1973 NCAA Division I football season

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The 1973 NCAA Division I football season was the first for the NCAA's current three-division structure. Effective with the 197374 academic year, schools formerly in the NCAA "University Division" were classified as Division I (later subdivided for football only in 1978 (I-A and I-AA) and renamed in 2006 into today's Division I FBS and FCS). 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.

Contents

In its inaugural season, Division I had two NCAA-recognized national champions, and they faced each other at year's end in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve. The New Orleans game matched two unbeaten teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide (11–0), ranked No. 1 by AP and UPI, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10–0), ranked No. 3 by AP and No. 4 by UPI.

While both wire services ranked Alabama first at the end of the regular season, the final AP poll was after the bowl games. By agreement with the American Football Coaches' Association, however, UPI bestowed its championship before the postseason bowl games, and Alabama was crowned champion by UPI on December 4. [2] [3] UPI ranked Notre Dame fourth: one coach had given the Irish a first place vote, compared to 21 for Alabama. (In the next season, the final coaches' poll was after the bowls.) [4]

In a game where the lead changed six times, Notre Dame won by a single point, 24–23, to claim the AP national championship. During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football teams that would become Division I-A in 1978. 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 1973, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed. The AP poll in 1973 consisted of the votes of as many as 63 sportswriters and broadcasters, though not all of them voted in every poll. UPI's voting was made by 34 coaches. 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.

Conference and program changes

School1972 Conference1973 Conference
Memphis State Tigers Missouri Valley Independent
Abilene Christian Wildcats Southland Lone Star (D-II)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos PCAA Dropped Football

September

October

November

December

LSU at Tulane, December 1 Tulane vs LSU at Tulane Stadium December 1973.jpg
LSU at Tulane, December 1

Elsewhere, Bluebonnet Bowl-bound Tulane defeated Orange Bowl-bound LSU 14–0 to end a 25–year winless drought in the Battle for the Rag in the final meeting at Tulane Stadium, leaving both the Green Wave and Bayou Bengals 9–2. Also, the 4–7 Navy Midshipmen trounced the Army Cadets 51–0. As for the Cadets, they completed one of their worst season in their football program history, when they completed a season with an imperfect 0–10 record.

In the final regular season poll, the top six schools were unbeaten. 1.Alabama (11–0) 2. 2.Notre Dame (10–0) 3.Oklahoma (10–0–1) 4.Ohio State (9–0–1) 5.Michigan (10–0–1) and 6.Penn State (11–0). The other major college unbeaten, Miami (Ohio) (10–0–0), was No. 15. Oklahoma, however, was on probation for having used an ineligible player (Kerry Jackson) in three 1972 games, and was ineligible to play in a bowl game. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Notre Dame accepted invitations to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Rule changes

Conference standings

1973 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 16 NC State $600  930
No. 20 Maryland 510  840
Clemson 420  560
Virginia 330  470
Duke 141  281
North Carolina 150  470
Wake Forest 051  191
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll [5]
1973 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 Oklahoma $700  1001
No. 7 Nebraska 421  921
No. 18 Kansas 421  741
No. 17 Missouri 340  840
Oklahoma State 232  542
Colorado 250  560
Kansas State 250  560
Iowa State 250  470
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 2 Ohio State +701  1001
No. 6 Michigan +701  1001
Minnesota 620  740
Illinois 440  560
Michigan State 440  560
Purdue 440  560
Northwestern 440  470
Wisconsin 350  470
Indiana 080  290
Iowa 080  0110
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Ivy League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dartmouth $610  630
Harvard 520  720
Penn 520  630
Yale 520  630
Brown 430  431
Cornell 250  351
Columbia 160  171
Princeton 070  180
  • $ Conference champion
1973 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 15 Miami $500  1100
Kent State 410  920
Bowling Green 230  730
Ohio 230  550
Western Michigan 140  650
Toledo 140  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Tulsa +510  650
North Texas State +510  551
Louisville 320  560
New Mexico State 320  560
Wichita State 240  470
Drake 150  290
West Texas State 150  290
  • + Conference co-champions
1973 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
San Diego State $301  911
San Jose State 202  542
Pacific (CA) 211  721
Fresno State 130  290
Long Beach State 040  191
  • $ Conference champion
1973 Pacific-8 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 8 USC $700  921
No. 12 UCLA 610  920
Stanford 520  740
Washington State 430  560
California 250  470
Oregon 250  290
Oregon State 250  290
Washington 070  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
East Carolina $700  920
Richmond 510  820
William & Mary 320  650
Furman 330  740
Appalachian State 220  371
VMI 240  290
Davidson 160  280
The Citadel 160  380
  • $ Conference champion
1973 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 Alabama $800  1110
No. 13 LSU 510  930
Ole Miss 430  650
No. 19 Tennessee 330  840
Georgia 340  741
Florida 340  750
Kentucky 340  560
Auburn 250  660
Mississippi State 250  452
Vanderbilt 150  560
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 14 Texas $700  830
No. 11 Texas Tech 610  1110
Rice 430  560
SMU 331  641
Arkansas 331  551
Texas A&M 340  560
TCU 160  380
Baylor 070  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 9 Arizona State +610  1110
Arizona +610  830
Utah 420  750
BYU 340  560
New Mexico 340  470
Wyoming 340  470
Colorado State 240  560
UTEP 070  0110
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1973 NCAA Division I independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Notre Dame     1100
No. 5 Penn State     1200
No. 9 Houston     1110
Temple     910
No. 20 Tulane     930
Memphis State     830
Tampa     830
Boston College     740
South Carolina     740
Utah State     740
Air Force     640
Southern Miss     641
Northern Illinois     650
West Virginia     650
Pittsburgh     651
Colgate     550
Dayton     551
Xavier     551
Georgia Tech     560
Holy Cross     560
Miami (FL)     560
Cincinnati     470
Marshall     470
Navy     470
Southern Illinois     371
Villanova     380
Syracuse     290
Virginia Tech     290
Army     0100
Florida State     0110
Rankings from AP Poll

[6]

Bowl games

Major bowls

Monday, December 31, 1973
Tuesday, January 1, 1974

Alabama and Notre Dame had never met in a college football game before their encounter in the Sugar Bowl, which was played on New Year's Eve at Tulane Stadium, with kickoff at 7:15 pm CST. [7] Two legendary coaches, Bear Bryant and Ara Parseghian brought their teams to New Orleans, and the game was a thriller. The Irish scored first, but missed the extra point. After Alabama took a 7–6 lead, freshman Al Hunter returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and a two-point conversion put Notre Dame up 14–7. Alabama went ahead 17–14 in the third, but a fumble on their own 12-yard line gave the Irish a chance to make it 21–17. In the fourth quarter, Bama got back the lead on a trick play, as quarterback Richard Todd handed off to running back, Mike Stock, who then fired a touchdown pass back to Todd; but Bill Davis, who had made 51 of 53 extra point attempts in his career, was wide right, and the score stayed 23–21. In the final minutes, Notre Dame's Bob Thomas (who had missed the earlier point after try) kicked a 19-yard field goal that gave the team the 24–23 win. [8] [9] Asked whether Notre Dame would be voted No. 1, Coach Parseghian replied, "Certainly. What was the final score?" [10]

BOWL
SUGAR No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 24No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 23
COTTON No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers 19No. 8 Texas Longhorns 3
ROSE No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes 42No. 7 USC Trojans 21
ORANGE No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions 16No. 13 LSU Tigers 9

The final AP writers' poll was split. Notre Dame received a majority of the first place votes, 33 out of 60, followed by No. 2 Ohio State (11 votes) and No. 3 Oklahoma (16 votes, but fewer points overall). The fourth spot (held by Notre Dame in the final UPI poll) went to Alabama. UPI, who crowned Alabama as national champion at the end of the regular season, [2] would begin holding the coaches' poll after the bowl games beginning with the 1974 season. [4]

Other bowls

BowlCityStateDateWinnerScoreRunner-up
Sun El PasoTexasDecember 29 Missouri 34–17 Auburn
Gator JacksonvilleFloridaDecember 29No. 11 Texas Tech 28–19No. 20 Tennessee
Tangerine Gainesville FloridaDecember 22No. 15 Miami (Ohio) 16–7 Florida
Astro-Bluebonnet HoustonTexasDecember 29No. 14 Houston 47–7No. 17 Tulane
Liberty MemphisTennesseeDecember 17No. 16 N.C. State 31–18No. 19 Kansas
Peach AtlantaGeorgiaDecember 28 Georgia 17–16No. 18 Maryland
Fiesta TempeArizonaDecember 21No. 10 Arizona State 28–7 Pittsburgh

Heisman Trophy

Running back John Cappelletti had the third best year in Penn State history when he gained 1,117 yards rushing in 1972. As a senior in 1973, he had the second best year in school history rushing for 1,522 yards. [11] In his two-year running career, he gained 100 yards in the thirteen games and had a career total of 2,639 yards and twenty-nine touchdowns for an average of 120 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry. Cappelletti's acceptance speech on December 13 at the Heisman Dinner (with new Vice President Gerald Ford next to him on the dais) [12] was considered the most moving ever given at these ceremonies, as he honored his 11-year-old brother Joey, a victim of leukemia. [13] [14] [15]

  1. John Cappelletti , RB - Penn State, 1,057 votes
  2. John Hicks, OT - Ohio State, 524
  3. Roosevelt Leaks, RB - Texas, 483
  4. David Jaynes, QB - Kansas, 394
  5. Archie Griffin, RB - Ohio State, 326
  6. Randy Gradishar, LB - Ohio State, 282
  7. Lucious Selmon, NG - Oklahoma, 250
  8. Woody Green, RB - Arizona State, 247
  9. Danny White, QB - Arizona State, 166
  10. Kermit Johnson, RB - UCLA, 122
  11. Tony Dorsett, RB - Pittsburgh, 118
  12. Lynn Swann, SE - USC, 108
  13. Anthony Davis, RB - USC, 104
  14. Condredge Holloway, QB - Tennessee, 98

Source: [11] [16] [17] [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2008-12-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 3 "Tide gets top UPI rating". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). UPI. December 4, 1973. p. 8.
  3. "It's official: 'Bama wins national title". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. December 5, 1973. p. 1C.
  4. 1 2 "Trojans win national grid crown". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). UPI. January 3, 1975. p. 6.
  5. "1973 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  6. "The college football review". Eugene Register-Guard. (team results). December 3, 1973. p. 7B.
  7. "Alabama, Notre Dame play own 'super' bowl tonight". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 31, 1973. p. 11.
  8. "Irish see-saw past gambling 'Bear,' 'Bama, 24-23". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 1, 1974. p. 13.
  9. "Irish best in country?". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 1, 1974. p. 21.
  10. "Notre Dame lays claim to No. 1 rating," Tucson Daily Citizen, Jan. 1, 1974, p34
  11. 1 2 "Cappelletti walks away with the Heisman". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 4, 1973. p. 3B.
  12. "Gerald Ford lauds game of football". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 14, 1973. p. 5B.
  13. "Cappelletti dedicates Heisman to critically ill brother, Joseph". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 14, 1973. p. 18.
  14. "'Capp' salutes brother". Pittsburgh Press. December 14, 1973. p. 39.
  15. Scarcella, Rich (February 28, 2007). "Cappelletti's Heisman speech still memorable". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). p. D1.
  16. "John Cappelletti". Heisman Trophy. 1973. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  17. Whited, Gordon S., Jr. (December 5, 1973). "Cappelletti wins 39th Heisman Trophy". New York Times. p. 57.
  18. "Cappelletti winner of Heisman". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 5, 1973. p. 17.