Last 20 NCAA Football Championships winners cover Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, Clemson Tigers, and Florida Gators.
The most successful team in the past two decades has been the Crimson Tide. They won six national titles in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020.
LSU Tigers come in second place with three, while Georgia Bulldogs, Clemson Tigers, and Florida Gators are tied for third place with two each.
The split win of 2003 between the LSU Tigers and the USC Trojans was the last co-championship ever seen in college football.
LSU won the 2004 Sugar Bowl by beating Oklahoma Sooners and were the rightful champions. But, the AP poll ranking had USC at the top as three coaches violated the rule and kept the Trojans on the top of their voting.
Likewise, the 2003 title was won by the Trojans. But, following an NCAA investigation, they were found guilty of violating various regulations, so they vacated their title on June 6, 2011.
NCAA Football National Champions By Year
|2020||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2017||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2015||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2014||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|2013||Florida State Seminoles|
|2012||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2011||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2009||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2004||USC Trojans (Vacated)|
|2003||LSU Tigers and USC Trojans|
NCAA Football Championship History
College football championship roots can be traced back to 1969 when Princeton and Rutgers University played each other in a two-game season.
The 6th November match at the Rutgers campus became the birthplace of college football. The Rutgers Queensmen won 6-4.
The rematch was played a week later, on 13th November, at Princeton Campus, where the Princeton Tigers won 8-0. The season ended with both schools winning and losing one each.
Both the Tigers and the Queensmen were declared the inaugural champions. The period between 1869 and 1905 is called the pre-NCAA era.
The emergence of the NCAA in 1906 gave birth to the NCAA Single-division era (1906-55), University and College divisions (1956-72), Division I only (1973-77), Division I-A/FS and I-AA/FCS split (1978-now).
From 1869 to the present, only four teams have claimed more than 20 national titles: Princeton (28), Yale (27), Alabama (24), and Notre Dame (22).
During the 154-year legacy, the college football scenario has witnessed various methods of determining the national champions.
Various organizations and individuals have been tasked to determine the winner. Boan System (1919-29, 1930-60), Alderson System (1994-98), Dunkel System (1929-2019), Sagarian Ratings (1919-77, 1978-present), and Wolfe (1992-present) are some mathematical systems that have been helping to determine team rankings.
Another method is the poll system. The AP Poll system was introduced in 1936 and has since been used.
Bowl Series and College Football Playoffs
The Bowl Series was in operation from 1998 to 2013. It used the Coaches and the AP poll along with mathematical computation.
It helped select eight to ten best-rated teams competing for the final two spots at the BCS National Game.
Ohio State Buckeyes, with ten, has the most BCS appearances. The Buckeyes and USC Trojans won six games, the most by any team.
Likewise, Alabama won three BCS trophies, the most in its history.
In 2014, the College Football Playoff system replaced the BCS. A 13-member committee is formed to choose and seed the top teams.
The knockout tournament with two semi-finals is played as Bowl games in alternating venues. The national championship games between the two finalists are played in a stadium with a 65K spectator capacity.
Alabama is the most successful team in the CFP. They have the most playoff appearances (7), most wins (9), and most titles (3).
NCAA Football Championships By School
Since the inception of intercollegiate football in 1869, Yale Bulldogs has claimed 27 national titles. The NCAA has recognized only 18 of those.
The eighteen titles are the most by any college to this date. The NCAA recognized years of their CFB triumphs are 1874, 1876, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1900, 1907, 1909, and 1927.
The team that has the best possibility to take the record for most NCAA championships is Alabama. The Crimson Tide are second on the list with sixteen, although they have claimed 18.
Their last trophy came in 2020. They have won the most trophies in the poll era.
Similarly, other trailing teams and the number of championship titles acknowledged by the NCAA are as follows:
- Princeton Tigers: 15
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 13
- Michigan Wolverines: 9
- USC Trojans: 9
- Harvard Crimson: 8
- Ohio State Buckeyes: 8
- Oklahoma Sooners: 7
- Minnesota Golden Gophers: 6
- LSU Tigers: 5
- Miami Hurricanes: 5
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: 5
- Pittsburgh Panthers: 5
- Georgia Bulldogs: 4
- Clemson Tigers: 3
Best College Football Championship Games
Best college football championship games include Clemson vs. Alabama 2017, Alabama vs. Clemson 2016, Alabama vs. Georgia 2018, and Texas vs. USC 2006.
The 2017 CFP NC match between the Tigers and the Clemson Tide saw QB Deshaun Watson throw 463 yards for four touchdowns to four different receivers.
The last-second 2-yard TD by Hunter Renfrow, a former walk-on, was enough to overpower Jalen Hurts 30-yard rushing TD. The final score was 35-31 with one second remaining on the clock.
It was a sweet revenge for Clemson, the second-best team a year earlier, losing to the same opponent.
The Tigers were 14-1 in overall record. It was their first trophy in 35 years, the last in 1981.
Tua’s Heroics in the 2018 CFB Match
The clash of two SEC teams was set for the January 8, 2018, title match. Alabama beat Clemson, and Georgia defeated Oklahoma to reach the final.
A near-miss in 2017 for the Crimson Tide saw them excel over the rival Tigers and face a new opponent in the grand stage.
The shocking decision to put a true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa, replacing Jalen Hurts, who was 25-2 as the starter, came out brilliantly for Nick Saban. Tua made three TD passes and won the fifth national title for the coach.
The game turned its tide in the second half as Alamaba scored 20, holding Georgia to 7 points. the score at the end of the regulation time was 20-20.
The overtime 41-yard passing TD from Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith won Alabama the game by 26-23.
2006 Rose Bowl
The 2006 college football final was played between the Texas Longhorns and the USC Trojans. The Longhorns won 41-38, denying a three-peat for the Trojans.
It stayed at 7-0 for USC at the end of the first quarter. But, a game of back-and-forth score saw Texas’s half-time score of 16-10.
The same scenario continued in the 3rd quarter. The last quarter started with 24-23 to USC.
The Longhorns returned to win the game 41-38 after being down 38-26 with 6:42 on the clock.
Vince Young gave one of the greatest final performances. He threw 267 yards and rushed 200 yards for three TDs.
Young made the last rushing TD and a two-point conversion.
Some other blockbuster finals are:
- Auburn Tigers (22) vs. Oregon Ducks (19), January 10, 2011
- Miami Hurricanes (31) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (30), January 2, 1984
- Ohio State Buckeyes (31) vs. Miami Hurricanes (24) OT, January 3, 2003
- Penn State Nittany Lions (14) vs. Miami Hurricanes(10), January 2, 1987
- LSU Tigers (38) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (24), January 7, 2008
Most Consecutive NCAA Football Championships
Minnesota Golden Gophers and California Golden Bears have the most consecutive NCAA Football Championships. They are the three-peat winners in the NCAA era.
The Golden Bears shared the 1920 national title with Princeton Tigers and were crowned the co-champions in 1921 and 1922. Meanwhile, the Golden Gophers recorded three titles in 1934, 1935, and 1936.
College football had its inaugural season in 1869, and the period till 1905 is recognized as the pre-NCAA era. In 1906, the establishment of the NCAA saw the emergence of the NCAA pre-divisional period.
Before that, Yale University won six straight national titles in the pre-NCAA era. They won consecutively six times from 1879 to 1884.
Because intercollegiate football was in its early stage, these wins remain uncredited. But no one can take away that they are the only team with six national titles in a row.
They also had a three-peat run in the 1880s and 1900s. They won three championships from 1886 to 1888 and 1905 to 1907.
Princeton Tigers’ title run from 1872 to 1875, 1877 to 1881, and 1884 to 1886 deserves a huge shoutout.
Other Consecutive Winners
Forty-seven different college football teams have lifted the prestigious national football championship title. Many have gone on to win on multiple occasions.
Here is a list of teams that won two in a row:
- Georgia Bulldogs: 2021 and 2022
- Alabama Crimson Tide: 2011 and 2012, 1978 and 1979, 1925 and 1926,
- USC Trojans: 2003 and 2004, 1931 and 1932
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: 1994 and 1995, 1970 and 1971
- Oklahoma Sooner: 1974 and 1975, 1955 and 1956
- Michigan State Spartan: 1965 and 1966
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 1946 and 1947, 1929 and 1930
- Army Midshipmen: 1944 and 1945
- Minnesota Golden Gophers: 1940 and 1941
- Harvard Crimson: 1912 and 1913, 1898 and 1899
- Michigan Wolverines: 1947 and 1948, 1932 and 1933, 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904
- Yale Bulldogs: 191 and 1892, 1876 and 1877
- Princeton Tigers: 1869 and 1870