Mount Union: The Best College Football Program in America
While most college football fans concentrate solely on FBS football, many accomplishments that occur in other levels of NCAA Football go completely unnoticed. Joe Paterno is considered a coaching legend, but John Gagliardi has the most wins in college football history with 472, while Paterno has compiled 395.
Fans in Gainesville, FL, Tuscaloosa, AL, Los Angeles, CA, Norman, OK , Columbus, OH, and Austin, TX all like to claim that their university currently has the best college football program around. However, the fact is that Alliance, OH, the home of the Mount Union Purple Raiders, is the actual home of the best college football program in America.
Mount Union, a Division III program, has won 10 national championships. The Purple Raiders have titles in 1993, 1996-98, 2000-2002, 2005, 2006, and 2008.
Since 1990, the Carroll College Fighting Saints, an NAIA program, have won five titles. The Grand Valley State Lakers of Division II and the Youngstown State Penguins of the FCS have captured four championships. In the FBS, both Florida and Nebraska lay claim to three national titles.
Although Division III schools have the advantage of participating in a playoff system, it is important to note that Mount Union has had undefeated seasons during nine of its 10 championship years. In 2005, the Purple Raiders lost just one game.
During the 90's, Mount Union's football team went 120-7-1. Since 2000, the program has lost just five times, with three of those occurring in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the Division III national championship game.
The Florida Gators lost four games in 2007 and five times each in 2002, 2003, and 2004. The Alabama Crimson Tide suffered six defeats in 2007 alone.
Ohio State likes to claim that it has the best college football program in Ohio, but the Buckeyes have lost 25 times since 2000 have not won a national championship since 2002.
When Oklahoma won 47 straight games from 1953 to 1957, the feat was considered a major accomplishment. However, Mount Union holds the two longest winning streaks in college football history. The Purple Raiders won 54 in a row from 1996 to 1999 and 55 straight from 2000 to 2003.
What makes Mount Union's accomplishment even more amazing is that the first streak ended in a playoff loss in 1999, and the second streak started on the first game of the 2000 season. Between 1994 and 2005, Mount Union won 110 consecutive regular-season contests.
Since becoming the head coach of Mount Union in 1986, Coach Larry Kehres has accumulated a record of 289-22-3. That stat means Kehres has won over 92.5 percent of the games that he coached.
The Purple Raiders open their season today on the road against Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Despite returning just nine starters and 31 lettermen, Mount Union is still the favorite to win the Ohio Athletic Conference for the 19th consecutive time and to participate in the Division III playoffs.
Although Mount Union only has about 2,200 undergraduate students and doesn't offer athletic scholarships, the Purple Raiders continue to have a football program that all other schools, no matter their classification, wish they could have.
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