1970 college football season: Wikis


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The 1970 college football season was marked by tragedy, due to two airplane crashes. On October 2nd, one of the planes carrying the Wichita State football team crashed on the way to a game against Utah State, killing 31 people onboard, including 14 players. Then, on November 14th, the charter for the Marshall Thundering Herd crashed on the way home from a game against East Carolina, killing all 75 persons. At season's end, the Nebraska Cornhuskers won the AP national championship after Texas and Ohio State both lost in the postseason on New Year's Day.

During the 20th Century, the NCAA had no playoff for the college football teams that would later be described as "Division I-A". 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). Until 1974, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but beginning in 1968 (also 1965), the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed. The AP poll in 1970 consisted of the votes of as many as 52 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.



In the preseason poll released on September 7th, Texas was placed #1 with 19 1st place votes. Ohio State and USC followed, with 7 and 6 votes, and Arkansas and Mississippi, each with a vote. USC beat Alabama 42–21 at Birmingham, and Arkansas lost to #10 Stanford 34–28 at Little Rock on September 12. In the poll that followed, Stanford took the place of Arkansas, while the rest of the Top 5 was the same: 1.Texas 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Stanford 5.Mississippi.

September 19: Number 1 Texas won in Austin against California 56–15. In Los Angeles, #3 USC tied Nebraska 21–21. #4 Stanford beat San Jose State 34–3. #5 Mississippi opened with a 47–13 win at Memphis State. #7 Penn State, which had beaten Navy 55–7, reached the Top Five. Poll: 1.Ohio State 2.Texas 3.Stanford 4.Mississippi 5.Penn State

September 26: #1 Texas won in Lubbock over Texas Tech, 35–13. #2 Ohio State opened its season at home in Columbus, beating Texas A&M 56–13. #3 Stanford (in a battle between Jim Plunkett and Dan Fouts) won at Oregon 33–10. #4 Mississippi escaped a loss to Kentucky in Jackson, 20–17 and fell to 5th. #5 Penn State lost at Colorado 41–13. #7 USC returned to 6th place with a 48–0 win at Iowa. #6 Notre Dame, which had beaten Purdue 48–0, rose to 4th. The new poll was 1.Texas 2.Ohio State 3.Stanford 4.Notre Dame 5.Mississippi 6. USC.


Poll: 1.Texas 2.Ohio State 3.Notre Dame 4.Nebraska 5.Michigan


November 7 #1 Texas won at Baylor 21-14. #2 Notre Dame beat Pittsburgh 46-14 at home. #3 Ohio State won at Wisconsin 24-7. #4 Nebraska won at Iowa State 54-29. #5 Michigan beat visiting Illinois 42-0. Notre Dame took over the top spot from Texas. Poll: 1.Notre Dame 2.Texas 3.Ohio State 4.Nebraska 5.Michigan

November 14 #1 Notre Dame survived visiting Georgia Tech, 10-7, and lost its top ranking. #2 Texas, which won at Texas Christian, 58-0, returned to #1. #3 Ohio State eked out a win at Purdue 10-7 . #4 Nebraska beat visiting Kansas State 51-13, and #5 Michigan shut out Iowa 55-0. . Poll: 1.Texas 2.Notre Dame 3.Ohio State 4.Nebraska 5.Michigan

November 21 As #1 Texas prepared for a Thanksgiving Day game, #2 Notre Dame won, but just barely, beating visiting LSU 3-0. #3 Ohio State finished its season with a 20-9 win in Columbus over #5 Michigan to go to the Rose Bowl. #4 Nebraska beat Oklahoma 28-21 at home to finish its season unbeaten. Arkansas won at Texas Tech 24-10, to reach the Top Five.

Poll: 1.Texas 2.Notre Dame3.Ohio State 4.Nebraska 5.Arkansas

On Thanksgiving Day, #1 Texas beat Texas A & M at home 52-14 to reach 9-0-0. That Saturday, November 28 #2 Notre Dame lost to USC in Los Angeles, 38-28. #4 Nebraska and Arkansas were idle. #7 Tennessee, which had beaten Vanderbilt 24-6 in Nashville to finish its season at 9-1-0, rose to fifth in the poll. The poll was: 1.Texas 2.Ohio State 3.Nebraska 4.Arkansas 5.Tennessee.


December 5 #1 Texas beat Arkansas at Austin 42-7 to close a perfect season at 10-0-0

Poll: 1.Texas 2.Ohio State 3.Nebraska 4.Tennessee 5.LSU

Bowl games


Major bowls

COTTON #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 24 #1 Texas Longhorns 11
ORANGE #3 Nebraska Cornhuskers 17 #5 LSU Tigers 12
SUGAR #4 Tennessee Volunteers 28 #11 Air Force Falcons 13
ROSE #12 Stanford Indians* 27 #2 Ohio State Buckeyes 17

In the Cotton Bowl Classic, Notre Dame gained revenge for its narrow defeat to Texas in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic by upsetting the #1 Longhorns, 24–11. Head coach Ara Parseghian created a "wishbone defense", positioning his linebackers to mirror the Texas running backs and the Irish held the high-powered Texas running game in check. In Pasadena, #2 Ohio State, the Big Ten Conference champions, were positioned to claim the national championship as they took the field as heavy favorites against 8–3 Stanford of the Pac-8. The Buckeyes overcame a 10–0 early deficit to take a 14–10 lead on two touchdowns by John Brockington. OSU was still ahead 17–13 after three quarters. But Stanford, led by the passing of Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to stun Ohio State 27-17. [3]. With the door open, Nebraska seized the opportunity that night in Miami and defeated a stubborn LSU, 17–12 in the Orange Bowl to claim the national title.

Other bowls

BOWL Location Winner Loser
SUN El Paso Georgia Tech 17 Texas Tech 9
GATOR Jacksonville Auburn 35 Mississippi 28
TANGERINE Orlando Toledo 40 William & Mary 12
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston Alabama 24 Oklahoma 24
LIBERTY Memphis Tulane 17 Colorado 3
PEACH Atlanta Arizona State 48 North Carolina 26
PASADENA Pasadena Cal State-Long Beach 24 Louisville 24

Other champions

The schools that are now in the NCAA's "Division I-AA" were ranked in the "college division poll", taken by both the UPI (coaches) and AP (a panel of writers). In 1970, UPI and AP ranked the Arkansas State University Indians (10-0-0) #1. The 34 coaches on the UPI board followed with #2 Tampa (10-0-0), #3 Montana (10-0-0), #4 North Dakota State (8-0-1) and #5 Tennessee State (10-0-0). AP ranked Montana 2nd, North Dakota State 3rd, Tampa 4th and Tennessee State 5th [4] Arkansas State went on to beat 10th ranked Central Missouri State in the Pecan Bowl, 38-21. In the NAIA playoffs, Texas A & I beat Wofford 48-7 (Division I) and Westminster beat Anderson 21-16 (Division II)

Heisman Trophy

  1. Jim Plunkett, QB - Stanford, 2,229 points
  2. Joe Theismann, QB - Notre Dame, 1,410 points
  3. Archie Manning, QB - Mississippi, 849 points
  4. Steve Worster, FB - Texas, 398
  5. Rex Kern, QB - Ohio State, 188
  6. Pat Sullivan, QB - Auburn, 180 - (only junior in top 10)
  7. Jack Tatum, DB - Ohio State, 173
  8. Ernie Jennings, WR - Air Force, 118
  9. Don McCauley, RB - North Carolina, 57
  10. Lynn Dickey, QB - Kansas State, 49 [5]


  1. ^ http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1970.htm
  2. ^ http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=362
  3. ^ "Bucks Go Ker-Plunk, 27-17," Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach), January 2, 1971, p C-1
  4. ^ "Arkansas State Wins Small College Crown," European Stars and Stripes, Dec. 3, 1970, p22; "No. 1 Reflects Program At Arkansas St.," The Bee (Danville, VA), Dec. 3, 1970, p13
  5. ^ Heisman.com - 1970 Heisman - Jim Plunkett


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