1996 NCAA Division I-A football season

Last updated
1996 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams111 [1]
Preseason AP No. 1 Nebraska [2]
Post-season
Bowl games 18
Heisman Trophy Danny Wuerffel (quarterback, Florida)
Bowl Alliance Championship
1997 Sugar Bowl
Site Louisiana Superdome,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Champion(s) Florida (AP, Coaches, FWAA)
Division I-A football seasons
  1995
1997  

The 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the Florida Gators being crowned National Champions after defeating rival Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, which was the season's designated Bowl Alliance national championship game. Florida had faced Florida State earlier in the year, when they were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, and lost 24–21. However, unranked Texas's upset of No. 3 Nebraska in the first ever Big 12 Championship Game set up the rematch of in-state rivals in New Orleans. In the Sugar Bowl, Florida's Heisman Trophy-winning senior quarterback Danny Wuerffel and head coach Steve Spurrier led the Gators to a 52–20 victory and their first national championship.

Contents

Because the Pac-10 and Big Ten Conferences were not yet part of the Bowl Alliance, their champions met in the Rose Bowl as they had for decades. In 1996, these conference champions were potential national title contenders in No. 2 Arizona State and No. 4 Ohio State. In a close Rose Bowl contest, Arizona State's Jake Plummer ran for a touchdown with 1:40 left to play to give his team the lead, but Ohio State responded with its own touchdown drive led by backup quarterback Joe Germaine and won 20–17. Ohio State finished No. 2 in the final AP poll behind No. 1 Florida, and Arizona State finished No. 4 behind Florida State. The poll results helped push the Pac-10 and Big Ten to give up their Rose Bowl tradition. Before the 1998 season, they both agreed to join an expanded Bowl Championship Series (BCS) agreement, giving their programs a chance to play in a national championship game. Another controversy that led to the creation of the BCS was that No. 5 BYU was not invited to a major bowl game but were snubbed in favor of lower ranked teams from Bowl Alliance conferences.

The 1996 season saw ongoing realignment of many conferences. One of the most notable developments was the creation of the Big 12 Conference, which consisted of programs from the old Big 8 along with four former members of the dissolved Southwest Conference, namely Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor. The Big 12 began play as a two division conference, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State joining the South Division, breaking up the classic Nebraska–Oklahoma rivalry, but renewing the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, known as the Red River Shootout. The first Big 12 football game featured Texas Tech and Kansas State. Kansas State won by a score of 2114. [3]

The 1996 season was also notable as it marked the end of ties in college football, as an overtime system was put into place across all of Division I. Though it has been modified slightly, the "Kansas Playoff" overtime rules have been used ever since. (The 1995 season also had overtime rules, but only for postseason games, and they were not used since none of the affected games ended regulation play in a tie. [4] )

Rule changes

Conference realignment

Four teams upgraded from Division I-AA prior to the season and one university dropped its football program. As such, the total number of Division I-A schools increased to 111.

Conference changes

School1995 Conference1996 Conference
Alabama–Birmingham Blazers I-AA Independent I-A Independent
Arkansas State Indians Big West I-A Independent
Baylor Bears SWC Big 12
Boise State Broncos Big Sky (I-AA) Big West (I-A)
Central Florida Knights I-AA Independent I-A Independent
Colorado Buffaloes Big 8 Big 12
Cincinnati Bearcats I-A Independent Conference USA
Houston Cougars SWC Conference USA
Idaho Vandals Big Sky (I-AA) Big West (I-A)
Iowa State Cyclones Big 8 Big 12
Kansas Jayhawks Big 8 Big 12
Kansas State Wildcats Big 8 Big 12
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Big West I-A Independent
Louisville Cardinals I-A Independent Conference USA
Memphis Tigers I-A Independent Conference USA
Missouri Tigers Big 8 Big 12
Nebraska Cornhuskers Big 8 Big 12
North Texas Mean Green I-A Independent Big West
Northern Illinois Huskies Big West I-A Independent
Oklahoma Sooners Big 8 Big 12
Oklahoma State Cowboys Big 8 Big 12
Pacific Tigers Big West Dropped Program
Rice Owls SWC WAC
San Jose State Spartans Big West WAC
SMU Mustangs SWC WAC
Southern Miss Golden Eagles I-A Independent Conference USA
Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Big West I-A Independent
TCU Horned Frogs SWC WAC
Texas Longhorns SWC Big 12
Texas A&M Aggies SWC Big 12
Texas Tech Red Raiders SWC Big 12
Tulane Green Wave I-A Independent Conference USA
Tulsa Golden Hurricane I-A Independent WAC
UNLV Rebels Big West WAC

Conference standings

1996 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 3 Florida State $ 80    111 
No. 10 North Carolina  62    102 
Clemson  62    75 
Virginia  53    75 
Georgia Tech  44    56 
Maryland  35    56 
NC State  35    38 
Wake Forest  17    38 
Duke  08    011 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Big 12 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Northern Division
No. 6 Nebraska x% 80    112 
No. 8 Colorado  71    102 
No. 17 Kansas State  62    93 
Missouri  35    56 
Kansas  26    47 
Iowa State  17    29 
Southern Division
No. 23 Texas x$ 62    85 
Texas Tech  53    75 
Texas A&M  44    66 
Oklahoma  35    38 
Oklahoma State  26    56 
Baylor  17    47 
Championship: Texas 37, Nebraska 27
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • $ – Bowl Alliance representative as champion
    % – Bowl Alliance at-large representative
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Big East Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 13 Virginia Tech + 61    102 
No. 14 Miami (FL) + 61    93 
No. 21 Syracuse + 61    93 
West Virginia  43    84 
Pittsburgh  34    47 
Boston College  25    57 
Rutgers  16    29 
Temple  07    110 
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 2 Ohio State + 71    111 
No. 15 Northwestern + 71    93 
No. 7 Penn State  62    112 
No. 18 Iowa  62    93 
No. 20 Michigan  53    84 
Michigan State  53    66 
Wisconsin  35    85 
Purdue  26    38 
Minnesota  17    47 
Indiana  17    38 
Illinois  17    29 
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Big West Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Nevada + 41    93 
Utah State + 41    65 
Idaho  32    65 
North Texas  32    56 
Boise State  14    210 
New Mexico State  05    110 
  • + Conference co-champions
1996 Conference USA football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Southern Miss + 41    83 
Houston + 41    75 
Cincinnati  23    65 
Louisville  23    56 
Memphis  23    47 
Tulane  14    29 
  • + Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Ball State $ 71    84 
Toledo  62    74 
Miami  62    65 
Ohio  53    66 
Central Michigan  44    56 
Akron  35    47 
Bowling Green  35    47 
Eastern Michigan  35    38 
Western Michigan  26    29 
Kent State  17    29 
  • $ Conference champion
1996 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 4 Arizona State $ 80    111 
No. 16 Washington  71    93 
Stanford  53    75 
UCLA  44    56 
Oregon  35    65 
California  35    66 
USC  35    66 
Arizona  35    56 
Washington State  35    56 
Oregon State  17    29 
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Eastern Division
No. 1 Florida x$ 80    121 
No. 9 Tennessee  71    102 
South Carolina  44    65 
Kentucky  35    47 
Georgia  35    56 
Vanderbilt  08    29 
Western Division
No. 11 Alabama xy 62    103 
No. 12 LSU x 62    102 
No. 24 Auburn  44    84 
Mississippi State  35    56 
Ole Miss  26    56 
Arkansas  26    47 
Championship: Florida 45, Alabama 30
  • $ Conference champion
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • y Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
Mountain Division
No. 5 BYU x$ 80    141 
Utah  62    84 
Rice  62    74 
SMU  44    56 
New Mexico  35    65 
TCU  35    47 
Tulsa  26    47 
UTEP  08    29 
Pacific Division
No. 22 Wyoming x 71    102 
San Diego State  62    83 
Colorado State  62    75 
Air Force  53    65 
Fresno State  35    47 
San Jose State  35    39 
Hawaii  17    210 
UNLV  18    111 
Championship: BYU 28, Wyoming 25 OT
  • $ Conference champion
  • x Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1996 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf  Overall
Team W L    W L 
No. 25 Army      102 
Navy      93 
No. 19 Notre Dame      83 
East Carolina      83 
Louisiana Tech      65 
UAB      56 
UCF      56 
Southwestern Louisiana      56 
Northeast Louisiana      56 
Arkansas State      47 
Northern Illinois      110 
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl Alliance first and seconds

The Bowl Alliance did not include the Pacific-10 and Big 10 conferences, whose champions played in the Rose Bowl. Thus, Arizona State and Ohio State (who met in the Rose Bowl) were excluded from the Bowl Alliance championship.

WEEKSFirstConf.SecondConf.EventDate
PRE-4 Nebraska Big 12 Tennessee SEC Arizona St. 19, Nebraska 0September 21
5-6 Florida SEC Florida State ACC Ohio State 38, Penn State 7October 5
7-14FloridaSECNo. 3 Florida StateACCFlorida St. 24, Florida 21November 30
15Florida StateACCNo. 3 NebraskaBig 12 Texas 37, Nebraska 27December 7
16Florida StateACCNo. 3 FloridaSECFlorida 52, Florida State 20January 1

Bowl games

Sugar Bowl No. 3 Florida 52No. 1 Florida St. 201/2/97
Rose Bowl:No. 4 Ohio St. 20No. 2 Arizona St. 171/1/97
Cotton Bowl Classic:No. 5 Brigham Young 19No. 14 Kansas St. 151/1/97
Fiesta Bowl:No. 7 Penn State 38No. 20 Texas 151/1/97
Florida Citrus Bowl:No. 9 Tennessee 48No. 11 Northwestern 281/1/97
Gator Bowl:No. 12 North Carolina 20No. 25 West Virginia 131/1/97
Outback Bowl:No. 16 Alabama 17No. 15 Michigan 141/1/97
Peach Bowl No. 17 LSU 10 Clemson 71/1/97
Orange Bowl:No. 6 Nebraska 41No. 10 Virginia Tech 2112/31/96
Sun Bowl: Stanford 38 Michigan State 012/31/96
Independence Bowl Auburn 32No. 24 Army 2912/31/96
Holiday Bowl:No. 8 Colorado 33No. 13 Washington 2112/30/96
Alamo Bowl:No. 21 Iowa 27 Texas Tech 012/29/96
Carquest Bowl No. 19 Miami (FL) 31 Virginia 2112/27/96
Liberty Bowl No. 23 Syracuse 30 Houston 1712/27/96
Copper Bowl: Wisconsin 38 Utah 1012/27/96
Aloha Bowl Navy 42 California 3812/25/96
Las Vegas Bowl Nevada 18 Ball State 1512/18/96

Final AP Poll

  1. Florida
  2. Ohio St.
  3. Florida St.
  4. Arizona St.
  5. BYU
  6. Nebraska
  7. Penn St.
  8. Colorado
  9. Tennessee
  10. North Carolina
  11. Alabama
  12. LSU
  13. Virginia Tech
  14. Miami (FL)
  15. Northwestern
  16. Washington
  17. Kansas St.
  18. Iowa
  19. Notre Dame
  20. Michigan
  21. Syracuse
  22. Wyoming
  23. Texas
  24. Auburn
  25. Army

Others receiving votes: 26. West Virginia; 27. East Carolina; 28. Southern Mississippi; 29. Stanford; 30. Wisconsin; 31. San Diego St.; 32. Virginia; 33. Clemson

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Florida
  2. Ohio St.
  3. Florida St.
  4. Arizona St.
  5. Brigham Young
  6. Nebraska
  7. Penn St.
  8. Colorado
  9. Tennessee
  10. North Carolina
  11. Alabama
  12. Virginia Tech
  13. LSU
  14. Miami (FL)
  15. Washington
  16. Northwestern
  17. Kansas St.
  18. Iowa
  19. Syracuse
  20. Michigan
  21. Notre Dame
  22. Wyoming
  23. Texas
  24. Army
  25. Auburn

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year
Winner: Danny Wuerffel, Florida, Quarterback (1363 points)

Other major awards

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References

  1. "1996 NCAA Division IA Football Power Ratings". www.jhowell.net. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. DeLassus, David. "Kansas State University football records--1996". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  4. 1 2 "No more ties: NDAA D-I football adds tiebreakers". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). Associated Press. February 17, 1996. p. 4D.