2. 1939 Tennessee Volunteers
10-1 (6-0 SEC)
This could be the greatest team of all time, and it’s not getting any consideration for a national championship. Robert Neyland’s peak was his second stint with the Vols, and this was the height of that.
From 1938 to 1940, Tennessee football did not lose a single regular season game. They get to claim official national championships in those two years, but this is the year in which they were un stoppable.
These Vols won every regular season game and shut out every opponent during the regular season. Yes, you heard that right. They went undefeated, untied and unscored on. And they remain the last team in college football history to do so.
However, they somehow didn’t win the title. By the way, they were defending national champions as well. So they win the national title in 1938, they follow that up by shutting out everybody in 1939, but they don’t get to claim a repeat? That makes absolutely no sense.
This is one of the greatest teams in the history of the NCAA, so we’re going to step in and say the Vols should retroactively claim a title. If they can’t do it this year, then nobody can do it in any year. With All-American superstars like George Cafego, Abe Shires, Ed Molinski, Bob Foxx and Bob Suffridge, this team was loaded with talent.
Detractors will point out the Rose Bowl loss that changes everything. And I’ll admit that’s why we have this team No. 2 here. But again, you can’t ignore the fact that bowl games didn’t count. And in this particular bowl game, Cafego got hurt beforehand. That cost them against the USC Trojans as much as anything. So we’re throwing that out the window to a certain degree.