Washington partisans have been waiting fifteen years for the school to earn its second national football championship. As of last week, finally, they have it:
Washington's forgotten champions will be recognized Sept. 29 when the new Legends Center, which honors UW athletics history, opens on campus just north of the stadium. The current team also will mark the occasion by wearing 1960 throwback uniforms in its game that day against Southern California.
"Most of the players probably feel very strong about it because that's a hell of an honor to be named the No. 1 team in the nation and to be given some recognition of our team and what was accomplished by the University of Washington," said George Fleming, a halfback on the 1960 team. "... I'm not sure if we really thought about if it was the University of Washington that had forgotten us or if it was the national media or those boards that make those decisions."
Husky Football: Now with twice the tradition!
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We know what does not make that decision: actual performance on the field. Or, since "schools in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision do not participate in the NCAA Division I Football Championship," the NCAA, which lists five "national champions" for the 1960 season:
• Minnesota - Associated Press, Football News, National Football Foundation, United Press International
• Iowa - Berryman, Boand, Litkenhous, Sagarin
• Missouri - Poling
• Washington - Helms
U-Dub finished 9-1, one point from perfection due to a 15-14 loss to Navy, and was voted number one by the L.A.-based Helms Athletic Foundation after upsetting Minnesota 17-7 up the road in the Rose Bowl. The AP and UPI, the most widely recognized polls historically, voted the Gophers "national champions" at the end of the regular season, before the loss in the bowl game. Washington is also mulling recognizing "national champions" from 1984 (so awarded by Berryman, Football News and the National Championship Foundation and shared with BYU, Florida and Nebraska) and 1990, when it shared the FACT title with Georgia Tech, Miami and once-beaten, fifth down-utilizing Colorado. Twelve of nineteen voting agencies ranked the Huskies ahead of Miami in 1991, the school's only "majority" title the only one it recognized before deciding the 47-year-old Helms championship was worthy.
So congratulations 1960 National Champion Washington Huskies! Truly y'all are the real number one.