1950 college football season

Last updated

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 (ranked No. 7 in the AP and UP polls) 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.

Contents

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the college football teams that would later be described as "Division I-A". While the NCAA has never officially endorsed a championship team, it has documented the choices of some selectors in its official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records publication. [1] The AP Poll in 1950 consisted of the votes of as many as 317 sportswriters. Though not all writers voted in every poll, the sportswriters who did cast ballots voted on the ten best teams. Under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined, and the top twenty colleges were ranked based on their overall points.

For the first time, the Associated Press issued a "preseason poll", before most teams played their first games. [2]

Starting in 1950, the United Press began the "Coaches Poll." "Thirty-five of the nation's foremost football coaches will rate the country's top collegiate football teams each week for the United Press this coming season," an announcement stated, with "five coaches from each section of the country -- the east, midlands, midwest, Pacific coast, the Rockies, south and southwest". The UP added, referring to the AP writers' poll, "The nature of the board giving each section of the country equal representation avoids the sectional bias and ballot box stuffing for which other football polls have been criticized.". [3] The coaches named Notre Dame as the No. 1 team in the first UP poll, with 25 of the 35 first place votes. [4]

Generally, the top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose Bowl (near Los Angeles at Pasadena), the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), the Orange Bowl (Miami), and the Cotton Bowl (Dallas).

Conference and program changes

Conference changes

Membership changes

School1949 conference1950 conference
Butler Bulldogs MAC Independent
Idaho State Bengals Independent Rocky Mountain
Montana Grizzlies PCC Independent
Portland Pilots IndependentDropped Program
Saint Louis Billikens Missouri Valley Dropped Program
West Virginia Mountaineers Independent SoCon

September

In the preseason AP poll released on September 25, 1950, the defending champion Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were the overwhelming choice for first, with 101 of 123 first place votes. Far behind were No. 2 Army, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Tennessee and No. 5 Texas (which had won at Texas Tech 28–14). As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.

On September 30 No. 1 Notre Dame beat No. 20 North Carolina 14–7. No. 2 Army beat Colgate 28–0, No. 3 Michigan lost to No. 10 Michigan State 14–7. No. 4 Tennessee lost at Mississippi State, 7–0. No. 5 Texas beat Purdue, 34–26, but fell to 7th. No. 6 Oklahoma beat Boston College 28–0. No. 10 SMU, which had beaten Georgia Tech 33–13, and Ohio State 32–27, rose to 3rd.

October

October 7 No. 1 Notre Dame lost to Purdue, 28–14, and eventually finished with a 4–4–1 record. No. 2 Michigan State lost to Maryland, 34–7. No. 3 SMU won at Missouri 21–0. No. 4 Army beat Penn State 41–7. No. 5 Oklahoma beat Texas A&M 34–28. No. 6 Kentucky registered a fourth shutout and a 4–0 record, with a 40–0 win against Dayton. No. 7 Texas, which was idle, rose to 4th place.

October 14 No. 1 Army beat No. 18 Michigan 27–6 at Yankee Stadium. No. 2 SMU beat Oklahoma State 56–0. No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Texas met in Dallas, with Oklahoma winning narrowly, 14–13. No. 5 Kentucky beat Cincinnati 41–7. No. 7 California, which had beaten USC 13–7, rose to 5th in the next poll.

October 21 No. 1 Army won at Harvard 49–0. No. 2 Oklahoma beat Kansas State 58–0. In Houston, No. 3 SMU beat No. 15 Rice 42–21. In Philadelphia, No. 4 Kentucky beat Villanova 34–7. No. 5 California beat Oregon State in Portland 27–0

October 28 No. 1 SMU was idle. No. 2 Army won at Columbia 34–0. No. 3 Oklahoma won at Iowa State 20–7. In Atlanta, No. 4 Kentucky beat Georgia Tech 28–14. No. 5 California beat St. Mary's 40–25 and dropped in the polls. No. 6 Ohio State beat Iowa 83–21

November

November 4 No. 1 SMU lost at No. 7 Texas, 23–20. No. 2 Army won at No. 15 Pennsylvania 28–13. No. 3 Oklahoma won at Colorado 27–18. No. 4 Ohio State won at Northwestern 32–0. No. 5 Kentucky beat No. 17 Florida 40–6. No. 7 Texas beat SMU 23–20, and returned to the top five.

November 11 No. 1 Army beat New Mexico 51–0. No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 15 Wisconsin 19–14. No. 3 Oklahoma won at No. 19 Kansas, 33–13. No. 4 Kentucky won at Mississippi State, 48–21. No. 5 Texas beat Baylor 27–20. No. 6 California, which was 7–0–0 after a 35–0 win against No. 19 UCLA, rose to 4th.

November 18 No. 1 Ohio State lost at No. 8 Illinois, 14–7. No. 2 Oklahoma beat Missouri 41–7. No. 3 Army won at Stanford 7–0. No. 4 California defeated San Francisco 13–7. No. 5 Kentucky handed visiting North Dakota an 83–0 defeat to extend its record to 9–0–0, but still faced a final game was against 8–1–0 Tennessee. No. 6 Texas won at TCU 21–7.

November 25 No. 1 Oklahoma beat No. 16 Nebraska 49–35. No. 2 Army was idle as it prepared for the Army–Navy Game. No. 3 Kentucky lost at No. 9 Tennessee, 7–0. No. 4 California and unranked Stanford played to a 7–7 tie in Berkeley. No. 5 Texas beat Texas A&M 21–6. Michigan beat Ohio State in the famous Snow Bowl 9–3.

The final AP poll was released on November 27, although some colleges had not completed their schedules. On December 2, with its champion status assured, No. 1 Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 41–14. No. 2 Army (9–0–0) was heavily favored to beat unranked, and 2–6–0, Navy. Instead, the Philadelphia game turned into a 14–2 win for the Midshipmen. No. 3 Texas played a game on December 9, beating LSU 21–6.

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1950 Big Nine Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 9 Michigan $411  631
No. 14 Ohio State 520  630
Wisconsin 520  630
No. 13 Illinois 420  720
Northwestern 330  630
Iowa 240  351
Minnesota 141  171
Indiana 140  351
Purdue 140  270
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Big Seven Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Oklahoma $600  1010
No. 17 Nebraska 420  621
Missouri 321  451
Kansas 330  640
Iowa State 231  361
Colorado 240  541
Kansas State 060  191
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Border Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
West Texas State $600  1010
Arizona State 410  920
Texas Western 420  730
Texas Tech 320  380
Hardin–Simmons 330  550
Arizona 240  460
New Mexico 250  280
New Mexico A&M 140  270
Arizona State–Flagstaff 040  270
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Middle Three Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Lehigh $200  900
Rutgers 110  440
Lafayette 020  180
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 19 Tulsa $301  911
Detroit 211  631
Wichita 320  541
Drake 121  621
Oklahoma A&M 121  461
Bradley 030  550
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 5 California $501  911
No. 11 Washington 610  820
UCLA 520  630
Stanford 222  532
Idaho 111  351
Washington State 232  432
USC 132  252
Oregon State 250  360
Oregon 070  190
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Rocky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Colorado College $500  910
Colorado State–Greeley 320  621
Idaho State 320  440
Western State (CO) 230  440
Montana State 130  180
Colorado Mines 040  360
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Skyline Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 12 Wyoming $500  1000
Colorado A&M 410  630
Denver 221  381
Utah 122  343
BYU 131  451
Utah State 050  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 7 Kentucky $510  1110
No. 4 Tennessee 410  1110
No. 16 Alabama 620  920
No. 20 Tulane 311  621
Georgia Tech 420  560
Georgia 321  633
Mississippi State 340  450
Vanderbilt 340  740
LSU 232  452
Florida 240  550
Ole Miss 150  550
Auburn 070  0100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 18 Washington and Lee $600  830
No. 10 Clemson 301  901
VMI 510  640
Wake Forest 611  612
Maryland 411  721
Duke 520  730
North Carolina 321  352
George Washington 430  540
NC State 441  541
William & Mary 330  470
The Citadel 230  460
South Carolina 241  342
Furman 240  291
West Virginia 130  280
Davidson 150  360
Richmond 180  280
VPI 080  0100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 Texas $600  920
Baylor 420  730
Texas A&M 330  740
TCU 330  550
Rice 240  640
SMU 240  640
Arkansas 150  280
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Independents

1950 Eastern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Franklin & Marshall     900
No. 6 Princeton     900
No. 2 Army     810
Fordham     810
Carnegie Tech     710
Drexel     610
No. 20 Cornell     720
Bucknell     630
Penn     630
Yale     630
Buffalo     530
Colgate     530
Penn State     531
Syracuse     550
Temple     441
Tufts     441
Columbia     450
Villanova     450
Holy Cross     451
Dartmouth     351
Duquesne     261
Hofstra     260
NYU     151
Harvard     170
Brown     180
Pittsburgh     180
Boston College     091
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Valparaiso     910
No. 8 Michigan State     810
Xavier     810
John Carroll     820
Baldwin–Wallace     521
Marquette     531
Wabash     423
Butler     441
Notre Dame     441
Toledo     450
Bowling Green     342
Dayton     460
Youngstown     350
Ball State     241
Washington University     270
Wayne     270
Indiana State     171
Rose Poly     080
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Southern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Maryland State     800
No. 15 Miami (FL)     911
Virginia     820
Western Maryland     620
Grambling     641
Tampa     540
Catholic University     231
Houston     460
Louisville     361
Navy     360
Sewanee     360
Delaware     251
Georgetown     270
Chattanooga     190
Rankings from AP Poll
1950 Western college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Loyola (CA)     810
Pacific (CA)     731
San Francisco     740
San Jose State     631
Hawaii     542
Montana     550
La Verne     350
Santa Clara     370
Saint Mary's     271
Cal Poly San Dimas     161
Nevada     190

Minor conferences

ConferenceChampion(s)Record
California Collegiate Athletic Association San Diego State 3–0–1
Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association North Carolina A&T 5–0–1
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Kansas State Teachers 5–0
College Conference of Illinois Wheaton (IL) 5–0
Evergreen Conference Eastern Washington College 5–1
Far Western Conference San Francisco State 4–0
Gulf Coast Conference North Texas State
Midwestern State
1–0–1
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Saint Ambrose 5–0
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Ottawa 6–0
Lone Star Conference Sul Ross State College 3–0–1
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Alma 4–0–1
Mid-American Conference Miami (OH) 4–0
Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference Coe
Knox
Ripon
5–1
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Gustavus Adolphus 6–0
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Missouri School of Mines 4–1
Nebraska College Conference Doane 4–1–1
New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference Eastern New Mexico 5–1
North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Dakota State 5–0–1
North Dakota College Athletic Conference Valley City State 4–0
Ohio Athletic Conference Muskingum 6–0
Ohio Valley Conference Murray State 5–0–1
Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference Central State College (OK)
Southwestern State Teachers (OK)
4–1
Oregon Collegiate Conference Oregon College
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Chester State Teachers 4–0
Pacific Northwest Conference Lewis & Clark 5–0
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Colorado College 5–0
South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference Northern State Teachers (SD) 4–0
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pomona-Pitzer
Redlands
Whittier
3–1
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Florida A&M College
Xavier (LA)
6–0
Southwestern Athletic Conference Southern 7–0
State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota Bemidji State Teachers
Mankato State Teachers
3–0–1
Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference Abilene Christian 5–0
Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference La Crosse State Teachers
Whitewater State Teachers
4–0
4–0

Minor conference standings

1950 Badger-Illini Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Mission House $600  600
Northwestern (WI) 510  510
Wisconsin–Extension 411  411
Milton 231  232
Concordia (IL) 131  241
St. Procopius 250  250
Wisconsin Tech 141  151
Aurora 150  160
  • $ Conference champion
1950 California Collegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
San Diego State $301  531
Santa Barbara 310  730
Pepperdine 220  450
Fresno State 121  261
Cal Poly 040  370
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Central Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Emporia State $500  621
Pittsburg State 410  550
Washburn 221  341
St. Benedict's 131  441
Fort Hays State 032  342
Southwestern (KS) 032  342
  • $ Conference champion
1950 College Conference of Illinois football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Wheaton (IL) $500  720
Illinois Wesleyan 510  530
Millikin 410  440
Lake Forest 320  341
North Central (IL) 230  440
Elmhurst 140  350
Illinois College 140  350
Augustana (IL) 140  260
Carthage 140  270
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Evergreen Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Eastern Washington $510  820
Western Washington 411  721
Pacific Lutheran 321  431
Puget Sound 222  333
Whitworth 240  431
Central Washington 141  171
Saint Martin's 141  ???
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Far Western Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
San Francisco State $400  620
Cal Aggies 310  350
Chico State 220  260
Southern Oregon 130  370
Humboldt State 040  041
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Gulf Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Texas State +101  721
Midwestern State +101  451
Trinity (TX) 020  541
  • + Conference co-champions
1950 Gulf States Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Mississippi Southern $310  550
Louisiana Tech 320  541
Louisiana College 220  550
Northwestern State 230  640
Southeastern Louisiana 230  640
Southwestern Louisiana 230  540
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Hoosier Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Canterbury $600  800
Anderson (IN) 411  432
Hanover 320  351
Taylor 320  540
Indiana Central 241  351
Manchester (IN) 240  360
Earlham 140  350
Franklin (IN) 150  270
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Illinois State $501  712
Western Illinois 410  710
Central Michigan 220  640
Eastern Illinois 220  530
Northern Illinois State 240  360
Southern Illinois 131  351
Michigan State Normal 040  360
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Ottawa $600  720
Baker 510  630
Kansas Wesleyan 321  361
Bethany (KS) 231  351
McPherson 240  350
College of Emporia 240  270
Bethel (KS) 060  180
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Lone Star Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Sul Ross $301  821
Southwest Texas State 220  630
Stephen F. Austin 220  550
East Texas State 121  452
Sam Houston State 130  550
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Alma $401  621
Kalamazoo 410  540
Albion 221  621
Hope 221  431
Hillsdale 131  261
Adrian 050  260
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Miami (OH) $400  910
Cincinnati 310  840
Ohio 220  640
Western Reserve 130  280
Western Michigan 130  540
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Mid-Ohio League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Ohio Northern $500  910
Ashland 311  531
Findlay 311  341
Bluffton 230  440
Defiance 140  360
Cedarville 050  180
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Gustavus Adolphus $600  920
St. Thomas (MN) 510  530
Hamline 420  520
Macalester 321  531
Saint John's (MN) 330  430
Minnesota–Duluth 330  430
Concordia (MN) 240  340
St. Olaf 240  260
Augsburg 150  151
Saint Mary's (MN) 051  151
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Missouri College Athletic Union football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
William Jewell $300  810
Missouri Valley 210  830
Central Methodist 021  531
Culver–Stockton 021  342
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Missouri Mines $410  720
SW Missouri State 311  631
Central Missouri State 320  830
SE Missouri State 131  451
NW Missouri State 131  351
Kirksville State 023  243
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Montana Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Carroll (MT) $400  520
Western Montana 310  510
Eastern Montana 130  140
Montana Mines 130  ???
Rocky Mountain 130  ???
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Nebraska College Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Doane $411  721
Peru State 520  720
Wayne State (NE) 520  630
Hastings 421  521
Chadron State 421  541
Nebraska Wesleyan 430  550
Kearney State 350  450
Midland 161  261
York (NE) 070  190
  • $ Conference champion
1950 New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Eastern New Mexico $510  550
New Mexico Western 311  531
Adams State 221  252
New Mexico Military 231  361
St. Michael's (NM) 230  340
New Mexico Highlands 240  251
Panhandle A&M 131  361
  • $ Conference champion
1950 North Central Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
South Dakota State $501  901
Iowa State Teachers 420  440
North Dakota 312  522
Morningside 321  621
South Dakota 330  450
Augustana (SD) 150  270
North Dakota State 060  270
  • $ Conference champion
1950 North State Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Appalachian State $701  921
Elon 611  721
Lenoir–Rhyne 620  820
East Carolina 520  730
Catawba 230  460
Guilford 250  450
Western Carolina 140  360
Atlantic Christian 050  270
High Point 070  180
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Ohio Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Murray State $501  721
Western Kentucky 312  622
Eastern Kentucky 420  640
Morehead State 330  440
Marshall 240  280
Evansville 141  361
Tennessee Tech 150  470
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Oklahoma Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Central State (OK) +410  730
SW Oklahoma State +410  650
SE Oklahoma State 221  442
NW Oklahoma State 230  540
East Central 230  450
Northeastern State 041  171
  • + Conference co-champions
1950 Oregon Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Oregon College $300  620
Oregon Tech 111  271
Eastern Oregon 120  180
Vanport 021  151
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Smoky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Emory and Henry $400  1020
Carson–Newman 211  351
Milligan 112  342
East Tennessee State 121  351
Tusculum 040  260
  • $ Conference champion
1950 South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Northern State $400  530
Huron 610  630
Black Hills 410  521
Southern State 520  620
General Beadle 320  420
South Dakota Mines 240  350
Dakota Wesleyan 151  161
Yankton 052  162
Sioux Falls 051  071
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Whittier +310  910
Redlands +310  530
Pomona +310  431
Occidental 130  440
Caltech 040  160
  • + Conference co-champions
1950 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Southern $700  1001
Langston 610  910
Bishop 520  731
Prairie View A&M 430  641
Arkansas AM&N 250  461
Wiley 250  361
Texas College 151  191
Samuel Huston 061  062
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Texas Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Abilene Christian $500  1100
Texas A&I 410  630
Southwestern (TX) 230  550
Howard Payne 230  451
McMurry 230  450
Austin 050  270
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Volunteer State Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Middle Tennessee $400  920
Milligan 111  342
Austin Peay 120  521
East Tennessee State 011  351
Union (TN) 020  280
  • $ Conference champion
1950 Yankee Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
New Hampshire $400  800
Maine 310  511
Rhode Island State 220  350
UMass 110  350
Vermont 030  250
Connecticut 030  350
  • $ Conference champion

Rankings

Bowl games

Bowl gameWinning teamLosing team
Sugar Bowl No. 7 Kentucky 13No. 1 Oklahoma 7
Cotton Bowl Classic No. 4 Tennessee 20No. 3 Texas 14
Rose Bowl No. 9 Michigan 14No. 5 California 6
Orange Bowl No. 10 Clemson 15No. 15 Miami (FL) 14
Gator Bowl No. 12 Wyoming 20No. 18 Washington & Lee 7
Sun Bowl West Texas State 14 Cincinnati 13
Salad Bowl Miami (OH) 34 Arizona State 21
Pineapple Bowl Hawaii 28 Denver 27
Presidential Cup Texas A&M 40 Georgia 20

See also

Related Research Articles

The NCAA was without a playoff for the major college football teams in the University Division, later known as Division I-A, during the 20th century. The NCAA recognizes Division I-A national champions based on the final results of polls including the "wire service", FWAA and NFF. The 1964 AP poll continued to rank only ten teams, compiling the votes of 55 sportswriters, each of whom would give their opinion of the ten best. Under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined.

The 1984 NCAA Division I-A football season was topsy-turvy from start to finish. It ended with the BYU Cougars being bestowed their first and only national championship by beating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. While the Cougars finished with a perfect 13–0 record and were the consensus National Champions, some commentators maintain this title was undeserved citing their weak schedule and argue that the championship should have gone to the 11–1 Washington Huskies. Despite this the Cougars were voted No. 1 in the final AP and UPI polls. The Huskies declined an invitation to play BYU in the Holiday Bowl; they decided instead to play Oklahoma in the more prestigious 1985 Orange Bowl. All subsequent national champions have come from what are now known as the Power Five conferences + Notre Dame.

In the 1968 NCAA University Division football season, the system of "polls and bowls" changed. The Associated Press returned to its pre-1961 system of ranking the Top 20 rather than the Top 10, and voted on the national champion after the bowl games, rather than before. 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 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 1977 NCAA Division I football season was one in which the top five teams finished with 11–1 records. Notre Dame, which beat top-ranked and undefeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl, became the national champion.

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 1951 college football season finished with seven unbeaten major college teams, of which five were unbeaten and untied. Ultimately, the Tennessee Volunteers were voted the best team by the Associated Press, followed by the Michigan State Spartans, with the Vols having a plurality of first place votes. Tennessee lost in the Sugar Bowl to the equally undefeated and untied No. 3 Maryland Terrapins, but the postseason games were not taken into account by the major polls. Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan State, and Illinois all claim national championships for 1951.

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.

References

  1. http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/2016/fbs.pdf
  2. "Oh, Hum-- AP Writers' Vote Picks Notre Dame Once More," Jefferson City (Mo.) Post-Tribune, Sep. 20, 1950, p. 7
  3. "United Press Will Poll Coaches For Ratings On Leading College Events," Coshocton (O.) Tribune, Sept. 13, 1950, p. 5
  4. "Notre Dame Is Rated No. 1 by 25 of 35 Coaches in United Press Poll," The Berkshire Evening Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.), Sept. 19, 1950, p. 9