1960 College Football Recap
For the second time in three seasons, a former Red Blaik assistant led his team to the national championship.
In 1958 it had been Paul Dietzel at LSU. In ’60 it was Murray Warmath at Minnesota. Meanwhile, Blaik had retired in ’58 after guiding the Cadets to a record of 8–0–1 and a No.3 ranking.
Minnesota’s upset of Big Ten rival Iowa was the year’s pivotal game. When the two teams played in early November,Iowa was No.1, Minnesota was No.3 and both sides were 6–0. The Gophers scored three touchdowns in the second half to win, 27–10, but then lost to Purdue the following week. Nevertheless, when the regular season was over Minnesota was on top.
Mississippi went undefeated in 10 games, winning nine and tying LSU, 6–6, on two field goals. On New Year’s, Ole Miss had a better day than Minnesota, beating Rice in the Cotton Bowl while the Gophers, playing in their first postseason game ever, lost to Washington in the Rose Bowl. In light of those results, the Football Writers Association of America, voting after the bowls, made the Rebels their national champion.
No.5 Missouri beat No.4 Navy by a touchdown in the Orange Bowl despite the presence of Heisman winner Joe Bellino in the Middie backfield.
Arkansas, one of three teams to tie for the SWC championship in 1959, won the conference outright in ’60. However, the Hogs lost the Cotton Bowl 7–6 to Duke in the last three minutes.
1961 College Football Recap
In 1950, Bear Bryant’s Kentucky team ranked 7th in the final AP poll. Six years later, his Texas A&M team placed 5th. This year, his Alabama team was Number One.
Bryant moved around and the programs he took over turned around. The year before he took the Kentucky job the Wildcats were 2–8. The year before he went to A&M the Aggies were 4–5–1. And the year before he moved to Alabama the Crimson Tide was 2–7–1.
The Bear was a winner, but he had never had an undefeated team before this. The Tide went 10–0 during the regular season then beatArkansas10–3 in the Sugar Bowl.
Elsewhere, TCU was the spoiler of the year. The Horned Frogs only managed a 3–5–2 record, but they tied No.2 Ohio State, 7–7, and beat No.3 Texas 6–0 to ruin otherwise perfect seasons.
From 1961–62, the Big Ten didn’t automatically send a representative to the Rose Bowl, a team from the conference was invited by the bowls selection committee.Ohio State was invited in 1961, but the school’s faculty council voted 28–25 to turn the offer down, citing its discomfort with OSU’s overemphasis on sports.
Two-time All-America halfbacks Ernie Davis of Syracuse and Bob Ferguson of Ohio State finished only 53 points apart in the vote for the Heisman.Davis won, becoming the first black player to gain the prize.Ferguson was also black.
1962 College Football Recap
For the first time since the AP poll began in 1936, the two highest-ranked teams had a date on New Year’s Day: No.1 Southern Cal and No.2 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Many consider it the most exciting bowl game ever. It certainly had the wildest second half. Wisconsin, the nation’s most prolific team on offense (31 points per game), trailed 42–14 after three quarters. Quarterback Ron Vander Kelen got the Badgers back in the hunt in the fourth frame, directing three TD drives while the defense picked up a safety. With a minute to go,Wisconsin had rallied to within 42–37, but time ran out.
After going 9–1, 9–0–1, and 9–1 over the last three regular seasons,Mississippi finally went unbeaten and untied. But perfection only landed coach Johnny Vaught’s team in third place. The Rebels beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
Texas and Alabama each held No.1 briefly during the regular season. The Longhorns were on top for two weeks in October until a 14–14 tie with Rice changed voters’ minds. Bama had its moment in November but it only lasted a week, ending with a 7–6 loss to Georgia Tech.
Longest run of the season? Heisman winner Terry Baker’s 99–yard romp in the Liberty Bowl as Oregon State downed Villanova, 6–0.
Biggest cutback? The AP poll was reduced from a Top 20 to Top 10 and would stay that way until 1968.
1963 College Football Recap
For the second year in a row, No.1 and No.2 squared off in a bowl game:Texas and Navy in the Cotton Bowl.
The top-ranked Longhorns entered the game unbeaten and untied for the first time since 1918. Navy would be their second No.1–No.2 confrontation on the Cotton Bowl field. In October, they upset top-ranked Oklahoma 28–7 in Dallas.
Challenger Navy had Heisman-winning junior quarterback Roger Staubach. The Cotton Bowl, however, was not a safe haven for the Middies. Earlier in the year they suffered their only regular season loss there, 32–28 to SMU. The postseason was more of the same:Texas, 28–6.
The assassination of President Kennedy on Friday, Nov.22, resulted in the postponement or cancellation of many games the next day. The Army-Navy game was one of those delayed a week. When it was finally played, Navy won 21–15.
Pittsburgh also lost to the Middies, but it was the Panthers only setback of the season as they reached the final AP Top 5 for the first time since their national championship year in 1939. Big Ten champ Illinois returned to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 12 years and beatWashington17–7.
Finally,Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson retired after 17 years. The Sooners ranked 8th for Wilkinson’s final season and he left Norman with three national titles, a 145–29–4 record and a winning percentage of .826.
1964 College Football Recap
At the end of the regular season Alabama and Arkansas were each undefeated and untied after 10 games. AP and UPI picked the Crimson Tide as the national champion, but the bowl games would prove both wire services wrong.
On New Year’s Day,Arkansas rallied in the fourth quarter to beat No.6 Nebraska 10–7 in the Cotton Bowl. That night, in the first Orange Bowl played under the lights, 5th-ranked Texas jumped out to a 21–7 halftime lead over Alabama and hung on to win 21–17.
Notre Dame’s bid for its first perfect season since 1949 also evaporated in the final game. With a 9–0 record, four straight weeks at No.1 and new coach Ara Parseghian on the cover of Time, the Irish needed only to beat Southern Cal at the L.A.Coliseum to make their first national championship in 15 years official. Ahead 17–0 at halftime, ND collapsed in the second half and lost on a USC touchdown in the last 95 seconds, 20–17.
Only a point separated both Big Ten champion Michigan and Southwest Conference runner-up Texas from perfect seasons. The Wolverines lost 21–20 to Purdue, but qualified for the Rose Bowl and beat Oregon State by 27. The Longhorns dropped a 14–13 decision to Arkansas, but upset Alabamain the Orange Bowl.
Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte, who didn’t play enough to earn a letter his junior year, won the school’s sixth Heisman Trophy by just 74 points over Tulsa QB Jerry Rhome.
1965 College Football Recap
Anxious to avoid the uproar that followed its regular season final poll last year, AP waited until after New Year’s to crown the 1965 national champion.
Good move. At the end of the regular season Michigan State, Arkansas and Nebraska were all 10–0, with Alabama at 8–1–1 (the Tide lost their opener to Georgia and tied Tennessee). The bowl match-ups had Arkansas playing LSU in the Cotton,Michigan State vs UCLA in the Rose, and Nebraska vs Alabama in the Orange. Each game followed the other on TV.
The three top-ranked teams all lost.Arkansas, denied the ’64 national title it deserved, had its 22–game winning streak snapped in Dallas. LSU took a 14–7 lead in the second quarter then shut the Razorbacks out in the second half.
Michigan State, UPI’s national champ, had opened the regular season with a 13–3 win over UCLA. The Spartans hoped to close the year on the same note, but couldn’t overcome the Bruins’ 14–0 halftime lead. The victory was UCLA’s first Rose Bowl win ever.
So the Orange Bowl, in its second year at night, became the national championship game. Underdog Alabama built up a 24–7 lead by halftime then held off a Nebraska comeback to win 39–28.
Bama’s Bear Bryant joined Minnesota’s Bernie Bierman (1940–41), Army’s Red Blaik (1944–45), Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy (1946–47) and Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson (1955–56) as the only coaches to win back-to-back national titles.
1966 College Football Recap
It may have been the most ballyhooed regular season college football game ever. Notre Dame and Michigan State, in lock step at No.1 and No.2 for five weeks, met in East Lansing on Nov.19, 1966 to settle the national championship.
That both sides were hungry was not questioned. Two years earlier, Notre Dame had the title snatched from them in the last 1:33 of their final game. Last year,Michigan State had a chance to be the undisputed national champ, but was upset in the Rose Bowl. Many of the starters from both those teams were both seniors.
Notre Dame was 8–0 and beating the opposition by an average score of 38–4. Michigan State was 9–0 and winning games at a 31–10 clip. Going in, it was the “Game of the Decade.” Coming out, it was the day Notre Dame, according to Dan Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, “tied one for the Gipper.”
Trailing 10–0 in a very hard-hitting and error-filled game, Notre Dame rallied to pull even early in the fourth quarter. Later, with the ball on his own 30 and a minute and a half left, Ara Parseghian elected to run the clock out and settle for the tie.
Everyone seemed to disagree with Parseghian except the people who counted most: the AP writers and the UPI coaches. They voted to keep Notre Dame on top. The Irish clinched the title, crushing Southern Cal, 51–0, a week later in L.A.
Meanwhile, Alabama, the two-time defending national champ, was undefeated and untied and came in third.
1967 College Football Recap
The showdown of the 1967 season was between UCLA quarterback Gary Beban and Southern Cal halfback O.J. Simpson.
Meeting on the final day of the regular season with a Rose Bowl trip and the Heisman Trophy on the line, the two All-Americas put on quite a show. Playing with badly bruised ribs, Beban passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, while Simpson had a 64–yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to win the game 21–20.
Simpson, a junior, got to the Rose Bowl. Beban, a senior, got the Heisman.
For Southern Cal and coach John McKay it was the second national championship in six years. USC beat No.4 Indiana in Pasadena to end the season at 10–1. The only blemish was a 3–0 loss to No.7 Oregon State.
Tennessee and Oklahoma, ranked just behind USC in the final AP and UPI polls, faced each other in the Orange Bowl. The Vols lost their opener to UCLA then won nine straight, including a 24–13 decision over Alabama that ended Bama’s three-year unbeaten streak at 25. The Sooners were also 9–1, losing only to Texas. In Miami,Tennessee trailed 19–0 at the half, pulled to within 19–17 then 26–24, but lost when a last second field goal try sailed wide.
SWC champ Texas A&M returned the Cotton Bowl after a 26–year absence and upset Alabama, 20–16. Bear Bryant helped carry Aggie coach Gene Stallings off the field. Stallings played for Bryant at A&M.
1968 College Football Recap
The Associated Press returned to a Top 20 poll in 1968 and decreed that from now on its national champion would be selected after New Year’s. AP waited until after the bowl games in 1965, then went back to making its final decision in mid-December from 1966–67.
On Sept. 28, Purdue and Notre Dame played in the first of the season’s two No.1 vs No.2 showdowns. It was only the second game for both teams and the Boilermakers won 37–22.
The national title was on the line three months later when No.1 Ohio St.met No.2Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes were 9–0 and the Trojans 9–0–1. USC also had Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson, who had led the nation in rushing and all-purpose running for the second year in a row. No matter,Ohio St.spotted USC a 10–0 lead then came back to win 27–16.
Penn State, under third year coach Joe Paterno, was the only other major unbeaten team, finishing the year 11–0 with a one-point win over Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Down 14–7 with 1:16 left, the Lions rallied to score as time ran out.Kansas stopped the subsequent two-point conversion try but was called for having 12 men on the field. Given a second chance,Penn State converted and won 15–14.
The headline of the year followed the annual Harvard-Yale game in Cambridge where undefeated and untied Harvard scored 16 points in the last minute to tie undefeated and untied Yale. Next day, the Harvard Crimson crowed: “HARVARD BEATS YALE, 29–29.”
1969 College Football Recap
In college football’s centennial year, the seventh and final No1. vs No.2 duel of the 1960s was waged on Dec.6.
Both top-ranked Texas and Arkansas came in at 9–0. The Longhorns were averaging 44 points a game and had won 18 in a row, but the Razorbacks had a 14–0 lead after three quarters. In the fourth, though,Texas rallied behind quarterback James Street and pulled out a 15–14 victory.
President Nixon was one of the 44,000 fans squeezed into tiny Razorback Stadium and after the game he declared Texas the national champion and gave Darrell Royal a plaque that said so.
The Longhorns clinched the title by coming from behind again in the Cotton Bowl to beat Notre Dame, 21–17. It was the first bowl appearance by the Irish since Knute Rockne and the Four Horseman defeated Pop Warner’s Stanford Indians in the 1925 Rose Bowl.
Arkansas, meanwhile, went to the Sugar Bowl and lost to Mississippi. It was a frustrating decade for coach Frank Broyles. His Hogs won 80 regular season games, went 10–0 twice and 9–1 three times, yet the national championship escaped them.
Penn State, a 10–3 winner over Missouri in the Orange Bowl, was unbeaten and untied again and finished second again in both polls.Southern Cal placed third at 10–0–1. USC was tied by Stanford during the regular season but won the Rose Bowl for the second time in four consecutive appearances.