Determining a college football cational champion has never been an exact science. A variety of organizations and individuals have named national champions over the years, each with its own system for determining who is champion. In many years this has resulted in rival claimants to the title. By the University of Michigan Athletic Departments reckoning, the Wolverines have won or shared eleven national titles based on the awards of the following major selectors:
Michigan finished the 2004 season 9-3 (7-1 Big Ten) as Big Ten co-champions with Iowa. The team lost to Notre Dame (28-20), Ohio State (37-21) and suffered a bitter last second defeat to Texas (38-37) in the Rose Bowl.
When Michigan last won a conference championship, the iPhone didn’t exist, Facebook had just moved out of Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room and the only “tweets” people knew about came from birds.
Over the last ten years, football ticket prices have steadily risen, and the Michigan athletic department has instituted seat licenses for season ticket holders. Michigan Stadium has also been upgraded with private suites and premium seating areas. All this adds up to increased pressure for the team to get back to the top of the Big Ten and beyond.
Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via Press Conferences or in person.
Michigan is still considered to be a national football power even though it hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2004.
The Wolverines only have two national titles since 1948
Depending on who you ask, Michigan either has had two or three national football titles since World War II ended. We already mentioned 1947 and the kerfuffle involved there.
A year later, the Wolverines went 9-0 and outscored opponents 122-17. In the final AP Poll, Michigan had nearly 100 more votes than second-place than Notre Dame.
It’d be nearly 50 years before Michigan fans celebrated another title. With All-Big Ten quarterback Brian Griese under center and Heisman Trophy-winning cornerback Charles Woodson leading the defense, Michigan went 12-0 and defeated Washington State in the 1998 Rose Bowl.
A staggering 31 players, including Griese, Woodson, and All-American left guard Steve Hutchinson, went on to reach the NFL. Hutchinson and Woodson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year, and they won’t be the only ones forever enshrined in Canton.
Although Griese did the legwork that year, a sophomore quarterback from California completed 12 of his 15 passes in limited action throughout the season. Tom Brady replaced Griese as the Wolverines’ starting quarterback in 1998 and enjoyed a fine career for himself.
Has Michigan ever won a national football championship?
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