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Past Perfect

Reconsidering the '45 champs

IF THE 1945 Oklahoma State football team had peered into a crystal ball 71 years ago, they'd have seen a "crystal ball" national championship trophy landing in Stillwater in 2016. Despite finishing fifth in the AP poll, the undefeated '45 Cowboys—known then as the Oklahoma A&M Aggies—were awarded the title last week by the American Football Coaches Association.

Alas, this was not a singular achievement. The AFCA also offered 1945 crowns to fellow undefeateds Army (the AP winner) and Alabama, though neither school has yet accepted its trophy. "The idea is to recognize them all as champions," said AFCA executive director emeritus Grant Teaff, who insisted they won't be considered co-champions.

Why now? The association was founded in 1922 but didn't start awarding championships until 1950, so it's playing catch up, using its crystal ball to look into the past.