The 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Miami winning its second national championship during the '80s in an Orange Bowl match-up featuring a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Hurricanes.
Miami's first three games were against ranked opponents, in what was labeled as a rebuilding year, when after some late game theatrics by Michael Irvin against rival Florida State, the Hurricanes were 3–0, the national media started to take notice.
Oklahoma was also seen as quite the juggernaut, averaging 428.8 yards rushing per game with their potent wishbone offense. Miami was able to hold Oklahoma to just 179 yards on the ground, winning the game 20–14.
Also having notable seasons were Syracuse, LSU and Florida State. Syracuse finished the season 11–0–1 and ranked No. 4 after a controversial Sugar Bowl game in which Auburn kicked a late field goal to end the game in a tie. LSU went 10–1–1, ending the season ranked No. 5. This was LSU's first ten win season in 26 years and their highest ranking since 1961.
Florida State finished ranked No. 2, their only loss to Miami, and began a streak of 14 years where FSU finished in the top 5. The Seminoles beat Rose Bowl champion Michigan State and SEC champion Auburn on the road and beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
This would be the first of two years SMU would not field a team due to the NCAA's death penalty.
Notable rivalry gamesEdit
- Michigan State 17, Michigan 11
- South Carolina 20, Clemson 7
- Auburn 10, Alabama 0
- Kansas 17, Kansas State 17
- LSU 41, Tulane 36
- Oklahoma 17, Nebraska 7
- Miami 26, Florida State 25
- USC 17 UCLA 13 (decided Rose Bowl berth)
- Pitt 10, Penn State 0
- Texas 16, Arkansas 14
- Arizona State 24, Arizona 24
The year 1987 saw the first meeting, since 1946, between the University of Miami Hurricanes and Miami University. On November 7, in Florida, "Miami-FL" won 54–3 over "Miami-OH".
No. 1 and No. 2 progressEdit
The Oklahoma Sooners were No. 1, and their Big 8 Conference rivals, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, were No. 2, during the first eleven polls taken in 1987. Beginning with the September 29 poll, Miami was ranked No. 3. For polls 4 through 11, the ranking remained 1.Oklahoma 2.Nebraska 3.Miami. For the remainder of polls 6 through 11, Florida State is ranked No. 4, with two Big 8 teams and two Florida independents ranked in the top 4. With the Big Eight champion contracted to play in the Orange Bowl in Miami, the hometown Hurricanes were an obvious choice. The only question was whether the Big 8 team would be the Sooners or the Huskers.
In the 12th poll, issued on the Tuesday before the annual Nebraska–Oklahoma game, 9–0–0 Nebraska was voted No. 1 and 10–0–0 Oklahoma No. 2. The two teams met at Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 21, 1987, with Oklahoma winning 17–7. In the last three polls, Oklahoma stayed at No. 1 and Miami at No. 2.
- Rose Bowl: #8 Michigan State 20, #16 USC 17
- Sugar Bowl: #6 Auburn 16, #4 Syracuse 16
- Cotton Bowl Classic: #13 Texas A&M 35, #12 Notre Dame 10
- Fiesta Bowl: #3 Florida State 31, #5 Nebraska 28
- Florida Citrus Bowl: #14 Clemson 35, #19 Penn State 10
- Orange Bowl: #2 Miami (FL) 20, #1 Oklahoma 14
- Hall of Fame Bowl: Michigan 28, Alabama 24
- Gator Bowl: #7 LSU 30, #9 South Carolina 13
- John Hancock Sun Bowl: #11 Oklahoma State 35, West Virginia 33
- Holiday Bowl: #18 Iowa 20, Wyoming 19
- Freedom Bowl: Arizona State 33, Air Force 28
- Peach Bowl: #17 Tennessee 27, #21 Indiana 22
- All-American Bowl: Virginia 22, BYU 16
- Liberty Bowl: #15 Georgia 20, Arkansas 17
- Aloha Bowl: #10 UCLA 20, Florida 16
- Independence Bowl: Washington 24, Tulane 12
- California Bowl: Eastern Michigan 30, San Jose State 27
- Bluebonnet Bowl: Texas 32, Pittsburgh 27