|1926 college football season|
|Number of bowls||1|
|Bowl games||January 1, 1927|
|Champion(s)|| Alabama |
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.
|School||1925 Conference||1926 Conference|
|Miami Hurricanes||Program Established||Independent|
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.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.
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.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.
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.
|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|
|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|
The AP sportswriters' poll would not begin continuously until 1936.(although, the first time was a one instance publishing in 1934 ) 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.
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.
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.
|3 (t)||Notre Dame||9–1||21.25|
The consensus All-America team included:
|QB||Benny Friedman||5'8"||172||Sr.||Cleveland, Ohio||Michigan|
|HB||Mort Kaer||5'11"||167||Sr.||Omaha, Nebraska||USC|
|HB||Moon Baker||5'10"||172||Sr.||Rockford, Illinois||Northwestern|
|FB||Herb Joesting||6'1"||192||Jr.||Owatonna, Minnesota||Minnesota|
|E||Bennie Oosterbaan||6'0"||180||Jr.||Muskegon, Michigan||Michigan|
|T||Frank Wickhorst||6'0"||218||Sr.||Aurora, Illinois||Navy|
|G||Bernie Shively||6'4"||208||Sr.||Paris, Illinois||Illinois|
|C||Bud Boeringer||6'1"||186||Sr.||Notre Dame|
|T||Bud Sprague||6'2"||210||So.||Dallas, Texas||Army|
|E||Vic Hanson||5'10"||174||Sr.||Syracuse, New York||Syracuse|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.