STILLWATER, Okla. – An executive with the American Football Coaches Association said Monday that Army will likely share the 1945 national title with Oklahoma State.
Last week, the AFCA retroactively named Oklahoma State, then known as Oklahoma A&M, its 1945 champion. A committee headed by former AFCA executive director Grant Teaff made the decision.
The association said several schools requested that it establish a group of coaches to select winners from 1922, when the association was founded, to 1949, the year before its coaches’ poll was first published. Gary Darnell, the AFCA’s associate executive director, said Army met the association’s criteria for 1945, and the academy plans to send in the necessary paperwork to claim its title for that year and two other years it qualifies for, though Darnell didn’t specify which years.
Darnell said he has spoken with officials from Army, and the program is fine with being 1945 co-champions.
“When you’re dealing with the West Points (Army), their fans are our leaders,” he said. “They’re going to see it, and they’re going to embrace the opportunity to be co-champs, or just to be recognized.”
Army and Oklahoma State were the only schools that met the AFCA’s criteria for 1945. Army was the Associated Press champion that year. Oklahoma A&M finished No. 5.
The AFCA consulted the Billingsley Encyclopedia of College Football to help decide who qualified. Darnell said there is a lone qualifier for all but about seven of those years from 1922 to 1949, and it’s up to the schools to file the paperwork and claim their championships. In those years where it’s unclear, Darnell said the committee will narrow the field.
Darnell said the AFCA took the 18-month process seriously before naming Oklahoma State its first retroactive champion.
“How can a bunch of guys just get together and vote for say, this one as opposed to this one?” Darnell said. “How do a bunch of people get together and decide which four teams are going to play in the playoff? It’s no different. At some point, you make a decision. You ingest as many facts as you can, and make a decision and try to be as fair and honest as you can with it.”
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