View Full Version : Studebaker and National collegiate football championships. Bet you didnít know!!

Studebaker Wheel
01-07-2014, 01:44 AM
Just finished watching the BCS game that determined the nation championship of college football. This got me to wondering how many SDC members knew that Studebaker actually played a major role in establishing the first national collegiate football championship criteria. The problem had always been that the seasons were relatively short and the schedule allowed for only 10-11 games. As a result there was no possibility of deciding a title holder thru a single elimination tournament. Enter Albert Russell Erskine President of the Studebaker Corporation and a big football fan. In 1929 he established the first ever attempt to crown a national champion. He assembled a panel of eleven of the most renowned sports writers of the era and they in turn set up the criteria for the award so as not to show favoritism toward any one section of the country over the other. To the winning school would go a silver cup that would be maintained for a year then passed on to the winner the following year. To the coach of the winning team would go a new Studebaker President automobile. The 1929 winner was Notre Dame who went 9-0 defeating arc-rival Southern California 13-12 in front of over 112,000 fans. Making it even more impressive was that all their games that year were away since their new Stadium was under construction. Rockne repeated for 1930 going 10-0 and defeating Army 7-6 before 100,000 in Soldier Field Chicago. In 1931 the trophy went to Southern California and coach Howard Jones. Despite losing their first game to St. Marys they recovered to win all the remaining games to finish 10-1 including a 16-14 victory over Notre Dame. Coach Rockne had been killed in a plane crash in March 1931 so he was not in contention to win his 3rd consecutive award. I have no information on any award given for the 1932 season so assume it was discontinued after that í31 season. Of course this begs the question as to where the Erskine award trophy might be residing now? Maybe it was in the College Football Hall of Fame that was in South Bend for years or maybe at Southern California who won it for the last time in 1931?

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01-07-2014, 09:48 AM
Thanks for sharing this. My wife, the true sports expert in my home, enjoyed reading this. She is still giving me a hard time about not taking her to the Notre Dame field when we visited the area during the SDC national meet. Now that we are both retired, perhaps we'll try it again.

01-07-2014, 10:21 AM
I guess in the last pic he won 60-21 with the Tag he is holding.