1900 Yale 28, Harvard 0
Harvard was the defending national champ when it went on the road to face Yale in the regular season finale. Both teams were unbeaten, but the Bulldogs were able to close out a fantastic run with a dominant 28-0 win over the Crimson to finish 12-0.
1901 Harvard 22, Yale 0
This is where things get historically weird. Yale came into the showdown against Harvard 11-0-1, but got whacked in a 22-0 loss. The Crimson not only finished the season 12-0, but they did it against a nasty schedule – far better than Michigan’s – handing Dartmouth its only loss.
The Wolverines, however, were still named the national champion by the major outlets after going 11-0 including a victory in the first ever bowl game – played in Pasadena – but the schedule helped the cause.
1902 Michigan 21, Chicago 0
The Wolverines were helped a bit by Yale suffering a tie against Army for its only blemish of the season. Michigan went 11-0, hanging up 644 points on the board, including the 21-point win at Chicago to hand the loaded Maroons their only loss.
1903 Princeton 11, Yale 6
Michigan ended up with a piece of the national championship, but it tied Minnesota along the way – the 6-6 stalemate screwed up a few things. It was Minnesota’s only blemish – going 14-0-1 – but Michigan went on to whack around a good Chicago team 28-0 to go 11-0-1 and outscore its opponents 565-5. Princeton had a much tougher schedule on the way to an unbeaten season, going on the road and giving a great Yale team its only loss.
1904 Michigan 22, Chicago 12
It was a historical split national championship season. Penn had the better year and was the more deserving champ – with more good wins and outscoring opponents 222-4 – but Michigan had the most important win with a 22-12 victory over the Chicago in the season finale. Michigan outscored its opponents 567-22
Key Game To Know
1905 Chicago 2, Michigan 0
In a true national title game, Chicago avenged its loss the previous season to the Wolverines with a shutout to close the year 11-0, allowing points in ten games and only giving up five points to a strong Indiana squad. The win put a stop to a 26-game Michigan winning streak and a 56-game unbeaten run that lasted from 1901 to 1905.
1906 Princeton 0, Yale 0
Historically, it was a split national championship season as Princeton and Yale both ended up going 9-0-1. Princeton earned the historical national championship from the services of record, but Yale got past this game to hand Harvard its only loss of the season.
1907 Carlisle 26, Penn 6
Yale turned out to be the national champion after a 9-0-1 season, but it didn’t beat anyone who was all that special. Carlisle ended up at 10-1 thanks to a loss to Princeton, but it also handed Penn its only defeat of the year. Penn likes to claim at least part of the national title, but Carlisle’s win changes that – it was Yale’s year.
1908 LSU 10, Auburn 0
It’s an interesting historical fight. Penn had the better overall season – and has a claim to part of the 1908 national title – but it tied Carlisle 6-6. There was a nice win over a great Cornell team, but LSU haded Auburn its only loss – and on the road, too – as the one legitimately strong victory on the slate.
1909 Yale 8, Harvard 0
LSU and Penn were the real national champions of 1908, but Harvard made its case with a 9-0-1 record. The Crimson were on an 18-game unbeaten streak before running into Yale, who ended the season 10-0 and outscored opponents 209-0.
1910 Michigan 0, Penn 0
Harvard was listed as a partial national champ, but Pitt was the acknowledged title winner after a 9-0 season, outscoring opponents 282-0. The problem was that neither team played anyone with a pulse. Penn started out the season being shocked by Ursinus 8-5, but went on a roll from there beating several excellent teams. Michigan finished 3-0-3, but one of those ties was against Penn.
1911 Penn State 0, Navy 0
Penn State and Princeton each claimed a piece of the national championship, but the Tigers finished 8-0-2 with an inexcusable 6-6 game against a mediocre Lehigh squad. They tied Navy 0-0, as did Penn State for the only blemish on its season.
1912 Harvard 20, at Yale 0
Once again, like 1911, Penn State claimed a piece of a national championship. And, once again, it didn’t beat anyone with a pulse. Yale tied Princeton the week before dealing with Harvard – the Crimson beat the Tigers 16-6 – and then Harvard whacked around a 7-0-1 Yale team to finish with a much, much stronger campaign than Penn State’s.
1913 Harvard 3, at Princeton 0
Auburn and Chicago might have tried claiming parts of the national title, but the 1913 Harvard team ended up with the much stronger resumé in a 9-0 season. However, the Crimson didn’t beat a slew of killers. The 3-0 tight road win over an above-average Princeton team was the catalyst to taking the title.
1914 Illinois 21, Minnesota 6
Army won the national title according to all the main historical services, but Illinois actually played the stronger overall schedule. Minnesota was fantastic, but it lost at home to Illinois in a stunning blowout. Army’s best win was 20-7 at home over Notre Dame.
1915 Cornell 10, Harvard 0
In the midst of a 19-game winning streak, Cornell came up with the strongest performance of the season with a 10-0 win over Harvard on the road. It was the Crimson’s only defeat in an otherwise dominant campaign. Pitt also likes to claim part of the national title, but even with a 20-0 slapping of Penn State, it didn’t have anything as strong as what the Big Red did.
1916 Pitt 31, Penn State 0
There wasn’t much controversy in 1916 as Pitt rolled through the season with only one issue – Navy provided a push in a 20-19 Panther win early on. There weren’t any problems the rest of the way, closing out with a blowout win over Penn State to seal a perfect campaign.
1917 Georgia Tech 41, Penn 0
Pitt came up with a massive 10-0 season, complete with an impressive 28-0 win over a great Syracuse squad. However, the Golden Tornado of Georgia Tech got on a roll, making a national splash early with a blowout win over a fantastic Penn team whose only other loss was to Pitt 14-6.
1918 Cleveland Naval Reserves 10, Pitt 9
In a big bowl of historical wrong, Michigan ended up going 5-0, outscoring teams 96-6 with a 15-0 win over a strong Syracuse squad that won every other game. However, the Wolverines had to split the historic national title with a Pitt team that started out 4-0, but was stuffed by a naval reserve unit in the season finale.
1919 Harvard 10, Princeton 10
Historically, there’s a good argument to be made for both Harvard and Texas A&M as national champs. Harvard was the better team and had the stronger season, but the Aggies went unbeaten. A&M didn’t beat anyone who was all that great, but the Crimson suffered a tie on the road against an okay Princeton squad.
1920 Princeton 0, Harvard 0
Cal ended up getting the national championship after going unbeaten with a 9-0 run, outscoring teams 510-14 – including a 127-0 whacking of St. Mary’s – and handing Washington State its only loss of the year. It finished things up by giving Ohio State its only defeat with a 28-0 performance in the Rose Bowl. It was only able to win the title because Princeton and Harvard had a stalemate in the scoreless tie – the only blemish on either team’s schedule.