|1959 NCAA University Division football season|
|Preseason AP No. 1||LSU|
|Regular season||September 19 – December 5, 1959|
|Number of bowls||8|
|Bowl games||December 19, 1959 – January 2, 1960|
|Champion(s)||Syracuse (AP, Coaches, FWAA, NFF)|
|Heisman||Billy Cannon (halfback, LSU)|
The 1959 NCAA University Division football season saw Syracuse University crowned as the national champion by both final polls, the AP writers poll and the UPI coaches polls.
A major rule change widened the goal posts from 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m) to 23 ft 4 in (7.11 m). This width remained in effect for 32 seasons, until the 1991 season, when it was returned to 18½ feet. 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" (AP and UPI) 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 1959 consisted of the votes of as many as 201 sportswriters. Though not all writers voted in every poll, each would give their opinion of the twenty best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 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 20. 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).
|School||1958 Conference||1959 Conference|
|California Golden Bears||PCC||AAWU|
|Oregon State Beavers||PCC||Independent|
|Washington State Cougars||PCC||Independent|
In the preseason poll released on September 14, the defending champion LSU Tigers were ranked first, followed by Oklahoma, Auburn, SMU, and Army. With more than 100 sportswriters weighing in, eighteen different schools received first place votes. Syracuse was ranked No. 20 overall.As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.
On September 19, No. 1 LSU beat Rice at home, 26–3. Oklahoma, Auburn, SMU, and Army had not yet opened their seasons; SMU and Army fell to No. 6 and No. 7. No. 8 Mississippi, which won 16–0 at Houston and rose to 4th in the poll. No. 18 Clemson moved up 5th after its 20–18 win at North Carolina. Three of the Top Five schools were from the SEC: 1.LSU 2.Oklahoma 3.Auburn 4.Mississippi 5.Clemson
September 26 No. 1 LSU beat TCU at home, 10–0. No. 2 Oklahoma lost its opener, falling 45–13 at No. 10 Northwestern, and dropped out of the Top 20 entirely, while Northwestern took its place. No. 3 Auburn lost at Tennessee 3–0 and fell to 17th place in the next poll. No. 4 Mississippi recorded another 16–0 win, this time at Kentucky, and rose to third. No. 5 Clemson won at 47–0 at Virginia, but fell to 6th. No. 7 Army returned to the Top 5 after its 44–8 win over Boston College. No. 13 Iowa, which had won at California 42–12, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Mississippi 4.Army 5.Iowa
October 3 No. 1 LSU and Baylor met at a game in Shreveport, with LSU winning 22–0. No. 2 Northwestern won at No. 5 Iowa, 14–10. No. 3 Mississippi registered a third shutout, beating Memphis State 43–0, but fell to fifth. No. 4 Army lost at Illinois, 20–14, and fell out of the Top 20 completely. No. 7 Georgia Tech which went to 3–0 after a 16–6 win over No. 6 Clemson, rose to 3rd in the poll. No. 10 Texas rose to fourth after its third shutout in a row, a 33–0 walloping of California. The poll was: 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Georgia Tech 4.Texas 5.Mississippi
October 10 No. 1 LSU beat the visiting Miami Hurricanes 27–3. No. 2 Northwestern beat Minnesota 6–0. No. 3 Georgia Tech won at Tennessee, 14–7. In Dallas, No. 4 Texas defeated Oklahoma 19–12. No. 5 Mississippi won at Vanderbilt, 33–0. In four games, Ole Miss was 4–0 and had outscored its opponents 108–0. The next poll was: 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Texas 4.Georgia Tech 5.Mississippi
On October 17, No. 1 LSU won at Kentucky, 9–0. No. 2 Northwestern won at Michigan 20–7. No. 3 Texas narrowly beat Arkansas 13–12 in Little Rock. No. 4 Georgia Tech lost to Auburn, 7–6. No. 5 Mississippi yielded some points for the first time in the season, but beat Tulane 53–7. The No. 7 USC Trojans rose to 5th after beating Washington in Seattle, 22–15. The poll was: 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Texas 4.Mississippi 5.USC
October 24 No. 1 LSU recorded its fourth shutout, winning 9–0 in Florida. No. 2 Northwestern killed another giant on the road, beating Notre Dame 30–24. No. 3 Texas defeated Rice 28–6. No. 4 Mississippi shut out Arkansas 28–0 at Memphis. No. 5 USC Trojans got past Stanford 30–28 and fell to 6th. Taking USC's place was No. 6 Syracuse, which had beaten West Virginia 44–0 to reach the 5–0 mark. The next poll was: 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Mississippi 4.Texas 5.Syracuse
October 31 No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Mississippi, both 6–0, met in Baton Rouge and both schools had great defenses. LSU had outscored its opposition 103–6, while Ole Miss had a 189–7 point differential over all comers. Someone had to lose, and Ole Miss fell to LSU 7–3. Billy Cannon returned a Jake Gibbs punt 89 yards for the game's only touchdown, but the Rebels had a chance to win the game when it drove to the LSU 1–yard line in the closing seconds, only to see third-string quarterback Doug Elmore stopped cold on fourth and goal by Cannon. No. 2 Northwestern beat visiting Indiana 30–13. No. 4 Texas beat SMU in Dallas, 21–0. No. 5 Syracuse won at Pittsburgh, 35–0, and rose to fourth. The next poll was: 1.LSU 2.Northwestern 3.Texas 4.Syracuse 5.Mississippi
November 7 No. 1 LSU traveled to Knoxville to face Tennessee, and gave up a touchdown for the first time in the season. The Vols made it to the end zone twice, winning 14–13 over the Tigers. Losing also was No. 2 Northwestern, which fell to the visiting Wisconsin, 24–19, and dropped to 6th. No. 3 Texas won a close one over Baylor, 13–12, and rose to 2nd. No. 4 Syracuse, which had won at Penn State 20–18, was catapulted to the No. 1 spot. No. 5 Mississippi crushed UT-Chattanooga 58–0. No. 6 USC returned to the Top Five after a 36–0 win over West Virginia. The next poll was 1.Syracuse 2.Texas 3.LSU 4.USC 5.Mississippi
November 14 No. 1 Syracuse exercised its top status, brushing off overmatched Colgate 71–0. No. 2 Texas lost to TCU, 14–9, and No. 3 LSU returned to its winning ways, beating Mississippi State at home, 27–0. No. 4 USC beat Baylor 17–8. No. 5 Mississippi beat Tennessee in Memphis, 37–7. The poll changed slightly: 1.Syracuse 2.Mississippi 3.LSU 4.USC 5.Texas
November 21 No. 1 Syracuse won at Boston University, 46–0, for its fifth shutout as it reached the 9–0 mark. No. 3 LSU beat Tulane 14–6, then accepted an invitation to play in the Sugar Bowl. No. 4 USC lost to rival UCLA, 10–3 and fell to 7th. No. 9 Wisconsin, which closed its season with an 11–7 win at Minnesota, rose to 5th. No. 2 Mississippi and No. 5 Texas were idle, but stayed at the same place in the polls: 1.Syracuse 2.Mississippi 3.LSU 4.Texas 5.Wisconsin
On Thanksgiving Day, No. 4 Texas won 20–17 at Texas A&M. No. 1 Syracuse was idle as it prepared for its December 5 trip to Los Angeles to play UCLA. On Saturday, November 28, No. 2 Mississippi played its season ender against Mississippi State, in Starkville, and won 42–0. Both LSU and Ole Miss were invited to a rematch in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl. A third SEC team, the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs, beat Georgia Tech 21–14 in Atlanta and accepted a spot in the Orange Bowl. Because Oklahoma had played in the Orange Bowl the year before, a "no repeat" rule gave the Big 7 (Oklahoma State would join later) berth to 6–4 Missouri. The Rose Bowl matched No. 6 Wisconsin against No. 8 Washington. The penultimate poll was 1.Syracuse 2.Mississippi 3.LSU 4.Texas 5.Georgia.
On December 5, No. 1 Syracuse closed its season with trip to the Los Angeles Coliseum to face the upset-minded (but 5–3–1) UCLA BruinsIn a nationally televised game, the Orangemen took a 14–0 lead and went on to win 36–8 to finish the season with a perfect 10–0 record. As the only unbeaten team among universities, the Syracuse Orangemen were voted No. 1 in the AP Poll (with 134 of 201 first-place votes) and in the UPI Coaches Poll, with 31 of the 35 first-place votes.
Friday, January 1, 1960
|COTTON||No. 1 Syracuse Orangemen||23||No. 4 Texas Longhorns||14|
|SUGAR||No. 2 Mississippi Rebels||21||No. 3 LSU Tigers||0|
|ROSE||No. 8 Washington Huskies||44||No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers||8|
|ORANGE||No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs||14||No. 18 Missouri Tigers||0|
Behind future Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, the Orangemen proved the voters' decision to name them national champions in the final polls was a wise one. It was the first Cotton Bowl for the Longhorns under coach Darrell Royal, who guided Texas to national championships in 1963, 1969, and 1970, and compiled a career record of 167–47–5 (.774) in Austin from 1957 through 1976.
Ole Miss systematically demolished LSU in the Sugar Bowl. LSU was Ole Miss's sole loss of the regular season. The Rebels outgained the Bayou Bengals and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon 373–74 in front of a largely pro-LSU crowd of over 83,000 at Tulane Stadium. Immediately following the game, Cannon signed a contract with the Houston Oilers of the fledgling American Football League, spurning the Los Angeles Rams and general manager Pete Rozelle.
|SUN||El Paso, TX||December 31||New Mexico State||28–8||North Texas State|
|GATOR||Jacksonville, FL||January 2||No. 9 Arkansas||14–7||Georgia Tech|
|BLUEBONNET||Houston, TX||December 19||No. 11 Clemson||23–7||No. 7 TCU|
|LIBERTY||Philadelphia, PA||December 19||No. 12 Penn State||7–0||No. 10 Alabama|
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 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Miami winning its second national championship during the '80s in an Orange Bowl match-up featuring a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Hurricanes.
The 1963 NCAA University Division football season was played by American football teams representing 120 colleges and universities recognized the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as major programs. The remaining 299 colleges and universities that were NCAA members and fielded football teams competed in the 1963 NCAA College Division football season.
The 1962 NCAA University Division football season was played by American football teams representing 140 colleges and universities recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as major programs. The remaining 370 colleges and universities that were NCAA members and fielded football teams competed in the 1962 NCAA College Division football season.
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 "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular, followed by the "coaches' poll" by United Press International) (UPI). Prior to 1965, both services issued their final polls at the close of the regular season, but before teams competed in bowl games. For the 1965 season, the AP took its final poll after the postseason games, an arrangement made permanent in 1968. The Associated Press presented the "AP Trophy" to the winner.
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 1967 NCAA University Division football season was the last one in which college football's champion was crowned before the bowl games. 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 and now as the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
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 1969 college football season was celebrated as the centennial of college football.
The 1960 NCAA University Division football season marked the last time that the University of Minnesota was a national champion on the gridiron. Murray Warmath's Minnesota Gophers were not in the Top 20 in preseason polling, but received the AP Trophy at the end of the regular season while Ole Miss received the FWAA trophy.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.