1926 college football season

Last updated

The 1926 college football season was the first in which an attempt was made to recognize a national champion after the season.


Stanford, coached by Pop Warner, was the top team in the US under the new Dickinson System and awarded the Rissman Trophy. Unbeaten Stanford (10–0) faced unbeaten Alabama (9–0) in the Rose Bowl, and the two teams played to a 7–7 tie. Meanwhile, Parke H. Davis, a renowned football historian and football rules committee member, declared Lafayette (9–0) national champions in Spalding's Football Guide. Subsequently, the Leopards are also recognized as a co-national champions in the 1926 season.

Conference and program changes

Conference changes

Membership changes

School1925 Conference1926 Conference
Miami Hurricanes Program EstablishedIndependent

Program changes


September 18 A few schools opened their seasons early, as Stanford beat Fresno State 44–0. On September 25 Stanford beat visiting Caltech, 13–0 and USC defeated Whittier 74–0; Brown beat the University of Rhode Island, 14–0 and Pennsylvania (which had all 9 of its games scheduled at home in Philadelphia) shut out Franklin & Marshall, 41–0. Lafayette beat Muhlenberg College 35–0 In the South, defending Rose Bowl champion Alabama beat Millsaps College (Jackson, Miss) 54–0. Tennessee defeated Carson-Newman, 13–0.


October 2 Navy opened its season with a 17–13 win over Purdue, while Army started with a 21–0 win over Mercy College of Detroit. Brown beat Colby College (of Maine), 35–0 and Pennsylvania beat Johns Hopkins, 40–7. Lafayette won again, beating Schuylkill (which later was merged with Albright College) 47–0;

Stanford defeated Occidental 19–0 and USC defeated Santa Clara 42–0.

Alabama played Vanderbilt at Nashville and won 19–7; Tennessee beat North Carolina, 34–0.

Ohio State opened its season with a 40–0 win over Wittenberg University, while Michigan started with a 42–3 win over visiting Oklahoma State. Northwestern opened its season with a 34–0 win over visiting South Dakota. Notre Dame tuned up with a game against Wisconsin's Beloit College, winning 77–0. In the Missouri Valley, Kansas State beat Texas, 13–3.

October 9 At Annapolis, Navy's football team played a doubleheader, albeit with two different squads. The varsity beat a weak Drake University team, 24–7, and the reserves beat Richmond, 26–0. [1] Army defeated West Virginia's Davis & Elkins College, 21–7. Lafayette beat Pittsburgh, 17–7 and Pennsylvania beat Swarthmore, 44–0.

Ohio State played Ohio Wesleyan and won 47–0 and Northwestern beat Minnesota's Carleton College, 31–3. Michigan crushed Michigan State, 55–3, in a conference game. Notre Dame won at Minnesota, 19–7

Stanford had a 7–3 victory over an amateur team, the Olympic Club (from San Francisco). USC defeated a strong Washington State team, 16–7

Alabama beat Mississippi State 26–7 at a game in Meridian, Mississippi, while Tennessee won at LSU, 14–7. Kansas State won at Creighton 12–0.

October 16 In New York, Columbia University hosted Ohio State in an intersectional game, and lost, 32–7. Brown defeated Bates College 27–14 in Providence, while in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hosted Chicago and won 27–0. Navy won at Princeton 27–13, while Army played a strong Syracuse team and won 27–21. Lafayette beat Dickinson 30–7.

Stanford defeated Nevada 33–0, and USC beat Occidental, 28–6

At Atlanta, Alabama beat Georgia Tech 21–0. Tennessee had beaten Maryville the day before, 6–0. Notre Dame beat visiting Penn State, 28–0. In Western Conference play, Michigan beat Minnesota, 20–0, Northwestern defeated Indiana 20–0, and Illinois beat Iowa 13–6. Kansas State defeated Kansas, 27–0.

October 23 Brown played its first Ivy opponent, winning 7–0 at Yale. Pennsylvania beat Williams College, 36–0. Navy beat Colgate, 13–7, and Army beat Boston University 41–0. Lafayette defeated Albany, 30–7.

Notre Dame won at Northwestern, handing the Wildcats their first defeat, 6–0, with Rockne's reserves scoring on a touchdown pass. Alabama had a 2–0 win over Sewanee; Tennessee beat Centre College, 30–7. In Pacific Coast Conference games, Stanford won 29–12 at Oregon, and USC beat California at Berkeley, 27–0. In Western Conference play, Ohio State beat Iowa 23–6 and Michigan beat Illinois 13–0.Kansas State went to 5–0–0, winning at Oklahoma, 15–12.

October 30 Navy (5–0–0) and Michigan (4–0–0) played in Baltimore in an intersectional match of unbeatens. Though the Wolverines were heavily favored, Navy blocked a field goal and held Michigan 2 yards from goal in the first half; Hamilton of Navy kicked a field goal, made a key interception to set up a touchdown, and added the point after for a 10–0 win. [2]

In Los Angeles, another big game between unbeatens matched Stanford and Southern California (USC), both 5–0–0, faced off. USC scored first, but Dick Hyland blocked the extra point; after a second Trojan touchdown, the kick failed, and USC had a 12–0 lead. Stanford scored, but the extra point kick hit the upright, and it was 12–6 at halftime. Biff Hoffman's pass to Dick Hyland tied the game for Stanford, and George Bogue's point after kick proved to be the winning margin in Stanford's 13–12 win. [3] Lafayette and Washington & Jefferson were both 5–0–0 when they met in Philadelphia; the Presidents lost to Lafayette, 16–10

At Champaign, Illinois (4–1–0) hosted unbeaten (5–0–0) Pennsylvania, and won 3–0, while at Atlanta, Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech 12–0. Alabama defeated LSU, 24–0 and Tennessee won at Mississippi State, 33–0. Army won at Yale, 33–0 and Brown won at Dartmouth, 10–0. Ohio State won at the University of Chicago, 18–0., and Northwestern won its rematch with the Hoosiers at Indiana, 21–0. Kansas State went to 5–0–0 in beating Arkansas, 16–7.


November 6 Navy played an easy opponent in West Virginia Wesleyan College, winning 53–7. Army won its sixth straight, a 55–0 whitewash of Franklin & Marshall. Lafayette won again, beating Rutgers 37–0; Brown beat Norwich College, 27–0 and Pennsylvania beat Penn State, 3–0.

Alabama beat Kentucky 14–0 and Tennessee beat Sewanee 12–0. Stanford beat Santa Clara 33–14, while USC was idle. Michigan beat Wisconsin, 37–0, Northwestern beat Purdue 22–0, and Illinois won at Chicago 7–0. Ohio State defeated Wilmington, 13–7. Notre Dame won at Indiana, 26–0. In Milwaukee, Kansas State suffered its first defeat, losing to Marquette, 14–0.

On Armistice Day (November 11, USC (5–1–0) and Oregon State (4–0–0) played at Portland, Oregon. USC won 17–7.

November 13 In Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame and Army, both 6–0–0, faced off in another battle of powerhouses. The Fighting Irish handed the Cadets their first defeat, 7–0. In Columbus, Ohio State (6–0–0) hosted conference rival Michigan (5–1–0). The visitors won by a point, 17–16. Tennessee (7–0) and Vanderbilt (6–1) faced off in Nashville, and the Vols suffered their first defeat, 20–3. Stanford (8–0–0) hosted Washington State (7–1–0) in another big PCC game, and won, 29–10.

Northwestern, meanwhile, beat Chicago 38–7. Illinois defeated Wabash 27–13 Navy defeated Georgetown University, 10–7, and Lafayette recorded a fourth shutout, over Susquehanna, 68–0; Alabama beat Florida, 49–0; Kansas State lost again, at Nebraska, 3–0. Brown won at Harvard, 21–0 and Pennsylvania beat Columbia 3–0.

November 20 Navy played Loyola College of Baltimore, winning 35–13, and Army beat Ursinus, 21–15. Lafayette completed its season with a 35–0 win in its annual game against Lehigh Brown defeated New Hampshire, 40–12, to extend its record to 9–0–0.

Ohio State closed its season with a 7–6 win at Illinois, while Michigan recorded the same score in a rematch against the Gophers at Minnesota. Northwestern defeated Iowa, 13–6. All three schools finished 7–1–0, with Michigan and Northwestern being 5–0 in Western Conference play.

Notre Dame beat Drake, 21–0. Kansas State, after winning its first five, lost its next three, including a 3–2 defeat by visiting Iowa State; the Wildcats' final record was 5–3–0. USC defeated Idaho, 38–6. Stanford closed the regular season with its traditional finale against California. Though the Golden Bears had the home field, they were also having their first losing season since 1916, when their program began. California lost, 41–6.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, Alabama hosted Georgia winning 33–6, and USC crushed Montana, 61–0. Pennsylvania closed its season with a 10–10 tie with Cornell.

On November 27, Notre Dame was shocked by Carnegie Tech, 19–0. The 1926 Army-Navy game took place in Chicago. Navy, at 9–0–0, was unbeaten, while Army (7–1–0) had a single loss, to Notre Dame. The two teams played to a 21–21 tie. In Providence, Brown and Colgate tied, 10–10.

December 4 In Los Angeles, Notre Dame closed its season with a 13–12 win over USC.

At season's end, there were two "unbeaten and untied" teams, the Indians (later, "the Cardinal") of Leland Stanford University, and the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. Alabama, which had won the Rose Bowl the previous year, was invited to return to Pasadena to face Stanford's PCC champion team.

Rose Bowl

United Press called the 1927 Rose Bowl "the football championship of America", and the game was considered the most exciting in the series up to that time. The crowd of 68,000 set an attendance record. Stanford's George Bogue missed an 18-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, then threw a touchdown pass to Ed Walker and kicked the point after to put Stanford up, 7–0. Stanford held that lead through most of the rest of the game, but in the final minutes, they were forced to punt on fourth down. Frankie Wilton's kick was blocked, and Alabama took over 14 yards from goal. Four plays later, and with a minute left, Jimmy Johnson carried the ball for a touchdown, making it 7–6. The two-point conversion, and overtime, were decades in the future. Stanford's only hope was to block the point after, but Alabama ran the play quickly and Herschel Caldwell's kick tied Stanford, and took away an Stanford victory in the final minute. [4]

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1926 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Michigan +500  710
Northwestern +500  710
Ohio State 310  710
Purdue 211  521
Wisconsin 321  521
Illinois 220  620
Minnesota 220  530
Indiana 040  350
Iowa 050  350
Chicago 050  260
  • + Conference co-champions
1926 Missouri Valley football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Oklahoma A&M $301  341
Nebraska 510  620
Grinnell 311  611
Missouri 410  512
Oklahoma 321  521
Kansas State 220  530
Iowa State 331  431
Drake 140  260
Kansas 150  260
Washington University 060  170
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Stanford $400  1001
USC 510  820
Oregon Agricultural 410  710
Washington State 410  610
Washington 320  820
Oregon 140  241
Idaho 140  341
Montana 040  350
California 050  360
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Rocky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Utah $500  700
Montana State 400  421
Colorado College 520  520
Colorado Agricultural 520  621
Utah Agricultural 412  512
Colorado Teachers 330  640
Denver 440  440
Wyoming 122  242
Colorado 251  351
BYU 141  151
Colorado Mines 150  160
Western State (CO) 070  080
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Alabama $800  901
Tennessee 510  810
Vanderbilt 410  810
South Carolina 420  640
Georgia 420  540
Virginia 421  622
VPI 321  531
Washington and Lee 321  432
Georgia Tech 430  450
North Carolina 330  450
Auburn 330  540
LSU 330  630
Ole Miss 220  540
Mississippi A&M 230  540
VMI 240  550
Tulane 240  351
Maryland 131  541
Clemson 130  270
Florida 141  262
Kentucky 141  261
NC State 040  460
Sewanee 050  260
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Centenary +500  530
Chattanooga +402  622
Presbyterian 510  720
Furman 311  811
Stetson 310  511
Georgetown (KY) 311  621
Louisiana Tech 310  522
Birmingham–Southern 312  532
Mercer 311  432
Mississippi College 520  730
Louisville 210  620
Centre 212  342
The Citadel 530  730
SW Louisiana 220  631
Transylvania 110  430
Florida Southern 220  440
Oglethorpe 341  371
Howard (AL) 231  441
Newberry 240  250
Millsaps 260  280
Wofford 130  280
Union (TN) 140  360
Louisiana College 040  350
Kentucky Wesleyan 040  360
Erskine 040  170
Rollins 040  060
  • + Conference co-champions
1926 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
SMU $500  801
Baylor 311  631
Texas 220  540
TCU 112  612
Texas A&M 131  531
Arkansas 010  550
Rice 040  441
  • $ Conference champion


1926 Eastern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Lafayette     900
Brown     901
NYU     810
Army     711
Boston College     602
Penn     711
Cornell     611
Princeton     511
Carnegie Tech     720
Syracuse     721
Villanova     621
Colgate     522
Columbia     630
Pittsburgh     522
Temple     530
Penn State     540
Tufts     440
Yale     440
Bucknell     451
Fordham     341
Harvard     350
Rutgers     360
Vermont     360
Drexel     250
Lehigh     180
Franklin & Marshall     081
1926 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Haskell     1201
Notre Dame     910
Western State (MI)     710
Michigan State Normal     610
Ball Teachers     511
Northern Illinois State     511
Muncie Normal     521
Marquette     630
Lombard     530
Loyola (IL)     530
Central Michigan     341
Michigan State     341
Detroit     361
Butler     360
Saint Louis     360
John Carroll     251
Kent State     260
Valparaiso     141
1926 Southern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Loyola (LA)     1000
Miami (FL)     800
Howard     700
Delaware State     100
Navy     901
Texas Tech     613
Davidson     721
Georgetown     721
William & Mary     730
Hampden–Sydney     523
George Washington     540
Middle Tennessee     421
West Virginia     640
Texas A&I     430
Wake Forest     541
Texas Mines     340
Mississippi Teachers     341
Tennessee Docs     351
Catholic University     350
Delaware     350
Duke     360
East Tennessee Teachers     241
Richmond     270
1926 Western college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Loyola (CA)     602
Arizona     511
Tempe State     411
Gonzaga     521
New Mexico     421
New Mexico A&M     531
Hawaii     540
Santa Clara     540
Santa Barbara State     240

Minor conferences

Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association Hampton Institute 6–0–1
Far Western Conference Saint Mary's (CA) 4–0
Inter-Normal Athletic Conference of Wisconsin River Falls Normal 4–0
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Parsons 6–0–1
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Kansas State Normal 7–0
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Alma 4–0
Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference Carleton 3–0
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Gustavus Adolphus 6–0
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Central Missouri State Teachers 4–0
North Central Intercollegiate Conference South Dakota State College 3–0–2
Nebraska Intercollegiate Conference Nebraska State Teachers–Chadron 6–0
Ohio Athletic Conference Muskingum 7–0
Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Southwestern State Teachers 5–0
Pacific Northwest Conference College of Idaho 2–0
South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference Columbus College
Dakota Wesleyan
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pomona 5–2
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tuskegee 8–0
Southwestern Athletic Conference Samuel Huston 5–0
Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference Simmons (TX) 2–0–1
Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Daniel Baker 4–0
Tri-Normal League State Normal–Ellensburg 2–0

Minor conference standings

1926 Buckeye Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Ohio Wesleyan $301  621
Wittenberg 310  620
Ohio 211  521
Miami (OH) 121  521
Denison 130  261
Cincinnati 031  351
  • $ Conference champion
1926 California Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Chico State $501  521
Modesto JC 231  231
Cal Poly 130  540
San Jose State 051  161
Sacramento JC         
San Mateo JC         
Santa Rosa JC         
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Hampton $601  701
Virginia Union 610  610
North Carolina A&T 520  720
Virginia Seminary 331  341
Saint Paul's (VA) 241  351
Virginia Normal 340  440
Johnson C. Smith 151  261
Shaw 070  171
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Far Western Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Saint Mary's (CA) $400  901
Nevada 310  440
Fresno State 121  531
Pacific (CA) 121  531
Cal Aggies 040  261
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bradley +500  900
Monmouth (IL) +500  710
Lake Forest 100  233
Illinois College 620  620
Millikin 620  620
Shurtleff 620  620
Augustana (IL) 421  521
North Central 320  540
Western Illinois 430  431
Southern Illinois 111  512
Illinois State 440  440
Illinois Wesleyan 330  331
Carthage 231  332
Eastern Illinois 230  351
St. Viator 120  350
Knox (IL) 131  251
McKendree 131  161
Lincoln (IL) 160  260
Wheaton (IL) 031  061
Mount Morris 051  061
Eureka 061  061
  • + Conference co-champions
1926 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Emporia Teachers $700  700
College of Emporia 610  710
Bethany (KS) 610  620
Wichita 510  620
Ottawa 520  521
Friends 420  260
Sterling 430  440
Washburn 331  341
Kansas Wesleyan 340  440
Baker 232  332
McPherson 240  341
Hays Teachers 250  350
Pittsburg Teachers 250  260
St. Mary's (KS) 250  250
St. Benedict's 021  161
Southwestern (KS) 060  260
Bethel (KS) 060  070
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Alma $400  620
Hillsdale 220  521
Kalamazoo 220  341
Albion 130  450
Olivet 130  151
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Gustavus Adolphus $600  700
Macalester 310  530
Hamline 320  440
St. Olaf 230  250
Saint John's (MN) 131  241
Augsburg 131  131
Concordia (MN) 040  070
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Missouri College Athletic Union football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Westminster (MO) $700  710
Missouri Mines 100  530
Central Methodist 510  520
Missouri Valley 420  520
William Jewell 430  440
Missouri Wesleyan 240  261
Culver–Stockton 130  181
Drury 031  061
Central Wesleyan 051  251
Tarkio 030  060
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Central Missouri State $400  701
Kirksville State 310  710
NW Missouri State 220  620
SW Missouri State 130  350
SE Missouri State 040  061
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Nebraska College Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Chadron Normal $600  640
Peru Normal 511  711
Nebraska Wesleyan 410  640
Nebraska Central 312   ? ? ?
Doane 521  522
Midland 430  540
Hastings 430  440
Wayne Normal 230  350
Kearney Normal 231  261
York (NE) 242  242
Grand Island 241  251
Omaha 050  250
Cotner 090  090
  • $ Conference champion
1926 New England Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Connecticut $310  710
Maine 210  710
New Hampshire 210  440
Massachusetts 010  160
Rhode Island State 030  160
  • $ Conference champion
1926 New York State Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Niagara $201  431
Hobart 410  630
Clarkson 311  431
St. Lawrence 210  421
Rochester 221  351
St. Bonaventure 110  350
Hamilton 110  260
Alfred 141  162
Buffalo 050  080
  • $ Conference champion
1926 North Central Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
South Dakota State $302  813
South Dakota 311  531
Morningside 210  620
Creighton 221  441
North Dakota 320  440
North Dakota Agricultural 230  530
Des Moines 140  270
Nebraska Wesleyan 030  640
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Northwest Ohio League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Findlay $310  551
Bowling Green 210  431
Bluffton 220  330
Toledo 120  350
Defiance 130  360
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Ohio Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Muskingum $700  900
Dayton 300  820
St. Xavier 100  910
Oberlin 610  610
Wittenberg 410  620
Ohio Wesleyan 511  621
Wooster 520  620
Miami (OH) 421  521
Ohio 421  521
Akron 422  522
Mount Union 530  630
Case 423  423
Baldwin–Wallace 332  332
Western Reserve 341  341
Heidelberg 240  340
Cincinnati 251  351
Denison 260  261
Otterbein 150  250
Ohio Northern 160  160
Kenyon 160  170
Marietta 160  170
Hiram 070  070
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Southwestern State $500  720
Tulsa 510  720
Oklahoma Baptist 411  611
Northeastern State 330  450
Southeastern Oklahoma State 330  450
Central State (OK) 222  333
Oklahoma City 341  541
Phillips 231  251
Northwestern Oklahoma State 051  252
East Central 050  270
  • $ Conference champion
1926 South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dakota Wesleyan +500  610
Columbus (SD) +400  421
South Dakota Mines 300  411
Southern Normal 411  521
Northern Normal 310  510
Yankton 221  331
Eastern Normal 340  341
Huron 230  250
Augustana (SD) 160  170
Spearfish 040  351
Sioux Falls 060  060
  • + Conference co-champions
  • Spearfish and South Dakota Mines played twice. The second game was not counted in the conference stnadings.
1926 Southern California Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Pomona $520  520
Southern Branch 420  530
Whittier 421  441
Occidental 320  441
Caltech 320  431
La Verne 112  222
San Diego State 131  341
Redlands 070  090
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Samuel Huston $500   ? ? ?
Prairie View State 311  421
Wiley 320  620
Paul Quinn 221   ? ? ?
Bishop 140   ? ? ?
Texas College 050   ? ? ?
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Texas Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Simmons (TX) $201  631
Howard Payne 310  441
Trinity (TX) 211  352
Austin 120  450
Southwestern (TX) 040  090
  • $ Conference champion
1926 Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Daniel Baker $400  721
North Texas State Teachers 410  531
Southwest Texas State 410  720
Sam Houston State 410  531
Abilene Christian 220  440
McMurry 120  190
Stephen F. Austin 130  550
St. Edward's 020  460
West Texas State 040  260
East Texas State 050  070
  • $ Conference champion

Dickinson System

The AP sportswriters' poll would not begin continuously until 1936. [5] (although, the first time was a one instance publishing in 1934 [6] ) Frank G. Dickinson, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, had invented the Dickinson System to rank colleges based upon their records and the strength of their opposition. The system was originally designed to rank teams in the Big Nine (later the Big Ten) conference. Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack Rissman then persuaded Dickinson to rank the nation's teams under the system, and awarded the Rissman Trophy to the winning university. [7]

Although Dickinson retroactively applied the system to the 1924 and 1925 seasons, the year 1926 was the first in which the trophy was awarded at season's end. The system awarded 30 points for a win over a "strong team", and 20 for a win over a "weak team". Losses were awarded points (15 for loss to a strong team, 10 for loss to a weak team). Ties were treated as half a win and half a loss (22.5 for a tie with a strong team, 15 for a tie with a weak team). An average was then derived by dividing the points by games played. [8]

Final Dickinson rankings

Professor Dickinson's rating metrics were unfavorable to Alabama, which won all nine of its regular season games, but were given an average rating of 16.67, less than the average for wins over weak (20.00 point) contenders. Alabama was the only Southern team in the 1926 rankings.

1 Stanford 10–0-122.50
2 Navy 9–0–121.83
3 (t) Michigan 7–121.25
3 (t) Notre Dame 9–121.25
5 Lafayette 9–020.00
6 USC 8–217.70
7 Alabama 9–0–116.67
8 Ohio State 7–116.25
9 Army 7–1–114.38
10 Brown 9–0–113.76
11 (t) Illinois 6–213.75
11 (t) Northwestern 7–113.75
11 (t) Penn 7–1–113.75


Awards and honors


The consensus All-America team included:

PositionNameHeightWeight (lbs.)ClassHometownTeam
QB Benny Friedman 5'8"172Sr. Cleveland, Ohio Michigan
HB Mort Kaer 5'11"167Sr. Omaha, Nebraska USC
HB Moon Baker 5'10"172Sr. Rockford, Illinois Northwestern
FB Herb Joesting 6'1"192Jr. Owatonna, Minnesota Minnesota
E Bennie Oosterbaan 6'0"180Jr. Muskegon, Michigan Michigan
T Frank Wickhorst 6'0"218Sr. Aurora, Illinois Navy
G Bernie Shively 6'4"208Sr. Paris, Illinois Illinois
C Bud Boeringer 6'1"186Sr. Notre Dame
G Harry Connaughton 6'4"250Sr. Philadelphia Georgetown
T Bud Sprague 6'2"210So. Dallas, Texas Army
E Vic Hanson 5'10"174Sr. Syracuse, New York Syracuse

Statistical leaders

Related Research Articles

The 1966 University Division football season was marked by some controversy as the year of "The Tie", a famous 10–10 game between the two top-ranked teams, Michigan State and Notre Dame on November 19. Both teams were crowned national champions by various organizations after the regular season concluded, and neither participated in bowl game. Alabama finished the regular season undefeated and was third in the AP poll, while Georgia was fourth. Alabama went on to win the Sugar Bowl in dominant fashion. During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the major college football teams in the University Division, later known as Division I-A.

The 1927 college football season ended with the Illini of the University of Illinois (7–0–1) being recognized as champion under the Dickinson System. At season's end, the Rissler Cup was awarded to the team that finished first in the "Dickinson ratings", which considered strength of schedule, in that a win, loss or tie against a "strong" opponent was worth more than one against a lesser team, and the results were averaged.

The 1928 football season have both the USC Trojans and the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado claim national championships. USC was recognized as champions under the Dickinson System, but the Rose Bowl was contested between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, California and Georgia Tech. The game was decided by a safety scored after Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels ran 65 yards in the wrong direction. Vance Maree blocked the ensuing punt which gave Georgia Tech a safety deciding the 8–7 win.

The 1929 college football season saw a number of unbeaten and untied teams. Purdue, Tulane, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh all finished the regular season with wins over all their opponents. Notre Dame was recognized as national champion under the Dickinson System and by a United Press writer while Pitt was considered a national champion by several others due to Pitt possessing a greater scoring differential over the two teams' only common regular season opponent. Following the season, Pitt traveled to Pasadena to meet USC in the Rose Bowl, at that time the only postseason college football game and held between the perceived best teams of east and west. Despite Pitt's losing 47–14 to the Trojans, as bowls were still considered exhibitions by many, college football historian Parke H. Davis, whose national championship selections are recognized by the official NCAA records book, named the Panthers as that season's national champion while several other retroactive selectors recognized by the NCAA records book have selected Notre Dame. Both Notre Dame and Pitt claim a national championship for the 1929 season and both are recognized in the NCAA Records Book and by College Football Data Warehouse.

The 1930 college football season saw Notre Dame repeat as national champion under the Dickinson System, and a post-season Rose Bowl matchup between two unbeaten (9–0) teams, Washington State and Alabama, ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Alabama won the Pasadena contest, 24–0.

The 1931 college football season saw the USC Trojans win the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System. Rockne, who had coached Notre Dame to a championship in 1930, had been killed in a plane crash on March 31, 1931. For the first time, the champion under the Dickinson system also played in a postseason game. The Rose Bowl, promoted as an unofficial championship matchup between the best teams of East and West, matched USC and Tulane, No. 1 and No. 2 in the Dickinson ratings. USC won, 21–12. Also for 1931, historian Parke Davis, through research, selected Pittsburgh and Purdue as National Champions and these selections, along with USC, are all recognized by the official NCAA records book. Both USC and Pitt claim national championships for 1931, and both are recognized by College Football Data Warehouse.

1932 college football season

The 1932 college football season saw the Michigan Wolverines win the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System. Because the "Big Nine" conference didn't permit its teams to play in the postseason, however, the Wolverines were not able to accept a bid to the Rose Bowl. As such, the Pasadena game matched the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, USC and Pittsburgh, with the USC Trojans winning the East-West matchup 35–0.

The 1933 college football season saw the Michigan Wolverines repeat as winners of the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System.

The 1934 college football season was the 66th season of college football in the United States. Two New Year's Day bowl games were initiated to rival the Rose Bowl Game. On February 15, Warren V. Miller and Joseph M. Cousins organized the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association and by October, the group had enough funds to sponsor the Sugar Bowl. Meanwhile, W. Keith Phillips and the Greater Miami Athletic Club worked in November at a January 1 game for Florida, and the Orange Bowl was created.

The 1935 college football season was the last one before the Associated Press writers' poll was used in selecting the national champion. The Williamson System, calculated by Paul O. Williamson out of New Orleans, deemed Texas Christian University (TCU) as the best in the nation. The Dickinson System, consisting of the calculations of University of Illinois Professor Frank Dickinson, crowned Southern Methodist University (SMU) as the best in the nation. A poll of newspaper writers, taken at year's end—by United Press rather than the AP—concluded that Minnesota was the best in the nation.

1925 college football season

The 1925 college football season ended with no clear national champion. At the close of the season, noted sports writer Billy Evans described the championship contest as "a dead heat" among Dartmouth, Tulane, Michigan, Washington, and Alabama.

1924 college football season

The 1924 college football season was the year of the Four Horsemen as the Notre Dame team, coached by Knute Rockne, won all of its games, including the Rose Bowl, to be acclaimed as the best team in the nation. Notre Dame and Stanford were both unbeaten at season's end, with the Fighting Irish winning the Rose Bowl contest 27–10. The Penn Quakers were retroactively awarded a national championship by Parke H. Davis.

1923 college football season

The 1923 college football season saw several teams finish their seasons unbeaten and untied. As such, numerous schools claim a national championship for the 1923 season. Illinois and Michigan, both members of what is now the Big Ten Conference, finished with records of 8–0 and were selected as national champion by multiple selectors. Illinois featured break-out star Red Grange. Ivy League teams Yale and Cornell also had undefeated seasons.

The 1949 college football season finished with four teams that were unbeaten and untied-- Notre Dame, Oklahoma, California, and Army had won all their games at season's end. Notre Dame, however, was the overwhelming choice for national champion in the AP Poll, with 172 of 208 first place votes. The Fighting Irish did not participate in the New Year's Day bowl games, which were played on January 2, 1950.

The 1948 college football season finished with two unbeaten and untied teams; Michigan and Clemson. Michigan was the first place choice for the majority voters in the AP Poll, but didn't play in the postseason because of a no-repeat rule for Big Nine schools. Notre Dame, second in the AP Poll, tied USC 14–14 at the end of the regular season, but did not participate in any bowl per university policy at the time. Northwestern beat California 20–14 in the Rose Bowl, and Clemson defeated Missouri by a point in the Gator Bowl.

The 1947 college football season finished with Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State all unbeaten and untied, but the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were the first place choice for 107 of the 142 voters in the AP Poll, and repeated as national champions. Michigan went on to meet USC in the Rose Bowl and won 49–0, while Penn State was tied 13–13 by SMU in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and Notre Dame didn't participate in the postseason. An unofficial post bowl AP poll was conducted with Michigan and Notre Dame as the only options and Michigan won by a vote of 226 to 119.

The 1946 college football season finished with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish crowned as the national champion in the AP Poll, the Georgia Bulldogs recognized as national champion by the Williamson poll and United States Military Academy named as national champion in various other polls and rankings. The Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens were recognized by the AP as the small college national champion. Notre Dame and Army both won all of their games, with the exception of their November 9 meeting at New York's Yankee Stadium, where they had played to a 0–0 tie in a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup regarded as a "Game of the Century". Neither team played in bowl game that season.

The 1939 college football season concluded with the Aggies of The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas being named as the national champions by the voters in the Associated Press writers' poll.

The 1943 college football season concluded with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame crowned as the nation's No. 1 team by a majority of the voters in the AP Poll, followed by the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks as the runner-up. For the third time in the history of the AP Poll, a team that had lost a game was named mythical national champion;. Notre Dame lost its final game of the season, a Chicago contest against the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Along the way, however, the Fighting Irish had played one of the toughest college schedules ever, beating two No. 2 ranked teams and two No. 3 ranked teams. Purdue University would seemingly have a claim on the 1943 Championship as well as the only undefeated team playing a full schedule, but the Purdue athletic department has never pursued the claim.

1909 college football season

The 1909 college football season was the first for the 3-point field goal, which had previously been worth 4 points. The season ran from Saturday, September 25, until Thanksgiving Day, November 25, although a few games were played on the week before.


  1. "Navy Beats Drake, Richmond Elevens", Oakland Tribune, October 10, 1926, pD-3
  2. "Navy Boots Dope Bucket and Trims Famous Michigan Team", Zanesville Signal, Oct. 31, 1926, p8
  3. "Stanford Defeats Trojans, 13–12, In Sensational Game", Oakland Tribune, Oct. 31, 1926, pA-1
  4. "Stanford and Alabama Play Tie", Oakland Tribune, Jan. 2, 1927, p D-1; [www.rosebowlhistory.org]
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-12-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. Herschel Nissenson Tales From College Football's Sidelines (Sports Publishing LLC, 2001), p93.
  8. "The Dickinson system awards 30 points for a victory over a strong team, and 20 for victory over a weak team. Defeats count half as much as victories, and ties are consideredas games half won and half lost. Dividing this total by the number of games played gives the final rating, "ILLINOIS BEST FOOTBALL TEAM OF YEAR", The Syracuse Herald, Dec. 4, 1927, p23
  9. "System Places Stanford First", Nevada State Journal (Reno), December 17, 1926, p6