. Now, if you go to their website, the school claims 2 titles: 1942 and 1980.

So is the 1942 national championship a real title or not? Who makes that determination? Why does it seem to be only recognized recently?
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16 years 3 months ago #1192 by dapolla

I also remember that several years ago if you went to the UGA website, they had like 5 years listed where they were named national champion by some organization or another, which is obvious nonsense.


The answer to your question is, the idea of a national championship in college football at all is obvious nonsense. Mainly, though, for the Bulldogs' 1927, 1942 and 1946 championships, the polls decided the national champ before the bowls. So here we go:

1927: George Woodruff coached the Dawgs to a Southern Conference championship. Despite a season-ending loss to Georgia Tech in the rain, the Boand and Poling polls(at that time among about fifty "legitimate" nat'l championship polls) declared Georgia to be the national champ.

1942: Wally Butts wins his first SEC championship. Before the bowls (Georgia would win the Rose Bowl that year), the Berryman, DeVold, Houlgate, Poling, Litkenhaus and Williamson polls declared Georgia national champions. Among other polls, the AP and NCF declared Ohio State the winner. The Helms poll declared Wisconsin its national champ. While the AP-happy historians declare OSU the only champ that year, many folks - including the University - declare a split between Georgia and the Buckeyes in 1942. Our final record was 11-1.

1946: The one that really REALLY chafes me. We went UNDEFEATED AND UNTIED in '46, including winning the Sugar Bowl 20-10 over UNC. Notre Dame and Army split the major polls despite having a tie apiece, and either ND or Army didn't even go to a bowl. The only poll with sense that year was the Williamson, who declared us national champs. If we got our hackles up like Auburn did in 2004, we'd declare ourselves national champs like they do. Too much class, perhaps?

1968. Not really a national championship year. We had two ties and lost the Sugar Bowl game 16-2 to Arkansas, and only one poll, the Litkenhaus, chose us. Consensus that year was Ohio State, and I'm not going to dispute that.

1980 was our only consensus national championship year, but not our only undefeated championship year --> witness 1946. So while when I'm trumpeting Georgia I claim five national titles, in truth I really only claim three: '42, '46, and '80.

The polls are idiotic, however. The BCS is the closest we've ever come to having a true national championship game, and look at its results! A split in 2003, three undefeated teams at the end of 2004(five teams - Auburn, USC, OU, Utah, and Boise State - went into the bowl season undefeated), Oregon left out of the picture in 2000, Nebraska inexplicably getting to play for it all in 2001, OU inexplicably getting to play LSU in 2003 despite having LOST its conference championship game...and the list goes on. This is not to mention the "undefeated" idiocy, which allowed USC and Oklahoma their appearances despite playing in pathetically weak conferences in '04 and '05. Come on...you can't tell me that the 2002 Bulldogs wouldn't have had a good running shot at OSU or Miami in a true championship game, can you? Especially since Miami's only real competition in the Big East at that point was Va Tech?

There is no national championship, my friends. That's why the title I'm the most proud of is the SEC.

1946 still ticks me off, though...only ONE poll?

Red and Black, Win or Lose
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16 years 3 months ago #1202 by norcodawg
YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF... THANKS FOR THE HISTORY!!!

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16 years 3 months ago #1261 by secsec
dapolla is the man. I thank you also.


rite on- SEC is ALL that matters.

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16 years 3 months ago #1277 by Kgain25
Wow thats some in depth info. Thanks for the post.

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3 weeks 21 hours ago - 3 weeks 9 hours ago #82902 by stevedawg
This story about the Dawgs 1942 Championship is trending upward on the internets.

For winning the Natty give every Dawg a bone AND prime rib steak.
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