|1968 NCAA University Division football season|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Purdue|
|Regular season||September 21 – December 7, 1968|
|Number of bowls||10|
|Bowl games||December 14, 1968 – January 1, 1969|
|Champion(s)||Ohio State (AP, Coaches, FWAA, NFF)|
|Heisman||O. J. Simpson (halfback, USC)|
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 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 1968, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed.
The AP poll in 1968 consisted of the votes of as many as 49 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. With a Top 20 for the first time since the 1960 season, there were more matchups between ranked teams. Those who cast votes would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. In 1969, there were four regular season games that matched "Top Five" teams.
|School||1967 Conference||1968 Conference|
|Boise College Broncos||junior college||NAIA Independent|
|Colorado State Rams||Independent||WAC|
|Memphis State Tigers||Independent||Missouri Valley|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||Southern||Independent|
In the preseason poll released on September 9, the Purdue Boilermakers were picked No. 1, followed by the defending champion USC Trojans. Third was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, followed by the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns. A second poll was taken on September 16 (with Texas and Oklahoma trading places), although most teams would not begin play until the 21st.
September 21 No. 1 Purdue beat Virginia 44–6, and No. 2 USC won 29–20 at No. 15 Minnesota. No. 3 Notre Dame beat No. 5 Oklahoma 45–21 at South Bend, while No. 4 Texas was tied 20–20 at home by No. 11 Houston. In a proud moment for football in Indiana, Purdue remained at first, and Notre Dame rose to second, days before the annual meeting between the two schools. No. 10 Penn State beat Navy 31–6 and took Oklahoma's place at fourth in the poll. No. 6 Florida defeated Air Force 23–20 in Tampa and was fifth.
The poll was 1.Purdue 2.Notre Dame 3.USC 4.Penn State 5.Florida
September 28 No. 1 Purdue traveled to No. 2 Notre Dame and won, 37–22. No. 3 USC won 24–7 at Northwestern, No. 4 Penn State beat Kansas State 25–9, and No. 5 Florida won at Florida State 9–3.
The poll was 1.Purdue 2.USC 3.Penn State 4.Florida 5.Notre Dame
October 5 No. 1 Purdue won at Northwestern, 43–6, and No. 2 USC beat visiting Miami (FL), 28–3. No. 3 Penn State won at West Virginia 31–20, No. 4 Florida beat Mississippi State 31–14, but fell from the Top Five, and No. 5 Notre Dame won at Iowa 51–28. With a 21–6 win over Oregon, Ohio State reached fourth place.
The poll was 1.Purdue 2.USC 3.Penn State 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame
October 12 No. 1 Purdue lost 13–0 at No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 2 USC won 27–24 at No. 18 Stanford. No. 3 Penn State won at UCLA 21–6, No. 5 Notre Dame beat Northwestern 27–7, and No. 6 Kansas won 23–13 at No. 9 Nebraska, and rose to fourth.
The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Penn State 4.Kansas 5.Purdue
October 19 No. 1 USC beat Washington 14–7, and No. 2 Ohio State beat Northwestern 45–21. No. 3 Penn State was idle, No. 4 Kansas beat Oklahoma State 49–14, No. 5 Purdue edged Wake Forest 28–27 and dropped to seventh, and Notre Dame beat Illinois 58–8 and rose to fifth.
The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Kansas 4.Penn State 5.Notre Dame
October 26 No. 1 USC was idle, and No. 2 Ohio State won at Illinois 31–24. No. 3 Kansas won at Iowa State 46–25, No. 4 Penn State won at Boston College 29–0, and No. 5 Notre Dame was upset at unranked Michigan State, 21–17. Tennessee, which had reached 4–0–1 the week before with a 10–9 win over Alabama, was fifth.
The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Kansas 4.Penn State 5.Tennessee
November 2 No. 1 USC won at Oregon, 20–13, and No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 16 Michigan State 25–20. No. 3 Kansas posted its seventh win, over visiting Colorado, 27–14. No. 4 Penn State slipped past Army, 28–24 and No. 5 Tennessee beat visiting UCLA 42–18.
The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Kansas 4.Penn State 5.Tennessee
November 9 No. 1 USC turned back No. 11 California 35–17, and No. 2 Ohio State stayed unbeaten as well, downing Wisconsin 43–8. No. 3 Kansas, however, lost to unranked Oklahoma, 27–23, No. 4 Penn State beat visiting Miami (FL) 22–7, and No. 5 Tennessee lost to No. 18 Auburn in Birmingham, 28–14. No. 7 Michigan, with a 36–0 win over Illinois, rose to fourth. No. 9 Georgia, which was unbeaten (6–0–2) after a 51–0 win over Florida in Jacksonville, reached fifth. The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Penn State 4.Michigan 5. Georgia
November 16 No. 1 USC beat No. 13 Oregon State 17–13 in a game that decided the Pac-8 title; Oregon State finished 5–1 and USC 6–0 in the renamed conference, formerly the AAUW (but commonly referred to as the Pac-8). No. 2 Ohio State won at unranked Iowa 33–27. No. 3 Penn State won its eighth straight at Maryland 57–13, and No. 4 Michigan beat Wisconsin 34–9. No. 5 Georgia won 17–3 at No. 12 Auburn.
The poll was 1.USC 2.Ohio State 3.Penn State 4.Michigan 5.Georgia
November 23 No. 1 USC beat UCLA 28–16 to stay unbeaten, as did No. 2 Ohio State, which hosted No. 4 Michigan; both teams were unbeaten in Big Ten conference play, and the game would determine who would go to Pasadena (and who would stay home). Woody Hayes' Buckeyes triumphed 50–14 over the Wolverines. After seven weeks at second place, Ohio State took the lead from USC. No. 3 Penn State traveled and crushed Pittsburgh 65–9. No. 5 Georgia was idle. Kansas clinched the Big 8 title and the Orange Bowl bid with a 21–19 win at No. 13 Missouri, finished 9–1 and placed fifth.
Two undefeated teams Yale and Harvard met and ended their game in a 29–29 tie. The game was the basis of Harvard Crimson newspaper headline (and later the title of a documentary) Harvard Beats Yale 29–29 .
In the polls released on November 25, there was a disagreement between the AP writers and the UPI coaches as the AP made Ohio State its new No. 1.
In the UPI poll of coaches, however, USC remained in first place and Ohio State second. (332–321 in total points). In the two polls, Ohio State and USC alternated first and second, and the remainder was 3.Penn State 4.Georgia 5.Kansas
November 30 No. 2 USC was tied by visiting No. 9 Notre Dame, 21–21. No. 4 Georgia closed its season unbeaten at 8–0–2, with a 47–8 win at home over Georgia Tech, were SEC champs and went to the Sugar Bowl. Following USC's 9–0–1 finish, the UPI coaches voted unbeaten and untied (9–0–0) Ohio State as the national champion for their final poll on December 3. At the time, the UPI did not do a poll following the postseason bowl games, and the result would have been unaffected by the OSU and USC meeting in the Rose Bowl. The result was 28 first place votes (and 334 points) for OSU, and only 4 first place (and 277 points) for USC.
Winless after two games, the No. 6 Texas Longhorns (8–1–1) won their last eight and finished with a 35–14 victory over Texas A&M two days earlier on Thanksgiving Day. The Longhorns returned to the Top 5, including a 39–29 win over Arkansas that tied them for the SWC title and got them the Cotton Bowl bid. No. 3 Penn State beat Syracuse 30–12 on December 7 to go to 10–0. Ohio State had 34 of the 39 first place votes cast.
The final regular season poll for both AP and UPI was 1.Ohio State 2.USC 3.Penn State 4.Georgia 5.Texas
Wednesday, January 1, 1969
|SUGAR||No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks||16||No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs||2|
|COTTON||No. 5 Texas Longhorns||36||No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers||13|
|ROSE||No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes||27||No. 2 USC Trojans||16|
|ORANGE||No. 3 Penn State Nittany Lions||15||No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks||14|
Because No. 1 Ohio State (9–0) and No. 2 USC (9–0–1) were the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-8 conferences, respectively, they were automatically set to meet in the Rose Bowl. No. 3 Penn State (10–0) accepted an invite to the Orange Bowl. No. 6 Kansas (9–1), which shared the Big 8 crown with Oklahoma (even after losing to the Sooners) got the other bid. The Sugar Bowl featured the SEC champion against the SWC runner-up (No. 4 Georgia (8–0–2) vs. No. 9 Arkansas (9–1)) while the Cotton Bowl pitted the SWC champion against the SEC runner-up (No. 5 Texas (8–1–1) vs. No. 8 Tennessee (8–1–1))
When the sportswriters voted for the Top 20 after the bowl games, Rose Bowl winner Ohio State won the AP Trophy and the unofficial national championship, taking all but five of the 49 first place votes. Penn State, which had narrowly won the Orange Bowl, was second. The final poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Penn State 3.Texas 4.USC 5.Notre Dame 6.Arkansas 7.Kansas 8. Georgia 9.Missouri 10.Purdue 11.Oklahoma 12.Michigan 13.Tennessee 14.SMU 15.Oregon State 16.Auburn 17.Alabama 18.Houston 19.LSU and 20.Ohio University.
|SUN||El Paso, Texas||December 28||Auburn||34–10||Arizona|
|GATOR||Jacksonville, Florida||December 28||No. 16 Missouri||35–10||No. 12 Alabama|
|TANGERINE||Orlando, Florida||December 27||Richmond||49–42||Ohio|
|ASTRO-BLUEBONNET||Houston||December 31||No. 20 SMU||28–27||No. 10 Oklahoma|
|PEACH||Atlanta||December 30||LSU||31–27||No. 19 Florida State|
|LIBERTY||Memphis, Tennessee||December 14||Ole Miss||34–17||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 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).
The 1969 NCAA University Division 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 No. 1 vs. No. 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 No. 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, 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.