1991 NCAA Division I-A football season

Last updated
1991 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams106 [1]
Preseason AP No. 1 Florida State [2]
Post-season
Bowl games 18
AP Poll No. 1 Miami (FL)
Coaches Poll No. 1 Washington
Heisman Trophy Desmond Howard (Wide receiver, Michigan)
Champion(s) Miami (FL) (AP)
Washington (Coaches, FWAA)
Division I-A football seasons
  1990
1992  

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.

Contents

Under the conference-bowl selection alignments of the time, the Hurricanes and Huskies could not meet in a decisive title game because Washington was slotted into the Rose Bowl as the Pac-10 champions, and the other spot in the Rose Bowl was automatically given to the Big Ten champions (in 1991, that was Michigan). The Rose Bowl's selection terms later thwarted potential title matchups of undefeated teams following the 1994 and 1997 seasons. Following the 1998 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) realignment, several Pac-10 and Big Ten teams were able to play in a BCS title game instead of being forced to play a non-title contender in the Rose Bowl; these include the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2002, 2006 and 2007, the USC Trojans in 2004 and 2005 and the Oregon Ducks in 2010.

Miami closed the 1991 season with a 22–0 shutout over No. 11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, but their season was defined by a dramatic November victory over then No. 1 ranked and perennial rival Florida State. That game ended with the FSU place kicker missing a field goal, wide right, which would become a theme in the Florida State–Miami football rivalry; this game later took on the moniker "Wide Right I." Nebraska lost to both national champions in 1991 and finished at 9–2–1, ranked No. 15 in the AP poll.

Washington posted a 15-point victory at No. 9 Nebraska in September, a seven-point win at No. 7 California in October, and repeated as Pac-10 champions. They went on to win the Rose Bowl by 20 points over No. 4 Michigan, the Big Ten champions who featured Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard; it was Washington's second consecutive Rose Bowl win. Michigan finished at 10–2, ranked at No. 6 in both polls.

The Florida Gators captured their first official SEC title in school history (they had previously won the 1984 SEC title, but it was later vacated) in dominating fashion. Alabama finished second in the SEC with an 11–1 record, but were shutout 35–0 by the Gators. Florida's luck ran out in the Sugar Bowl, as No. 18 Notre Dame powered their way to a 39–28 win.

Conference and program changes

School1990 Conference1991 Conference
Boston College Eagles I-A Independent Big East
Miami (FL) Hurricanes I-A Independent Big East
Pittsburgh Panthers I-A Independent Big East
Rutgers Scarlet Knights I-A Independent Big East
Syracuse Orangemen I-A Independent Big East
Temple Owls I-A Independent Big East
Virginia Tech Hokies I-A Independent Big East
West Virginia Mountaineers I-A Independent Big East

Rule changes

The NCAA adopted the following rule changes for the 1991 season:

Conference standings

1991 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 18 Clemson $601  921
No. 24 NC State 520  930
Georgia Tech 520  850
Virginia 421  831
North Carolina 340  740
Maryland 250  290
Duke 160  461
Wake Forest 160  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Big East Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 11 Syracuse 500  1020
No. 1 Miami (FL) 200  1200
Virginia Tech 100  560
Pittsburgh 320  650
West Virginia 340  650
Rutgers 230  650
Boston College 240  470
Temple 050  290
  • The Big East did not crown an official champion until 1993 when full league play began.
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 15 Nebraska +601  921
No. 20 Colorado +601  831
No. 16 Oklahoma 520  930
Kansas State 430  740
Kansas 340  650
Iowa State 151  371
Missouri 160  371
Oklahoma State 061  0101
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 6 Michigan $800  1020
No. 10 Iowa 710  1011
Ohio State 530  840
Indiana 530  741
Illinois 440  660
Purdue 350  470
Michigan State 350  380
Wisconsin 260  560
Northwestern 260  380
Minnesota 170  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Big West Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Fresno State +610  1020
San Jose State +610  641
Utah State 520  560
Pacific (CA) 430  570
UNLV 250  470
Long Beach State 250  290
New Mexico State 250  290
Cal State Fullerton 160  290
  • + Conference co-champions
1991 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Bowling Green $800  1110
Central Michigan 314  614
Miami 431  641
Toledo 431  551
Ball State 440  650
Western Michigan 440  650
Eastern Michigan 341  371
Ohio 161  281
Kent State 170  1100
  • $ Conference champion
1991 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 2 Washington $ 80    120 
No. 8 California  62    102 
No. 19 UCLA  62    93 
No. 22 Stanford  62    84 
Arizona State  44    65 
Washington State  35    47 
Arizona  35    47 
USC  26    38 
Oregon  17    38 
Oregon State  17    110 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 7 Florida $700  1020
No. 5 Alabama 610  1110
No. 14 Tennessee 520  930
No. 17 Georgia 430  930
Mississippi State 430  750
LSU 340  560
Vanderbilt 340  560
Auburn 250  560
Ole Miss 160  560
Kentucky 070  380
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 12 Texas A&M $800  1020
Baylor 530  840
Texas Tech 530  650
Arkansas 530  660
TCU 440  740
Texas 440  560
Houston 350  470
Rice 260  470
SMU 080  1100
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 23 BYU $701  832
San Diego State 611  841
No. 25 Air Force 620  1030
Utah 440  750
Hawaii 350  471
Wyoming 251  461
UTEP 251  471
Colorado State 260  380
New Mexico 260  290
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1991 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 9 East Carolina     1110
No. 4 Florida State     1120
No. 3 Penn State     1120
No. 21 Tulsa     1020
Louisiana Tech     812
No. 13 Notre Dame     1030
Akron     560
Memphis State     560
Army     470
Cincinnati     470
Southern Miss     470
South Carolina     362
Southwestern Louisiana     281
Louisville     290
Northern Illinois     290
Tulane     1100
Navy     1100
Rankings from AP Poll

No. 1 and No. 2 progress

In the pre-season poll, Florida State was ranked No. 1 with 54 of the 59 votes cast, Michigan was 2nd, and Miami 3rd. As of the September 10th poll, Florida State remained the overwhelming choice for No. 1 and Miami reached No. 2. Those two Sunshine State teams would continue to be 1 and 2 as their November 16 meeting approached. On November 16th in Tallahassee, the long-awaited No. 1 & No. 2 showdown had the 10–0 Seminoles hosting the 8–0 Hurricanes. Visiting Miami won, 17–16 to take the top spot. In the Pacific Northwest, Washington won its Apple Cup game by 35 points on November 23 and finished the regular season at 11–0; the Huskies took over the No. 2 spot in the final two polls of the regular season.

In the coaches poll, Florida State and Miami opened up the season 1-2 and remained that way until Miami's win on November 16 put the Hurricanes No. 1 and allowed the Huskies to move to No. 2. After the end of the regular season, the coaches moved the Washington Huskies to the No. 1 ranking. They would keep the top spot after their Rose Bowl win over Michigan to split the National Title.

Bowl games

Final rankings

AP Poll

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Washington
  3. Penn State
  4. Florida State
  5. Alabama
  6. Michigan
  7. Florida
  8. California
  9. East Carolina
  10. Iowa
  11. Syracuse
  12. Texas A&M
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Tennessee
  15. Nebraska
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Georgia
  18. Clemson
  19. UCLA
  20. Colorado
  21. Tulsa
  22. Stanford
  23. Brigham Young
  24. North Carolina State
  25. Air Force

Coaches Poll

  1. Washington
  2. Miami (FL)
  3. Penn State
  4. Florida State
  5. Alabama
  6. Michigan
  7. California
  8. Florida
  9. East Carolina
  10. Iowa
  11. Syracuse
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Texas A&M
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Tennessee
  16. Nebraska
  17. Clemson
  18. UCLA
  19. Georgia
  20. Colorado
  21. Tulsa
  22. Stanford
  23. Brigham Young
  24. Air Force
  25. North Carolina State

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year

  1. Desmond Howard, Michigan, Jr. - WR-KR
  2. Casey Weldon, Florida State, Sr. - QB
  3. Ty Detmer, BYU, Sr. - QB - (1990 winner)
  4. Steve Emtman, Washington, Jr. - DT
  5. Shane Matthews, Florida, Jr. - QB
  6. Vaughn Dunbar, Indiana, Sr. - TB
  7. Jeff Blake, East Carolina, Sr. - QB
  8. Terrell Buckley, Florida State, Jr. - DB
  9. Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, Fr. - RB
  10. Bucky Richardson, Texas A&M, Sr. - QB

Other major awards

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References

  1. http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1991.htm
  2. "1991 Preseason AP Football Poll". College Poll Archive. Retrieved January 7, 2017.