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1971 NCAA University Division football season

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The 1971 NCAA University Division football season saw Coach Bob Devaney's Nebraska Cornhuskers repeat as national champions.[2][3] Ranked a close second behind Notre Dame in the preseason poll, Nebraska moved up to first place the following week, remained there for the rest of 1971, and convincingly won the Orange Bowl 38–6 in a #1 vs. #2 game against Alabama.[4]

Prior to the 1971 season, two programs were elevated to the University Division. The new programs were Temple and Texas–Arlington. The change brought the total number of programs in the University Division to 119.[5]

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football in its University Division (now the Football Bowl Subdivision in Division I). The NCAA Football Guide, however, did note an "unofficial national champion" based on the top ranked teams in the "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular, followed by the "coaches' poll" by United Press International) (UPI). Prior to the 1974 season, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but since the 1968 season, the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed. The AP poll in 1971 consisted of the votes of as many as 55 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. Those who cast votes would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined.

Rule changesEdit

  • The crackback block was outlawed.
  • Punts that land in the end zone untouched will result in an automatic touchback.
  • Team time-outs were reduced from four to three.
  • After penalties, the clock restarts on the ready-for-play signal. Previously, the clock started after penalties on the snap.
  • Penalties occurring behind the scrimmage line are enforced from the previous spot instead of the spot of the foul.
Source:[6]

Conference and program changesEdit

School 1970 Conference 1971 Conference
Bradley Braves Independent Dropped Program
Buffalo Bulls Independent Dropped Program
Drake Bulldogs Independent Missouri Valley
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Gulf States Southland
Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Gulf States Southland
South Carolina Gamecocks ACC Independent
West Texas State Buffaloes Independent Missouri Valley

Regular seasonEdit

SeptemberEdit

In the preseason poll released on September 6, Notre Dame was ranked #1, with defending champion Nebraska was second. Nebraska had more first place votes (26) than Notre Dame (15), but fewer points overall (870 vs. 885). Texas, Michigan and USC rounded out the Top Five. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Nebraska 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.USC

September 10–11
On Friday night in Los Angeles, Alabama beat #5 USC, 17–10, marking a successful debut for Bear Bryant's new Wishbone offense. The next day, #2 Nebraska won its opener at home, 34–7 over Oregon. #4 Michigan won 21–6 at #20 Northwestern. Notre Dame and Texas did not start their seasons until the following week. In the poll that followed, Nebraska received 31 of the 50 first place votes, while Ohio State took USC's #5 spot.
The poll was 1.Nebraska 2.Notre Dame 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.Ohio State

September 18
Nebraska beat Minnesota 35–7, and #3 Texas won its opener 28–10 at UCLA. #2 Notre Dame opened with 50–7 win over Northwestern, #4 Michigan shut out Virginia 56–0, and #6 Auburn beat UT-Chattanooga 60–7,; they moved up to #5, as idle Ohio State dropped to sixth.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Notre Dame 3.Texas 4.Michigan 5.Auburn

September 25
Nebraska beat Texas A&M, 34–7, and #3 Texas beat Texas Tech 28–0. #2 Notre Dame narrowly won at Purdue, 8–7, and #4 Michigan beat visiting UCLA, 38–0. #6 Ohio State lost 20–14 to visiting #10 Colorado. #5 Auburn edged #9 Tennessee at home, 10–9. Michigan and Notre Dame traded places in the poll that followed.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Michigan 3.Texas 4.Notre Dame 5.Auburn

OctoberEdit

October 2
Fifteen of the Top 20 teams remained unbeaten, including the Top 12. Nebraska handled Utah State in Lincoln, 42–6, while #2 Michigan registered its third straight shutout at home, beating Navy 46–0. #3 Texas defeated Oregon 35–7, #4 Notre Dame beat Michigan State 14–2, and fell to seventh in the next poll. #5 Auburn beat Kentucky 38–6, and #6 Colorado rose to fifth after beating Kansas State 31–21.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Michigan 3.Texas 4.Auburn 5.Colorado

October 9
The top 9 teams improved their records to 4–0 or 5–0. In their first Big Eight conference game and first on the road, #1 Nebraska shut out Missouri 36–0. #3 Texas lost to #8 Oklahoma in their rivlary game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, 48–27, while #2 Michigan won at Michigan State, 24–13. #4 Auburn beat Southern Miss 27–14, and #5 Colorado won 24–14 at Iowa State, but dropped in the poll to sixth, while #6 Alabama won 42–0 at Vanderbilt and rose to fourth. Texas dropped to tenth place, while Oklahoma rose to second.
The poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn

October 16
Top-ranked Nebraska crushed Kansas 55–0, raising its record to 6–0 and outscoring its opposition 238–27. #2 Oklahoma beat visiting #6 Colorado 45–17 and #3 Michigan beat Illinois 35–6. #4 Alabama beat #14 Tennessee 32–15 at Birmingham and #5 Auburn won over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 31–14. Eight teams had records of 5–0 or 6–0.
The next poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Notre Dame 7.Penn State 8.Georgia.

October 23
Seven of the top 8 teams stayed unbeaten, playing unranked opponents. #1 Nebraska allowed Oklahoma State to reach double digits, but easily won at Stillwater, 41–13. #2 Oklahoma decimated Kansas State 75–28 in Manhattan. #3 Michigan won 35–7 at Minnesota, #4 Alabama hosted Houston, and #5 Auburn beat Clemson 35–13. #6 Notre Dame lost to visiting USC, 28–14. #7 Penn State walloped visiting TCU 66–14, #8 Georgia beat Kentucky at home, 34–0.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State 7.Georgia

October 30
Number one Nebraska handed visiting #9 Colorado a 31–7 victory, and #2 Oklahoma beat Iowa State 43–12. #3 Michigan rolled over Indiana 61–7, and #4 Alabama beat Mississippi State 41–10 at Jackson. #5 Auburn beat Florida 40–7, #6 Penn State won 35–7 at West Virginia, and #7 Georgia recorded its third consecutive shutout, 24–0 at South Carolina.

All of the aforementioned games were overshadowed by the death of TCU head coach Jim Pittman, who suffered a massive heart attack during the Horned Frogs' rivalry game with Baylor in Waco. TCU somehow overcame its grief to oust the Bears 34–27. Pittman was in his first season at Fort Worth after five seasons at Tulane, where he guided the Green Wave to an 8–4 record in his final season of 1970, capped off by a 17–3 victory over Colorado in the Liberty Bowl. The top seven all stayed unbeaten and the poll was unchanged:
1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State 7.Georgia

NovemberEdit

November 6
Nebraska beat Iowa State 37–0 and #2 Oklahoma won 20-3 at Missouri. #3 Michigan crushed Iowa, 63–7, and #4 Alabama won at #18 LSU, 14–7. #5 Auburn beat Mississippi State 30–21, #6 Penn State won 63–27 over Maryland, and #7 Georgia beat Florida at Jacksonville. As the Top 7 teams extended their undefeated records, the poll stayed unchanged:
1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Penn State 6.Auburn 7.Georgia (all undefeated)

November 13
Nebraska won at Kansas State 44–17, and #2 Oklahoma beat Kansas 56–10. #3 Michigan narrowly won at Purdue, 20–17, and #4 Alabama defeated the visiting Miami Hurricanes, 31–3. #5 Auburn (8–0) and #7 Georgia (9–0) met at Athens, with the Auburn winning a decisive 35–20 victory. #6 Penn State beat North Carolina State 35–3.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State (all undefeated)

November 20
Four of the top five teams were idle. #1 Nebraska (10–0) and #2 Oklahoma (10–0) prepared for their Thanksgiving Day meeting in Norman, while #4 Alabama and #5 Auburn prepared for their season closer in the Iron Bowl in Birmingham. #3 Michigan (10–0) defeated Ohio State, 10–7, to win the Big 10 title and earn the Rose Bowl berth, and #6 Penn State won at Pittsburgh 55–18.
Poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn 6.Penn State (all undefeated)

November 25–27
As the regular season neared its close, Big Eight rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma were unbeaten, as were SEC rivals Alabama and Auburn, and Big Ten champ Michigan. On Thanksgiving Day, #1 Nebraska (10–0) and #2 Oklahoma (9–0) met on the Sooners' field in a game that would determine the Big Eight title, the #1 ranking, and a trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami. In the decade's Game of the Century, Nebraska won a classic back-and-forth battle 35–31; Husker I-back Jeff Kinney scored his fourth and game-deciding touchdown with 98 seconds left, capping a 5½-minute, 74-yard drive.[7][8] The loss dropped Oklahoma behind the unbeatens into fifth place in the polls.

Later that weekend, #4 Alabama (10–0) and #5 Auburn (9–0) played their annual season-ender at Birmingham, with Alabama handing the Tigers their first loss, 31-7; as a result of this impressive win, Alabama jumped over Michigan. As SEC champion, Alabama was invited to, but not obligated to play in, the Sugar Bowl; they deferred and accepted a bid to play top-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Auburn went to the Sugar Bowl instead, to face Oklahoma in a meeting of conference runners-up. #6 Penn State was idle, but moved up two places.
The next poll: 1.Nebraska 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Penn State 5.Oklahoma

DecemberEdit

December 4
Nebraska (11–0) had NCAA permission to play a twelfth game... in Hawaii; they beat the Rainbows 45–3 and ended the regular season at 12–0. #4 Penn State (10–0) faced #12 Tennessee (8–2), at Knoxville but lost 31–11. #5 Oklahoma's season ender was in state at Stillwater against Oklahoma State, which the Sooners easily won 58–14. The final regular season poll:
1.Nebraska 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Oklahoma 5.Auburn. 6. Colorado

Conference standingsEdit

1971 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
North Carolina $   6 0         9 3  
Clemson   4 2         5 6  
Duke   2 3         6 5  
Virginia   2 3         3 8  
Wake Forest   2 3         6 5  
NC State   2 4         3 8  
Maryland   1 4         2 9  
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll[9]
1971 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Nebraska $ 7 0 0     13 0 0
No. 2 Oklahoma 6 1 0     11 1 0
No. 3 Colorado 5 2 0     10 2 0
Iowa State 4 3 0     8 4 0
Kansas State 2 5 0     5 6 0
Oklahoma State 2 5 0     4 6 1
Kansas 2 5 0     4 7 0
Missouri 0 7 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 6 Michigan $ 8 0 0     11 1 0
Northwestern 6 3 0     7 4 0
Ohio State 5 3 0     6 4 0
Michigan State 5 3 0     6 5 0
Illinois 5 3 0     5 6 0
Wisconsin 3 5 0     4 6 1
Minnesota 3 5 0     4 7 0
Purdue 3 5 0     3 7 0
Indiana 2 6 0     3 8 0
Iowa 1 8 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Ivy League football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Dartmouth + 6 1 0     8 1 0
Cornell + 6 1 0     8 1 0
Columbia 5 2 0     6 3 0
Harvard 4 3 0     5 4 0
Yale 3 4 0     4 5 0
Princeton 3 4 0     4 5 0
Penn 1 6 0     2 7 0
Brown 0 7 0     0 9 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 14 Toledo $ 5 0 0     12 0 0
Bowling Green 4 1 0     6 4 0
Western Michigan 2 3 0     7 3 0
Miami 2 3 0     7 3 0
Ohio 2 3 0     5 5 0
Kent State 0 5 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
North Texas State $ 3 1 0     3 8 0
Drake 2 1 0     7 4 0
Memphis State 2 1 0     5 6 0
Tulsa 2 1 0     4 7 0
Louisville 3 2 0     6 3 1
West Texas State 1 2 0     2 9 0
Wichita State 0 4 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1971 Pacific-8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 10 Stanford $ 6 1 0     9 3 0
No. 20 USC 3 2 1     6 4 1
No. 19 Washington 4 3 0     8 3 0
California 4 3 0     6 5 0
Oregon State 3 3 0     5 6 0
Oregon 2 4 0     5 6 0
Washington State 2 5 0     4 7 0
UCLA 1 4 1     2 7 1
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Long Beach State $ 5 1 0     8 4 0
San Jose State 4 1 0     5 6 1
Fresno State 3 2 0     6 5 0
San Diego State 2 3 0     6 5 0
UC Santa Barbara 2 3 0     3 8 0
Pacific (CA) 1 4 0     3 8 0
Cal State Los Angeles 0 3 0     2 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 4 Alabama $ 7 0 0     11 1 0
No. 7 Georgia 5 1 0     11 1 0
No. 12 Auburn 5 1 0     9 2 0
No. 15 Ole Miss 4 2 0     10 2 0
No. 9 Tennessee 4 2 0     10 2 0
No. 11 LSU 3 2 0     9 3 0
Vanderbilt 1 5 0     4 6 1
Florida 1 6 0     4 7 0
Kentucky 1 6 0     3 8 0
Mississippi State 1 7 0     2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 Southern Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Richmond $ 5 1 0     5 6 0
William & Mary 4 1 0     5 6 0
The Citadel 4 2 0     8 3 0
East Carolina 3 2 0     4 6 1
Furman 2 3 0     5 5 1
VMI 1 4 0     1 10 0
Davidson 0 6 0     1 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1971 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 18 Texas $ 6 1 0     8 3 0
No. 16 Arkansas 5 1 1     8 3 1
TCU 5 2 0     6 4 1
Texas A&M 4 3 0     5 6 0
SMU 3 4 0     4 7 0
Rice 2 4 1     3 7 1
Texas Tech 2 5 0     4 7 0
Baylor 0 7 0     1 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 8 Arizona State $ 7 0 0     11 1 0
New Mexico 5 1 0     6 3 2
Arizona 3 3 0     5 6 0
BYU 3 4 0     5 6 0
Wyoming 3 4 0     5 6 0
Utah 3 4 0     3 8 0
Colorado State 1 4 0     3 8 0
UTEP 1 6 0     5 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1971 NCAA University Division independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 5 Penn State         11 1 0
Boston College         9 2 0
No. 17 Houston         9 3 0
No. 13 Notre Dame         8 2 0
Utah State         8 3 0
Florida State         8 4 0
Cincinnati         7 4 0
West Virginia         7 4 0
Temple         6 2 1
Air Force         6 4 0
Army         6 4 0
Colgate         6 4 0
Villanova         6 4 1
South Carolina         6 5 0
Southern Miss         6 5 0
Georgia Tech         6 6 0
New Mexico State         5 5 1
Northern Illinois         5 5 1
Syracuse         5 5 1
Dayton         5 6 0
Miami (FL)         4 7 0
Rutgers         4 7 0
Virginia Tech         4 7 0
Navy         3 8 0
Pittsburgh         3 8 0
Tulane         3 8 0
Xavier         1 9 0
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl gamesEdit

Major bowlsEdit

Saturday, January 1, 1972

BOWL Winner Score Runner-up
COTTON #10 Penn State Nittany Lions 30–6 #12 Texas Longhorns
SUGAR #3 Oklahoma Sooners 40–22 #5 Auburn Tigers
ROSE #16 Stanford Indians ^ 13–12 #4 Michigan Wolverines
ORANGE #1 Nebraska Cornhuskers 38–6 #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

^ Last game in which Stanford used nickname "Indians"; it was changed to "Cardinals" early in 1972, and to the singular "Cardinal" in 1982.

With #1 Nebraska slated to play #2 Alabama in the Orange Bowl on New Year's night, there was little suspense as to which game or games would decide the national title. #3 Michigan held out the slim hope that, if they handily defeated Stanford while Nebraska or Alabama barely won or tied, they could leapfrog both teams into the top position. For the second year in a row in the Rose Bowl, underdog Stanford rallied to defeat the undefeated Big Ten champion, besting Michigan 13–12 on a last second field goal by Rod Garcia. (He had missed all five of his kicks (four field goals and an extra point) when Stanford was upset by San Jose State on November 13, by the same score.)[10]

In the final game of the day, Nebraska walloped Alabama in the Orange Bowl 38–6 to claim its second straight national title.[4] Earlier in the day at the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan three times and easily handled Auburn 40–22,[11]and regained the runner-up ranking in the final poll. With bowl losses by #2 Alabama, #3 Michigan, and #5 Auburn, sixth-ranked Colorado, winner of the Bluebonnet Bowl, rose to third. The Big Eight occupied the top three spots in the final AP poll, with Nebraska receiving all 55 first place votes; Oklahoma was second, and Colorado (whose only losses were to Nebraska and Oklahoma) climbed to third.[2] This was the first time that two teams from the same conference topped the final poll,[3] and it remains as the only time that a conference had the top three.

  1. Nebraska, 1100 (55), 13–0
  2. Oklahoma, 990, 11–1
  3. Colorado, 746, 10–2
  4. Alabama, 674, 11–1
  5. Penn State, 666, 11–1
  6. Michigan, 479, 11–1
  7. Georgia, 471, 11–1
  8. Arizona State, 414, 11–1
  9. Tennessee, 379, 10–2
  10. Stanford, 347, 9–3

Source[2][3]

Other bowlsEdit

BOWL City State Date Winner Score Runner-up
SUN El Paso Texas December 18 #11 LSU 33–15 Iowa State
GATOR Jacksonville Florida December 31 #6 Georgia   7–3 North Carolina
TANGERINE Orlando Florida December 28 #14 Toledo 28–3 Richmond
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston Texas December 31 #7 Colorado 29–17 #15 Houston
LIBERTY Memphis Tennessee December 20 #9 Tennessee 14–13 #18 Arkansas
PEACH Atlanta Georgia December 30 #17 Mississippi 41–18 Georgia Tech
FIESTA (debut) Tempe Arizona December 27 #8 Arizona State 45–38 Florida State
MERCY Los Angeles California December 11 Cal State Fullerton 17–14 Fresno State
PASADENA Pasadena California December 18 Memphis State 28–9 San Jose State
  • Prior to the 1975 season, the Big Ten and Pac-8 conferences allowed only one postseason participant each, for the Rose Bowl.
  • Notre Dame refused an invitation to the Gator Bowl after Irish players overwhelmingly voted to turn down any invitation from a non-New Year's Day bowl.

Other championsEdit

NAIAEdit

In the NAIA playoffs, Livingston (now West Alabama) beat Arkansas Tech 14-12 (Div. I) and California Lutheran beat Westminster 30-14 (Div. II)

Minor conference championsEdit

Conference Champion Record
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Adrian
Alma
4–1–0

Heisman TrophyEdit

  1. Pat Sullivan, QB – Auburn, 1,597 points
  2. Ed Marinaro, RB – Cornell, 1,445
  3. Greg Pruitt, RB – Oklahoma, 586 – (only junior in top 10)
  4. Johnny Musso, RB – Alabama, 365
  5. Lydell Mitchell, RB – Penn State, 251
  6. Jack Mildren, QB – Oklahoma, 208
  7. Jerry Tagge, QB – Nebraska, 168
  8. Chuck Ealey, QB – Toledo, 137
  9. Walt Patulski, DE – Notre Dame, 121
  10. Eric Allen, RB – Michigan State, 109

Source:[12][13]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1971 Preseason Football Polls - College Poll Archive - Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". collegepollarchive.com.
  2. ^ a b c "Nebraska king with Big Eight in 1-2-3 spots". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 1-C.
  3. ^ a b c "Voters unanimously pick Nebraska as top grid team". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 11.
  4. ^ a b "Nebraska rips Alabama to take national crown". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 11.
  5. ^ "Two Elevated To University NCAA Status". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. June 16, 1971. p. 30 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Nissenson, Herschel (September 5, 1971). "1971 college football season opens next Saturday". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. p. 16.
  7. ^ "'Huskers dump Sooners". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 4B.
  8. ^ "Kinney leads Nebraska triumph". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 42.
  9. ^ "1971 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "San Jose surprises Stanford". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 14, 1971. p. 11, sports.
  11. ^ "Sooners zap Eagles 40-22". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 1, sports.
  12. ^ "Auburn's Pat Sullivan tops Ed Marinaro for Heisman". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 26, 1971. p. 43.
  13. ^ Heisman.com Archived 2009-12-15 at the Wayback Machine – Pat Sullivan – 1971