|1982 NCAA Division I-A season|
Memorial for legendary coach Bear Bryant, who retired after the 1982 season, and died 28 days later.
|Number of teams||105|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Pittsburgh|
|Duration||December 17, 1982 – |
January 1, 1983
|Heisman Trophy||Herschel Walker (running back, Georgia)|
|Division I-A football seasons|
The 1982 NCAA Division I-A football season was the last for Paul "Bear" Bryant as head coach at Alabama, retiring with 323 victories in 38 seasons.
The Penn State Nittany Lions won their first consensus national championship, closing out an 11–1 season by defeating Georgia and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker 27–23 in the Sugar Bowl to edge out undefeated SMU for the national championship. It was Joe Paterno's first national championship, after three undefeated non-championship seasons.
UCLA moved from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Rose Bowl and fulfilled a promise made by coach Terry Donahue by closing out their season there as well, beating Michigan 24–14 in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.
It is also the year of "The Play", an improbable finish to the annual rivalry game between Cal and Stanford.
The Aloha Bowl premiered in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was won by Washington.
|School||1981 Conference||1982 Conference|
|Colgate Raiders||I-A Independent||I-AA Independent|
|Holy Cross Crusaders||I-A Independent||I-AA Independent|
|Northeast Louisiana Indians||I-A Independent||Southland (I-AA)|
|North Texas State Mean Green||I-A Independent||1-AA Independent|
|Richmond Spiders||I-A Independent||I-AA Independent|
|UNLV Rebels||I-A Independent||PCAA (Big West)|
|William & Mary Tribe||I-A Independent||I-AA Independent|
The pre season poll had a top 5 of 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. North Carolina. Penn State was #8.
On September 11, #5 North Carolina lost at #1 Pittsburgh by a score of 7-6; the Tar Heels would never return to the top 5 as they went 8-4. Meanwhile, Washington, by virtue of its 55-0 win over UTEP, moved ahead of Pitt in the next poll. Florida replaced North Carolina in the top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.
After games of September 18, Pittsburgh was again leapfrogged by a team that dominated a weak opponent, as Nebraska beat New Mexico 68-0 and moved ahead of Pitt to #2. The rest of the top 5 was unchanged.
On September 25, #2 Nebraska was defeated at #8 Penn State by a score of 27-24 in a game that ultimately decided the national title. The outcome of the game was controversial as Penn State tight end Mike McCloskey would later admit catching a key pass out of bounds that kept the winning drive alive. Penn State replaced Nebraska in the new top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.
On October 2, #5 Florida lost at home to unranked LSU 24-13. Georgia replaced Florida in the top 5 and also moved ahead of Alabama. The new poll was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Georgia, and 5. Alabama.
On October 9, #5 Alabama defeated #3 Penn State in Birmingham 42-21. Alabama jumped up top to #2 while SMU replaced Penn State in the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Alabama, 3. Pittsburgh, 4. Georgia, 5. SMU.
On October 16, #2 Alabama was knocked off in Knoxville by Tennessee, 35-28. Nebraska returned to the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, 5. Nebraska.
On October 23, Washington struggled to beat Texas Tech 10-3 so Pittsburgh moved ahead of them in the poll. The same day, Nebraska squeaked by Missouri at home 23-19 and slipped to #6, with Arkansas taking their place in the top 5. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, and 5. Arkansas.
On October 30 in Palo Alto, John Elway and Stanford stunned #2 Washington 43-31. SMU jumped ahead of Georgia into the #2 spot with a 47-9 drubbing of Texas A&M. Undefeated and #7 Arizona State beat #12 USC 17-10 and moved up to #4. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. SMU, 3. Georgia, 4. Arizona State, and 5. Arkansas.
On November 6, #1 Pittsburgh was stunned at home by unranked Notre Dame, 31-16. #5 Arkansas was knocked off by Baylor in Waco 24-17. #3 Georgia romped over #20 Florida 44-0 and moved to the top spot. The new poll was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Arizona State, 4. Nebraska, and 5. Penn State.
On November 13 in a Pac-10 showdown in Tempe, #7 Washington beat #3 Arizona State 17-13. That put the Huskies back in the top 5. Remembering that Penn State defeated Nebraska earlier in the season, the pollsters moved the Nittany Lions ahead of the Cornhuskers in the new poll that was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Penn State, 4. Nebraska, 5. Washington.
On November 20, #2 SMU was tied by #9 Arkansas 17-17. #5 Washington had its Rose Bowl hopes ended as rival Washington State upset the Huskies 24-20. Pittsburgh returned to the top five replacing Washington. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. Pittsburgh.
On November 26, in a game that likely decided who would meet #1 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, #2 Penn State shut down Dan Marino and #5 Pittsburgh, 19-10. The next day, #6 Arizona State was knocked out of the Rose Bowl by rival Arizona, 28-18. That gave UCLA the Pac 10 title and Rose Bowl berth. The Bruins replaced Pittsburgh in the top 5 in the final regular season poll. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State, 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. UCLA.
|PRE-1||Pittsburgh||Washington||Washington 55, UTEP 0||Sep 11|
|2||Washington||Pittsburgh||Nebraska 68, New Mexico St. 0||Sep 18|
|3||Washington||Nebraska||Penn State 27, Nebraska 24||Sep 25|
|4-5||Washington||Pittsburgh||Alabama 34, Arkansas St 7||Oct 2|
|6||Washington||Alabama||Tennessee 35, Alabama 28||Oct 16|
|7||Washington||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh 14, Syracuse 0||Oct 23|
|8||Pittsburgh||Washington||Stanford 43, Washington 31||Oct 30|
|9||Pittsburgh||SMU||Notre Dame 31, Pitt 16||Nov 6|
|10-11||Georgia||SMU||Arkansas 17, SMU 17||Nov 20|
|12-14||Georgia||Penn State||Penn State 27, Georgia 23||Jan 1|
|1.||Penn State||Penn State|
|6.||Arizona State||Arizona State|
|12.||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|13.||Florida State||North Carolina|
|19.||West Virginia||West Virginia|
The 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Miami winning its third National Championship during the 1980s, cementing its claim as the decade's top team, winning more titles than any other program.
The 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season was the main college football season sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The season began on August 28, 1991, and ended on January 1, 1992. For the second consecutive season, there was a split national championship. Both the Miami Hurricanes and the Washington Huskies finished the season undefeated (12–0) and with the top ranking in a nationally recognized poll.
The 1993 NCAA Division I-A football season saw Florida State crowned national champions, in both the AP and Coaches poll.
The 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season, play of college football in the United States at the NCAA Division I-A level, began in August 1994 and ended on January 2, 1995. Nebraska, who finished the season undefeated, ended the year ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. This was the first national championship of coach Tom Osborne's career at Nebraska, despite coming close in two prior attempts; in 1983, his team lost to Miami after Osborne, with his team trailing 31–30 late in the game, elected to try for the lead instead of the tie and failed. In the previous season, Osborne's team lost to eventual national champion Florida State on a missed field goal as time expired.
The 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Miami winning its second national championship during the '80s in an Orange Bowl match-up featuring a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Hurricanes.
The 1986 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Penn State winning the national championship. Coached by Joe Paterno, they defeated Miami (Fl) 14–10 in the Fiesta Bowl. This Fiesta Bowl was the first in the game's history to decide the national championship, launching it into the top tier of bowls.
The 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season saw the Oklahoma Sooners, led by head coach Barry Switzer, win the national championship.
The 1984 NCAA Division I-A football season was topsy-turvy from start to finish. It ended with the BYU Cougars being bestowed their first and only national championship by beating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. While the Cougars finished with a perfect 13-0 record and were the consensus National Champions, some commentators maintain this title was undeserved citing their weak schedule and argue that the championship should have gone to the 11-1 Washington Huskies. Despite this the Cougars were voted #1 in the final AP and UPI polls. The Huskies declined an invitation to play BYU in the Holiday Bowl; they decided instead to play Oklahoma in the more prestigious 1985 Orange Bowl. All subsequent national champions have come from what are now known as the Power Five conferences + Notre Dame.
The 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the University of Miami, led by Bernie Kosar, winning their first national championship over perennial power and top ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
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 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season saw a university from the state of Georgia take its first national title since 1942.
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.
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 1969 college football season was celebrated as the centennial of college football.
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, #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 #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.