Every so often I receive a question from a non-Penn State fan that gives me pause:
“When was the last time Penn State won a national championship?”
I never have a direct answer for this.
“Well, technically, it was 1986. But you could easily make the case they were national champs in 1994.”
I almost always get the same response. They pause, nod their head, and say something along the lines of:
“Oh yeah, ‘94. That team deserved it.”
So here’s our question for you. Should Penn State just go ahead and claim the 1994 national championship?
To fully answer this question, there are two things that must be considered:
- Was Penn State the nation’s best team in 1994? Most importantly, where they better than Nebraska, who was awarded the national championship by the voters?
- With the selection of national champions still relying on subjectivity and politics, should programs claim national championships when they have a legitimate case?
The answer to the first question is basically an enthusiastic “yes” from anyone outside of the Nebraska fanbase. Heck, there’s even a t-shirt to prove it. The ‘94 team had arguably the greatest offense in college football history, loaded with All-Americans and first round draft picks. The defense had a tendency to give up points, but in fairness they were constantly on the field thanks to an offense that found the end zone with such ease. Even without an official national title, the ‘94 squad is still routinely ranked among the greatest college football teams of all time.
The second question is where things get fuzzy. “Claimed” national titles are often the butt of jokes from opposing fanbases, and Central Florida’s recent declaration as national champions was met with a surprising amount of scorn.
So what say you, BSD reader? How would you feel about Penn State claiming a national championship? Would it help right a wrong? Or does it just make Penn State look petty?