1969 NCAA University Division football season

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The 1969 NCAA University Division football season was celebrated as the centennial of college football (the first season being the one in 1869).

Contents

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the major college football teams, 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 1969, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed.

The AP poll in 1969 consisted of the votes of as many as 45 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. Those who cast votes 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. In 1969, there were four regular season games that matched "Top Five" teams.

This was the last season in which teams were limited to ten games during the regular season; the NCAA allowed eleven starting in 1970. [2]

Rule changes

Conference and program changes

School1968 Conference1969 Conference
Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles CCAA PCAA
Fresno State Bulldogs CCAA PCAA
Long Beach State 49ers CCAA PCAA
Marshall Thundering Herd MAC Independent
Pacific Tigers Independent PCAA
San Jose State Spartans Independent PCAA
San Diego State Aztecs CCAA PCAA
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Independent PCAA

Prior to the season, the University Division expanded from 114 to 118 teams. The four elevated from the College Division for 1969 were Northern Illinois, San Diego State, Idaho, and Pacific; [3] [4] the latter two were dropped down in  1967. [5]

September

In the preseason poll released on September 15, the defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes were at the top with 26 of the 33 first place votes. Arkansas was second, followed by Penn State, Texas, and USC.

September 20: No. 1 Ohio State had not yet started its season, and No. 2 Arkansas beat Oklahoma State 39–0 at Little Rock. No. 3 Penn State won 45–22 at Navy, No. 4 Texas won 17–0 at California, No. 5 USC won 31–21 at Nebraska. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Penn State, 3. Arkansas, 4. Texas, 5. USC

September 27: No. 1 Ohio State opened its season with a 62–0 dismantling of TCU. No. 2 Penn State beat Colorado 27–3, and No. 3 Arkansas overpowered Tulsa 55–0. No. 4 Texas won 49–7 over Texas Tech and No. 5 USC beat Northwestern at home 48–6. Rutgers hosted Princeton, just as it had one hundred years earlier on November 6, 1869, the first college football game. In 1869, Rutgers had 6 goals to Princeton's four, and a century later, Rutgers won 29–0. [6] [7] The first seven spots in the poll remained unchanged: 1.Ohio State 2.Penn State 3.Arkansas 4.Texas 5.USC

October

October 4: No. 1 Ohio State beat Washington 41–14 at Seattle, but Penn State narrowly won 17–14 at Kansas State and fell to fifth in the poll. Arkansas beat TCU 24–6 at Little Rock, No. 4 Texas beat Navy 56–17, and USC won 31–7 at Oregon State. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Arkansas, 4. USC, 5. Penn State

October 11: the top teams played ranked opponents. No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 19 Michigan State 54–21 at home. No. 2 Texas defeated No. 8 Oklahoma 27–17 in their Dallas rivalry game and No. 3 Arkansas was idle. No. 4 USC got past No. 16 Stanford 26–24, and No. 5 Penn State beat No. 17 West Virginia 20–0 at home. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. USC, 4. Arkansas, 5. Penn State

October 18: No. 1 Ohio State won 34–7 at Minnesota, and No. 2 Texas was idle. No. 3 USC tied No. 11 Notre Dame 14–14 at South Bend, and dropped to seventh, while Notre Dame fell to twelfth. No. 4 Arkansas won 21–7 at Baylor, and No. 5 Penn State narrowly stayed unbeaten at Syracuse, winning 15–14, and fell to eighth. No. 7 Tennessee beat No. 20 Alabama 41–14 in Birmingham for its fifth win, rose to third, while unbeaten Missouri reached fifth after its 31–21 win over Oklahoma State. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee, 4. Arkansas, 5. Missouri

October 25: No. 1 Ohio State shut out Illinois 41–0 and No. 2 Texas blanked Rice 31–0 in Austin. No. 3 Tennessee was idle. No. 4 Arkansas beat Wichita State 52–14 in Little Rock. No. 8 Penn State defeated Ohio University 42–3 and returned to the Top 5. Missouri lost at unranked Colorado 31–24 and USC beat Georgia Tech 29–18. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee, 4. Arkansas, 5. Penn State

November

November 1: No. 1 Ohio State won at Northwestern 35–6, and No. 2 Texas beat SMU 45–14 at Dallas. No. 3 Tennessee won 17–3 at No. 11 Georgia, No. 4 Arkansas beat Texas A&M 35–13, and No. 5 Penn State beat Boston College 38–16. The poll remained unchanged: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee and 4. Arkansas were all at 6–0; 5. Penn State was 7–0, and 6. USC and 7. UCLA stayed unbeaten at 6–0–1 and 7–0–1, respectively.

November 8: No. 1 Ohio State beat Wisconsin 62–7, and No. 2 Texas beat Baylor 56–14. No. 3 Tennessee beat South Carolina 29–14, No. 4 Arkansas defeated Rice in Houston 30–6, and No. 5 Penn State was idle. The poll remained unchanged: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee and 4. Arkansas and 5. Penn State were all 7–0, and 6. USC and 7. UCLA were both at 7–0–1, respectively.

November 15: No. 1 Ohio State hosted No. 10 Purdue and won 42–14. By this time, Woody Hayes' Buckeyes had outscored their opposition 371–69 and had an 8–0 record with one game left. No. 2 Texas was comparably dominant, having outscored its opponents 360–76 after beating TCU 69–7 at home to go 8–0, but in Jackson, No. 3 Tennessee was shut out 38–0 by No. 18 Mississippi. No. 4 Arkansas beat SMU 28–15 in Dallas, No. 5 Penn State blanked Maryland 48–0, and No. 6 USC beat Washington 16–7 at Seattle. In the next poll, Ohio State and Texas stayed at No. 1 and No. 2 for the 7th straight week, each with a 62-point win over their common opponent (TCU, otherwise a 4–4 team). The teams ranked 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,and 9 (Arkansas, Penn State, USC, UCLA, Missouri and Notre Dame) each moved up a notch.

November 22: After averaging 46 points a game in its first eight, No. 1 Ohio State could only manage twelve points at No. 12 Michigan and lost 24–12, ending its 22-game winning streak. [8] The Wolverines (8–2) won the Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl. No. 5 USC, aided by a pass interference penalty on fourth down that led to the late game-winning touchdown, [9] closed with a 14–12 win over city rival No. 6 UCLA in a matchup of unbeatens (both 8–0–1) that decided the Pac-8 championship and the other Rose Bowl berth. [10] No. 4 Penn State won 27–7 at Pittsburgh. In the next poll, Texas took the top spot: 1. Texas, 2. Arkansas, 3. Penn State, 4. Ohio State, 5. USC.

In Southwest Conference play on Thanksgiving Day, No. 1 Texas won at Texas A&M 49–12, while No. 2 Arkansas beat Texas Tech 33–0 in Little Rock. On Saturday, November 29, No. 3 Penn State won 33–8 at North Carolina State and was considered for the Cotton Bowl, where the Southwestern Conference champ (Texas or Arkansas) would go. Before Ohio State's loss, however, the players had voted to accept a bid to the Orange Bowl, [11] because they preferred going to Miami instead of Dallas, even though they won the previous Orange Bowl, 15–14 over Kansas. [12] Certain to move up to No. 2 regardless of how the Texas-Arkansas game came out, Penn State unexpectedly had passed up a chance to go up against the No. 1 team in the nation. [13]

December

December 6: No. 1 and No. 2 would not meet in a bowl, but faced off at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the final regular season game for both teams. [14] [15] Both unbeaten at 9–0, No. 1 Texas traveled to meet No. 2 Arkansas for a game to determine the unofficial champion. Among the 44,000 in attendance was President Richard Nixon, who had with him a plaque to award to the "national champion", while an estimated 50 million viewers watched the game on ABC television. After three quarters, Arkansas led 14–0. In the fourth quarter, Longhorns' quarterback James Street couldn't find a receiver and ran 42 yards for a touchdown, then carried over the ball for two to cut the lead to six at 14–8. With 4:47 to play, the Longhorns were on their own 43 on fourth down with three yards to go. Street threw long to Randy Peschel open downfield, who made the catch and fell out of bounds on the 13-yard line. After Ted Koy ran for eleven yards, Jim Bertelsen went over to tie the score, and the extra point kick by Happy Feller gave Texas a 15–14 lead with just under four minutes remaining. A late interception stopped the Hogs and Texas remained undefeated. [14] [15] Because both teams had been unbeaten in Southwest Conference play, the game also determined the SWC championship, with Texas getting the bid for the Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 9 Notre Dame; the Irish were making their first postseason appearance in 45 years. President Nixon presented the plaque to Texas head coach Darrell Royal after the game. [16] In the final regular season poll, it was 1. Texas, 2. Penn State, 3. Arkansas, 4. Ohio State, and 5. USC.

Conference standings

1969 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
South Carolina $600  740
NC State 321  361
North Carolina 330  550
Clemson 330  460
Duke 331  361
Maryland 330  370
Wake Forest 250  370
Virginia 150  370
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll [17]
1969 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 6 Missouri +610  920
No. 11 Nebraska +610  920
No. 16 Colorado 520  830
Oklahoma 430  640
Kansas State 340  550
Oklahoma State 340  550
Iowa State 160  370
Kansas 070  190
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 Ohio State +610  810
No. 9 Michigan +610  830
No. 18 Purdue 520  820
Minnesota 430  451
Iowa 340  550
Indiana 340  460
Northwestern 340  370
Wisconsin 340  370
Michigan State 250  460
Illinois 070  0100
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Ivy League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dartmouth +610  810
Yale +610  720
Princeton +610  630
Cornell 430  450
Penn 250  450
Harvard 250  360
Brown 160  270
Columbia 160  180
  • + Conference co-champions
1969 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 20 Toledo $500  1100
Bowling Green 410  640
Miami 230  730
Ohio 230  541
Kent State 140  550
Western Michigan 140  460
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Middle Atlantic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
University
No. 10 Delaware x600  920
Gettysburg 420  720
Bucknell 321  351
Lehigh 220  451
Temple 121  451
Lafayette 130  460
Hofstra 050  0100
West Chester *010  720
College–Northern
Wilkes x500  620
Susquehanna 510  630
Wagner 410  450
Juniata 420  530
Delaware Valley 430  430
Upsala 330  440
Albright 340  360
Lycoming 170  170
College–Southern
Johns Hopkins x520  540
Lebanon Valley x520  620
Ursinus x520  521
Moravian 630  630
Dickinson 440  440
Muhlenberg 450  450
Drexel 230  350
Swarthmore 350  350
Western Maryland 240  360
Pennsylvania Military 150  260
Franklin & Marshall 160  170
Haverford 160  160
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • * – Ineligible for championship due to insufficient conference games
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Memphis State $400  820
North Texas State 410  730
Louisville 230  541
Cincinnati 230  460
Wichita State 130  280
Tulsa 140  190
  • $ Conference champion
1969 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
San Diego State $600  1100
Long Beach State 310  830
Pacific (CA) 220  730
San Jose State 110  280
UC Santa Barbara 130  640
Fresno State 130  640
Cal State Los Angeles 040  090
  • $ Conference champion
1969 Pacific-8 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 USC $600  1001
No. 13 UCLA 511  811
No. 19 Stanford 511  721
Oregon State 430  640
Oregon 230  551
California 240  550
Washington 160  190
Washington State 070  190
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 15 Tennessee $510  920
No. 10 LSU 410  910
No. 20 Auburn 520  830
No. 14 Florida 311  911
No. 8 Ole Miss 420  830
Georgia 231  551
Vanderbilt 230  460
Alabama 240  650
Kentucky 160  280
Mississippi State 050  370
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Davidson $510  740
Richmond $510  640
The Citadel 420  730
William & Mary 220  370
East Carolina 130  270
Furman 040  181
VMI 040  0100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Texas $700  1100
No. 7 Arkansas 610  920
Texas Tech 430  550
TCU 430  460
SMU 340  370
Rice 250  370
Texas A&M 250  370
Baylor 070  0100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1969 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Arizona State $610  820
Utah 510  820
BYU 430  640
Wyoming 430  640
Arizona 330  370
UTEP 250  460
New Mexico 150  460
Colorado State 040  460
  • $ Conference champion
1969 NCAA University Division independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 2 Penn State     1100
No. 17 West Virginia     1010
No. 12 Houston     920
No. 5 Notre Dame     821
Buffalo     630
Villanova     630
Florida State     631
Colgate     531
Air Force     640
West Texas State     640
Boston College     540
New Mexico State     550
Southern Miss     550
Syracuse     550
Army     451
VPI     451
Georgia Tech     460
Miami (FL)     460
Pittsburgh     460
Dayton     370
Marshall     370
Northern Illinois     370
Tulane     370
Utah State     370
Idaho     280
Navy     190
Xavier     190
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games

Major bowls

Thursday, January 1, 1970

BowlWinning teamLosing team
Cotton No. 1 Texas Longhorns 21No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 17
Sugar No. 13 Mississippi Rebels 27No. 3 Arkansas Razorbacks 22
Rose No. 5 USC Trojans 10No. 7 Michigan Wolverines 3
Orange No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions 10No. 6 Missouri Tigers 3

At the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the No. 1 Texas Longhorns were facing the end of their unbeaten streak before a crowd of 73,000 against No. 9 Notre Dame, playing in its first bowl game in 45 years, since the 1925 Rose Bowl. [18] Trailing 17–14 with 2:26 left in the game, Texas faced a fourth-and-two situation on the Irish ten-yard line. Settling for a tying field goal was out of the question, but a failure to convert would give Notre Dame the ball and the chance to run out the clock. Texas QB James Street managed to fire a pass over the head of the equally determined linebacker Bob Olson. Cotton Speyrer came down with the ball on the two-yard line, just before the ball hit the ground. The officials paused before ruling that the pass was indeed complete; on third down from the one, Billy Dale took the ball in for the winning points and, ultimately, the title. [18] [19] [20]

In the final poll after the bowls, the Texas Longhorns were the top choice for 36 of the 45 writers voting, and won the AP Trophy. The final AP top 20 was: 1.Texas 2.Penn State 3.USC 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame 6.Missouri 7.Arkansas 8.Mississippi 9.Michigan 10.UCLA 11.Nebraska 12.Houston 13.LSU 14.Florida 15.Tennessee 16.Colorado 17. West Virginia 18.Purdue 19.Stanford and 20.Auburn.

Other bowls

BOWLCityStateDateWinnerScoreRunner-up
SUN El PasoTexasDecember 20No. 14 Nebraska 45–6 Georgia
GATOR JacksonvilleFloridaDecember 27No. 15 Florida 14–13No. 11 Tennessee
TANGERINE OrlandoFloridaDecember 26No. 20 Toledo 56–33 Davidson
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET HoustonTexasDecember 31No. 17 Houston 36–7No. 12 Auburn
LIBERTY MemphisTennesseeDecember 13 Colorado 47–33 Alabama
PEACH AtlantaGeorgiaDecember 30No. 19 West Virginia 14–3 South Carolina
PASADENA PasadenaCaliforniaDecember 6 San Diego State 28–7 Boston U.

With its bowl win, No. 11 Nebraska (9–2) ended 1969 on a seven-game winning streak. The Huskers were undefeated in the next two seasons to win consecutive national championships, with an unbeaten streak of 32 games.

Special helmet design

Many schools, at the behest of the NCAA, commemorated the 1969 season by wearing a special decal on their football helmets. The decal consisted of the numeral "100" inside a football shaped outline. The decal was designed to commemorate the 1869 game between Rutgers and Princeton, often cited as the first college football game. Decals varied greatly from one team to another. Some teams placed the decals unobtrusively on the front or back of the helmet. Other teams placed them prominently on the side, either in addition to or in place of their regular team logo. Colors and design of the decals also varied greatly between teams; with different numeral styles and color schemes in use. [21] One notable exception was Harvard, which abstained from the 1969 commemoration, and had its own special helmet decal made for the 1974 season, which commemorates an 1874 game that Harvard played against McGill that Harvard claims was the "real" first football game. [22]

Heisman Trophy

Steve Owens of Oklahoma had rushed for 3,867 yards and scored 56 touchdowns in three seasons with the Sooners. In 1969, he had 29 touchdowns and scored 138 points, and rushed for 248 yards against Iowa State. Owens was the 19th selection in the 1970 NFL draft and played for the Detroit Lions. Following him in the Heisman voting were three quarterbacks: Mike Phipps of Purdue, Rex Kern of Ohio State, and Archie Manning of Mississippi. Defensive tackle Mike Reid of Penn State, the Outland Trophy winner, was fifth. [23] [24]

  1. Steve Owens , RB – Oklahoma, 1,488 points
  2. Mike Phipps, QB – Purdue, 1,334
  3. Rex Kern, QB – Ohio State, 856
  4. Archie Manning, QB – Mississippi, 582
  5. Mike Reid, DT – Penn State, 297
  6. Mike McCoy, DT – Notre Dame, 290
  7. Jim Otis, FB – Ohio State, 121
  8. Jim Plunkett, QB – Stanford, 120
  9. Steve Kiner, LB – Tennessee, 109
  10. Jack Tatum, S – Ohio State, 105

Source: [23] [24] [25]

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 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.

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.

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 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 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.

1932 college football season

The 1932 college football season saw the Michigan Wolverines win the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System. Because the "Big Nine" conference didn't permit its teams to play in the postseason, however, the Wolverines were not able to accept a bid to the Rose Bowl. As such, the Pasadena game matched the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, USC and Pittsburgh, with the USC Trojans winning the East-West matchup 35–0.

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 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 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, Michigan State, and Illinois all claim national championships for 1951.

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.

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