1971 NCAA University Division football season

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The 1971 NCAA University Division football season saw Coach Bob Devaney's Nebraska Cornhuskers repeat as national champions. [2] [3] 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. [4]

Contents

Prior to the 1971 season, two programs were elevated to the University Division. The new programs were Temple and Texas–Arlington. The change brought the total number of programs in the University Division to 119. [5]

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football in its University Division (now the Football Bowl Subdivision in Division I). 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). Prior to the 1974 season, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but since the 1968 season, the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed. The AP poll in 1971 consisted of the votes of as many as 55 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 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined.

Rule changes

Source: [6]

Conference and program changes

School1970 Conference1971 Conference
Bradley Braves IndependentDropped Program
Buffalo Bulls IndependentDropped Program
Drake Bulldogs Independent Missouri Valley
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Gulf States Southland
Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Gulf States Southland
South Carolina Gamecocks ACC Independent
West Texas State Buffaloes Independent Missouri Valley

Regular season

September

In the preseason poll released on September 6, Notre Dame was ranked No. 1, with defending champion Nebraska was second. Nebraska had more first place votes (26) than Notre Dame (15), but fewer points overall (870 vs. 885). Texas, Michigan and USC rounded out the Top Five. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Nebraska 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.USC

September 10–11
On Friday night in Los Angeles, Alabama beat No. 5 USC, 17–10, marking a successful debut for Bear Bryant's new Wishbone offense. The next day, No. 2 Nebraska won its opener at home, 34–7 over Oregon. No. 4 Michigan won 21–6 at No. 20 Northwestern. Notre Dame and Texas did not start their seasons until the following week. In the poll that followed, Nebraska received 31 of the 50 first place votes, while Ohio State took USC's No. 5 spot.
The poll was 1.Nebraska 2.Notre Dame 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.Ohio State

September 18
Nebraska beat Minnesota 35–7, and No. 3 Texas won its opener 28–10 at UCLA. No. 2 Notre Dame opened with 50–7 win over Northwestern, No. 4 Michigan shut out Virginia 56–0, and No. 6 Auburn beat UT-Chattanooga 60–7,; they moved up to No. 5, as idle Ohio State dropped to sixth.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Notre Dame 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.Auburn

September 25
Nebraska beat Texas A&M, 34–7, and No. 3 Texas beat Texas Tech 28–0. No. 2 Notre Dame narrowly won at Purdue, 8–7, and No. 4 Michigan beat visiting UCLA, 38–0. No. 6 Ohio State lost 20–14 to visiting No. 10 Colorado. No. 5 Auburn edged No. 9 Tennessee at home, 10–9. Michigan and Notre Dame traded places in the poll that followed.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Michigan 3.Texas 4.Notre Dame 5.Auburn

October

October 2
Fifteen of the Top 20 teams remained unbeaten, including the Top 12. Nebraska handled Utah State in Lincoln, 42–6, while No. 2 Michigan registered its third straight shutout at home, beating Navy 46–0. No. 3 Texas defeated Oregon 35–7, No. 4 Notre Dame beat Michigan State 14–2, and fell to seventh in the next poll. No. 5 Auburn beat Kentucky 38–6, and No. 6 Colorado rose to fifth after beating Kansas State 31–21.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Michigan 3.Texas 4.Auburn 5.Colorado

October 9
The top 9 teams improved their records to 4–0 or 5–0. In their first Big Eight conference game and first on the road, No. 1 Nebraska shut out Missouri 36–0. No. 3 Texas lost to No. 8 Oklahoma in their rivlary game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, 48–27, while No. 2 Michigan won at Michigan State, 24–13. No. 4 Auburn beat Southern Miss 27–14, and No. 5 Colorado won 24–14 at Iowa State, but dropped in the poll to sixth, while No. 6 Alabama won 42–0 at Vanderbilt and rose to fourth. Texas dropped to tenth place, while Oklahoma rose to second.
The poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn

October 16
Top-ranked Nebraska crushed Kansas 55–0, raising its record to 6–0 and outscoring its opposition 238–27. No. 2 Oklahoma beat visiting No. 6 Colorado 45–17 and No. 3 Michigan beat Illinois 35–6. No. 4 Alabama beat No. 14 Tennessee 32–15 at Birmingham and No. 5 Auburn won over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 31–14. Eight teams had records of 5–0 or 6–0.
The next poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Notre Dame 7.Penn State 8.Georgia.

October 23
Seven of the top 8 teams stayed unbeaten, playing unranked opponents. No. 1 Nebraska allowed Oklahoma State to reach double digits, but easily won at Stillwater, 41–13. No. 2 Oklahoma decimated Kansas State 75–28 in Manhattan. No. 3 Michigan won 35–7 at Minnesota, No. 4 Alabama hosted Houston, and No. 5 Auburn beat Clemson 35–13. No. 6 Notre Dame lost to visiting USC, 28–14. No. 7 Penn State walloped visiting TCU 66–14, No. 8 Georgia beat Kentucky at home, 34–0.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State 7. Georgia

October 30
Number one Nebraska handed visiting No. 9 Colorado a 31–7 defeat, and No. 2 Oklahoma beat Iowa State 43–12. No. 3 Michigan rolled over Indiana 61–7, and No. 4 Alabama beat Mississippi State 41–10 at Jackson. No. 5 Auburn beat Florida 40–7, No. 6 Penn State won 35–7 at West Virginia, and No. 7 Georgia recorded its third consecutive shutout, 24–0 at South Carolina.

All of the aforementioned games were overshadowed by the death of TCU head coach Jim Pittman, who suffered a massive heart attack during the Horned Frogs' rivalry game with Baylor in Waco. TCU somehow overcame its grief to oust the Bears 34–27. Pittman was in his first season at Fort Worth after five seasons at Tulane, where he guided the Green Wave to an 8–4 record in his final season of 1970, capped off by a 17–3 victory over Colorado in the Liberty Bowl. The top seven all stayed unbeaten and the poll was unchanged:
1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State 7.Georgia

November

November 6
Nebraska beat Iowa State 37–0 and No. 2 Oklahoma won 20–3 at Missouri. No. 3 Michigan crushed Iowa, 63–7, and No. 4 Alabama won at No. 18 LSU, 14–7. No. 5 Auburn beat Mississippi State 30–21, No. 6 Penn State won 63–27 over Maryland, and No. 7 Georgia beat Florida at Jacksonville. As the Top 7 teams extended their undefeated records, the poll stayed unchanged:
1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Penn State 6.Auburn 7.Georgia (all undefeated)

November 13
Nebraska won at Kansas State 44–17, and No. 2 Oklahoma beat Kansas 56–10. No. 3 Michigan narrowly won at Purdue, 20–17, and No. 4 Alabama defeated the visiting Miami Hurricanes, 31–3. No. 5 Auburn (8–0) and No. 7 Georgia (9–0) met at Athens, with the Auburn winning a decisive 35–20 victory. No. 6 Penn State beat North Carolina State 35–3.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State (all undefeated)

November 20
Four of the top five teams were idle. No. 1 Nebraska (10–0) and No. 2 Oklahoma (10–0) prepared for their Thanksgiving Day meeting in Norman, while No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Auburn prepared for their season closer in the Iron Bowl in Birmingham. No. 3 Michigan (10–0) defeated Ohio State, 10–7, to win the Big 10 title and earn the Rose Bowl berth, and No. 6 Penn State won at Pittsburgh 55–18.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State (all undefeated)

November 25–27
As the regular season neared its close, Big Eight rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma were unbeaten, as were SEC rivals Alabama and Auburn, and Big Ten champ Michigan. On Thanksgiving Day, No. 1 Nebraska (10–0) and No. 2 Oklahoma (9–0) met on the Sooners' field in a game that would determine the Big Eight title, the No. 1 ranking, and a trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami. In the decade's Game of the Century , Nebraska won a classic back-and-forth battle 35–31; Husker I-back Jeff Kinney scored his fourth and game-deciding touchdown with 98 seconds left, capping a 5½-minute, 74-yard drive. [7] [8] The loss dropped Oklahoma behind the unbeatens into fifth place in the polls.

Later that weekend, No. 4 Alabama (10–0) and No. 5 Auburn (9–0) played their annual season-ender at Birmingham, with Alabama handing the Tigers their first loss, 31–7; as a result of this impressive win, Alabama jumped over Michigan. As SEC champion, Alabama was invited to, but not obligated to play in, the Sugar Bowl; they deferred and accepted a bid to play top-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Auburn went to the Sugar Bowl instead, to face Oklahoma in a meeting of conference runners-up. No. 6 Penn State was idle, but moved up two places.
The next poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Penn State 5.Oklahoma

December

December 4
Nebraska (11–0) had NCAA permission to play a twelfth game... in Hawaii; they beat the Rainbows 45–3 and ended the regular season at 12–0. No. 4 Penn State (10–0) faced No. 12 Tennessee (8–2), at Knoxville but lost 31–11. No. 5 Oklahoma's season ender was in state at Stillwater against Oklahoma State, which the Sooners easily won 58–14. The final regular season poll:
1.Nebraska 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Oklahoma 5.Auburn. 6. Colorado

Conference standings

1971 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Carolina $600  930
Clemson 420  560
Duke 230  650
Wake Forest 230  650
Virginia 230  380
NC State 240  380
Maryland 140  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll [9]
1971 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Nebraska $700  1300
No. 2 Oklahoma 610  1110
No. 3 Colorado 520  1020
Iowa State 430  840
Kansas State 250  560
Oklahoma State 250  461
Kansas 250  470
Missouri 070  1100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 6 Michigan $800  1110
Northwestern 630  740
Ohio State 530  640
Michigan State 530  650
Illinois 530  560
Wisconsin 350  461
Minnesota 350  470
Purdue 350  370
Indiana 260  380
Iowa 180  1100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Ivy League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dartmouth +610  810
Cornell +610  810
Columbia 520  630
Harvard 430  540
Yale 340  450
Princeton 340  450
Penn 160  270
Brown 070  090
  • + Conference co-champions
1971 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 14 Toledo $500  1200
Bowling Green 410  640
Western Michigan 230  730
Miami 230  730
Ohio 230  550
Kent State 050  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Texas State $310  380
Drake 210  740
Memphis State 210  560
Tulsa 210  470
Louisville 320  631
West Texas State 120  290
Wichita State 040  380
  • $ Conference champion
1971 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Long Beach State $510  840
San Jose State 410  561
Fresno State 320  650
San Diego State 230  650
UC Santa Barbara 230  380
Pacific (CA) 140  380
Cal State Los Angeles 030  280
  • $ Conference champion
1971 Pacific-8 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 10 Stanford $610  930
No. 20 USC 321  641
No. 19 Washington 430  830
California 430  650
Oregon State 330  560
Oregon 240  560
Washington State 250  470
UCLA 141  271
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Richmond $510  560
William & Mary 410  560
The Citadel 420  830
East Carolina 320  461
Furman 230  551
VMI 140  1100
Davidson 060  190
  • $ Conference champion
1971 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 Alabama $700  1110
No. 7 Georgia 510  1110
No. 12 Auburn 510  920
No. 15 Ole Miss 420  1020
No. 9 Tennessee 420  1020
No. 11 LSU 320  930
Vanderbilt 150  461
Florida 160  470
Kentucky 160  380
Mississippi State 170  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 18 Texas $610  830
No. 16 Arkansas 511  831
TCU 520  641
Texas A&M 430  560
SMU 340  470
Rice 241  371
Texas Tech 250  470
Baylor 070  190
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 8 Arizona State $700  1110
New Mexico 510  632
Arizona 330  560
BYU 340  560
Wyoming 340  560
Utah 340  380
Colorado State 140  380
UTEP 160  560
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 NCAA University Division independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 5 Penn State     1110
Boston College     920
No. 17 Houston     930
No. 13 Notre Dame     820
Utah State     830
Florida State     840
Cincinnati     740
West Virginia     740
Temple     621
Air Force     640
Army     640
Colgate     640
Villanova     641
South Carolina     650
Southern Miss     650
Georgia Tech     660
New Mexico State     551
Northern Illinois     551
Syracuse     551
Dayton     560
Holy Cross     460
Miami (FL)     470
Virginia Tech     470
Navy     380
Pittsburgh     380
Tulane     380
Marshall     280
Xavier     190
Rankings from AP Poll

[10]

Bowl games

Major bowls

Saturday, January 1, 1972

BOWLWinnerScoreRunner-up
COTTON No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions 30–6No. 12 Texas Longhorns
SUGAR No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners 40–22No. 5 Auburn Tigers
ROSE No. 16 Stanford Indians ^13–12No. 4 Michigan Wolverines
ORANGE No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers 38–6No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

^ Last game in which Stanford used nickname "Indians"; it was changed to "Cardinals" early in 1972, and to the singular "Cardinal" in 1982.

With No. 1 Nebraska slated to play No. 2 Alabama in the Orange Bowl on New Year's night, there was little suspense as to which game or games would decide the national title. No. 3 Michigan held out the slim hope that, if they handily defeated Stanford while Nebraska or Alabama barely won or tied, they could leapfrog both teams into the top position. For the second year in a row in the Rose Bowl, underdog Stanford rallied to defeat the undefeated Big Ten champion, besting Michigan 13–12 on a last second field goal by Rod Garcia. (He had missed all five of his kicks (four field goals and an extra point) when Stanford was upset by San Jose State on November 13, by the same score.) [11]

In the final game of the day, Nebraska walloped Alabama in the Orange Bowl 38–6 to claim its second straight national title. [4] Earlier in the day at the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan three times and easily handled Auburn 40–22, [12] and regained the runner-up ranking in the final poll. With bowl losses by No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 5 Auburn, sixth-ranked Colorado, winner of the Bluebonnet Bowl, rose to third. The Big Eight occupied the top three spots in the final AP poll, with Nebraska receiving all 55 first place votes; Oklahoma was second, and Colorado (whose only losses were to Nebraska and Oklahoma) climbed to third. [2] This was the first time that two teams from the same conference topped the final poll, [3] and it remains as the only time that a conference had the top three.

  1. Nebraska, 1100 (55), 13–0
  2. Oklahoma, 990, 11–1
  3. Colorado, 746, 10–2
  4. Alabama, 674, 11–1
  5. Penn State, 666, 11–1
  6. Michigan, 479, 11–1
  7. Georgia, 471, 11–1
  8. Arizona State, 414, 11–1
  9. Tennessee, 379, 10–2
  10. Stanford, 347, 9–3

Source [2] [3]

Other bowls

BOWLCityStateDateWinnerScoreRunner-up
SUN El PasoTexasDecember 18No. 11 LSU 33–15 Iowa State
GATOR JacksonvilleFloridaDecember 31No. 6 Georgia   7–3 North Carolina
TANGERINE OrlandoFloridaDecember 28No. 14 Toledo 28–3 Richmond
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET HoustonTexasDecember 31No. 7 Colorado 29–17No. 15 Houston
LIBERTY MemphisTennesseeDecember 20No. 9 Tennessee 14–13No. 18 Arkansas
PEACH AtlantaGeorgiaDecember 30No. 17 Mississippi 41–18 Georgia Tech
FIESTA (debut)TempeArizonaDecember 27No. 8 Arizona State 45–38 Florida State
MERCY Los AngelesCaliforniaDecember 11 Cal State Fullerton 17–14 Fresno State
PASADENA PasadenaCaliforniaDecember 18 Memphis State 28–9 San Jose State

Heisman Trophy

  1. Pat Sullivan, QB – Auburn, 1,597 points
  2. Ed Marinaro, RB – Cornell, 1,445
  3. Greg Pruitt, RB – Oklahoma, 586 – (only junior in top 10)
  4. Johnny Musso, RB – Alabama, 365
  5. Lydell Mitchell, RB – Penn State, 251
  6. Jack Mildren, QB – Oklahoma, 208
  7. Jerry Tagge, QB – Nebraska, 168
  8. Chuck Ealey, QB – Toledo, 137
  9. Walt Patulski, DE – Notre Dame, 121
  10. Eric Allen, RB – Michigan State, 109

Source: [13] [14]

See also

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References

  1. "1971 Preseason Football Polls - College Poll Archive - Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". collegepollarchive.com.
  2. 1 2 3 "Nebraska king with Big Eight in 1-2-3 spots". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 1-C.
  3. 1 2 3 "Voters unanimously pick Nebraska as top grid team". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 11.
  4. 1 2 "Nebraska rips Alabama to take national crown". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 11.
  5. "Two Elevated To University NCAA Status". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. June 16, 1971. p. 30 via Newspapers.com.
  6. Nissenson, Herschel (September 5, 1971). "1971 college football season opens next Saturday". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. p. 16.
  7. "'Huskers dump Sooners". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 4B.
  8. "Kinney leads Nebraska triumph". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 42.
  9. "1971 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  10. "College football standings". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 6, 1971. p. 14.
  11. "San Jose surprises Stanford". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 14, 1971. p. 11, sports.
  12. "Sooners zap Eagles 40–22". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 1, sports.
  13. "Auburn's Pat Sullivan tops Ed Marinaro for Heisman". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 43.
  14. Heisman.com Archived 2009-12-15 at the Wayback Machine – Pat Sullivan – 1971