Unless you’ve been living under rock, then as a sports fan you are well aware that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish—one of the most iconic brands in American sports—are ranked #1 in the country for the first time since 1993. And of course, if they win their final game of the season at USC this Saturday, they’ll get the chance to play (somebody) for their first National Championship since 1988.
That’s a long drought for such a famous program. That would be like the Yankees going a decade without winning a World Series—which of course happened in the 1980s. Nevertheless, while it has been a long time since Notre Dame was a legit contender, their National Championship drought is nothing compared to those of some other programs.
Want to see what I’m talking about? Well good, because we’re about to take a stroll through the longest standing droughts in college football. But before we get started, there’s one little thing I have to point out.
You see, back in the day, long before the BCS, multiple media outlets and sports organizations named national champions. Often there was one team that received more selections from reputable sources than others, and these we call “Consensus National Champions,” but there was no official way to settle on one single winner. Thus, there were also years in which there were multiple teams with legitimate National Championship claims.
So what do I consider a “legitimate” National Championship claim? Well, for our purposes here, I didn’t count a Championship if only one selector chose the team while multiple selectors chose other teams. This seems like a reasonable approach to me. Hopefully it also seems reasonable to you.