1985 NCAA Division I-A football season

Last updated
1985 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams105
Preseason AP No. 1 Oklahoma [1]
Bowl games 18
Heisman Trophy Bo Jackson (running back, Auburn)
Champion(s) Oklahoma
Division I-A football seasons

The 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season saw the Oklahoma Sooners, led by head coach Barry Switzer, win the national championship.


Oklahoma finished the season 11–1, with their only loss to Miami at home, in a game in which future NFL star Troy Aikman was lost for the season. The Sooners regrouped and went undefeated the rest of the way, finishing the season with a win over Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

Michigan would finish No. 2, the highest finish of a Bo Schembechler led team. The team shined on defense, led by All-Americans Mike Hammerstein and Mark Messner.

Tennessee finished the season with a victory over No. 2 Miami in the Sugar Bowl. This team won the school's first SEC championship in 16 years and was nicknamed the "Sugar Vols". The SEC title was the first of three for coach Johnny Majors.

Air Force Falcons, under Fisher DeBerry had what is considered their best season ever, defeating Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and finishing No. 8 in the AP Poll (No. 5 in the Coaches' Poll).

This year's edition of the Iron Bowl is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever. Despite Auburn having Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson on its side, Alabama won this game with a last second field goal.

This would be the last year for the 1-A/1-AA hybrid Missouri Valley Conference in football. 5 of the 7 teams in the conference (Drake, Illinois State, Indiana State, Southern Illinois, and West Texas State) had been playing Division 1-AA football since the 1982 season, while Tulsa and Wichita State would remain 1-A, becoming independents the following season.

Rule changes

Conference standings

1985 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 18 Maryland $600  930
No. 19 Georgia Tech 510  921
Virginia 430  650
Clemson 430  660
North Carolina 340  560
Duke 250  470
NC State 250  380
Wake Forest 160  470
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Oklahoma $700  1110
No. 11 Nebraska 610  930
Oklahoma State 430  840
Colorado 430  750
Iowa State 340  560
Kansas 250  660
Kansas State 160  1100
Missouri 160  1100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 10 Iowa $710  1020
No. 2 Michigan 611  1011
Illinois 521  651
No. 14 Ohio State 530  930
Michigan State 530  750
Minnesota 440  750
Purdue 350  560
Wisconsin 260  560
Indiana 170  470
Northwestern 170  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bowling Green $900  1110
Miami 711  821
Central Michigan 630  730
Western Michigan 441  461
Northern Illinois 440  470
Ball State 360  470
Eastern Michigan 360  470
Toledo 360  470
Kent State 260  380
Ohio 270  290
  • $ Conference champion
1985 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Tulsa $300  650
West Texas State 311  631
Illinois State 311  632
Indiana State 220  460
Wichita State 230  380
Southern Illinois 130  470
Drake 150  470
  • $ Conference champion
  • Tulsa also played Houston and East Carolina and recorded those games as conference games, but the league did not count them toward Tulsa's finish. The conference was a hybrid of NCAA Division I-A and I-AA programs. Tulsa and Wichita State were I-A and the other teams were I-AA.
1985 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Fresno State $700  1101
Cal State Fullerton 520  650
UNLV 421  551
Long Beach State 430  660
Utah State 340  380
San Jose State 241  281
Pacific (CA) 250  570
New Mexico State 070  1100
  • $ Conference champion
1985 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 7 UCLA $620  921
Arizona 520  831
Arizona State 520  840
Washington 530  750
USC 530  660
Oregon 340  560
Washington State 350  470
Stanford 350  470
Oregon State 260  380
California 270  470
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 Tennessee $510  912
No. 5 Florida 510  911
No. 13 Alabama 411  921
No. 20 LSU 411  921
Georgia 321  732
Auburn 330  840
Ole Miss 240  461
Vanderbilt 141  371
Kentucky 150  560
Mississippi State 060  560
  • $ Conference champion
  • Florida ineligible for SEC championship due to NCAA probation.
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 6 Texas A&M $710  1020
No. 12 Arkansas 620  1020
No. 17 Baylor 620  930
Texas 620  840
SMU 530  650
Houston 350  470
Rice 260  380
Texas Tech 170  470
TCU 080  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 8 Air Force +710  1210
No. 16 BYU +710  1130
Utah 530  840
Hawaii 431  462
Colorado State 440  570
San Diego State 341  561
New Mexico 260  380
Wyoming 260  380
UTEP 170  1100
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 Penn State      1110
No. 9 Miami (FL)      1020
Army      930
No. 15 Florida State      930
West Virginia      731
Southern Miss      740
Syracuse      750
Virginia Tech      650
Pittsburgh      551
Cincinnati      560
Notre Dame      560
South Carolina      560
Southwestern Louisiana      470
Navy      470
Temple      470
Boston College      480
Memphis State      272
Rutgers      281
East Carolina      290
Louisville      290
Tulane      1100
Rankings from AP Poll

AP Final Poll

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Michigan
  3. Penn State
  4. Tennessee
  5. Florida
  6. Texas A&M
  7. UCLA
  8. Air Force
  9. Miami (FL)
  10. Iowa
  11. Nebraska
  12. Arkansas
  13. Alabama
  14. Ohio State
  15. Florida State
  16. BYU
  17. Baylor
  18. Maryland
  19. Georgia Tech
  20. LSU

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Michigan
  3. Penn St.
  4. Tennessee
  5. Air Force
  6. UCLA
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Miami (FL)
  9. Iowa
  10. Nebraska
  11. Ohio St.
  12. Arkansas
  13. Florida St.
  14. Alabama
  15. Baylor
  16. Fresno St.
  17. Brigham Young
  18. Georgia Tech
  19. Maryland
  20. LSU

Notable rivalry games

AP Poll No. 1 and No. 2 progress

WEEKSNo. 1No. 2Event
PRE-1OklahomaAuburnAuburn 49, LA-Lafayette 7Sep 7
2–4AuburnOklahomaTennessee 38, Auburn 20Sep 28
5–6IowaOklahomaOklahoma 14, Texas 7Oct 12
7IowaMichiganIowa 12, Michigan 10Oct 19
8–9IowaFloridaOhio State 22, Iowa 13Nov 2
10FloridaPenn StateGeorgia 24, Florida 3Nov 9
11–12Penn StateNebraskaOklahoma 27, Nebraska 7Nov 23
13Penn StateAir ForceMiami 58, Notre Dame 7Nov 30
14–15Penn StateMiamiOklahoma 25, Penn State 10Jan 1

Bowl games

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the

Most Outstanding Player of the year
Winner: Bo Jackson, Auburn, RB (1,509 points)

Other annual awards

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  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/awards/heisman-1985.html