Illinois Football Has 5 National Titles, Yes Really


When you look at the record of the current Illini head coach Ron Zook (34-45, midway through his seventh season in Champaign) and his two predecessors (Ron Turner 32-49, 8 years) and Lou Tepper (25-31-2 in 5 years), you may not think that it’s a program that can boast of multiple national titles.

The fact that those three men kept their jobs as long as they did, despite that sub .500 performance only verifies your assumption that it’s not a national championship program. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. Illinois football has five, yes FIVE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Of course, these were all in the days long before the polls, the Harris interactive, and the BcS, so the term national title had a slightly different meaning.

The last one was in 1951, when the orange and blue went 9-0-1, 5-0-1 in the Big Ten. This is relevant today, because the 6-0 Illini are off to their first 6-0 start since that magical season.

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