With the archive of weekly football rankings complete, I wanted to turn my attention to something that I now have the opportunity to fully research and expand upon: the shared state championship.
Several championships were already listed as shared on my state champions listings. In the pre-playoff, polls-only era, this isn’t unprecedented. However, with both the complete AP and UPI rankings now fully available, it’s afforded me a chance to look back at season-ending polls to see if everything matches up.
In short, it doesn’t. And that’s what this post is designed to do — give some teams the props, and championships, they’ve earned but not had listed here.
This isn’t a new exploration of mine. When I first worked through shared champions in 2009 on this site, I made the decision to solely accept the UPI polls. With the extended research, though, I’ve come to the realization that both the AP and UPI polls were just about as equally valid, run just as often and about just as far and wide across the state as each other.
I defaulted to the UPI rankings because they were the favorite of my adopted hometown paper, and later my employer, the Casper Star-Tribune, which often didn’t even run the AP rankings for an entire season. But the AP rankings definitely had validity, and they need to be recognized as such. That means this site should accept the champions of both the AP and UPI polls, not just the UPI.
So that’s what I’m doing.
This means four teams — Torrington and Glenrock from 1972, Deaver-Frannie from 1971 and Cheyenne Central from 1966 — will retroactively have the championships they earned in those years added to the site. All four were AP champions in some form:
- Torrington and Glenrock were AP champions in their respective classes (A and B) 1972, as opposed to UPI champions Star Valley and St. Mary’s.
- Glenrock and Deaver-Frannie tied for the top of the Class B rankings in the final AP poll in 1971, whereas Glenrock won the UPI poll outright.
- Cheyenne Central and Powell tied atop the final AP poll of the 1966 season, as Powell won the UPI outright.
Two other final polls where teams shared the top spot in the polls were NOT added for the following reasons:
- The 1971 AA final polls’ top spots were shared between Laramie (AP) and Natrona (UPI). However, by 1971 Class AA had a championship game, which Laramie won. Likewise, the final polls were taken prior to the championship game, in which Laramie beat Rock Springs.
- In 1961, Greybull (AP) and Laramie (UPI) finished atop the final polls of the season. These, too, came before the playoffs, in which Greybull as a Class A school was involved. Greybull’s loss to Buffalo in the Class A semifinals ended its title run and could not be accounted for in the polls, leaving Laramie as the sole Class AA title claimant and Star Valley, the team that beat Buffalo in the Class A championship game, as the titleist for that class.
Other shared championships that are already listed will remain, including Byron and Glenrock sharing the 1968 Class B championship, Sheridan and Laramie sharing the 1958 Class AA championship, and Sheridan and Natrona sharing the 1957 Class AA championship.
Shared titles before the start of statewide polls in the mid-1950s were “by acclaim” champions, as no formal polling system existed prior to the AP/UPI polls, and in earlier days the polls by the Wyoming Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
Researching the polls week to week has given me significantly more insight to the processes used in these times to choose a state champion. I think these updates accurately reflect the sentiment at the time.
And it makes me glad that we have playoffs these days.