|1944 college football season|
|First AP No. 1 of season||Notre Dame|
|Number of bowls||5|
|Heisman||Les Horvath (halfback/quarterback, Ohio State)|
The 1944 college football season was played during the Second World War. The football team of the United States Military Academy (West Point), 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.
As in 1943, the AP poll included service teams, drawn from flight schools and training centers which were preparing men for fighting in World War II, and the teams played against the colleges as part of their schedules. Half of the final Top 20 teams were composed of service teams, in addition to the two service academies at West Point and Annapolis. Most colleges that had suspended their programs in 1943 were back in 1944, including the entire Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Pacific Coast Conference again fielded only four teams (out of ten).
In the AP poll, each participating 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 top twenty results.
On September 16 the Great Lakes Naval Training Center team defeated Fort Sheridan, 62–0, before a crowd of 25,000 at its base north of Chicago. Michigan beat Iowa Pre-Flight, 12–7 before a crowd of 22,000 in Ann Arbor.
September 23 Great Lakes won at Purdue, 27–18. In Milwaukee, Michigan beat Marquette 14–0. At San Antonio, Randolph Field defeated Abilene Field, 67–0.
September 30 Notre Dame won at Pittsburgh 58–0. Great Lakes and Illinois played to a 26–26 tie. Michigan lost to Indiana, 20–0. In Houston, Randolph Field beat Rice 59–0. Army beat North Carolina, 46–0. North Carolina Pre-Flight, quarterbacked by Otto Graham (formerly of Northwestern, and a future Cleveland Browns star) upset Navy, 21–14.
October 7 Notre Dame beat Tulane 26–0 and Army defeated Brown 59–7. In games between service teams and colleges, the servicemen triumphed, as N.C. Pre-Flight won at Duke, 13–6, Great Lakes won at Northwestern 25–0, and Randolph Field won at Texas 42–6. In the poll that followed, Notre Dame was first, and Army third, with the service teams occupying the other spots.
October 14 In Boston, No. 1 Notre Dame beat Dartmouth, 64–0. No. 2 North Carolina Pre-Flight was tied by Virginia, 13–13. No. 3 Army beat Pittsburgh, 69–7. No. 4 Randolph Field, quarterbacked by “Bullet Bill” Dudley, beat SMU at home in San Antonio, 41–0.No. 5 Great Lakes beat Western Michigan 38–0. No. 8 Ohio State won at Wisconsin, 20–7 and No. 11 Iowa Pre-Flight won at Purdue, 13–6. N.C. Pre-Flight and Great Lakes fell out of the top five: 1.Notre Dame 2.Army 3.Randolph Field 4.Ohio State 5.Iowa Pre-Flight.
October 21 No. 1 Notre Dame defeated Wisconsin 28–13. No. 2 Army beat the Coast Guard Academy, 76–0. No. 3 Randolph Field and Camp Polk played a Sunday game at Fort Worth, Texas, with Randolph's Ramblers winning 67–0. No. 4 Ohio State beat Great Lakes, 26–6. No. 5 Iowa Pre-Flight defeated Fort Warren, 30–0. In Atlanta, No. 8 Georgia Tech defeated Navy 17–15.
October 28 No. 1 Notre Dame won at Illinois, 13–7. At a war bonds fundraiser at the Polo Grounds in New York, No. 2 Army beat Duke 27–7. No. 3 Randolph Field defeated Morris Field 19–0. No. 4 Ohio State beat Minnesota 34–14. No. 5 Georgia Tech reached 5–0–0 after a 13–7 over the flight training school located on the U.Ga. campus, Georgia Pre-Flight.
November 4 No. 1 Army rolled over Villanova, 83–0. In six games, the Cadets had outscored their opponents by an average of 60 to 3. In Baltimore, No. 2 Notre Dame lost to No. 6 Navy, 32–13. No. 3 Ohio State beat Indiana 21–7. No. 4 Randolph Field beat North Texas Agricultural (later called the University of Texas-Arlington) 68–0. No. 5 Georgia Tech lost at Duke, 19–13, and fell out of the top five, as Navy moved up.
November 11 At Yankee Stadium in New York, No. 1 Army crushed No. 5 Notre Dame, 59–0. No. 2 Ohio State beat Pittsburgh 54–19. No. 3 Navy beat Cornell, 48–0. No. 4 Randolph Field defeated Maxwell Field, 25–0. No. 8 Michigan, which beat Illinois, 14–0, took Notre Dame's place in the Top Five.
November 18 In Philadelphia, No. 1 Army beat Pennsylvania, 62–7. In Georgetown, Texas, No. 2 Randolph Field beat Southwestern University, 54–0. No. 3 Navy defeated Purdue in Baltimore, 32–0. In Cleveland, before a crowd of 83,627 fans, No. 4 Ohio State beat Illinois 26–12. No. 5 Michigan defeated Wisconsin, 14–0. In a Sunday game between service teams, No. 6 United States Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland defeated Camp Lejeune, 33–6.
November 25 No. 1 Army (8–0–0) and No. 2 Navy (6–2–0) were both idle as they prepared for the annual Army–Navy Game. No. 3 Ohio State beat Michigan 18–14. The next day, No. 4 Randolph Field beat Amarillo Field, 33–0, and No. 5 Bainbridge Naval beat Camp Perry, 21–13.
December 2 No. 1 Army and No. 2 Navy met in Baltimore. Army's offense was held to its lowest score of the season, but won 23–7 to cap a perfect season. Army had scored 59 points or more in seven of its nine games, with a 504 to 35 aggregate over its opponents. No. 3 Ohio State had finished its season, while No. 4 Randolph Field and No. 5 Bainbridge Naval were idle. After the release of the final poll, Randolph Field participated in two more games for the sale of bonds. In Los Angeles, the "Ramblers" beat the Fourth Air Force team (March Field), 20–7, on December 10. Six days later, Randolph Field met the Second Air Force Superbombers at the Polo Grounds in New York for the “Treasury Bond Bowl”, and won 13–6 to complete their season at 11–0–0.
|California Collegiate Athletic Association||No champion||—|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association||Morgan State College||4–0|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Far Western Conference||No champion||—|
|Indiana Intercollegiate Conference||Wabash College||4–0–1|
|Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Lone Star Conference||No champion||—|
|Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association||No champion||—|
|Nebraska College Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||—|
|North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|North Dakota College Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Ohio Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Pacific Northwest Conference||No champion||—|
|Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||—|
|Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Florida A&M College||5–0|
|Southwestern Athletic Conference|| Langston |
|State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota||No champion||—|
|Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||—|
|Washington Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||—|
|Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference||No champion||—|
|Bowl game||Winning team||Losing team|
|Rose Bowl||No. 7 USC||25||No. 12 Tennessee||0|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 11 Duke||29||Alabama||26|
|Orange Bowl||Tulsa||26||No. 13 Georgia Tech||12|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||Oklahoma A&M||34||TCU||0|
|Sun Bowl||Southwestern (TX)||35||Pumas CU||0|
The consensus All-America team included:
|QB||Les Horvath||5'10"||173||Sr.||Parma, Ohio||Ohio State|
|HB||Glenn Davis||5'9"||175||So.||Claremont, California||Army|
|HB||Bob Jenkins||6'1"||195||Jr.||Talladega, Alabama||Navy|
|FB||Doc Blanchard||6'0"||205||Jr.||Bishopville, South Carolina||Army|
|E||Phil Tinsley||6'1"||188||Sr.||Bessemer, Alabama||Georgia Tech|
|E||Paul Walker||6'3"||203||Jr.||Springfield, Missouri||Yale|
|T||Don Whitmire||5'11"||215||Sr.||Giles Co., Tennessee||Alabama|
|G||Bill Hackett||5'9"||191||Jr.||London, Ohio||Ohio State|
|C||John Tavener||6'0"||220||Sr.||Newark, Ohio||Indiana|
|G||Ben Chase||6'1"||195||San Diego, California||Navy|
|T||John Ferraro||6'4"||245||So.||Los Angeles, California||USC|
|E||Jack Dugger||6'3"||210||Sr.||Canton, Ohio||Ohio State|
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 1958 NCAA University Division football season was notable in that it was the first to feature the two-point conversion. On January 13, 1958, the eleven-man NCAA Rules Committee unanimously approved a resolution to allow teams to choose between kicking an extra point after a touchdown, or running or passing from the three-yard line for two points. University of Michigan athletic director Fritz Crisler said at the meeting in Fort Lauderdale, "It's a progressive step which will make football more interesting for the spectators," adding that the rule "will add drama to what has been the dullest, most stupid play in the game."
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 1973 NCAA Division I football season was the first for the NCAA's current three-division structure. Effective with the 1973–74 academic year, schools formerly in the NCAA "University Division" were classified as Division I. Schools in the former "College Division" were classified into Division II, which allowed fewer athletic scholarships than Division I, and Division III, in which athletic scholarships were prohibited.
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 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 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 1950 college football season finished with the unbeaten and untied Oklahoma Sooners (9–0) being the consensus choice for national champion. On New Year's Day, however, the Sooners were upset by the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sugar Bowl. The Army Cadets, ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll, had been defeated in its final regular season game by 2–6 Navy, 14–2. However, the final poll had been issued on November 27, and the bowl games had no effect on Oklahoma's status as the No. 1 team.
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.
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.
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.