|1942 college football season|
|First AP No. 1 of season||Ohio State|
|Number of bowls||5|
|Champion(s)|| Ohio State (AP)|
|Heisman||Frank Sinkwich (halfback, Georgia)|
In 1942, Ohio State and Georgia were crowned national champions. Georgia defeated UCLA in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1943. Nine ranking authorities listed in the NCAA record books listed the Bulldogs as No. 1. Ohio State was crowned No. 1 in the final AP Poll at the end of November and did not make a bowl appearance. At the time, the AP poll did not put out a post-bowl poll.
In 1942, as many as 156 sportswriters participated in the AP poll (which did not take into account bowl games). 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.
The United States had entered World War II, and able-bodied men of college age had volunteered for, or been drafted into, the armed forces. "Service teams," many of which had former collegiate or professional players who had entered the Army or the Navy, played games against the college programs. In 1942, teams were fielded by Georgia Pre-Flight, the Great Lakes Naval Station, Iowa Pre-Flight, Jacksonville NAS, and St. Mary's Preflight.
|School||1941 Conference||1942 Conference|
|American Eagles||Mason-Dixon||Dropped Program|
|Centenary Gentlemen||SIAA||Dropped program|
|Gonzaga (WA) Bulldogs||Independent||Dropped Program|
|Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels||Independent||Dropped program|
|Providence Friars||Independent||Dropped program|
|Transylvania Pioneers||SIAA||Dropped program|
On September 19, in Louisville, Georgia defeated Kentucky, 7–6. The following Friday, Georgia defeated the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, 14–0, in Macon. The soldiers at the Flight School at the University of Iowa, organized as the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks, overwhelmed Kansas, 61–0.
Most schools got their seasons underway on September 26. Defending champion Minnesota beat Pittsburgh, 50–7. Duke beat Davidson 21–0. Notre Dame and Wisconsin played to a 7–7 tie in Madison. Illinois beat South Dakota 46–0. In Montgomery, Alabama beat South Louisiana Institute (later University of Louisiana at Lafayette), 54–0. Texas beat the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, 18–7. Michigan beat the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, 9–0. Before its smallest crowd since 1933 (22,555) Ohio State defeated a service team, the Fort Knox Armoraiders, 59–0.Iowa Pre-Flight won again, at Northwestern, 20–12.
Minnesota's winning streak ended when the defending national champs lost their first game in almost four years, to the Seahawks of Iowa Pre-Flight (who just happened to be coached that season by "former" Minnesota head coach Bernie Bierman who had taken leave from Minnesota to serve as an officer in the military during World War II), 7–6. Ohio State beat Indiana 32–21. Michigan beat Michigan State 20–0. Illinois defeated Butler 67–0. Texas beat LSU 27–14. Notre Dame lost to Georgia Tech 13–6. Georgia defeated Furman 40–7. Alabama beat Mississippi State 21–6. Duke lost at Wake Forest, 20–7.
Minnesota lost at Illinois, 20–13. Ohio State beat visiting USC, 28–12. Michigan lost to Iowa Pre-Flight, 26–14. Georgia beat Ole Miss, 48–13, at Memphis. In Mobile, Alabama defeated the Pensacola NAS, 27–0. Texas lost at Tulane, 18–7. In the poll that followed, the Top Five consisted of three teams from the Big Nine (No. 1 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 5 Illinois) and two from the SEC (No. 2 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama).
No. 1 Ohio State beat Purdue 26–0. No. 2 Georgia beat Tulane 40–0. No. 3 Michigan defeated Northwestern 34–16. In Birmingham, No. 4 Alabama beat No. 15 Tennessee, 8–0. No. 5 Illinois won at No. 19 Iowa, 12–7. Losing also that day was Iowa Pre-Flight, which sustained its first loss at Notre Dame, 28–0.
In the next poll, the Top Five shuffled slightly, with Alabama and Michigan trading places: Ohio State (No. 1), Georgia (No. 2), Alabama (No. 3), Michigan (No. 4), Illinois (No. 5).
No. 1 Ohio State won at Northwestern 20–6. No. 2 Georgia won at Cincinnati 35–13. No. 3 Alabama won at Kentucky, 14–0. No. 4 Michigan lost at No. 13 Minnesota, 16–14. No. 5 Illinois lost to No. 8 Notre Dame, 21–14. No. 6 Georgia Tech won at Navy, 21–0.
In the poll that followed, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech replaced Michigan and Illinois: Ohio State (No. 1), Georgia (No. 2), Alabama (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 4), Georgia Tech (No. 5).
No. 1 Ohio State lost at No. 6 Wisconsin, 17–7. In Atlanta, No. 2 Georgia beat No. 3 Alabama, 21–10. No. 4 Notre Dame beat Navy in Cleveland, 9–0. No. 5 Georgia Tech won at Duke, 26–7. No. 7 Boston College beat Georgetown, 47–0. The Georgia Bulldogs took over first place in the poll that followed, and Wisconsin and Boston College moved in while Ohio State and Alabama fell out: 1. Georgia 2. Wisconsin 3. Georgia Tech 4. Notre Dame 5. Boston College.
In Jacksonville, No. 1 Georgia beat Florida, 75–0. No. 2 Wisconsin lost at unranked Iowa, 6–0. No. 3 Georgia Tech beat Kentucky 47–7. No. 4 Notre Dame beat Army 13–0 at Yankee Stadium. No. 5 Boston College beat Temple, 28–0. No. 8 Alabama beat South Carolina 29–0 and moved into the Top Five as Wisconsin dropped out. The nation's top two teams were Georgia and Georgia Tech: Georgia (No. 1), Georgia Tech (No. 2), Boston College (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 4), Alabama (No. 5).
No. 1 Georgia won at Chattanooga, 40–0. In Atlanta, No. 2 Georgia Tech beat No. 5 Alabama 7–0. No. 3 Boston College beat Fordham at home, 56–6. No. 4 Notre Dame lost to No. 6 Michigan, 32–20, while in Cleveland, No. 10 Ohio State beat No. 13 Illinois 44–20. The poll: Georgia (No. 1), Georgia Tech (No. 2), Boston College (No. 3), Michigan (No. 4), Ohio State (No. 5).
In Columbus, Georgia, No. 1 Georgia lost to unranked Auburn, 27–13. No. 2 Georgia Tech beat Florida 20–7. No. 3 Boston College defeated Boston University, 37–0. No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Ohio State met in Columbus, with OSU winning 21–7, capturing the Big Nine championship. No. 7 Wisconsin beat No. 10 Minnesota 21–6 to finish its season at 8–1–1. In the next poll, the Boston College Eagles were No. 1: Boston College (No. 1), Georgia Tech (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 4), Georgia (No. 5).
No. 1 Boston College lost to unranked Holy Cross, 55–12. No. 2 Georgia Tech visited No. 5 Georgia, and lost 34–0. No. 3 Ohio State defeated the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks, 41–12, finishing 9–1–0 and capturing the No. 1 ranking in the final AP poll.
|California Collegiate Athletic Association||Fresno State Normal||2–0|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association||Morgan State College||5–1–1|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Pittsburg State||5–0|
|Far Western Conference||Pacific (CA)||2–0|
|Indiana Intercollegiate Conference||Ball State Teachers College||5–0|
|Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Dubuque||8–0|
|Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference||Baker||6–0|
|Lone Star Conference||East Texas State Teachers||2–0–1|
|Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association||Alma||4–0|
|Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference||Lawrence||5–0|
|Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Saint Thomas (MN)||5–0|
|Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association|| Northwest Missouri State Teachers |
Southeast Missouri State Teachers
|Nebraska College Athletic Conference||Doane||4–0|
|Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Association||Nebraska State Teachers (UN–Kearney)||2–1|
|New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference||New Mexico State Teachers||1–0|
|North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference|| Augustana (SD) |
Iowa State Teachers (Northern Iowa)
|North Dakota College Athletic Conference||North Dakota Science||5–0|
|Ohio Athletic Conference||Ohio Northern||5–0–1|
|Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference||Central State College (OK)||2–0|
|Pacific Northwest Conference||Willamette||4–0|
|Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference||East Stroudsburg State Teachers||4–0|
|Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Colorado Mines||2–0|
|South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference||Augustana (SD)||2–0|
|Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference|| Occidental |
|Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Florida A&M College||7–0|
|Southwestern Athletic Conference||Texas College||4–0|
|State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota|| Mankato State Teachers |
St. Cloud State Teachers
|Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference||Howard Payne||4–0|
|Washington Intercollegiate Conference||Central Washington College||4–1–1|
|Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference||North: La Crosse Teachers |
South: Platteville State Teachers
|Bowl game||Winning team||Losing team|
|Rose Bowl||No. 2 Georgia||9||No. 13 UCLA||0|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 7 Tennessee||14||No. 4 Tulsa||7|
|Orange Bowl||No. 10 Alabama||37||No. 8 Boston College||21|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||No. 11 Texas||14||No. 5 Georgia Tech||7|
|Sun Bowl||Second Air Force||13||Hardin–Simmons||7|
The 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the University of Miami, led by Bernie Kosar, winning their first national championship over perennial power and top ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
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 NCAA did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of "wire service" polls. The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual 'NCAA Football Guide of the "unofficial" national champions. The AP poll in 1961 consisted of the votes of 45 sportswriters, each of whom would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. Although the rankings were based on the collective opinion of the representative sportswriters, the teams that remained "unbeaten and untied" were generally ranked higher than those that had not. A defeat, even against a strong opponent, tended to cause a team to drop in the rankings, and a team with two or more defeats was unlikely to remain in the Top 10. The top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose, Sugar, Orange (Miami) and Cotton (Dallas).
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 1957 NCAA University Division football season saw two different national champions. Auburn was ranked first in the AP writers' poll taken at season's end, while Ohio State was first in the UPI coaches' poll. Auburn was ineligible for a bowl game, however, having been placed on probation indefinitely by the Southeastern Conference, after having paid two high school players $500 apiece.
The 1974 NCAA Division I football season finished with two national champions. The Associated Press (AP) writers' poll ranked the University of Oklahoma, which was on probation and barred by the NCAA from postseason play, No. 1 at season's end. The United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll did not rank teams on probation, by unanimous agreement of the 25 member coaches' board. The UPI trophy went to the University of Southern California (USC).
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 1944 college football season was played during the Second World War. The football team of the United States Military Academy, more popularly known as Army, was crowned as the nation's No. 1 team by 95 of the 121 writers who participated in the AP Poll.
The 1956 NCAA University Division football season saw the University of Oklahoma Sooners finish a third consecutive season unbeaten and untied to again win the national championship.
The 1955 college football season saw the Oklahoma Sooners win the national championship after going 10–0–0. Although the final poll was taken before the postseason bowl games, Oklahoma played against the nation's other unbeaten and untied (10–0–0) team, the Maryland Terrapins, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and won 20–6.
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 1953 college football season finished with the Maryland Terrapins capturing the AP, INS, and UPI national championship after Notre Dame held the top spot for the first nine weeks. The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners defeated Maryland in the Orange Bowl, but there was no further polling after the November 30 results were released. However, Notre Dame was selected as the National Champions by 10 other polls and the Oklahoma Sooners received first in two polls. However, despite the team receiving National Championship rings, the University of Notre Dame does not recognize this title due to their policy of only recognizing AP or coaches' poll titles during the polling era (1936–present). Maryland was also the first champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which had been formed earlier in 1953 by seven colleges formerly with the Southern Conference. The year 1953 also saw the Michigan State Spartans, previously an independent, join the Big Nine Conference, which then became the Big Ten; MSU won the conference title in that first year and was the conference representative to the Rose Bowl, which it won 28–20 over UCLA.
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 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 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.
The 1941 college football regular season was the 73rd season of intercollegiate football in the United States. Competition included schools from the Big Ten Conference, the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Big Six Conference, the Southern Conference, the Southwestern Conference, and numerous smaller conferences and independent programs.
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 1945 college football season finished with the undefeated United States Military Academy, more popularly known as "Army", being the unanimous choice for the nation's number one team by the 116 voters in the Associated Press writers' poll. The runner up was the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by the United States Naval Academy, more popularly known as "Navy". In 2016, the American Football Coaches Association retroactively named the Oklahoma A&M Cowboys national champion for 1945.