1940 Boston College Eagles football team
The 1940 Boston College Eagles represented Boston College in the 1940 college football season. Playing as an independent, the team was led by head coach Frank Leahy in his second year, and played their home games at Fenway Park in Boston and Alumni Field in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. They won all ten games in the regular season, were the highest-scoring team in the country, and took the Lambert Trophy winner, awarded to the best team in the East. With its victory on New Year's Day in the Sugar Bowl over the undefeated SEC champion Tennessee, the BC Eagles were widely acclaimed as national champions. Minnesota and Stanford also have viable claims to the national championship.
|1940 Boston College Eagles football|
National champion (self-claimed)
Sugar Bowl champion
|Home stadium||Alumni Field (c. 15,000)|
Fenway Park (c. 38,805)
|1940 Eastern college football independents records|
|No. 5 Boston College||–||11||–||0||–||0|
|No. 14 Penn||–||6||–||1||–||1|
|No. 12 Fordham||–||7||–||2||–||0|
|No. 15 Cornell||–||6||–||2||–||0|
|Rankings from AP Poll|
From 1936 to 1964, the final Associated Press poll ranking college football teams was taken at the end of the regular season, not after the post-season bowl games. In 1940, it was published on December 2, and listed undefeated Minnesota (8–0) first with its thrilling home win by an extra point 7–6 over No. 3 Michigan (7–1). Stanford (10–0) was ranked second, Tennessee (10–0) fourth, and Boston College (10–0) was fifth.
Neither Minnesota nor Michigan played in a post season bowl game, and Stanford defeated No. 7 Nebraska (8–2) in the Rose Bowl. Tennessee outscored its regular season opponents 319–26, soundly beating such football opponents as Alabama, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Virginia, and Duke. Despite where the AP rated teams at the end of the regular season, BC’s post season win over Tennessee was widely deemed the best win of any team in the 1940 season.
The NCAA had no role in determining a national football champion in that era; it did not sponsor a play-off style tournament or recognize an official national champion. For post-season play at that time the national championship, called the Mythical National Championship (MNC) had national championship team(s) independently declared based on the merits of the case made by proponents in the newspapers, magazines and radio outlets that devoted enormous coverage to college football.
Boston College, Minnesota and Stanford were all deemed “national champions” by various media outlets. A leading neutral authority concluded that “…BC should be considered a co-MNC. And when you look at their coach and players (5 college football Hall of Fame players in contrast to three for both Minnesota and Stanford) you have to think BC would have had a least as good a chance as Minnesota or Stanford to win a playoff in 1940.”
|September 21||Centre||W 40–0||18,000|
|September 28||at Tulane||W 27–7||42,000|
|October 12||Temple||W 33–20||24,000|
|October 19||Idaho||No. 8||W 60–0||8,000|
|October 26||St. Anselm||No. 10||W 55–0||15,000|
|November 2||Manhattan||No. 9||W 25–0||5,000|
|November 9||Boston University||No. 8||W 21–0||15,000|
|November 16||No. 9 Georgetown||No. 8||W 19–18||41,700|
|November 23||Auburn||No. 4||W 33–7||30,000|
|November 30||Holy Cross||No. 4||W 7–0||39,000|
|January 1, 1941||vs. No. 4 Tennessee||No. 5||W 19–13||73,181|
- UTSPORTS.com – University of Tennessee Athletics – Football – History Tennessee Results 1940-49. 1940 – Won 10 lost 1 (NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – Dunkel, Williamson, SEC CHAMPIONS); Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Haywood Harris and Gus Manning (2004) “Six Seasons Remembered: The National Championship Years of Tennessee Football”, The University of Tennessee Press/ Knoxville pp.24-45.
- See what the nation’s leading sportswriters thought of the BC Sugar Bowl victory at “Sports Writers Comment on B.C. Win In Sugar Bowl”, Daily Boston Globe (1928-1960); Jan. 3, 1941; p. 9. For extensive contemporaneous documentation of the championship see http://bcnationalchamps1940.wordpress.com/
- Reid Oslin (November 10, 2015). “Boston College Athletics – The 1940 Team of Destiny” http://bceagles.com/news/2015/11/10/FB_1110153607.aspx. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Haywood Harris and Gus Manning (2004) “Six Seasons Remembered: The National Championship Years of Tennessee Football”, The University of Tennessee Press/ Knoxville p. 26.
- James Vautravers, 1940 College Football National Championship; p. 16, http://www.tiptop25.com/champs1940.html[permanent dead link]. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- “Sports Writers Comment on B.C. Win In Sugar Bowl”, Daily Boston Globe (1928-1960); Jan. 3, 1941; p. 9
- C.N. (14 January 2015). “The business of college football: Undisputed champs in a disputed sport”. The Economist. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Dennis Dodd, (24 June 2014). “Fringe Benefit of College Football Playoff? No more mythical titles”. CBS Sports. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Under the College Football Playoff (CFP) beginning in 2014 four Division 1 Football Bowls Division (FBS) schools played in two semifinal games, and the winners advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championships: Ohio State ranked 5th in the December 12, 2014 AP poll was selected as a 4th participating team won its semifinal game in the Sugar Bowl, and then the CFP National Championship: Division I FBS football is the only NCAA sport in which a yearly champion is not determined by an NCAA championship event and an official NCAA championship is not given. College Football Playoff – Wikipedia.
- Mythical National Championship – Wikipedia
- Reid Oslin, (November 10, 2015) “Boston College Athletics – The 1940 Team of Destiny,” http://bceagles.com/news/2015/11/10/FB_1110153607.aspx. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Boston College’s inductees to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame from the 1940 team are: Charlie O’Rourke, Mike Holovak, Gene Goodreault, George Kerr and Chet Gladchuck; Minnesota’s Sonny Franck, Bruce Smith and Dick Wildung; and Stanford’s Frankie Albert, Hugh Gallarneau and Chuck Taylor Reid Oslin (November 10, 2015). “Boston College Athletics – The 1940 Team of Destiny” http://bceagles.com/news/2015/11/10/FB_1110153607.aspx. Retrieved July 21, 2016. p. 66.
- James Vautravers, 1940 College Football National Championship, p.16. http://www.tiptop25.com/champs1940.html[permanent dead link]. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- DeLassus, David. "Boston College Yearly Results: 1940–1944". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2013-02-18. Retrieved March 17, 2013.