Unveiling the Legacy: How Many National Championships Has Ohio State Won?

John Rizzo

National Championships Has Ohio State Won

Ohio State University’s football program holds a storied history marked by triumphs, iconic moments, and a legacy of excellence. 

As one of the most esteemed institutions in college football, the question of how many national championships Ohio State has won sparks curiosity and debate among Buckeye fans and football enthusiasts alike. 

In this blog post, we embark on a journey through the annals of Ohio State football to unveil the truth behind their claimed national championships and the significance of each title in shaping the Buckeyes’ enduring legacy. Stay focused. 

How Many National Championships Has Ohio State Won?

The Ohio State Buckeyes have left an indelible mark on college football, carving out a legacy of excellence that is defined by numerous accolades and historic achievements. 

Among their most notable accomplishments are the national championships, which stand as a testament to the program’s unwavering commitment to greatness. 

As recognized by both the university and the NCAA, the Ohio State Buckeyes have won a total of eight national championships, solidifying their place among the sport’s elite.

Unmatched Triumphs on the National Stage

Ohio State’s 8 national championships span over different eras, showcasing their consistent pursuit of football greatness. Each title represents a remarkable triumph on the national stage, where the Buckeyes have showcased their talent, discipline, and dedication.

41 Conference Championships

Beyond national championships, Ohio State’s dominance extends to the conference level. The Buckeyes have claimed a staggering 41 conference championships, with 39 coming from the Big Ten and two from the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). 

This exceptional conference success speaks to the team’s sustained excellence within their competitive league.

10 Division Championships

In addition to conference titles, Ohio State has achieved 10 division championships, demonstrating its ability to emerge as victors in highly contested divisions.

A Legacy of Undefeated and Perfect Seasons

The Buckeyes’ football program boasts an impressive record of 10 undefeated seasons, exemplifying their ability to maintain excellence throughout an entire campaign. Moreover, they have accomplished six perfect seasons, a remarkable feat signifying no losses or ties in those respective years.

Ohio State University’s Rich History in College Football

Ohio State University's Rich History in College Football

The history of Ohio State University in college football is a tapestry woven with triumphs, iconic moments, and an unwavering commitment to greatness. 

From its early days to the present, the Buckeyes’ football program has left an indelible mark on the sport, earning a place among the most storied and successful programs in college football history. Let’s delve into the rich history of Ohio State University’s football legacy:

Founding and Early Years

Ohio State University’s football program was founded in 1890, and the team played its first game against Ohio Wesleyan University. Over the ensuing years, the Buckeyes quickly established themselves as formidable contenders in college football.

The Emergence of Woody Hayes

The arrival of legendary coach Woody Hayes in 1951 marked a turning point for Ohio State football. Hayes became an iconic figure, leading the team to several conference championships and five national titles during his tenure.

The “Ten-Year War” with Michigan

One of the most legendary rivalries in college football is the annual matchup between Ohio State and Michigan. From 1969 to 1978, Woody Hayes engaged in a fierce coaching battle with Michigan’s Bo Schembechler, creating a decade-long rivalry known as the “Ten-Year War.”

The Archie Griffin Era

Running back Archie Griffin became a football icon, winning the Heisman Trophy in both 1974 and 1975. He remains the only player in college football history to achieve this remarkable feat.

The Era of Urban Meyer

In 2012, Urban Meyer took over as head coach and brought a new era of success to Ohio State football. Under his leadership, the Buckeyes won the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship in 2015, solidifying their status as a modern powerhouse.

Historic Bowl Appearances

Ohio State has participated in numerous prestigious bowl games, including the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl, among others. The Buckeyes’ presence in these high-profile matchups has consistently highlighted their national prominence.

Strong NFL Pipeline

Ohio State’s football program has been a consistent producer of NFL talent, with countless players going on to successful professional careers in the National Football League.

Tradition and Fervent Fan Base

The Ohio State Buckeyes enjoy an unparalleled level of support from their passionate fan base. The team’s home games at Ohio Stadium, affectionately known as “The Horseshoe,” draw record-breaking crowds, creating an electric atmosphere that fuels the players’ performances.

Ohio State’s Claimed National Championships

Ohio State's Claimed National Championships

Ohio State University has a rich football tradition, and the Buckeyes have claimed a total of eight national championships in their history. 

These championships were achieved in different eras, under the guidance of esteemed coaches, and through the exceptional performance of talented players. Ohio State’s claimed national championships are as follows:


Coached by Paul Brown, the Buckeyes had a dominant season, finishing with a record of 9-1 and claiming the national championship by the majority of recognized polls at the time.


Under the leadership of Woody Hayes, Ohio State had an impressive 10-0 record and was crowned national champions by the majority of recognized polls.


Once again led by Coach Woody Hayes, the Buckeyes had a spectacular season with a 9-1 record, earning them the national championship in several polls.


The 1961 season saw Ohio State achieve an impressive 8-0-1 record, and the Buckeyes were awarded the national championship by multiple polls.


Coached by Woody Hayes, the Buckeyes secured a remarkable 10-0 record and were recognized as national champions by multiple major polls.


Under the guidance of Woody Hayes, Ohio State had a stellar 9-0-1 record, leading to the Buckeyes being awarded the national championship by several major polls.


Coached by Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes had a memorable 14-0 season and won the BCS National Championship, finishing at the top of the final BCS rankings.


Coached by Urban Meyer, Ohio State had an exceptional 14-1 season and won the College Football Playoff National Championship, further solidifying their status as national champions.

It’s essential to note that national championships can be determined differently by various organizations and polls, leading to discrepancies in the number of claimed titles.

Debates and Controversies in Ohio State’s National Championships

Ohio State’s national championships have not been without their share of debates and controversies, which are not uncommon in college football history. Some of the notable debates and controversies surrounding Ohio State’s claimed national championships include:

Retroactive Title Claims

One of the ongoing debates involves retroactive claims of national championships. Some fans and historians argue that Ohio State could have additional national championships based on different ranking systems or polls used in various eras. 

However, determining retroactive titles can be subjective and often leads to differing opinions.

1970 Split Championship

In 1970, Ohio State was awarded the national championship by some polls, but other polls recognized the University of Texas as the champion. This split title has been a subject of discussion and remains a point of contention among fans and historians.

2002 vs. 2003 Controversy

After Ohio State won the BCS National Championship in the 2002 season, controversy arose when LSU also claimed the title after winning the BCS National Championship in the 2003 season. 

Some argue that the BCS system should have only awarded one national championship, creating a debate over which season’s title is more legitimate.

Selection Committee Disagreements

In recent years, debates have arisen concerning the selection process for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Some fans and analysts have criticized the committee’s decisions and rankings, questioning whether Ohio State deserved to be included in the CFP or if other teams were more deserving.

Poll Rankings and Voting Bias

Throughout history, biases in polls and voting have been a point of controversy in college football. Some argue that certain regions or conferences may receive preferential treatment, impacting the rankings and potentially influencing national championship claims.

Modern Playoff Era

The introduction of the College Football Playoff in 2014 has also sparked debates about the legitimacy of national championships determined through the playoff system. 

Some argue that the playoff format is more equitable and accurate, while others maintain that it still leaves room for subjectivity.

Ohio State’s national championships have not been exempt from debates and controversies, which is typical of the complex and competitive landscape of college football. 

While these discussions add to the richness of the sport’s history, they also highlight the challenges in determining national champions.

Ohio State’s Contribution to College Football

Ohio State University’s contribution to college football is immeasurable and has left a lasting impact on the sport’s history and development. Throughout the decades, the Buckeyes have played a significant role in shaping the landscape of college football, and their contributions can be seen in various aspects:

Tradition of Excellence

Ohio State’s football program has established a tradition of excellence that spans over a century. With a rich history of national championships, conference titles, and bowl game appearances, the Buckeyes have consistently been a force to be reckoned with on the field.

Iconic Coaches

The legacy of Ohio State football is intertwined with the iconic coaches who have led the team to greatness. Legendary figures like Woody Hayes and Urban Meyer have not only achieved success on the field but have also left a lasting impact on the players they mentored and the sport as a whole.

Historic Rivalries

The intense rivalries that Ohio State has cultivated with other college football powerhouses, such as Michigan and Penn State, have added excitement and drama to the sport. These annual clashes have become some of the most anticipated and watched games in college football.

Producing NFL Talent

Ohio State has consistently produced top-tier talent that goes on to succeed at the professional level in the NFL. Many Buckeyes have become star players and leaders in the professional ranks, further solidifying Ohio State’s reputation as a talent-producing institution.

Passionate Fan Base

The Buckeyes enjoy a devoted and passionate fan base that spans the nation. The Scarlet and Gray faithful, affectionately known as “Buckeye Nation,” create an electrifying atmosphere during games, making Ohio Stadium one of the most intimidating venues for opposing teams.

Innovations in Coaching and Strategy

Ohio State’s coaches have often been at the forefront of innovative coaching strategies and game plans. Their contributions have influenced the way football is played, and the Buckeyes’ approach to the game has been emulated by other teams and coaches.

Impact on College Football Culture

Ohio State’s football program has helped shape the culture of college football. From traditions like the “Script Ohio” to the passionate dedication of its fans, the Buckeyes have contributed to the unique fabric of the sport.

Success in Modern Playoff Era

In the modern College Football Playoff era, Ohio State has been a consistent participant, showcasing its ability to compete at the highest level. The Buckeyes’ inclusion in the playoff has contributed to the increased excitement and competitiveness of the postseason.

So, Ohio State University’s contribution to college football goes beyond wins and losses. The Buckeyes have left an enduring mark on the sport through their tradition of excellence, iconic coaches, historic rivalries, and ability to produce top-tier talent.


How many national championships has Ohio State’s football program won?

Ohio State University’s football program has claimed a total of eight national championships in its illustrious history, earning them a place among the elite in college football history.

What are some of the iconic moments in Ohio State’s national championship victories?

From Woody Hayes’ iconic coaching era to Urban Meyer’s triumphs in the modern College Football Playoff era, each national championship victory has been accompanied by memorable moments that have become etched in the hearts of Buckeye fans.

How did Ohio State’s claim national championships compare to other football powerhouses?

With eight national championships, Ohio State stands proudly among the most successful football programs in college football history, showcasing its enduring legacy of excellence.

Have there been any controversies or debates surrounding Ohio State’s national championships?

Like many storied football programs, Ohio State’s national championships have not been without debates and controversies, including retroactive claims and split title decisions in certain years.

What impact has Ohio State’s football success had on college football as a whole?

Ohio State’s football program has left an indelible mark on college football culture, from its passionate fan base to its innovations in coaching and strategies, influencing the sport’s development and legacy.

Bottom Line

As we conclude this journey through Ohio State’s football legacy, it becomes evident that their eight claimed national championships are a testament to their tradition of excellence, iconic coaches, and passionate fan base. 

Each championship victory holds a special place in the hearts of Buckeye fans and adds to the rich tapestry of college football history. 

As Ohio State continues to pursue football greatness, its national championships remain a symbol of its enduring impact on the sport, inspiring generations of players, coaches, and fans alike. Best of luck. 

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn