1916 Pittsburgh Panthers football team

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1916 Pittsburgh Panthers football
Pitt Panthers wordmark.svg
National champion
(Billingsley MOV, Helms, Houlgate, NCF)
Co-national championship (Davis)
Conference Independent
1916 record 8–0
Head coach Pop Warner (2nd season)
Offensive scheme Double wing
Captain Bob Peck
Home stadium Forbes Field
← 1915
1917 →
1916 NCAA independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Army         9 0 0
Pittsburgh         8 0 0
Notre Dame         8 1 0
Penn State         8 2 0
Maryland State         6 2 0
Navy         6 3 1
Montana         4 1 1
USC         5 3 0
Dartmouth         5 2 2
Washington State         4 2 0
Idaho         3 5 0
Villanova         1 8 0

The 1916 Pittsburgh Panthers football team represented the University of Pittsburgh in the 1916 college football season. Led by coach Pop Warner, the Panthers won all eight games and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 255 to 25. The team was retroactively selected as the national champion by the Billingsley Report (using its alternate "margin of victory" methodology), Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, and National Championship Foundation, and as a co-national champion with Army by Parke H. Davis.[1]

The lone scare of the 1916 season occurred at Navy when, following a delay of the team's train heading to Annapolis that caused a late arrival, the team overcame several fumbles and eked out a 20–19 victory.[2] The 1916 team was led by center Bob Peck, Pitt's first First Team All-American, and All-American end James Pat Herron, as well as All-Americans fullback Andy Hastings and guard "Tiny" Thornhill. Also on that team were Jock Sutherland and H.C. "Doc" Carlson who would go on to become perhaps Pitt's most legendary coaches in football and basketball, respectively. This Pitt Panthers football team was given the nickname "the greatest eleven in the world."

The 1916 team was selected or recognized as national champions by multiple selectors which are recognized as "major" (i.e. national in scope) in the official NCAA football records book.[3] The team is also recognized as the national champions by College Football Data Warehouse,[4] as well as a 1970 Sports Illustrated study that has served as the historical basis of the university's historical national championship claims since its original publication.[5]


Hall of fame head football coach Pop Warner (right) with three-time All-American and team captain Bob Peck during the 1916 national championship season
Date Opponent Site Result
October 7 Westminster (PA) Forbes FieldPittsburgh, PA W 57–0  
October 14 at Navy Worden FieldAnnapolis, MD W 20–19  
October 21 at Syracuse Archbold StadiumSyracuse, NY (Rivalry) W 30–0  
October 28 at Penn Forbes Field • Pittsburgh, PA W 20–0  
November 4 Allegheny Forbes Field • Pittsburgh, PA W 46–0  
November 11 Washington & Jefferson Forbes Field • Pittsburgh, PA W 37–0  
November 18 Carnegie Tech Forbes Field • Pittsburgh, PA W 14–6  
November 30 Penn State Forbes Field • Pittsburgh, PA (Rivalry) W 31–0  


List of national championship selectors[edit]

The are the selectors that determined Pitt to be national champions in 1916.[4]

* A "major" selector that was "national scope" according to the official NCAA football records book.[3]

All-American selections[edit]

Bold - Consensus All-American[15]


  1. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2015). "National Poll Rankings" (PDF). NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA. p. 108. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  2. ^ Sciullo Jr., Sam (2008). University of Pittsburgh Football Vault: The History of the Panthers. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-7948-2653-9. 
  3. ^ a b 2012 NCAA Football Records (PDF). The National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2012. pp. 69–71. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "1916 National Championships". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ Borghetti, E.J.; Nestor, Mendy; Welsh, Celeste, eds. (2008). 2008 Pitt Football Media Guide (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. p. 156. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  6. ^ "Pittsburgh Yearly Results". 
  7. ^ "Four Westerners On All-American: 1916 Selection Made by W. Eckersall". Daily Review (Decatur, IL). 1916-12-11. 
  8. ^ ESPN CollegeFootball Encyclopedia, p. 1152
  9. ^ "Three Colgate Men Picked By Camp for All-American Team". The Syracuse Herald. 1916-12-26. 
  10. ^ Jack Velock, INS sports editor (1916-12-04). "Have Hard Job Selecting All-American Team". Lima Times Democrat. 
  11. ^ H.C. Hamilton (1916-12-03). "West Men on United Press All-American". Des Moines Daily News. 
  12. ^ Monty (1916-11-25). "All American is Selected by Monty: Talent Stands Out". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 
  13. ^ Paul Purman (1916-12-02). "The News' Own All-American 1916 Football Team". Des Moines Daily News. 
  14. ^ "Here's All-American Eleven for 1916". The Times (Hammond, IN). 1916-12-05. 
  15. ^ "Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA. 2012. pp. 2–4.