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Penn State football makes exclusive national championship list with other powers

The Nittany Lions are one of few teams to have a few national titles in recent history, earning a spot on an exclusive list.



Penn State football, national championship
Jan 1, 1983; New Orleans, LA, USA, FILE PHOTO; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno talks to Todd Blackledge (14) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 1983 Sugar Bowl at the Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Since the year 1950, the Penn State Nittany Lions have built themselves into a national powerhouse, being one of only a few teams to claim multiple national championships in that timeframe. Even major blue blood programs — such as the Michigan Wolverines — have not accomplished this feat; here is the list of programs that have won multiple titles since 1950 and why it is important for a possible future Penn State football national championship run.

Penn State football national championship feat earns them a spot on an exclusive list

We are officially in the middle of the college football offseason, and what do college football fans do during this time? They talk trash and try to prove that their favorite team is the best in the land. Recently, Justin Sprio, a notable voice in the Michigan State Spartans’ community, compiled an exclusive list of teams that have won multiple national championships since 1950. Penn State football is one of four current Big Ten programs to make the cut, alongside the Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan State Spartans, and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The list consists of only 17 programs in total, with four from the Big Ten, six from the SEC, three from the ACC, one independent (Notre Dame), two from the Big 12, and one from the PAC-12.

As all fans are well aware, Penn State football claimed national titles under Joe Paterno in 1982 and 1986. There were numerous other undefeated seasons over the past few decades, including the 1994 season, in which many college football fans believe the Nittany Lions were unjustly overlooked in favor of Tom Osborn’s Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Despite not having won a national title since 1986, Penn State football has come quite close many times and has strung together a series of impressive seasons over the past six full years. Since the sanctions were imposed in 2016, Penn State football has had four top 10 finishes, four 11-win seasons, three New Year’s Six wins, a Big Ten title, and more. Additionally, the Lions are coming off of a Rose Bowl-winning season in 2022 and appear to be in great shape to push for the team’s first national championship in decades during the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.