by Travis Normand
The Minnesota Gophers will open the 2012 season as seven-time national champions. But wait, didn’t the Gophers only have six national titles at the end of the 2011 season? Yes, but thanks to being retro-actively awarded the 1904 title, the Gophers are now claiming seven!
Before everyone jumps on Minnesota for “claiming” the 1904 title (in 2012), lets take a look at why they claimed it.
According to Chris Huston of CBSSports.com and HeismanPundit.com:
…[T]he NCAA inserted the centenarian championship into its records book back in 1996, citing historical research by Richard Billingsley, a computer rankings guru. Billingsley has created a retroactive computer ranking for every season going back to 1869.
A Minnesota athletics department staffer finally noticed the change this past winter and updated the school’s records accordingly.
I can’t really fault Minnesota for wanting to take credit for something that is listed in the NCAA record books. In other words, if you think this whole thing is ridiculous, blame the NCAA.
Michigan fans both far and wide will surely be screaming “foul” over this for a while. After all, doesn’t Michigan have the rightful claim to the Mythical National Title (MNC) of 1904? Well, yes, they do. However, so does Penn.
Legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler would most likely not care about Minnesota’s newly discovered 1904 title, and therefore Wolverine fans shouldn’t either.
”If there are any Big Ten teams that shoot for a national championship, they’re damn fools,” Schembechler said at a luncheon last month. ”You play to win the Big Ten championship, and if you win it and go to the Rose Bowl and win it, then you’ve had a great season. If they choose to vote you number one, then you’re the national champion. But a national champion is a mythical national champion, and I think you guys ought to know that. It’s mythical.”
So congratulations to all the Gopher fans out there for picking up your seventh national title (more than a century later); I hope it eases some of the current woes of your program.