1928 college football season

Last updated

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.[ citation needed ][ by whom? ] 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 Florida Gators led the nation in scoring as a team, led by its "Phantom Four" backfield, with 336 points. They were remembered by many sports commentators as the best Florida football team until at least the 1960s. NYU halfback Ken Strong led the nation in scoring as an individual, with 162 points, and tallied some 3,000 total yards from scrimmage. [1]

Conference and program changes

Conference changes

Membership changes

School1927 Conference1928 Conference
Appalachian State Mountaineers Program EstablishedIndependent
Creighton Bluejays Independent Missouri Valley
Drake Bulldogs MVIAA Missouri Valley
Iowa State Cyclones MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Grinnell Pioneers MVIAA Missouri Valley
Kansas Jayhawks MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Kansas State Wildcats MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Missouri Tigers MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Nebraska Cornhuskers MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Oklahoma Sooners MVIAA Big Six (MVIAA)
Oklahoma A&M Cowboys MVIAA Missouri Valley
UCLA Bruins SCIAC Pacific Coast
Washington (MO) Bears MVIAA Missouri Valley


September 29

Army beat Boston University 35–0. New York University (NYU) beat Niagara College 21–0. Pennsylvania def Ursinus 34–0. California beat Santa Clara 22–0 and USC beat Utah State, 40–12. Texas beat its crosstown neighbor, Austin's St. Edward's College, 32–0.


October 6

Nebraska opened its season with a 12–0 win at Iowa State. Army narrowly beat the visiting SMU Mustangs, 14–13. NYU beat West Virginia Wesleyan, 26–7. Pennsylvania def. Franklin & Marshall 46–0. Texas beat Texas Tech 12–0. After losing 2 games out of 3 to non-college opponents, Stanford won at Oregon 26–12; USC beat visiting Oregon State 19–0. California beat St. Mary's, 7–0 Wisconsin beat visiting Notre Dame, 22–6. Georgia Tech beat VMI, 13–0. Illinois beat Bradley, 33–6. Iowa played a Sunday game against Monmouth College, winning 26–0.

October 13

Stanford beat visiting UCLA 45–7, and California beat Washington State, 13–3. USC defeated St. Mary's, 19–6.

In New Orleans, Georgia Tech beat Tulane, 12–0, and in Dallas, Texas narrowly lost to Vanderbilt, 13–12. Pennsylvania shut out Swarthmore 67–0. NYU defeated Fordham* 34–7. Army shut out Providence 44–0. Nebraska beat Montana State, 26–6. Iowa won at Chicago, 13–0, while Illinois hosted Iowa's Coe College, winning 31–0 Wisconsin hosted Cornell College of Iowa, and North Dakota State University, with the varsity winning the first game 49–0, and the reserves beating the Dakotans 13–7.

October 20

In Berkeley, California and USC played to a 0–0 tie. With the exception of this game, USC played all of its other contests at home in Los Angeles in 1928.

Georgia Tech shut out Notre Dame at home, 13–0. Army won at Harvard 15–0. NYU beat Rutgers* 48–0. Pennsylvania recorded its fourth shutout, beating Penn State 14–0. In San Francisco, Stanford beat Idaho, 47–0. Wisconsin and Purdue tied 19–19, and Illinois beat Indiana 13–7. Iowa beat Ripon College, 61–6. Nebraska edged visiting Syracuse, 7–6. Texas beat Arkansas, 20–7. After its first two wins over Ashland College (65–0) and Thiel (38–13), Carnegie Tech beat Washington & Jefferson, 19–0.

October 27

Army won at Yale, 18–6. NYU beat Colgate 47–6. Pennsylvania (4–0–0) was upset by (1–3–0) Navy, 6–0. Prior to that, Penn had outscored its opponents 161–0. USC beat Occidental 19–0. Stanford beat Fresno State, 47–0. Wisconsin won at Michigan, 7–0, and Iowa beat Minnesota, 7–6, while Illinois beat Northwestern 6–0. Carnegie Tech beat Pittsburgh, 6–0. Georgia Tech yielded its first points, winning at North Carolina, 20–7. Nebraska shut out Missouri, 24–0, and Texas won at Rice, 13–6. California lost to the Olympic Club of San Francisco, 12–0. Olympic, nominally an amateur team of former college players, had beaten Stanford 12–6 earlier.


November 3

In Los Angeles, USC (4–0–1) and Stanford (5–2–0) met, with the Trojans winning 10–0. Wisconsin beat visiting Alabama, 15–0, while 4–0–0 Illinois suffered its first loss, at Michigan, 3–0. California beat Oregon, 13–0. Nebraska won at Kansas, 20–0. Texas lost to visiting SMU, 6–2. Pennsylvania won at Chicago, 20–13. NYU and Georgetown University, both 5–0–0, with the Hoyas winning 7–2. Army beat Indiana's DePauw College, 38–12. Iowa defeated visiting South Dakota, 19–0. Carnegie Tech extended its streak, with a 32–0 win over Westminster College of Pennsylvania, and Georgia Tech beat visiting Oglethorpe College 32–7.

November 10

Army (6–0–0) hosted Notre Dame(4–2–0). A crowd of 90,000 packed the stands while 5,000 others in the Bronx watched from roofs and fire escapes within view of Yankee Stadium. Though the Fighting Irish weren't having a good year, the score was 0–0 when Knute Rockne inspired his team at halftime by relating George Gipp's deathbed wish ("When the team's up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boystell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper"). Though Army scored a touchdown in the third quarter, touchdowns by Jack Chevigny and Johnny O'Brien gave the Irish a 12–6 lead. In the final minute, Army drove to within one foot of the goal line, but the whistle sounded before the Cadets could snap the ball. [2]

In the New York Daily News the following Monday, reporter Francis Wallace first related the story in an article entitled, "Gipp's Ghost Beat Army." [3]

The big game in the South was in Atlanta, where Vanderbilt (6–0–0) visited Georgia Tech (5–0–0), and the home team won 19–7. Texas won at Baylor, 6–0.

Wisconsin defeated Chicago, 25–0, and Iowa won at Ohio State, 14–7. In Indianapolis, Illinois beat Butler, 14–0.

Pennsylvania won at Harvard, 7–0 NYU beat Alfred University, 71–0. USC beat Arizona, 78–7, Stanford beat Santa Clara 31–0, and California won at Washington, 6–0. Carnegie Tech won at Georgetown, 13–7.

Nebraska, which had not played Oklahoma during the last two seasons, renewed a rivalry that became one of the most notable in college football. Playing at Oklahoma, the Cornhuskers won 44–6.

November 17

Iowa (6–0–0) hosted Wisconsin (6–0–1) in a meeting of unbeatens, with the visitors handing the Hawkeyes their first loss, 13–0. Illinois won at Chicago, 40–0. Georgia Tech beat Alabama at home, 33–13. Nebraska (6–0–0) hosted the (5–2–0) Pitt Panthers, and were tied, 0–0. Pennsylvania beat Columbia 34–7 NYU beat Missouri, 27–6. Army beat Carleton, 32–7. Texas beat a strong TCU team, 6–0. USC won again, defeating Washington State, 27–13, while Stanford beat Washington, 12–0, California rolled over visiting Nevada, 60–0. (6–0–0) Carnegie Tech won at (5–2–0) Notre Dame, 27–7.

November 24

Carnegie Tech (7–0–0) and NYU (7–1–0) met at Pittsburgh. The Violets handed Tech its first defeat, 27–13. Ken Strong gained widespread fame. He threw two long touchdown passes, rushed for two touchdowns, and kicked three extra points, leading Grantland Rice to write:

This attack was led by a runaway buffalo, using the speed of a deer, and his name was Ken Strong. He ran all over a big, powerful team, smashed its line, ran its ends, kicked 50 and 55 yards, threw passes and tackled all over the lot. Today he was George Gipp, Red Grange and Chris Cagle rolled into one human form and there was nothing Carnegie Tech had that could stop his march. [4]

Carnegie Tech coach Walter Steffen said of Strong's performance: "This is the first time in my career that one man was good enough to run over and completely wreck an exceptionally good team. I can tell you he is better than Heston or Thorpe." [5]

Georgia Tech crushed visiting Auburn, 51–0. Auburn won only 1 of its 9 games, and scored in only two of those contests.

Army (7–1–0) and Nebraska (6–0–1) met at West Point, with the Cadets beating the visiting Cornhuskers, 13–3. Stanford and California tied at Berkeley, 13–13. USC beat Idaho, 28–7.

November 29

On Thanksgiving Day, Pennsylvania beat Cornell 49–0. Overall, the Penn Quakers had outscored their opponents 271 to 26, and finished 8–1–0. NYU closed its season with a 25–13 loss to visiting Oregon State, and finished 8–2–0. Wisconsin hosted Minnesota, and suffered its first loss, a 6–0 defeat, to close at 7–1–1. After starting the season 6–0, Iowa closed with a second loss, at Michigan, 10–7, to finish 6–2–0. Illinois closed at 7–1–0 after beating visiting Ohio State, 8–0. Nebraska closed its season with an 8–0 win over Kansas State, and Texas wrapped with a 19–0 win over Texas A&M.

December 1

Army and Stanford met at Yankee Stadium, with Stanford shutting the Cadets out, 26–0. In Los Angeles, USC hosted Notre Dame, winning 27–14, to close its season at 9–0–1.

December 8

Georgia Tech hosted Georgia and won 206, closing regular play at 90, before the Yellow Jackets' trip to the Rose Bowl. The Jackets finished 70 in Southern Conference play, assuring themselves of at least a share of the conference title.

In one of the final games of the 1928 season, once-tied Tennessee hosted unbeaten Florida in Knoxville. For coach Charlie Bachman's Florida Gators, a share of the Southern Conference title was at stake; coach Robert Neyland's Tennessee Volunteers were playing for pride. Tennessee edged Florida, 1312. Florida finished 81, Tennessee 901, and unbeaten and untied Georgia Tech won the conference championship outright.

Rose Bowl

As the lone post-season college football game, the Rose Bowl matched the California Golden Bears, co-champions (with USC) of the Pacific Coast Conference, against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, nicknamed the "Golden Tornado" as well as the "champions of the South". In the second quarter, the Jackets were on their own 25 yard line, when Warner Mizell fumbled the football. Playing linebacker, California center Roy Riegels scooped up the fumble at the 34 and dashed, unimpeded, toward the end zone. Unfortunately, Riegels had gotten turned around and ran downfield toward the California goal. Though Riegels was not tackled in his own end zone, California chose to punt from there on first down, and Benny Lom's kick was blocked by Tech's Tom Jones, and Cal's Stan Barr fell on the ball for the safety. Georgia Tech's 2–0 lead at halftime was extended to 8–0 after Stumpy Thomason ran for 15 yards for a score, and the conversion failed. Lom's pass to Irv Phillips, and Barr's extra point, made it 8–7 with a minute left. An onside kick attempt failed, and Georgia Tech ran out the clock to win the other national championship. [6]

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1928 Big Six Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Nebraska $500  711
Oklahoma 320  530
Missouri 320  440
Iowa State 221  251
Kansas 131  242
Kansas State 050  350
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Illinois $410  710
Wisconsin 311  711
Minnesota 420  620
Iowa 320  620
Ohio State 320  521
Purdue 221  521
Northwestern 230  530
Michigan 230  341
Indiana 240  440
Chicago 050  270
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Drake $300  710
Creighton 210  351
Grinnell 120  431
Oklahoma A&M 010  170
Washington University 020  251
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
USC $401  901
California ^302  622
Stanford 411  831
Oregon 420  920
Washington State 430  730
Oregon State 230  630
Idaho 230  341
Washington 240  740
UCLA 040  441
Montana 050  451
  • $ Conference champion
  • ^ – Selected as Rose Bowl representative (USC declined)
1928 Rocky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Utah $401  502
Colorado 510  510
Colorado Agricultural 620  620
Utah Agricultural 421  531
Colorado College 530  530
Montana State 320  441
Denver 341  441
Colorado Teachers 340  440
Colorado Mines 240  250
BYU 131  331
Wyoming 050  270
Western State (CO) 060  070
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Georgia Tech $700  1000
Tennessee 601  901
Florida 610  810
VPI 410  720
Alabama 620  630
LSU 311  621
Clemson 420  830
Vanderbilt 420  820
Tulane 331  631
Ole Miss 330  540
North Carolina 222  532
Kentucky 221  431
South Carolina 221  622
Maryland 231  631
VMI 231  532
Georgia 240  450
NC State 131  451
Mississippi A&M 140  242
Virginia 160  261
Washington and Lee 160  280
Sewanee 050  270
Auburn 070  180
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Chattanooga $810  820
Mississippi College 612  712
Western Kentucky 510  810
Florida Southern 410  521
Wofford 520  721
Transylvania 310  830
Furman 310  540
Millsaps 421  531
Howard (AL) 421  641
Centenary 211  632
Louisiana College 210  350
The Citadel 430  631
Southwestern (TN) 220  640
Birmingham–Southern 223  324
Mercer 221  351
Georgetown (KY) 330  360
SW Louisiana 340  450
Kentucky Wesleyan 230  630
Stetson 230  430
Newberry 230  350
Spring Hill 231  251
Oglethorpe 120  351
Presbyterian 250  460
Louisiana Normal 130  540
Union (TN) 260  370
Centre 130  280
Louisiana Tech 160  270
Rollins 030  040
Louisville 040  170
Erskine 050  270
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Texas $510  720
Arkansas 210  720
Baylor 320  820
TCU 320  820
SMU 221  631
Texas A&M 131  541
Rice 050  270
  • $ Conference champion


1928 Eastern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Boston College     900
Villanova     701
Brown     810
Penn     810
Carnegie Tech     710
Army     820
Drexel     820
NYU     820
Temple     712
Lafayette     612
Princeton     512
Pittsburgh     621
Harvard     521
Tufts     521
Colgate     630
Rutgers     630
Bucknell     523
Columbia     531
Syracuse     441
Yale     440
Cornell     332
Fordham     450
Franklin & Marshall     450
Penn State     351
Lehigh     360
Vermont     172
1928 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Detroit     900
Butler     620
John Carroll     630
Kent State     422
Loyola (IL)     530
Marquette     531
Ball Teachers     322
Haskell     540
Notre Dame     540
DePaul     441
Saint Louis     441
Wabash     441
Lombard     341
Michigan State     341
Detroit City College     251
Valparaiso     160
1928 Southern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Georgetown     820
West Virginia     820
Howard     612
Loyola (LA)     730
Navy     531
East Tennessee Teachers     430
Delaware State     111
Duke     550
Georgia Normal     550
Miami (FL)     441
Texas A&I     440
Texas Tech     441
Catholic University     450
Mississippi State Teachers     450
Middle Tennessee     341
Texas Mines     341
Appalachian State     360
Delaware     260
Wake Forest     262
Davidson     280
George Washington     170
1928 Western college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Arizona     512
Idaho Southern Branch     512
Gonzaga     621
New Mexico     521
Humboldt State     210
Santa Clara     540
Tempe State     321
New Mexico A&M     450
Hawaii     250

Minor conferences

Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association Hampton Institute 7–0
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference College of Emporia 6–0
Far Western Conference Saint Mary's (CA) 2–0
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Baker 5–0–2
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Iowa State Teachers 4–0–2
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Albion 5–0
Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference Coe
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Augsburg
Saint Mary's
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Northeast Missouri State Teachers
Southwest Missouri State Teachers
Nebraska College Athletic Conference Hastings 5–0–1
Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Association Nebraska State Teachers–Peru
North Central Intercollegiate Conference North Dakota 4–0
Ohio Athletic Conference Heidelberg 6–0–1
Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Phillips 5–1–1
Pacific Northwest Conference Whitman 4–0
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Occidental 5–1
South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference Black Hills Teachers 5–0
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Clark College
Southwestern Athletic Conference Wiley (TX) 5–0
Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference Howard Payne 5–0
Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Daniel Baker 4–0
Tri-Normal League State Normal–Ellensburg 2–0
Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference Oshkosh State Teachers
Stevens Point State Teachers
Superior State Teachers

Minor conference standings

1928 Buckeye Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Ohio Wesleyan +410  810
Wittenberg +410  630
Miami (OH) 320  620
Ohio 230  630
Denison 230  530
Cincinnati 050  180
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 California Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
San Mateo JC +500     
San Jose State +620  621
Modesto JC 421  531
Sacramento JC 320     
Santa Barbara State 220  450
Santa Rosa JC 240     
Cal Poly 131  342
Chico State 140  260
Marin JC 050     
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 Central Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
College of Emporia $600  800
Emporia Teachers 411  611
Southwestern (KS) 312  432
Hays Teachers 321  332
Wichita 240  350
Washburn 150  270
Pittsburg State 060  070
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Hampton $800  810
Virginia State 710  910
Virginia Seminary 322  322
North Carolina A&T 331  342
Virginia Union 231  251
Lincoln (PA) 132  132
Shaw 131  161
Saint Paul's (VA) 160  260
North Carolina College 061  261
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Far Western Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Saint Mary's (CA) $200  540
Cal Aggies 310  630
St. Ignatius 310  440
Pacific (CA) 210  520
Fresno State 031  251
Nevada 041  071
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Eastern Illinois +501  701
Millikin +501  602
Augustana (IL) 610  710
Bradley 610  720
Monmouth (IL) 510  630
Southern Illinois 310  712
McKendree 210  550
Illinois Wesleyan 530  530
Carthage 221  232
Lake Forest 110  241
Illinois College 450  450
Eureka 341  341
North Central 231  432
Mount Morris 230  331
Western Illinois 232  233
St. Viator 130  350
Illinois State 260  260
Knox (IL) 140  350
Wheaton (IL) 021  341
Northern Illinois State 021  061
Shurtleff 031  141
Lincoln (IL) 080  080
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Baker $502  602
Bethany (KS) 510  530
Kansas Wesleyan 511  621
St. Benedict's 411  431
Sterling 321  431
St. Mary's (KS) 223  233
Friends 340  360
McPherson 151  161
Ottawa 061  071
Bethel (KS) 060  070
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Michigan Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Michigan State Normal $300  710
Western State (MI) 210  520
Central State (MI) 120  630
Detroit City College 030  251
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Albion $500  800
Kalamazoo 311  332
Alma 320  340
Hillsdale 023  133
Hope 032  132
Olivet 032  143
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Saint Mary's (MN) +310  520
Augsburg +312  412
Concordia (MN) 212  312
Hamline 321  431
Gustavus Adolphus 430  430
Saint John's (MN) 121  321
Macalester 240  340
St. Thomas (MN) 131  251
St. Olaf 131  151
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 Missouri College Athletic Union football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Central Methodist $600  820
Missouri Valley 411  611
Westminster (MO) 311  621
Missouri Mines 111  341
William Jewell 230  351
Tarkio 130  361
Drury 131  141
Culver–Stockton 140  151
Central Wesleyan 140  150
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
SW Missouri State +301  711
Kirksville State +301  721
Central Missouri State 121  422
NW Missouri State 121  531
SE Missouri State 040  151
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 Nebraska College Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Hastings $501  711
Doane 311  421
Midland 312  512
Nebraska Wesleyan 212  522
Cotner 330  440
Grand Island 131  171
York (NE) 141  152
Nebraska Central 060  160
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Peru Normal $300  611
Omaha 210  431
Chadron Normal 110  520
Kearney Normal 110  450
Dana 010  151
Wayne Normal 030  070
  • $ Conference champion
1928 New England Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Maine +201  412
Connecticut +102  413
New Hampshire 111  323
Rhode Island State 030  270
Massachusetts 000  251
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 New York State Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Niagara $400  440
Rochester 301  521
Hamilton 201  521
Hobart 310  540
St. Lawrence 210  330
Alfred 140  270
Clarkson 150  170
Buffalo 050  160
  • $ Conference champion
1928 North Central Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Dakota $400  611
South Dakota State 310  910
Morningside 130  540
North Dakota Agricultural 130  341
South Dakota 130  350
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Northwest Ohio League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bowling Green $301  502
Defiance 211  332
Bluffton 220  321
Findlay 130  260
Toledo 130  160
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Ohio Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Heidelberg $601  601
Mount Union 420  450
Muskingum 421  441
Oberlin 321  431
Wooster 222  242
Akron 340  540
Hiram 340  440
Otterbein 340  350
Ohio Northern 230  261
Case 141  261
Capital 150  161
St. Xavier 010  720
Baldwin–Wallace 080  080
Kenyon 050  070
Western Reserve *800  800
Marietta *400  421
Dayton *200  630
  • $ Conference champion
  • * – did not compete for championship
1928 Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Phillips $511  711
Oklahoma Baptist 412  522
Tulsa 311  721
Northeastern State 212  412
Central State (OK) 321  531
East Central 322  432
Oklahoma City 221  621
Southwestern State 222  522
Northwestern Oklahoma State 160  260
Southeastern Oklahoma State 070  280
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Smoky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Emory and Henry $400  1000
Maryville 300  621
Tusculum 221  422
King 230  350
Milligan 130  440
Carson–Newman 041  161
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Southern California Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Occidental $510  730
Caltech 411  531
Pomona 410  430
San Diego State 230  330
Whittier 231  341
Redlands 140  350
La Verne 050  060
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Wiley $500  901
Prairie View State 320  531
Bishop  ? ? ?   ? ? ?
Paul Quinn  ? ? ?   ? ? ?
Samuel Huston  ? ? ?   ? ? ?
Texas College  ? ? ?   ? ? ?
  • $ Conference champion
1928 South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Spearfish +400  520
Huron +202  412
Sioux Falls 311  321
Yankton 212  322
Augustana (SD) 320  341
Southern Normal 322  332
Columbus (SD) 220  530
Northern Normal 221  221
South Dakota Mines 230  350
Eastern Normal 150  260
Dakota Wesleyan 060  090
  • + Conference co-champions
  • Spearfish and South Dakota Mines played twice. The second game was not counted in the conference standings.
1928 Texas Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Howard Payne $500  1010
St. Edward's 310  650
Austin 220  460
Simmons (TX) 230  661
Southwestern (TX) 230  540
Trinity (TX) 050  280
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Daniel Baker $400  532
McMurry 410  630
Abilene Christian 410  540
Sam Houston State 320  550
North Texas State Teachers 220  450
East Texas State 340  350
Southwest Texas State 230  270
West Texas State 040  270
Stephen F. Austin 050  190
  • $ Conference champion
1928 Tri-State Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Duquesne +410  810
Westminster (PA) +410  450
Geneva 310  550
Bethany (WV) 021  161
Thiel 031  162
Waynesburg 031  062
  • + Conference co-champions
1928 Virginia Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Emory and Henry $300  1000
William & Mary 510  632
Roanoke 321  441
Lynchburg 330  540
Richmond 231  342
Hampden–Sydney 230  360
Bridgewater 021  061
Randolph–Macon 041  071
  • $ Conference champion

Dickinson System

The AP sportswriters' poll would not begin continuously until 1936. [7] (although, the first time was a one instance publishing in 1934 [8] ) 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. [9]

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. [10]

Final Dickinson rankings

Professor Dickinson concluded that the University of Southern California Trojans were "the national football champions of America for 1928". Unbeaten and untied Georgia Tech was ranked third because, Dickinson said, "its schedule was easier than the other contenders". [11] On January 4, 1929, the Jack F. Rissman national intercollegiate trophy was presented by Professor Dickinson to the USC football squad, and Coach Howard Jones, at a student rally on the Los Angeles campus. For the benefit of the crowd, Dickinson added "that even had he taken into consideration the victory of Georgia Tech over California on New Year's Day that the University of Southern California would have still be rated at the top," though Georgia Tech would have ranked second instead of third after its Rose Bowl win [12]

1 USC 9–0–124.13
2 California 6–1–222.50
3 Georgia Tech 9–020.00
4 (t) Stanford 8–3–119.17
4 (t) Wisconsin 7–1–119.17
6 (t) Carnegie Tech 7–118.33
6 (t) Iowa 6–218.33
8 Illinois 7–118.33
9 Army 8–217.50
10 NYU 8–216.25
11 Penn 8–115.00

Awards and honors


The consensus All-America team included:

PositionNameHeightWeight (lbs.)ClassHometownTeam
QB Howard Harpster 6'1"160Sr. Salem, Ohio Carnegie Tech
HB Chris Cagle 5'9"167Jr. De Ridder, Louisiana Army
HB Chuck Carroll 6'0"190Sr. Seattle, Washington Washington
HB Paul Scull 5'8"185Sr. Lower Merion, Pennsylvania Penn
FB Ken Strong 6'1"201Sr. West Haven, Connecticut NYU
E Irvine Phillips 6'1"188Sr. Salinas, California California
T Otto Pommerening 5'11"178Sr. Ann Arbor, Michigan Michigan
G Seraphim Post 6'0"190Jr. Berkeley, California Stanford
G Don Robesky 5'11"198Sr. Bakersfield, California Stanford
C Peter Pund 6'0"182Sr. Augusta, Georgia Georgia Tech
G Edward Burke 6'0"180Sr. Larksville, Pennsylvania Navy
T Mike Getto 6'2"198Sr. Irwin, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
E Wes Fesler 6'0"185So. Youngstown, Ohio Ohio State

Statistical leaders

Related Research Articles

The 1970 NCAA University Division football season was marked by tragedy, due to two airplane crashes. On October 2, one of the planes carrying the Wichita State football team crashed on the way to a game against Utah State, killing 31 people on board, including 14 players. Then, on November 14, the charter for the Marshall Thundering Herd crashed on the way home from a game against East Carolina, killing all 75 persons.

The 1976 NCAA Division I football season ended with a championship for the Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh. Led by head coach Johnny Majors, the Pitt Panthers brought a college football championship to the home of the defending pro football champions, the Steelers. Pitt also had the Heisman Trophy winner, Tony Dorsett; the Panthers had been ranked ninth in the preseason AP poll.

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

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 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 1954 college football season saw three teams finish unbeaten and untied, with Ohio State Buckeyes and the UCLA Bruins sharing the national championship as the No. 1 picks of the AP Poll and the UPI Poll, respectively. Although the winners of the Big Ten and the Pacific conferences normally met in the Rose Bowl, a "no repeat" prevented the two champions from meeting. UCLA, which had been in the Rose Bowl earlier in the year, was replaced by conference runner-up USC.

The 1952 college football season ended with the unbeaten Michigan State Spartans (9–0) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12–0) each claiming a national championship from different polls. Michigan State finished first according to two of the "wire service" polls, which both placed Georgia Tech second. Georgia Tech was first in the International News Service poll. UP and INS merged in 1958 to form UPI. Although the Spartans became members of the Big Ten Conference in 1950, full participation did not come until 1953, and under the terms of their entry into the conference, they were not allowed to participate in postseason play. Georgia Tech won the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day in New Orleans.

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 1940 college football season ended with the Gophers of the University of Minnesota being named the nation's No. 1 team and national champion by the AP Poll, and the Stanford University Indians in second, with the two teams receiving 65 and 44 first place votes respectively. Each writer listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the twenty teams with the highest number of points. Minnesota, Stanford, Boston College, and Tennessee all claim 1940 as a national championship season.


  1. Mark Purcell. "A Strong year at NYU" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  2. "Notre Dame Upsets West Point in Sensational Duel," Syracuse Herald, November 11, 1928, p. XX-1.
  3. Murray A. Sperber, Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football (Indiana U., 2002), p. 285.
  4. "A Football Giant and More: Strong Made Name As Two-Sport Star (part 1)". Hartford Courant . December 16, 1999. p. C1 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Ken Strong Rated Greatest Player In Football History". The Baltimore Sun. September 6, 1939. p. 14 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Lone Mistake Costs California Victory," Oakland Tribune, January 2, 1929, p20
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-12-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. Herschel Nissenson Tales From College Football's Sidelines (Sports Publishing LLC, 2001), p93.
  10. "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
  11. "Dickinson Rating Gives U.S.C. National Grid Title," The Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 1928, p21
  12. "Trojans Awarded Rissman Trophy For Nation's Best Grid Eleven," The Helena (Mont.) Independent Jan. 8, 1929, p8