1965 NCAA University Division football season

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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 "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.


The AP poll in 1965 consisted of the votes of 55 sportswriters, each of whom would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of ten points for first place, nine for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. In the preseason poll for 1965, the writers cast first place votes for nine different teams, and the range of points between the highest six finishers ranged from 252 to 311 points. Nebraska was first, followed by Texas, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, and Arkansas. [2] As the regular season progressed, new polls were issued weekly on Mondays.

At season's end, Michigan State, Arkansas, and Nebraska were all unbeaten at 10–0. As champions of their respective conferences (Big Ten, Southwest, and Big Eight), they played in three separate bowl games (Rose, Cotton, and Orange) on New Year's Day. Arkansas and Michigan State lost during the day, and Alabama defeated Nebraska at night in Miami. In the final poll, taken after the bowls, Alabama was crowned the national champion by the Associated Press. The Crimson Tide had been first in both final polls at the end of the 1964 regular season and crowned as national champions, but lost the Orange Bowl.

In addition to 1964 and 1965, the UPI national champions in 1970 and 1973 also lost their respective bowl games. Beginning with the 1974 season, the UPI released its final poll after the bowls.

Rule changes

Conference and program changes

School1964 Conference1965 Conference
East Carolina Pirates Independent Southern
Detroit Titans Independentdropped program
VPI Hokies Southern Independent

The AP Regular Season Poll

In the preseason poll released on September 13, the top five teams were from different conferences. First place was the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big 8) followed by Texas (Southwest), independent Notre Dame, Michigan of the Big Ten and Alabama from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Arkansas, the SWC rival to Texas, was #6, followed by USC from the AAWU (later Pacific-8, Pac-10, and now Pac-12).


In Week One (September 18) Alabama and USC both fell out of the Top Ten. USC played Minnesota to a 20–20 tie on a Friday night game in Los Angeles while #5 Alabama narrowly lost to Georgia, 18–17. #1 Nebraska beat Texas Christian (TCU) at home, 34–14. #2 Texas shut out Tulane 31–0 in a game which was shifted from New Orleans to Austin due to the devastation of Hurricane Betsy across the Crescent City. #3 Notre Dame crushed California 48–6 at Berkeley, and #4 Michigan won 31–24 at North Carolina. Following the 48–6 win, Notre Dame rose to #1 in the next poll, Nebraska and Texas fell to 2nd and 3rd, Michigan stayed at fourth and Arkansas (which had beaten Oklahoma State 28–14) was fifth. Michigan State defeated UCLA 13–3 at East Lansing and was seventh.

On September 25, #1 Notre Dame stayed in Indiana as it lost to #6 Purdue 25–21 at West Lafayette. #2 Nebraska won 27–17 over Air Force in Colorado Springs, and #3 Texas beat Texas Tech 33–7. #4 Michigan barely won over unranked California 10–7 and #5 Arkansas 20–12 defeated Tulsa. In next poll, Texas, Purdue and Nebraska had had 15, 14 and 13 first place votes in a tight race for #1, #2 and #3. Arkansas rose to fourth, while the LSU Tigers, coming from a 42–14 win over Rice, placed fifth. Michigan State rose to sixth, while Michigan and Notre Dame fell to seventh and eighth place respectively.


October 2, #1 Texas hosted Indiana and won 27–12; Purdue played SMU to a 14–14 tie in Dallas. #3 Nebraska shut out Iowa State 44–0, while #4 Arkansas blanked TCU 28–0. In an SEC matchup at Gainesville, visiting #5 LSU fell to the Florida Gators 14–7. #10 Georgia beat #7 Michigan 15–7 in Ann Arbor and climbed into the top five, while Michigan State beat Illinois at home, 22–12. The next poll was 1.Texas 2.Nebraska 3.Arkansas 4.Georgia and 5.Michigan State

In October 9 play, all five of the top teams remained unbeaten. #1 Texas shut out Oklahoma, 19–0 at Dallas. #2 Nebraska held visiting Wisconsin scoreless 37–0. #3 Arkansas won at Baylor 38–7 and #4 Georgia beat Clemson at home, 23–9. #5 Michigan State followed Georgia's visit to Ann Arbor with one of its own, beating Michigan 24–7. The Spartans and Bulldogs traded places in the next poll, which was 1.Texas 2.Nebraska 3.Arkansas 4.Michigan State 5.Georgia

On October 16 the #1 Texas met the #3 Arkansas at Fayetteville in a Southwest Conference matchup between the two 4–0 teams and Arkansas won, 27–24. Meanwhile, #2 Nebraska recorded its third straight shutout, a 41–0 win at Kansas State. In a game that ultimately decided the Big Ten title, #4 Michigan State beat Ohio State 32–7, and #5 Georgia lost 10–3 to Florida State at Tallahassee. Arkansas was the new #1 in the poll that followed, followed by Michigan State and Nebraska. The USC Trojans, who had beaten Stanford 14–0 and remained unbeaten (4–0–1) were #4 while Texas dropped from first to fifth.

October 23: The #1 Arkansas defeated North Texas State 55–20 at Little Rock, #2 Michigan State won 14–10 at Purdue, and #3 Nebraska beat Colorado 38-13. #4 USC fell 28–7 to #7 Notre Dame at South Bend, and #5 Texas lost its second straight game, falling 20–17 to Rice. After its 4–0 start, the Longhorns finished the season at 6–4. In the next poll, Michigan State received fewer first place votes than Arkansas, but had seven more points overall, 473–466, while Nebraska was third. The three teams were the last to remain unbeaten, all with 6–0 records. Notre Dame was fourth, and LSU, 5–1 after beating South Carolina 21–7, rose from ninth to fifth.

October 30 #1 Michigan State overwhelmed Northwestern 49–7 at home in East Lansing. Playing in Little Rock, #2 Arkansas shut out Texas A&M 31–0. #3 Nebraska won a close one, 16–14, at Missouri and #4 Notre Dame won 29–3 over Navy. #5 LSU was shut out at home by Mississippi, 23–0. Meanwhile, #10 Alabama beat Mississippi State 10–7 at Jackson to take LSU's place at #5. The top four stayed the same: 1.Michigan State 2.Arkansas 3.Nebraska 4.Notre Dame 5.Alabama.


On November 6, #1 Michigan State won 35–0 win at Iowa, #2 Arkansas won 31–0 at Rice, and #3 Nebraska won 42–6 over Kansas. All three remained unbeaten, with 8–0 records. #4 Notre Dame rolled over host Pittsburgh 69–13, and #5 Alabama won 31–7 at LSU to take the SEC title.

November 13 The top three extended their records to 9–0. #1 Michigan State beat Indiana 27–13 to guarantee itself the Big Ten title and the trip to Pasadena. #2 Arkansas beat SMU 24–3 at Dallas, with only one game left in SWC play, a match against second place Texas Tech. #3 Nebraska had a surprisingly difficult game against 1–6 Oklahoma State, winning 21–17 at Stillwater. #4 Notre Dame shut out visiting North Carolina, 17–0, and #5 Alabama beat South Carolina 35–14 at home.

November 20: With its Big Ten title assured, #1 Michigan State visited its most difficult opponent yet, #4 Notre Dame, with hopes of finishing its season unbeaten. The Spartans won, 12–3. Though unbeaten, #2 Arkansas was only a game ahead of SWC rival Texas Tech (6–0 vs. 5–1) in conference play. The two met at Arkansas, and the Razorbacks beat the Red Raiders 42–24 to get a spot in the Cotton Bowl. In Los Angeles, #7 UCLA beat #6 USC 20–16 to win the AAWU (Pac-8) title and the right to meet Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. Unranked LSU destroyed Tulane 62–0 (the third time in the past eight meetings the Tigers defeated the Green Wave by that score) and earned the berth in the Cotton Bowl opposite Arkansas.

Thanksgiving Day, #3 Nebraska beat Oklahoma at home in Lincoln, 21–9 to gain the Big 8 title and the Orange Bowl spot. #5 Alabama and Auburn University both met in their annual season closer at Birmingham on Saturday and the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 30–3.

On the following December 4 #4 UCLA lost to Tennessee 37–34 in a game marred by a questionable pass interference call and the clock stopping for no apparent reason during Tennessee's last minute drive. The next AP poll was 1.Michigan State 2.Arkansas 3.Nebraska 4.Alabama and 5.Tennessee. For the first time, the Associated Press made plans to take its final poll after the bowl games, as its top six teams were all playing on New Year's Day.

Conference standings

1965 Athletic Association of Western Universities football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 UCLA $400  821
No. 10 USC 410  721
Washington State 210  730
Washington 430  550
Stanford 230  631
California 230  550
Oregon State 130  550
Oregon 050  451
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
NC State +520  640†
Clemson +520  550†
Duke 420  640
Maryland 330  460
North Carolina 330  460
Virginia 330  460†
Wake Forest 240  370†
South Carolina 060  550†
  • + Conference co-champions
  • † South Carolina forfeited its 4 conference wins (Clemson, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest) due to an ineligible player. This moved Clemson and NC State to 5–2, making them co-champions. Overall records do not reflect this. Duke and South Carolina were originally co-champions with records of 4–2. [3]
Rankings from AP Poll [4]
1965 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 5 Nebraska $700  1010
No. 6 Missouri 610  821
Colorado 421  622
Iowa State 331  541
Oklahoma 340  370
Oklahoma State 250  370
Kansas 250  280
Kansas State 070  0100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Big Ten football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 2 Michigan State $700  1010
Ohio State 610  720
Purdue 520  721
Minnesota 520  541
Illinois 430  640
Northwestern 340  460
Michigan 250  460
Wisconsin 250  271
Indiana 160  280
Iowa 070  190
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Ivy League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dartmouth $700  900
Princeton 610  810
Harvard 322  522
Cornell 331  432
Yale 340  360
Penn 241  441
Brown 160  270
Columbia 160  270
  • $ Conference champion
1965 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bowling Green +510  720
Miami +510  730
Western Michigan 321  621
Kent State 321  541
Marshall 240  550
Toledo 240  551
Ohio 060  0100
  • + Conference co-champions
1965 Middle Atlantic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bucknell x510  630
Hofstra 410  820
Temple 320  550
Delaware 330  540
Gettysburg 240  540
Lehigh 130  180
Lafayette 150  370
Wilkes x610  710
Upsala 520  ???
Lycoming 420  530
Juniata 320  350
Moravian 440  540
Albright 340  450
Wagner 230  360
Susquehanna*030  090
Swarthmore x600  610
Dickinson 710  710
Drexel 420  620
Lebanon Valley 430  530
Franklin & Marshall 340  440
Haverford 230  250
Western Maryland 240  360
Pennsylvania Military 260  270
Muhlenberg 180  180
Johns Hopkins 141  161
Ursinus 141  161
West Chester*000  530
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • * – Ineligible due to insufficient conference games
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Tulsa $400  830
Louisville 210  640
North Texas State 220  371
Cincinnati 120  550
Wichita State 040  270
  • $ Conference champion
1965 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Alabama $611  911
Auburn 411  551
Florida 420  740
No. 7 Tennessee 212  812
Ole Miss 530  740
No. 8 LSU 330  830
Kentucky 330  640
Georgia 230  640
Vanderbilt 150  271
Tulane 150  280
Mississippi State 150  460
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
West Virginia $ 40    64 
William & Mary  51    64 
East Carolina  31    91 
VMI  32    37 
George Washington  43    55 
The Citadel  44    46 
Davidson  23    64 
Furman  23    55 
Richmond  06    010 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 Arkansas $700  1010
Texas Tech 520  830
TCU 520  650
Texas 340  640
Baylor 340  550
SMU 340  451
Texas A&M 160  370
Rice 160  280
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1965 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
BYU $410  640
Arizona State 310  640
Wyoming 320  640
New Mexico 230  370
Utah 130  370
Arizona 140  370
  • $ Conference champion
1965 NCAA University Division independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
New Mexico State     820
Utah State     820
Xavier     820
Texas Western     830
No. 9 Notre Dame     721
Southern Miss     720
Syracuse     730
VPI     730
Georgia Tech     731
Boston College     640
West Texas State     640
Boston University     531
Buffalo     532
Miami (FL)     541
Penn State     550
Memphis State     550
San Jose State     550
Navy     442
Colgate     451
Florida State     451
Army     451
Houston     451
Colorado State     460
Rutgers     360
Air Force     361
Pittsburgh     370
Dayton     370
Holy Cross     271
Villanova     180
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games

Major bowls

Saturday, January 1, 1966

COTTON LSU Tigers 14#2 Arkansas Razorbacks 7
SUGAR #6 Missouri Tigers 20 Florida Gators 18
ROSE #5 UCLA Bruins 14#1 Michigan State Spartans 12
ORANGE #4 Alabama Crimson Tide 39#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers 28

The top three teams in the polls were upset, [5] starting with LSU's 14–7 win over #2 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Then came an even bigger stunner, as 13-point underdog UCLA bested top-ranked Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, 14–12. Trailing by eight points, Michigan State scored a touchdown in the final minute but the two-point conversion attempt to tie was stopped just short of the goal line. With the top two teams defeated, the Orange Bowl game that night between #3 Nebraska and #4 Alabama would determine the national champion. Alabama, led by QB Steve Sloan, beat Nebraska 39–28 to claim the national title. [6] The final AP poll, released three days after the bowls, was #1 Alabama, #2 Michigan State, #3 Arkansas, #4 UCLA, and #5 Nebraska. [7] [8]

Other bowls

SUN El Paso, TXDecember 31 Texas Western 13–12 TCU
GATOR Jacksonville, FLDecember 31 Georgia Tech 31–21#10 Texas Tech
BLUEBONNET Houston, TXDecember 18#7 Tennessee 27–6 Tulsa
LIBERTY Memphis, TNDecember 18 Mississippi 13–7 Auburn

Heisman Trophy

  1. Mike Garrett , RB - USC, 926 points
  2. Howard Twilley, WR - Tulsa, 528
  3. Jim Grabowski, RB - Illinois, 481
  4. Donny Anderson, RB-P - Texas Tech, 408
  5. Floyd Little, RB - Syracuse, 287
  6. Steve Juday, QB - Michigan State, 281
  7. Tommy Nobis, LB - Texas, 205
  8. Bob Griese, QB - Purdue, 193
  9. Steve Spurrier, QB - Florida, 93
  10. Steve Sloan, QB - Alabama, 92

Source: [9] [10]

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 1981 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the Clemson Tigers, unbeaten and untied, claiming the national championship after a victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. This was also the first year of the California Bowl, played in Fresno, California; this game fancied itself as a "junior" version of the Rose Bowl as it pitted the Big West Conference champion vs. the Mid-American Conference champion.

The 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season saw a university from the state of Georgia take its first national title since 1942.

The 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first season of Division I-A college football; Division I-A was created in 1978 when Division I was subdivided into Division I-A and Division I-AA for football only. With the exception of seven teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Division I teams from the 1977 season played in Division I-A during the 1978 season. The SWAC teams, along with five conferences and five other teams formerly in Division II, played in Division I-AA.

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.

The 1966 University Division football season was marked by some controversy as the year of "The Tie", a famous 10–10 game between the two top-ranked teams, Michigan State and Notre Dame on November 19. Both teams were crowned national champions by various organizations after the regular season concluded, and neither participated in bowl game. Alabama finished the regular season undefeated and was third in the AP poll, while Georgia was fourth. Alabama went on to win the Sugar Bowl in dominant fashion. 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 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 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 1971 NCAA University Division football season saw Coach Bob Devaney's Nebraska Cornhuskers repeat as national champions. Ranked a close second behind Notre Dame in the preseason poll, Nebraska moved up to first place the following week, remained there for the rest of 1971, and convincingly won the Orange Bowl 38–6 in a #1 vs. #2 game against Alabama.

The 1972 NCAA University Division football season saw the USC Trojans, coached by John McKay, go undefeated and win the national championship as the unanimous choice of the 50 AP panelists. Eighth-ranked in the preseason, the Trojans were narrowly voted #1 in the first AP poll, and stayed out front for the rest of the year.

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, #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 1975 NCAA Division I football season saw University of Oklahoma repeat as national champion in the Associated Press (AP) writers' poll, and were ranked #1 in the United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll, just ahead of runner up Arizona State, runner-up in both final polls, despite having an undefeated 12–0 season and a win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.

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 #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 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.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  4. "1965 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  5. "Grid bowl results". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1966. p. D1.
  6. "39-28 win for 'Bama in Miami". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1966. p. D1.
  7. "'Bama wins 2nd straight AP grid title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 4, 1966. p. 2B.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2012-11-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Vote Garrett best in U.S." Chicago Tribune. UPI. November 24, 1965. p. 1, sec. 3.
  10. "Mike Garrett". Heisman Trophy. 1965. Retrieved January 25, 2017.