Has Washington ever won a national title? History of Huskies football

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Welcome to 2024, the final year of the current four-team College Football Playoff.

Next season, the Playoffs expand to 12 teamswhich means — at least in theory — that even more conferences will be able to participate.

But for this year, it is Undefeated Michigan against Washington undefeated on Monday January 9a preview of another Big Ten game coming in October.

The Wolverines, of course, are considered one of college football's blue bloods. But what about Huskies? Has Washington ever won a national championship? It depends who you ask…

Washington “wins” the 1960 and 1991 national championships

Important historical note: Until the BCS launched in 1998, there was no official national championship game. Teams were named champions or won national championships based on their final ranking in the poll – the Coaches Poll, administered alone or jointly by USA TODAY since 1991, and the Associated Press (AP) poll generally carrying the most weight. (This practice continues today, much to the dismay of many college football fans. Everyone remembers it. UCF after the 2017 season?)

In 1960, after beating Minnesota 17-7 in the Rose Bowl and finishing with a 10-1 record, Washington was named national champion by the Helms Sports Foundation.

Never heard of the Helms Foundation? You are probably under 60 years old. Founded in 1936 by Paul H. Helms and Bill Schroeder, the Los Angeles-based organization aimed to promote athletics and sportsmanship and regularly named a national champion in college football and basketball, as well as a handful of others. other rewards. When the Helms Foundation was finally dissolved in 1969, much of its archives were turned over to the Amateur Athletic Union.

Then, in 1991, after finishing with a perfect 12-0 record, Washington was named the nation's best team in the coaches' poll.

1960 Washington National Championship

Want to know something even weirder about the 1960 National Championship? THE The Huskies didn't claim him until 2007 – and that’s when they had a trophy made for it.

In 1960, Minnesota finished first in the AP and Coaches Polls, but at the time the final polls were released before bowl games, meaning the Golden Gophers' loss to the Huskies was not taken into account. The 10-0-1 1960 season – yes, his record included a 6-6 tie against LSU – also won the 1960 national championship after receiving the title. Grantland Rice Trophyy by the Football Writers of America Association.

After Washington won the 1960 title, the Huskies made it official by having the year painted inside Husky Stadium next to the words “national championship.” They have trophies for 1960 and 1991 displayed on campus.

1991 Washington National Championship

THE The 1991 season was a little simpler. Behind legendary coach Don James and after Washington's 34-14 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl, the coaches' poll (at the time administered jointly by USA TODAY and CNN) named the Huskies national champions.

Other publications that named Washington the best team in the country that season included the UPI/National Football Foundation, Football Writers of America (Grantland Rice Trophy), Sports Illustrated, and Sagarin, among others.

The Associated Press poll, on the other hand, selected the Miami Hurricanes as the No. 1 team, with the Huskies coming in second. Miami had also finished 12-0 that season, ending with a 22-0 victory over Nebraska. in the Orange Bowl. For this reason, Miami also claims the 1991 national championship. Some consider the 1991 Washington team to be one of the best college football teams of all time.

James, who coached the Huskies from 1975-92, is the all-time winningest coach at UW, compiling a 153-57-2 record with the Huskies. He led them to four Rose Bowl victories and one Orange Bowl victory, and won 22 consecutive games from 1990 to 1992.

By the way, the current Huskies have won 21 games in a row. Washington's last defeat dates back to October 8, 2022, at Arizona State.

Unclaimed National Championships

Because college football is a strange sport, there are also a handful of national championship titles that Washington hasn't won, even though other people and publications have deemed them as such. In 1984 and 1990, publications including Football News, Berryman, FACT and the National Championship Foundation named the Huskies national champions. Some of these publications, however, have selected numerous national champions.

In conclusion, for all intents and purposes, Washington has won two national championships. But none of them came on the field, which makes Monday's game against Michigan even more special.

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