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6 Biggest 'What Ifs' in MSU History; #3: What if State Claimed the 1941 National Title

Mississippi State, and the great people who attend and care about the University, always want to do the right thing. We try to stay objective, we try to stay fair and balanced. Perhaps that's why we don't claim titles that aren't ours. Ole Miss claims a national championship in 1959 and 1962, but where did those come from? Alabama claims 14 national titles, but the NCAA only recognizes 12. One of the discrepancies: 1941.

In 1941, Mississippi State was 8-1-1. One of those eight wins was a 14-0 defeat of Alabama - AT Alabama. Apparently the 16-0 defeat to #10 Dequensne was enough to boot State out of the Top 25, but whatever. It appears as though rankings didn't matter because Alabama somehow jumped from #18 to a split national championship with Minnesota (who the NCAA recognizes) after beating #2 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. 1941 SEC Champions: Mississippi State. 1941 National Champions: 9-2 Alabama.

Also of note: Mississippi State did not go to a bowl game that year due to extenuating circumstances related to the United States entering World War II. Georgia and Bama represented the SEC instead. I don't know all the politics involved in 1940s bowl selection, but I have to assume that the team that finished 3rd in the SEC (Alabama) would not have gotten a bid over the conference champion.

So what if Mississippi State had claimed the 1941 national championship? I mean, we have every right to, don't we. If Alabama claims it, if Ole Miss can claim two titles that aren't recognized by the NCAA, we could just stick a banner up, right?

Maybe the course of history would be a little different if Mississippi State College (at the time) were 1941 champs. Would Ole Miss have still dominated the Egg Bowl the next 30 years (23-3-4)? Would Darrell Royal have stayed in Starkville instead of leaving and going on to Texas - winning multiple national championships there?

I don't really know how much would be different, but at least there would be four numbers pasted on the side of our stadium: 1-9-4-1. I probably wouldn't even care if it were for the Crimson Tide...they have 12, but they've got to steal ours too.