1988 NCAA Division I-A football season

Last updated
1988 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams104
Preseason AP No. 1 Florida State [1]
Post-season
Bowl games 17
Heisman Trophy Barry Sanders (running back, Oklahoma State)
Champion(s) Notre Dame
Division I-A football seasons
  1987
1989  

The 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Notre Dame winning the national championship. The Fighting Irish won the title via a 34–21 defeat of previously unbeaten West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. With 4 of the final Top 5 teams being independents (with the University of Miami and Florida State joining the Fighting Irish and Mountaineers), 1988 became a focus for fans and critics who wondered how the traditional conferences would deal with the indies (the answer ultimately involved all of these teams joining major conferences).

Contents

Notre Dame had several notable victories this season, including a 1917 victory over No. 9 Michigan, won on a last drive field goal, which started off the championship season. The season's marquee game was a 3130 victory over No. 1 Miami. Entering the game, Miami had a 36-game regular season winning streak, 20 straight road victories and a 16-game winning streak overall. This year was also the first time Notre Dame and USC had ever met when ranked No. 1 and No. 2. Most notable about this game is Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz's decision to leave behind two of his stars, Tony Brooks and Ricky Watters because they were late, cementing discipline as the main theme of this championship team.

This year's edition of the UCLA–USC rivalry game featured a second ranked USC and a fourth ranked UCLA. For the second year in a row the Rose Bowl berth was on the line but for USC it also had national title implications as the rivalry game with Notre Dame was the following week. USC beat UCLA but lost to Notre Dame, and then lost to Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders ran the Wing T offense all the way to the Heisman Trophy and numerous rushing records.

Rule changes

Conference and program changes

Conference standings

1988 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 9 Clemson $610  1020
Virginia 520  740
NC State 421  831
Wake Forest 430  641
Maryland 430  560
Duke 331  731
North Carolina 160  1100
Georgia Tech 070  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 10 Nebraska $700  1120
No. 14 Oklahoma 610  930
No. 11 Oklahoma State 520  1020
Colorado 430  840
Iowa State 340  560
Missouri 250  371
Kansas 160  1100
Kansas State 070  0110
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 4 Michigan $701  921
Michigan State 611  651
Illinois 521  651
Iowa 413  643
No. 20 Indiana 530  831
Purdue 350  470
Ohio State 251  461
Northwestern 251  281
Wisconsin 170  1100
Minnesota 062  272
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Big West Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Fresno State $700  1020
Cal State Fullerton 520  560
Utah State 430  470
San Jose State 430  480
UNLV 340  470
Long Beach State 340  390
Pacific (CA) 250  290
New Mexico State 070  1100
  • $ Conference champion
1988 Mid-American football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Western Michigan $710  930
Eastern Michigan 521  631
Ball State 530  830
Central Michigan 530  740
Ohio 431  461
Toledo 440  650
Kent State 350  560
Bowling Green 161  281
Miami 071  0101
  • $ Conference champion
1988 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 7 USC $800  1020
No. 6 UCLA 620  1020
No. 16 Washington State 530  930
Arizona 530  740
Arizona State 340  650
Washington 350  650
Oregon 350  660
Oregon State 251  461
Stanford 152  362
California 151  551
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 8 Auburn +610  1020
No. 19 LSU +610  840
No. 15 Georgia 520  930
No. 17 Alabama 430  930
Florida 430  750
Tennessee 340  560
Ole Miss 340  560
Kentucky 250  560
Vanderbilt 250  380
Mississippi State 070  1100
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 12 Arkansas $700  1020
Texas A&M*610  750
No. 18 Houston 520  930
Texas Tech 430  560
Baylor 250  650
Texas 250  470
TCU 250  470
Rice 070  0110
  • $ Conference champion
  • *- Ineligible for conference championship and postseason bowl games due to NCAA sanctions.
Rankings from AP Poll
1988 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Wyoming $800  1120
UTEP 620  1030
Hawaii 530  930
BYU 530  940
Utah 440  650
Air Force 350  570
San Diego State 350  380
New Mexico 170  2100
Colorado State 170  1100
  • $ Conference champion
1988 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 Notre Dame      1200
No. 2 Miami (FL)      1110
No. 3 Florida State      1110
No. 5 West Virginia      1110
Southern Miss      1020
No. 13 Syracuse      1020
Army      930
Louisville      830
South Carolina      840
Northern Illinois      740
Pittsburgh      650
Memphis State      650
Southwestern Louisiana      650
Rutgers      560
Akron      560
Penn State      560
Tulane      560
Louisiana Tech      470
Temple      470
Tulsa      470
Boston College      380
Cincinnati      380
East Carolina      380
Navy      380
Virginia Tech      380
Rankings from AP Poll

Season summary

No. 1 and No. 2 progress

WEEKSNo. 1No. 2Event
PRE Florida State Nebraska Miami 31, Florida St. 0Sep 3
1MiamiNebraska UCLA 41, Nebraska 28Sep 10
2-6MiamiUCLA Notre Dame 31, Miami 30Oct 15
7-8UCLANotre Dame Washington St. 34, UCLA 30Oct 29
9-12Notre Dame USC Notre Dame 27, USC 10Nov 26
13-14Notre DameMiamiNotre Dame 34, West Virginia 21Jan 1

Bowl games

Polls

Final AP Poll

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Miami (FL)
  3. Florida State
  4. Michigan
  5. West Virginia
  6. UCLA
  7. Southern California
  8. Auburn
  9. Clemson
  10. Nebraska
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Arkansas
  13. Syracuse
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Georgia
  16. Washington State
  17. Alabama
  18. Houston
  19. LSU
  20. Indiana

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Miami (FL)
  3. Florida State
  4. Michigan
  5. West Virginia
  6. UCLA
  7. Auburn
  8. Clemson
  9. Southern California
  10. Nebraska
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Syracuse
  13. Arkansas
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Georgia
  16. Washington State
  17. Alabama
  18. North Carolina State
  19. Indiana
  20. Wyoming

Awards

Heisman Trophy

  1. Winner: Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, Jr. RB
  2. Rodney Peete, Southern California, Sr. QB
  3. Troy Aikman, UCLA, Sr. QB
  4. Steve Walsh, Miami (FL), Jr. QB
  5. Major Harris, West Virginia, So. QB

Other major awards

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. D'Angelo, Tom (November 23, 1988). "Add college coach to endangered species list". The Palm Beach Post. p. 24.
  3. Bilinski, Bill (November 6, 1988). "No. 1 Irish 'Rocket' past Rice". South Bend Tribune. p. B4.
  4. Climer, David (November 13, 1988). "In storm, with disbelief, Vols get 3rd straight win". The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. p. 1C.