|1966 NCAA University Division football season|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Alabama|
|Regular season||September 17 – December 3, 1966|
|Number of bowls||8|
|Bowl games||December 10, 1966 – January 2, 1967|
|Champion(s)|| Notre Dame (AP, Coaches, NFF)|
Michigan State (NFF)
|Heisman||Steve Spurrier (quarterback, Florida)|
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 NCAA Football Guide, however, did note an "unofficial national champion" based on the top ranked teams in the "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). In 1966, both services issued their final polls at the close of the regular season, but before teams competed in bowl games. The Associated Press presented the "AP Trophy" to the winner.
The AP poll in 1966 consisted of the votes of as many as 63 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. Those who cast votes 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. In the preseason poll for 1966, Alabama was slightly ahead of Michigan State in first place votes (15 vs. 12) and points.
Prior to the start of the 1966 season, East Carolina was elevated to the University Division.
The American Broadcasting Company began showing college football in color this season. By the NCAA rules, only 8 national and 5 regional telecasts were allowed during the season.
|School||1965 Conference||1966 Conference|
|Akron Zips||Ohio Athletic||Independent|
|Tulane Green Wave||SEC||Independent|
In the preseason poll released on September 12, the top six teams were from different conferences. First place was the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC), followed by defending UPI champ Michigan State (Big Ten), Nebraska (Big Eight), UCLA (Pacific-8), Arkansas (SWC) and Notre Dame (independent).
September 17 No. 2 Michigan State beat North Carolina State 28–10 at home, No. 3 Nebraska beat Texas Christian (TCU) 14–10, and No. 4 UCLA crushed Pittsburgh 57–14 in Los Angeles. At a game in Little Rock, No. 5 Arkansas beat visiting Oklahoma State 14–10, but fell to 6th place in the next poll, while No. 9 USC won at Texas, 10–6. Alabama had not yet begun its season. The poll was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Alabama 4.Nebraska and 5.USC.
September 24 No. 1 Michigan State beat Penn State 42–8 at home in East Lansing. No. 2 UCLA won 31–12 at Syracuse, No. 3 Alabama easily handled Louisiana Tech 34–0, and No. 4 Nebraska won over Utah State 28–7 but would drop to sixth. The Cornhuskers were replaced by No. 8 Notre Dame, which had beaten No. 7 Purdue at home, 26–14. No. 5 USC beat Wisconsin in Los Angeles 38–3. In the poll, it was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Alabama 4.Notre Dame and 5.USC.
October 1 No. 1 Michigan State won at Illinois, 26–10. No. 2 UCLA hosted Missouri and won, 24–15. No. 3 Alabama beat Mississippi 17–7, while No. 4 Notre Dame won 35–7 at Northwestern and thus jumped over Alabama to No. 3. No. 5 USC played Oregon State in a game at Portland, winning 21–0, but it dropped from fifth to sixth. Its place was taken by No. 7 Arkansas, which shut out Texas Christian by the same 21–0 score. The next poll was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Notre Dame 4.Alabama 5.Arkansas. All of the Top Ten teams remained unbeaten (the next five were USC, Nebraska, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Florida
October 8 No. 1 Michigan State beat Michigan at home, 20–7. No. 2 UCLA won in Houston against Rice, 27–24. No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Alabama registered shutouts, beating Army (35–0) and Clemson (26–0), respectively. Thus, Notre Dame and Alabama jumped over UCLA. No. 5 Arkansas was itself shut out, 7–0, by the Baylor Bears. They were replaced at fifth place by No. 6 USC which won 17–14 at home against Washington. No. 7 Nebraska beat the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, 31–3. In a matchup between No. 9 Georgia Tech and No. 8 Tennessee in Atlanta, Tech won 6–3. With two unbeatens gone, the eight remaining in the poll were 1.Michigan State 2.Notre Dame 3.Alabama 4.UCLA 5.USC 6.Nebraska 7.Georgia Tech 8.Florida
October 15 No. 1 Michigan State narrowly beat Ohio State in Columbus, 11–8, while No. 2 Notre Dame held North Carolina scoreless at home, 32–0, which was enough for them to trade places in the next poll. Likewise, No. 3 Alabama edged Tennessee 11–10 while No. 4 UCLA overwhelmed Penn State 49–11 to jump back ahead of Alabama. UCLA's Los Angeles rival, No. 5 USC, beat Stanford 21–7. No. 6 Nebraska won 21–10 over Kansas State. No. 7 Georgia Tech met Auburn in Birmingham, winning 17–3 to stay unbeaten, and No. 8 Florida won at North Carolina State, 17–10. Oklahoma, which was scheduled to face Notre Dame, beat Kansas 35–0, while Purdue (set to face Michigan State) beat Michigan 22–21 in Ann Arbor. Purdue was the only team with a loss in the next poll: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.USC 6.Georgia Tech 7.Nebraska 8.Florida 9.Purdue 10.Oklahoma
On October 22, No. 1 Notre Dame met No. 10 Oklahoma at Norman and beat them, 38–0. No. 2 Michigan State hosted No. 9 Purdue and won 41–20, which would give State the Big Ten crown. Because of a Big Ten rule barring two straight Rose Bowl appearances, Purdue went to Pasadena instead of the Spartans. No. 3 UCLA won 28–15 at California in Berkeley, while in Birmingham, No. 4 Alabama handled Vanderbilt 42–6 and No. 5 USC beat visiting Clemson 30–0. It was No. 6 Georgia Tech over Tulane, 35–17, and No. 7 Nebraska won 21–19 at Colorado in a game that would determine the Big 8 championship. Arkansas returned to the Top Ten with a 41–0 triumph over Wichita State at Little Rock and Wyoming (which had gone 6–0–0 with a 35–10 win over Utah State) reached No. 10. The next poll had nine unbeaten teams, and Arkansas: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.USC 6.Ga Tech 7.Florida 8.Nebraska 9.Arkansas 5–1 10.Wyoming
October 29 Week Eight featured games in large cities. In a Friday night game in Miami, No. 5 USC lost 10–7 to the Hurricanes. No. 1 Notre Dame met Navy in a game at Philadelphia and won 31–7. No. 2 Michigan State traveled to metropolitan Chicago (Evanston) to beat Northwestern 22–0. In Los Angeles, No. 3 UCLA beat the Air Force Academy 38–13. No. 4 Alabama beat Mississippi State 27–14 in Tuscaloosa. Three other teams won again to go 7–0–0 (No. 6 Georgia Tech over Duke 48–7, No. 7 Florida over Auburn 30–27 and No. 8 Nebraska 35–0 over Missouri). No. 9 Arkansas won 34–0 over Texas A&M, and No. 10 Wyoming's Top Ten ranking ended with its first loss, 12–10 at Colorado State. The remaining unbeatens in the Halloween rankings were 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.Georgia Tech 6.Nebraska and 7.Florida.
November 5 No. 1 Notre Dame beat Pittsburgh at home, 40–0. No. 2 Michigan State beat Iowa at home, 56–7. In Seattle, The No. 3 UCLA Bruins suffered their first loss, falling 16–3 at Washington. No. 4 Alabama defeated LSU 21–0 at Birmingham. No. 5 Georgia Tech got by Virginia in Atlanta, 14–13. No. 6 Nebraska, which had won 24–13 at Kansas, entered the Top Five, which contained the nation's five unbeaten major teams: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.Alabama 4.Nebraska 5.Georgia Tech.
On November 12, No. 1 Notre Dame crushed Duke 64–0 at home. No. 2 Michigan State won at Indiana 37–19. No. 3 Alabama over South Carolina 24–0 at Tuscaloosa for its third straight shutout win. No. 4 Nebraska won 21–6 over Oklahoma State, and No. 5 Georgia Tech beat Penn State 21–0. The Top Five remained the same, as No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State prepared to meet on State's turf in East Lansing.
November 19, In "the game of the century" No. 1 Notre Dame played No. 2 Michigan State to a 10–10 tie in East Lansing. The Spartans closed their season with a 9–0–1 record and no postseason game, since they had played the 1965 Rose Bowl and were barred from a repeat. After the game, the AP and UPI split, with the AP ranking Notre Dame No. 1 and the UPI ranking Michigan State No. 1. Without injured star QB Gary Beban, No. 8 UCLA still managed to beat No. 7 USC 14–7. Although UCLA finished with a better overall record (9–1) and ranking (No.5) than USC (7–3), it was the Trojans who were voted by the conference to go on to the Rose Bowl, due to having played one more "conference game." UCLA students took to the streets protesting the decision in anger, at one point blocking the nearby 405 Freeway. The Rose Bowl would pit USC vs. Purdue when the ideal matchup was largely considered UCLA vs. Michigan State. No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Nebraska and No. 5 Georgia Tech were all idle. The poll remained unchanged.
On Thanksgiving Day, No. 4 Nebraska and Oklahoma met at Norman, with the Sooners winning 10–9 to leave the Cornhuskers with a 9–1–0 finish. On Saturday, November 26, No. 1 Notre Dame went to Los Angeles to hand No. 10 USC a 51–0 shutout loss—the most points scored against USC up to that time, and USC's largest margin of defeat to this day. No. 3 Alabama won over Southern Mississippi in Mobile. No. 5 Georgia Tech lost to No. 7 Georgia 23–14 at Athens. The Bulldogs closed with a 9–1–0 finish, an unbeaten SEC record (tied with Alabama), and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl to face SMU. In the final regular poll, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Alabama were first, second and third, with Georgia 4th and UCLA 5th. On December 3, No. 3 Alabama closed its season with a 31–0 win over Auburn in Birmingham, for its fourth straight shutout and a 10–0–0 record.
In the final AP poll, taken before the bowl games, 9–0–1 Notre Dame (which did not end its 40+ year no-bowls policy until the 1969 season) was the overwhelming choice of the writers for the AP Trophy, with 41 of the 56 first place votes, and Michigan State was second; neither played in a bowl game, as Notre Dame at the time refused all bowl bids and Michigan State was barred from the Rose Bowl due to a Big Ten rule that prevented teams from going to the Rose Bowl in two consecutive seasons. Alabama, which was unbeaten and later won the Sugar Bowl over Nebraska, finished third. Georgia, whose only blemish had been a one-point loss to the Miami Hurricanes, was fourth and UCLA was fifth.
Saturday, December 31, 1966 (Cotton)
Monday, January 2, 1967
|COTTON||No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs||24||No. 10 SMU Mustangs||9|
|SUGAR||No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide||34||No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers||7|
|ROSE||No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers||14||USC Trojans||13|
|ORANGE||Florida Gators||27||No. 8 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets||12|
|SUN||El Paso, Texas||December 24||Wyoming||28–20||Florida State|
|GATOR||Jacksonville, Florida||December 31||Tennessee||18–12||Syracuse|
|LIBERTY||Memphis, Tennessee||December 10||No. 9 Miami (FL)||14–7||Virginia Tech|
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 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.
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.
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 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 No. 1 vs. No. 2 game against Alabama.
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 1975 NCAA Division I football season saw University of Oklahoma repeat as national champion in the Associated Press (AP) writers' poll, and were ranked No. 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 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 1955 college football season saw the Oklahoma Sooners win the national championship after going 10–0–0. Although the final poll was taken before the postseason bowl games, Oklahoma played against the nation's other unbeaten and untied (10–0–0) team, the Maryland Terrapins, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and won 20–6.
The 1954 college football season saw three teams finish unbeaten and untied, with Ohio State Buckeyes and the UCLA Bruins sharing the national championship as the No. 1 picks of the AP Poll and the UPI Poll, respectively. Although the winners of the Big Ten and the Pacific conferences normally met in the Rose Bowl, a "no repeat" prevented the two champions from meeting. UCLA, which had been in the Rose Bowl earlier in the year, was replaced by conference runner-up USC.
The 1953 college football season finished with the Maryland Terrapins capturing the AP, INS, and UPI national championship after Notre Dame held the top spot for the first nine weeks. The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners defeated Maryland in the Orange Bowl, but there was no further polling after the November 30 results were released. However, Notre Dame was selected as the National Champions by 10 other polls and the Oklahoma Sooners received first in two polls. However, despite the team receiving National Championship rings, the University of Notre Dame does not recognize this title due to their policy of only recognizing AP or coaches' poll titles during the polling era (1936–present). Maryland was also the first champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which had been formed earlier in 1953 by seven colleges formerly with the Southern Conference. The year 1953 also saw the Michigan State Spartans, previously an independent, join the Big Nine Conference, which then became the Big Ten; MSU won the conference title in that first year and was the conference representative to the Rose Bowl, which it won 28–20 over UCLA.
The 1952 college football season ended with the unbeaten Michigan State Spartans (9–0) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12–0) each claiming a national championship from different polls. Michigan State finished first according to two of the "wire service" polls, which both placed Georgia Tech second. Georgia Tech was first in the International News Service poll. UP and INS merged in 1958 to form UPI. Although the Spartans became members of the Big Ten Conference in 1950, full participation did not come until 1953, and under the terms of their entry into the conference, they were not allowed to participate in postseason play. Georgia Tech won the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day in New Orleans.
The 1949 college football season finished with four teams that were unbeaten and untied-- Notre Dame, Oklahoma, California, and Army had won all their games at season's end. Notre Dame, however, was the overwhelming choice for national champion in the AP Poll, with 172 of 208 first place votes. The Fighting Irish did not participate in the New Year's Day bowl games, which were played on January 2, 1950.
The 1947 college football season finished with Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State all unbeaten and untied, but the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were the first place choice for 107 of the 142 voters in the AP Poll, and repeated as national champions. Michigan went on to meet USC in the Rose Bowl and won 49–0, while Penn State was tied 13–13 by SMU in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and Notre Dame didn't participate in the postseason. An unofficial post bowl AP poll was conducted with Michigan and Notre Dame as the only options and Michigan won by a vote of 226 to 119.
The 1946 college football season finished with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish crowned as the national champion in the AP Poll, the Georgia Bulldogs recognized as national champion by the Williamson poll and United States Military Academy named as national champion in various other polls and rankings. The Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens were recognized by the AP as the small college national champion. Notre Dame and Army both won all of their games, with the exception of their November 9 meeting at New York's Yankee Stadium, where they had played to a 0–0 tie in a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup regarded as a "Game of the Century". Neither team played in bowl game that season.
The 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.