1992 NCAA Division I-A football season
The 1992 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first year of the Bowl Coalition and concluded with Alabama's first national championship in thirteen years—their first since the departure of Bear Bryant. One of Bryant's former players, Gene Stallings, was the head coach, and he used a style similar to Bryant's, a smashmouth running game combined with a tough defense.
|1992 NCAA Division I-A season|
|Number of teams||107|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Miami (FL)|
|Heisman Trophy||Gino Torretta (quarterback, Miami (FL))|
|Bowl Coalition Championship|
|1993 Sugar Bowl|
|Site||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Division I-A football seasons|
The members of the Bowl Coalition were the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl Classic, and Fiesta Bowl. Under the agreement the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Cotton Bowl Classic hosted the Southeastern Conference, Big 8, and Southwest Conference champions, respectively, and then a pool of at large teams was formed between the Atlantic Coast Conference champ, the Big East champ, Notre Dame, and two conference runners-up from the Big 8, SWC, ACC, Big East and Pac-10. The highest ranked host team would play the highest ranked at-large team. If the two highest ranked teams were both at-large teams, the championship game would be hosted by the Fiesta Bowl.
So for this year, (host) SEC champ Alabama played (at-large) Big East Champ Miami-FL, the Orange Bowl featured (host) Big-8 champ Nebraska and (at-large) ACC champ Florida St., the Cotton Bowl Classic featured (host) SWC champ Texas A&M and (at-large) independent Notre Dame, and the Fiesta Bowl featured (at-large) Big East runner up Syracuse and (at-large) Big 8 runner up Colorado.
The 1992 season also saw the expansion of the SEC and the first conference championship game to be played in the country. Before the 1992 season, the Arkansas Razorbacks and the South Carolina Gamecocks joined the SEC, which expanded the conference to twelve teams. The conference then split into two divisions, and the winner of each division would face off in the SEC Championship Game in Birmingham's historic Legion Field (later moved to Atlanta's Georgia Dome, in 1994). In the first year of the new system, Alabama won the SEC West, Florida won the SEC East, and the Tide won the match-up 28-21 on an Antonio Langham interception return for a touchdown in the closing minutes.
In the Sugar Bowl, to decide the national champion, Miami came in a heavy favorite with even heavier swagger. The Tide defense, however, with its eleven-man fronts and zone blitzes, heavily confused Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta and Alabama won in a defensive rout, 34-13.
In other circles, the Big West Conference lost two members; Fresno State left for the WAC and Long Beach State stopped sponsoring football, but they also gained a member in Nevada, which made the jump from Division I-AA. Nevada went 5-1 in conference, winning the Big West championship and representing the conference in the 1992 Las Vegas Bowl (formerly the California Bowl held in Fresno, California).
- Fumbles could now be recovered and advanced by the defense anywhere on the field (previously it only applied to fumbles beyond the line of scrimmage), except for backward passes and muffed punts/kickoffs, which could be recovered by the defense but not advanced.
- Today, the defense is still not allowed to advance muffed kicks, but has been allowed to advance backward passes since 1998.
- While overtime was not introduced for regular-season games until 1996 (and Division I-A bowl games in 1995), the Kansas tiebreaker procedure was permitted (but not needed) for the SEC Championship Game beginning in 1992. Both teams would be allowed a chance to score by beginning their drive at the opponent's 25-yard-line.
Conference and program changesEdit
- Florida State played its first season of ACC football in 1992 after many years as an independent. The Seminoles had joined the ACC in all other sports in 1991.
- Arkansas and the South Carolina joined the SEC, expanding the conference to twelve teams. Both the Razorbacks and the Gamecocks had joined the SEC in all other sports in 1991.
- Akron joined the Mid-American Conference.
- Fresno State departed the Big West for the WAC and were replaced by Nevada, formerly of Division I-AA.
- Long Beach State dropped its football program, which had been a member of the Big West.
|School||1991 Conference||1992 Conference|
|Akron Zips||I-A Independent||MAC|
|Arkansas State||I-AA Independent||I-A Independent|
|Florida State Seminoles||I-A Independent||ACC|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||Big West||WAC|
|Long Beach State 49ers||Big West||Dropped Program|
|Nevada Wolf Pack||Big Sky (I-AA)||Big West (I-A)|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||I-A Independent||SEC|
#1 and #2 progressEdit
Until the November 10, 1992, poll, #1 and #2 shifted between Miami and Seattle, as the Miami Hurricanes and the Washington Huskies were only points apart at the top. In the preseason poll, Miami had 40 of the 62 first place votes cast, and Washington 12. After both teams went 5-0, they each got first place votes from 31 electors, split 31½ each, and on October 13, the Huskies were ahead by a single point 1,517½ to 1,516½. The following week, there was a tie for first place for the first time in the history of the AP poll, with Miami and Washington each collecting 1,517 points (Miami had more first place votes, 31 to 30, as another writer went with 7-0-0 Alabama). The next week, Miami was ahead 1,517 to 1,516, and the week after, Washington was on top again. On November 7, the Huskies lost at Arizona, 16-3 to fall to 8-1-0. In the remaining polls, Miami was the clear cut favorite for #1, with 61 of the 62 votes, and Alabama was everyone's favorite #2. Both finished the regular season unbeaten. Since Miami was an "at-large" school, and Alabama was the highest ranked of the "host schools" (qualifying for the Sugar Bowl as the Southeastern Conference champion), the #1 vs. #2 matchup would take place in New Orleans.
Final AP PollEdit
- Florida State
- Miami (FL)
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Washington State
- N.C. State
- Ohio State
- North Carolina
- Boston College
- Mississippi State
- Fresno State
- Wake Forest
Final Coaches PollEdit
Awards and honorsEdit
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year.
Winner: Gino Torretta, Miami-FL, Sr. QB (1400 votes)
- 2. Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, So. RB (1080 votes)
- 3. Garrison Hearst, Georgia, Jr. RB (982 votes)
- 4. Marvin Jones, Florida State, Jr. LB (392 votes)
- 5. Reggie Brooks, Notre Dame, Sr. RB (294 votes)
Other major awardsEdit
- Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year) - Gino Torretta, Miami-FL
- Walter Camp Award (Back) - Gino Torretta
- Davey O'Brien Award (Quarterback) - Gino Torretta
- Doak Walker Award (Running Back) - Garrison Hearst, Georgia
- Dick Butkus Award (Linebacker) - Marvin Jones, Florida State
- Lombardi Award (Lineman or Linebacker) - Marvin Jones, Florida State
- Outland Trophy (Interior Lineman) - Will Shields, Nebraska
- Jim Thorpe Award (Defensive Back) - Deon Figures, Colorado
- AFCA Coach of the Year - Gene Stallings, Alabama
- Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year - Gene Stallings, Alabama
|Arkansas||Jack Crowe||September 6||resigned ||Joe Kines (interim)|
|Eastern Michigan||Jim Harkema||September 29||resigned ||Jan Quarless (interim)|
|Pittsburgh||Paul Hackett||November 25||resigned ||Sal Sunseri (interim)|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Arkansas Coach Quits After Loss to The Citadel". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. September 7, 1992. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Blade staff and wire reports (September 30, 1992). "Harkema Quits". Toledo Blade. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "Sunseri takes over Panthers for now". Observer–Reporter. Associated Press. November 28, 1992. Retrieved December 11, 2013.