1918 Pittsburgh Panthers football
National Champions
1918 record4–1
Head coachGlenn Scobey "Pop" Warner
Home stadiumForbes Field
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The 1918 Pittsburgh Panthers football team represented the University of Pittsburgh in the 1918 college football season. In a season cut short by the Spanish flu pandemic, coach Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner led the Panthers in a schedule played all in one month, including a convincing victory in a highly publicized game over defending national champion and unscored-upon Georgia Tech. A highly controversial loss ended the season and snapped a 32-game Pitt winning streak, but the Panthers outscored opponents 140–16 in that short season and were named national champions by multiple selectors.[1]



The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 saw the implementation of quarantines that eliminated much of that year's college football season, including five of Pitt's originally scheduled contests. All of Pitt's games that year were played in November, including a high profile game played as a War Charities benefit against undefeated, unscored upon, and defending national champion Georgia Tech, coached by the legendary John Heisman. Pitt swept through its first two games and then dismantled Georgia Tech 32–0 in front of many of the nation's top sports writers including Walter Camp. The final game of the season at Cleveland Naval Reserve resulted in "Pop" Warner's first loss at Pitt and is one of the most controversial in school history. Warner, along with some reporters covering the game, insisted Pitt was robbed by the officials who, claiming the official timekeeper's watch was broken, arbitrarily ended the first half before Pitt was able to score and then allowed the Reserves extra time in the fourth quarter to pull ahead 10–9 before calling an end to the game.[2][3] Despite the loss, the 4–1 Panthers of 1918 were name as a national champion for that season by multiple selectors,[4] several of which are considered to be "major" selections by the official NCAA records book.[5]

Schedule Edit

Game Date Opponent Result Panthers points Opponents Record
1 Nov. 9 Washington & Jefferson Win 34 0 1-0
2 Nov. 16 Pennsylvania Win 37 0 2-0
3 Nov. 23 Georgia Tech Win 32 0 3-0
4 Nov. 28 Penn State Win 28 6 4-0
5 Nov. 30 @ Cleveland Naval Reserve Loss 9 10 4-1

List of national championship selectors Edit

The 1918 team was selected or recognized as national champions by multiple selectors, several of which are listed as "major" (i.e. national in scope) by the official NCAA football records book.[5] College Football Data Warehouse also recognizes Pitt as a national champion in 1918,[1] as did a 1970 Sports Illustrated study that has served as the historical basis of the university's historical national championship claims since its original publication.[7]

The are the selectors that determined Pitt to be national champions in 1915.[1]

  • 1st-N-Goal
  • Alexander Weyand
  • Angelo Louisa
  • Bill Libby
  • Bob Kirlin
  • Bob Royce
  • Century Football Index
  • College Football USA
  • George Trevor
  • Harry Frye
  • Helms Athletic Foundation*
  • Houlgate System*
  • James Whalen
  • Jim Koger
  • Loren Maxwell
  • National Championship Foundation*
  • Nutshell Sports Football Ratings
  • Patrick Premo

* A "major" selector that was "national scope" according to the official NCAA football records book.[5]

All-American selections Edit

*Bold - Consensus All-American[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "1918 National Championships". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  2. Keck, Harry (November 30, 1918). "Navy Reserves Steal Game From Pitt". Pittsburgh Sunday Post, republished in The Greatest Moments in Pitt Football History (1994) (Nashville, TN: Athlon Sports Communications): 33. ISBN 1-878839-04-7.
  3. Sciullo Jr., Sam (2008). University of Pittsburgh Football Vault: The History of the Panthers. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 36. ISBN 0-7948-2653-9.
  4. "College Football Data Warehouse: Yearly National Championship Selections: 1918 National Champions". Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 2012 NCAA Football Records. The National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2012. pp. 69–72. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  6. "University of Pittsburgh - 1918". College Football Reference. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  7. Borghetti, E.J.; Nestor, Mendy; Welsh, Celeste, eds. (2008). 2008 Pitt Football Media Guide. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. p. 156. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  8. "Camp's All American: Football Dean Names Three Teams from Last Season's Records" (PDF). The New York Times. 1918-12-31.
  9. ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1153
  10. Robert W. Maxwell (1918-12-19). "Alexander and Ackley Placed on First All-American Team by Bob Maxwell". Syracuse Herald.
  11. Consensus All-American designations based on the NCAA guide to football award winners
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