The AP. The UPI. The Bowl Alliance. The BCS.
What do they all have in common?
None utilize a playoff. Therefore, since the beginning of polling, many a team has been robbed of the opportunity to fairly win national championships.
What is a fan to do?
Well, one might have a little fun and start a project. Using the College Football Data Warehouse and past polling systems (see below for details), I have sifted through the declared end-of-season No. 1 teams and decided which teams I feel have earned the accolade.
Bo Schembechler of Michigan, among others, believed that a true national champion could never be crowned in football (via the New York Times). In some cases, due to the large avoidance of first- and second-ranked teams meeting in postseason games, I will sometimes crown more than one national champion per season.
Of course, this article is meant to get your voice heard, so feel free to comment. Since fans deserve to know why their schools have been awarded certain titles, I present my methodology for each team's case.
This series will encompass eventually all the BCS teams. This summer, in honor of the impending Alabama-Michigan matchup, we will cover only SEC and Big Ten teams. Georgia, like the Alabama schools, has had its share of success. But outside of the 1980 national championship team and Herschel Walker, nobody has seen the Bulldogs win it all; since then SEC football has been primarily owned by Alabama and Florida.
But that doesn't mean the Bulldogs haven't won big before.
The explicit purpose of this game is to show how the polls and bowls prevent a necessary college football playoff. By examining how confusing it has been to determine a champion, we can observe which way not to choose the best team.
Polls considered include: Alderson System, Anderson & Hester, AP, Berryman (QRPS), BCS, Billingsley Report, Boand System, Caspar Whitney, Colley Matrix, Congrove Computer Rankings, DeVold System, Dickinson System, Dunkel System, Eck Ratings System, Houlgate System, Litkenhous, Massey College Football Ratings, Matthews Grid Ratings, NY Times, Poling System, Rothman, Sagarin Ratings, Williamson System, and Wolfe Systems.