Georgia’s Football National Championships

Georgia’s Football National Championships

Pierce Barnett, Section Editor


Did you know that Georgia won national championships before there were playoffs? We all know how Georgia won the national championship in the 2021-2022 season, but what about their other national championships? 

The first championship was the 1942s National Championship with the team coached by Wallace Butts. This was an interesting year for a couple of reasons. First, Ohio State had won the national championship that year, and second, World War II was going on at the time. In 1942, rankings were based on 156 sportswriters that each rated team’s performances. If one of the writers rated your team first, you got 10 points, second 9 points, third 8 points, etc… Georgia got more points from the sportswriters, but Ohio State had the AP Poll #1 ranking (Georgia was #2), even though Georgia’s record was 11-1 (losing to Auburn 13-27) and Ohio’s was 9-1 (losing to Wisconsin 7-17). 

The reason the war was a factor was that many players at the college level were enlisted or drafted into the war. This was a disadvantage for some teams because some of their outstanding upcoming players had to go into the army. Just the same, the war was an advantage for some teams if they did not lose their good players. Some teams  became handicapped because of the war. 

During this time, the arguably best player on the Georgia team was Frank Sincwhich, Georgia’s halfback. He won the Heisman Trophy with 2,187 yards of total offense (of those yards he had 1,392 passing yards) and was the first ever major-college player to ever get more than 2,000 yards in a single season.

Georgia’s second national championship came in 1980 when Georgia’s coach had been Vince Dooley, one of the most famous and recognized coaches in Georgia football history, who had the Georgia football field at Sanford Stadium named after him and sadly died on October 28, 2022. That year, Georgia’s team finished the season with a record of 12-0, shutting out 3 teams: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Texas A & M. 

The key to Georgia’s success had been partly because of the signing of the most sought-after high-school football player in the nation, Herschel Walker. Walker was a 6’2” 222 lb running back. With Walker, Georgia was voted #1 by the Associated Press with 58 ½ first-place votes to Georgia and 3 ½ first-place votes to Pittsburgh. The United Press International Poll then gave Georgia 36 first-place votes with Pittsburgh receiving 3 first-place votes. 

In the last game of the season, against Notre Dame, Walker dislocated his left shoulder in the early part of the game, but he still rushed 36 times and gained 150 yards. Taking into account his injury, this was an incredible feat. Overall, no one had expected Georgia to do well in that season, even with Herschel Walker, because the Bulldogs had been coming off of a terrible season with a record of 6-5. During the national championship season, Georgia had not played the best teams and was probably not the best team that year but they did not lose unlike all of the other good teams who lost eventually. 

Georgia was lucky in the 1980 football season because there was no playoff and they probably would not have won both games in the playoff and they did not have to face one of the top teams in the regular season. 

The team this year is as promising as the 1942 and the 1980 National Championship teams. With a record of 9-0 and coming off a win over the #1 team in the nation, Tennessee, I think that Georgia has high prospects of winning the national championship in back-to-back years.