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Army would have pulverized the Aggies

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A worker puts the finishing touches on OSU’s championship sign at Boone Pickens Stadium.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. But as a journalist, I believe it’s my duty to state the facts as best as I can.

Oklahoma State University is proud that its football team has been declared national champions 71 years later. The American Football Coaches Association declared the Cowboys (then known as the Oklahoma A&M Aggies) as the 1945 national champions. The university is so happy that it has had a sign placed inside Boone Pickens Stadium declaring their newfound title, and the football media guide has a full page dedicated to the 1945 champs.

“After gathering all the pertinent information and doing our due diligence, it is the pleasure of our Blue Ribbon Commission of coaches to officially recognize Oklahoma State’s 1945 championship season with the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy,” AFCA executive director Todd Berry said last October when the championship was announced.

Schools who felt they had a legitimate bid for the title submitted their reasons why and the committee would then hear their case and decide. A poll developed for coaches to vote for college football’s best teams began in 1950 to rival the Associated Press poll, which is voted upon by media members.

But, I wonder what pertinent information Berry and the AFCA was researching? The AFCA put together a committee of coaches to retroactively declare national champs in college football between 1922 and 1949. The AFCA has yet to award other national championships retroactively.

That Blue Ribbon Commission consisted of former coaching greats, but they must have been suffering from dementia. If not, maybe they should plea insanity. Former Baylor coach Grant Teaff was 81 years old when he participated in the commission last year.  Georgia’s Vince Dooley was 83, and Texas A&M’s R.C. Slocum was the pup at 71. 

Now, you might think that’s a terrible thing to say about these legendary coaches. But, let’s compare the Oklahoma A&M to Army, which won the AP national championship.

Both teams finished with identical 9-0 records in 1945. Alabama also was unbeaten with a 9-0 mark; 10-0 after winning the Rose Bowl.

Jim Lookabaugh led the 1945 Aggies to their only undefeated season in school history, and they won the Missouri Valley Conference. They outscored opponents 285-76. The defense has been unmatched in Aggie/Cowboy history as it held opponents to an average of 188.3 yards and 7.9 points per game, still school records.

The Aggies were led by two-time All-Americans Bob Fenimore and Neill Armstrong. Fenimore, a halfback, finished third for the Heisman Trophy after leading the nation in both rushing and total offense. Armstrong, a star at both defensive end and receiver, went on to become the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1978-81. Fenimore is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Aggies only defeated two ranked teams that year. They edged No. 9 Tulsa, 12-6, in Stillwater and hammered No. 7 St. Mary’s, 33-13, in the Sugar Bowl. The Aggies’ opponents finished the 1945 season with a combined record of 44-42-3.

The Pokes finished fifth in the AP poll behind Army, Alabama, Navy, and Indiana.

Army’s powerhouse squad

Army was the defending national champion with a 9-0 record in 1944. Earl “Red” Blaik again led the 1945 Army Cadets to another undefeated record, and that 1945 squad outscored its opponents, 412-46. They defeated five ranked teams convincingly—28-7 over No. 9 Michigan, 48-13 over No. 19 Duke, 48-0 over No. 2 Notre Dame, 61-0 over No. 6 Penn, and 32-13 over No. 2 Navy. No reason has been found why the Cadets did not participate in a bowl game that year.

Nevertheless, the Cadets overpowered four ranked teams by an average of 36.8 points. The Aggies beat two ranked foes opponents by an average of 13 points.

Army boasted six All-Americans: halfback Glenn Davis, fullback Felix “Doc” Blanchard, tackles DeWitt “Tex” Coulternad Albert Nemetz and Hank Foldberg, and guard John Green. Blanchard won the Heisman Trophy in 1945, and Davis won the award a year later.

Some experts believe that 1945 Army team was one of the best. Certainly, the pollsters back then thought so. All but one of the 116 media members voted Army No. 1. The other vote went to Alabama, which finished 9-0 before defeating USC, 34-14, in the Rose Bowl.

Army would have beaten the Aggies by at least three touchdowns.

I rest my case.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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