While many had justifiable gripes with how college football chose its national champion during the BCS era, things were so much worse decades ago, when a champion was named before bowl games were even played. The 1950 Oklahoma Sooners are the consensus national champions from that year, despite going on to lose the Sugar Bowl to one-loss Kentucky. Princeton and Tennessee were also voted by some organizations as national champions that season, but the Wildcats did not lay claim to the title that year…until now.
The Sagarin Ratings, a computer rating system created by statistician Jeff Sagarin, began to name unofficial national champions in 1978, but went back to retroactively award titles to teams that came out on top in previous years based on the model. Kentucky finishes No. 1 in the 1950 Sagarin Ratings, and the program has now created a trophy for itself to celebrate it, modeled after the famous crystal Coaches’ Trophy.
1951 national championship trophy and mannequins showing uniforms greet you in lobby of new training center pic.twitter.com/sSEesoZOz3
— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) July 22, 2016
As you can imagine, fans and others around the college football world think this is absolutely hilarious (because it is).
In most Kentucky football move possible, Wildcats just built themselves a national title trophy for 1950, year they finished 7th in AP poll, — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 26, 2016
So UK football is seriously making a 1950 NCAA Championship trophy to display in their new practice facility? LMAO — Joshua Daniel (@_ThatJoshDude) July 26, 2016
Kentucky football facility really made a national championship trophy in a year they finished 7th 66 years ago omg I’m crying — ⠀Daniel (@_birddaniel) July 26, 2016
Crooked Kentucky Wildcats had to built a trophy! Sad. — JohnnyBfromTN (@JohnnyBFromTN) July 26, 2016
Of course, the trophy does not mention that it was created by the school, or based on a rating system that was invented nearly 30 years after the 1951 Sugar Bowl was played. The program also has a webpage dedicated to the 1950 “national champions.” And it looks enough like the Coaches’ Trophy that most recruits are probably none the wiser. Creating this trophy is such an absurd thing to do, that you almost have to respect it.
Kentucky football claims no other national titles.