Photo: Kentucky replaces crystal ball national championship trophy from 1951
When Kentucky unveiled its new football facility in late July, one item stood out in particular – the Wildcats 1951 national championship crystal ball trophy.
Of course the crystal balls were not handed out until 1998 during the first season of the BCS era. As many observers noted, Kentucky finished No. 7 in the official AP Poll for 1950 (following the 1951 New Year’s Day Sugar Bowl), making the trophy seem all the more ridiculous to claim.
Despite the AP’s lack of respect, Kentucky does indeed hold a solid argument to claim a national title for that season after defeating the AP’s champion in the Sugar Bowl. However the negative feedback has resulted in the school recently removing the crystal ball and replacing it with the actual 1951 Sugar Bowl trophy:
The "crystal" football on UK's national championship trophy has been replaced with original Sugar Bowl trophy piece pic.twitter.com/EcYprM3z4I
— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) August 8, 2016
Now that the Wildcats honor the actual prize won on the field that day, it certainly makes its claim as 1951 national champions at least look more legitimate. Regardless of which school rightfully owns the national title handed out over a half century ago, let’s just be thankfully that college football no longer uses polls to determine the game’s annual champion.