1947: 9-0 Frank Leahy

Any discussion of college football’s greatest teams would be incomplete without a review of the 1947 Notre Dame national championship team, quarterbacked by Heisman Trophy winner John Lujack.  It was a team that also featured All-Americans George Connor, Bill Fischer, Leon Hart, Ziggy Czarbonski, and Leon Hart as well as Lujack, who was named to the All-America team.  In all, the 1947 team sent 42 players on to the ranks of professional football.  At the end of the year, sportswriter Grantland Rice, who had penned the most famous lead in sports journalism in 1924 describing Notre Dame’s famed backfield, said of the 1947 team:  “There no longer is any doubt as to the best team in college football, it happens to be Notre Dame.  College football never before has known a team so big, so fast and so experienced.”

Leahy’s squad opened with impressive wins over Pittsburgh and Purdue and then totally dominated its next three opponents, shutting out Nebraska, Iowa and Navy.  Similar to 1946, the Irish took a perfect 5-0 record into its contest with rival Army.  The top-ranked Irish battled No. 8 Army before a record-home crowd of 59,171 and built a 20-0 lead before Army finally scored.  The 27-7 win left little doubt as to which team was the top ranked in the nation.

Notre Dame finished the season with impressive wins over Tulane and third-ranked Southern Cal.  The Boston Herald wrote of this team, “Its third string could whip most varsities.”