|1983 NCAA Division I-A season|
|Number of teams||105|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Nebraska|
|Duration||December 10, 1983 – |
January 2, 1984
|Heisman Trophy||Mike Rozier (running back, Nebraska)|
|Champion(s)||Miami (FL) (AP, Coaches, FWAA)|
|Division I-A football seasons|
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 Hurricanes' 31–30 win over Nebraska is still talked about as one of the greatest games of all time, not only for its last minute finish, but for its role in changing the face of college football. Miami came into the game ranked No. 5, but losses by No. 2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl and No. 4 Illinois in the Rose Bowl launched them to No. 1 (despite protests from No. 3 Auburn, who played the toughest schedule in the nation that year).
Nebraska scored a touchdown with 48 seconds remaining, putting them within one point of the Hurricanes. Despite knowing a tie would still give Nebraska the national title, Coach Tom Osborne decided to go for two points and the win rather than one point and the tie. Miami was able to hold, snapping Nebraska's 22-game winning streak and launching Miami as a powerhouse program.
This Miami team was the first to win a national title without a single player voted to the first team All-Americans and only the second to win a national title gaining more passing yards than rushing.
The Auburn Tigers, featuring Bo Jackson also had a stellar season going 11–1 and beating Michigan in the Sugar Bowl 9–7. Despite entering the bowl games ranked third in both major polls, and with both teams ranked higher losing their bowl games, the Tigers ended ranked third in the final AP poll as Miami jumped from 5th to ranked No. 1 when they beat No. 1 ranked Nebraska to gain the National Championship.Auburn had played the toughest schedule in the nation, including eight bowl teams, seven of which were ranked in the top 20 (four in the top ten). Even with this difficult schedule the Tigers were ranked first by a few polls, including The New York Times computer rankings. The NCAA record book also formally recognizes the Tigers as co-national champions, along with Nebraska (and Miami). It is not uncommon for the NCAA record book to "recognize" multiple national champions in a given year, with the AP and Coaches' poll winner regarded as national champions.
The Holiday Bowl was also a classic, as Brigham Young University, led by future NFL star Steve Young, defeated Missouri with a last second halfback pass.
The annual rivalry game between Oregon and Oregon State is still widely known and derided as "The Toilet Bowl", as the teams played to a 0–0 tie, the last scoreless tie in college football. The game featured 11 total turnovers, as 6 fumbles were lost (out of 11 total), 5 interceptions, and 4 missed field goals.
This season saw no conference have two or more teams tie for the title—an event that did not happen again in either Division I-A or its successor, Division I FBS, until 2009. (Note, however, that even when a conference officially recognizes multiple champions, it will invariably have some kind of tiebreaker system to determine placement for bowl berths.)
|School||1982 Conference||1983 Conference|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||Independent||ACC|
The pre season top five was 1. Nebraska 2. Oklahoma, 3. Texas, 4. Penn State, and 5. Auburn.
In the kickoff classic on August 29, Nebraska routed defending national champion Penn State, 44–6. Penn State opened with 3 losses and never made it back into the top 20. They were replaced in the top 5 by Notre Dame.
September 17 was a day of shakeup in the top 5. No. 2 Oklahoma lost at home to No. 6 Ohio State, 24–12. No. 3 Texas won at No. 4 Auburn 20–7. No. 5 Notre Dame lost at home to Michigan State, 28–23. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Ohio State, 4. Arizona, and 5. North Carolina. Nebraska and Texas would hold their spots at No. 1 and No. 2 for the remainder of the regular season.
On September 24, No. 3 Ohio State lost at No. 7 Iowa 20–14. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Arizona, 4. Iowa, and 5. North Carolina. Miami appears in the poll for the first time in the top 20, after shutting out No. 13 Notre Dame 20–0.
On October 1, No. 3 Arizona was tied by California at Berkeley 33–33 and No. 4 Iowa was shut out at Illinois, 33–0. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Alabama, 4. North Carolina and 5. West Virginia.
On October 8, No. 3 Alabama lost at Penn State, 34–28. Auburn replaced their rivals in the top 5.
October 15 saw no changes as the top 5 all won.
On October 22, No. 4 West Virginia lost at Penn State 41–23. Florida replaced them in the top 5 that was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. North Carolina, 4. Auburn, and 5. Florida.
On October 29, No. 3 North Carolina started a 3–game losing streak by falling to No. 13 Maryland 28–26. No. 5 Florida lost at No. 4 Auburn 28–21. The new top five was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Auburn, 4. Georgia, and 5. Miami
November 5 saw no change in the top 5, but on November 12, No. 4 Georgia lost at home to No. 3 Auburn, 13–7. No. 5 Illinois clinched the Big 10 title and Rose Bowl berth with a 49–21 rout of Indiana, their 9th straight win. The Illini jumped ahead of Miami and replaced Georgia at No. 4. That would be the last change in the top 5 for the regular season. The key traditional New Year's Day bowl matchups were set with No. 1 Nebraska facing No. 5 Miami in the Orange Bowl, No. 2 Texas facing No. 7 Georgia in the Cotton Bowl, No. 3 Auburn facing Big 10 runner-up No. 8 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, and No. 4 Illinois facing unranked Pac-10 champion UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
In the AP preseason poll released on August 27, Big 8 Conference rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma were No. 1 and No. 2. After the Oklahoma Sooners lost 24–14 to Ohio State on September 17, the Nebraska Cornhuskers remained No. 1 and were trailed for nearly the entire season by Texas. Nebraska received all 60 of the first place votes in the polls of September 26 and October 3, and no fewer than 51 as the season continued, while the Longhorns never received more than five votes during the same period. Meanwhile, the University of Miami Hurricanes, unranked in the preseason Top 20, began winning after their first week 28–3 loss to Florida. Miami came in at No. 15 in the September 26 poll. As they continued unbeaten, the Hurricanes gathered force, rising to No. 12, No. 10, No. 8, No. 7, and reached No. 5 by October 31, where they remained in the final regular season poll after they were invited to play against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the
Most Outstanding Player of the year
Winner: Mike Rozier, Nebraska RB (1,801 points)
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