(The video in this story are highlights of the 2004 championship game, won 28-21 against Mary-Hardin Baylor).
'Best of' lists can be dubious at times, but with four national titles and the best modern-era win streak in college football, ESPN had no qualms listing Linfield as one of the 50 best college football programs in the last 150 years.
"Attention, data geeks. Linfield made this list for the simple reason that the Wildcats last year extended their streak of winning seasons to 63. They last had a losing campaign in 1955, when Dwight Eisenhower was president and no one had heard of Elvis Presley. Hall of Fame head coach Ad Rutschman won three NAIA Division II titles from 1982 to 1986, but only after he led the baseball Wildcats to a national title in 1971. Dude could coach. Under Jay Locey, Linfield added an NCAA Division III title in 2004. You should take in a game at Linfield where, on game days, they rename the two blocks leading to Memorial Stadium "Streak Street."
The McMinnville school is in some great company, with Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State leading the ESPN rankings. Linfield ranks ahead of Virginia Tech, Stanford, Arkansas and Wisconsin.
Legend Ad Rutschman coached Linfield to three of their titles, in 1982, 1984 and 1986. (Yes, he's the grandfather of former Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, now with the Baltimore Orioles). "Dude could coach," ESPN wrote. Rutschman started his career coaching at his alma mater, Hillsboro High. His baseball teams won three state titles.
The Wildcats won the national championship a fourth time in 2004, coached by Jay Locey, a Corvallis High grad (the quarterback was OSU coaching legend Mike Riley) who was an All Pac-8 defensive back at Oregon State.