OSU given 1949 title; KU up next

Oklahoma State just won a national championship on a week when they didn’t play football.

OSU has been retroactively named as football national champions of 1945 by the American Football Coaches Association.

At the request of multiple schools, the AFCA established a panel of national championship coaches to retroactively select Coaches’ Trophy winners from 1922 (when the AFCA was founded) up to 1949 (the year before the Coaches’ Poll was first published).

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

The Oklahoma State squad of 1945 (then-referred to as Oklahoma A&M) had an average margin of victory of 23.2 points and still holds numerous school records, including fewest points allowed, lowest average points allowed, fewest first downs allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards allowed per game.

Coached by Jim Lookabaugh, the 1945 Oklahoma A&M roster included seven veterans of World War II. Bob Fenimore was a consensus All-American. Teammate Neill Armstrong also earned All-America status that year by the Associated Press. The Aggies capped their championship season with a 33-13 win over St. Mary’s in the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma State now becomes first school to be recognized as national champions by a national organization or body in both football and men’s basketball in the same academic year. Coach Henry Iba’s hoops squad won the second of its back-to-back NCAA titles that same season.

Oklahoma State plays at Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday on FS1. Kansas is 0-3 in the Big 12 and 1-5 overall, with their lone victory coming against Rhode Island to open the season.

The Cowboys were idle last week and were given some much-needed rest.

“We’ve played pretty well at times and if we didn’t we were able to identify why we played well and find a solution,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said of the season so far. “If there’s a solution to the issues we have in every phase of the game, then I’m OK with that because we can coach and teach it, and the players are committing themselves to getting better.”