The national championship team in college football generally is considered to be the top-rated squad in the final rankings issued each year by the poll of sportswriters and broadcasters (Associated Press) and the poll of coaches (United Press International through 1990, USA Today/CNN since 1991).
Since the AP began certifying the winner of its national crown in 1936, Notre Dame has won more national championships than any other team in the country. The Irish have won eight titles (1943-46-47-49-66-73-77-88) -- with Oklahoma second on the list with six.
The coaches' poll has voted a national champion since 1950. Notre Dame has won three UPI titles (1966-77-88) during that period. Only USC and Oklahoma with five each have won more. The UPI poll was taken following the end of the regular season each year until the 1974 season when the coaches first waited until the bowl games were conducted to issue their final rankings.
The NCAA also recognizes national championships awarded by the Football Writers Association of America and by the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
The FWAA has presented the Grantland Rice Award since 1954, with Notre Dame earning the trophy in 1966, '73, '77 and '88. The National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame has presented the MacArthur Bowl to its national champion since 1959. Notre Dame has won it on five occasions -- 1964, '66 (tie with Michigan State), '73, '77 and '88.
A variety of other rating systems have been recognized over the years in attempting to determine the top team in college football each season.
Notre Dame generally is considered to have earned 11 consensus national titles (1924-29-30-43-46-47-49-66-73-77-88). But there have been 19 seasons in which Notre Dame has qualified as a national champion from at least one legitimate poll, with all teams receiving national championship mention and their individual selectors noted.
Here are Notre Dame's 11 consensus seasons:
Year Team Record Coach Selector
1924 Notre Dame 10-0 Knute Rockne DS, Helms, Boand, FR, Houl,
Pennsylvania 9-1-1 Lou Young Davis
1929 Notre Dame 9-0 Knute Rockne DS, Dunkel, Boand, Helms, FR,
Pittsburgh 9-1 J. Sutherland Davis
USC 10-2 Howard Jones Houlgate
1930 Notre Dame 10-0 Knute Rockne All but FR, tie for Davis
Alabama 10-0 Wallace Wade Davis (tie), FR
1943 Notre Dame 9-1 Frank Leahy Unanimous
1946 Notre Dame 8-0-1 Frank Leahy AP, Dunkel, LS, Devold, NCF,
Helms (tie), Boand (tie), Poling (tie)
Army 9-0-1 Red Blaik Houlgate, FR, Boand (tie), Helms (tie),
Georgia 11-0 Wally Butts WS
1947 Notre Dame 9-0 Frank Leahy AP, WS, Helms (tie)
Michigan 10-0 Fritz Crisler Dunkel, LS, Houlgate, Helms (tie),
Boand, FR, Devold, NCF, Poling
1949 Notre Dame 10-0 Frank Leahy All but FR
Oklahoma 11-0 Bud Wilkinson FR
1966 Notre Dame 9-0-1 Ara Parseghian AP, UPI, FWAA, Dunkel,LS,
Devold, FN, Matthews,
NFFHF (tie), Helms (tie)
Michigan State 9-0-1 D. Daugherty FR, Helms (tie), NFFHF (tie)
1973 Notre Dame 11-0 Ara Parseghian AP, FWAA, NFFHF, Helms, FN
Alabama 10-1 Bear Bryant UPI
Oklahoma 10-0-1 Barry Switzer Dunkel, FR, Devold
1977 Notre Dame 11-1 Dan Devine All but FR (tie)
Alabama 11-1 Bear Bryant FR (tie)
1988 Notre Dame 12-0 Lou Holtz Unanimous
Here are the other eight seasons Notre Dame received some mention:
1919 Harvard 9-0-1 Bob Fisher Unanimous
Notre Dame 9-0 Knute Rockne Davis (tie), NCF
Illinois 6-1 Bob Zuppke Davis (tie), FR (tie), Boand
1920 California 9-0 Andy Smith Helms, FR, Houl.,NCF
Notre Dame 9-0 Knute Rockne Davis (tie)
Princeton 6-0-1 Bill Roper Davis (tie), Boand (tie)
Harvard 8-0-1 Robert Fisher Boand (tie)
1927 Illinois 7-0-1 Bob Zuppke DS, Davis, Helms, NCF
Yale 7-1 T.A.D. Jones FR
Notre Dame 7-1-1 Knute Rockne Houl.
Georgia 9-1 G. Woodruff Boand, Poling
1938 Tennessee 11-0 Bob Neyland Dunkel, LS, Boand, Houl.,FR, Poling
TCU 11-0 Dutch Meyer AP,WS, Helms, NCF
Notre Dame 8-1 Elmer Layden DS
1953 Notre Dame 9-0-1 Frank Leahy All but AP, UP, FRI
Maryland 10-1 Jim Tatum AP, UPI
Oklahoma 9-1-1 Bud Wilkinson FR
1964 Alabama 10-1 Bear Bryant AP,UPI, LS
Arkansas 11-0 Frank Broyles FWAA, Helms, FR
Notre Dame 9-1 Ara Parseghian NFFHF, Devold, FN
Michigan 9-1 Bump Elliott Dunkel
1967 USC 10-1 John McKay All but Dunkel, LS
Notre Dame 8-2 Ara Parseghian Dunkel
Tennessee 9-2 Doug Dickey LS
1970 Nebraska 11-0-1 Bob Devaney AP, FWAA, Dunkel, Helms, FR, Devold, FN
Texas 10-1 Darrell Royal UPI, LS, NFFHF (tie)
Ohio State 9-1 Woody Hayes NFFHF (tie)
Notre Dame 10-1 Ara Parseghian Matthew