1974 college football season: Wikis


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The 1974 college football season finished with two national champions. The Associated Press (AP) writers' poll ranked the University of Oklahoma, which was on probation and barred by the NCAA from postseason play, #1 at season's end. The United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll, on the other hand, did not rank Oklahoma at all, by unanimous agreement of the 25 member coaches' board [3]. The UPI trophy went to the University of Southern California (USC). 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). Starting in 1974, the UPI joined AP in issuing its final poll after the bowl games were completed. Both polls operated under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., whereby the overall ranking was determined. The AP poll consisted of the votes of 60 writers, though not all voted in each poll, and the UPI poll was taken of a 25 member board.



In the preseason poll released on September 2, 1974, the AP ranked Oklahoma #1, followed by #2 Ohio State, #3 Notre Dame, #4 Alabama and #5 USC.

September 7 #3 Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Arizona State, UCLA and Houston were among the few schools playing that week. The poll was: 1.Oklahoma 2.Notre Dame 3.Alabama 4.Ohio State 5.USC

September 14 #1 Oklahoma beat Baylor, 28-11. #2 Notre Dame was idle. #3 Alabama won at #14 Maryland, 21-16. #4 Ohio State won at Minnesota, 34-19. #5 USC lost to Arkansas in Little Rock, 22-7. #7 Nebraska, which beat Oregon in its opener, 61-7, rose to fourth. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Ohio State 3.Oklahoma 4.Nebraska 5.Alabama

September 21 #1 Notre Dame won at Northwestern, 49-3. #2 Ohio State beat Oregon State 51-10. #3 Oklahoma was idle. #4 Nebraska lost at Wisconsin, 21-20. #5 Alabama beat Southern Mississippi at Alabama, 52-0. #6 Michigan, which beat Colorado, 31-0, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Ohio State 3.Oklahoma 4.Alabama 5.Michigan

September 28 #1 Notre Dame lost to Purdue, 31-20. #2 Ohio State defeated SMU, 28-9. #3 Oklahoma rolled over visiting Utah State, 72-3.#4 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 23-10. #5 Michigan beat Navy, 52-0 #9 Texas A&M, which won at Washington 28-15, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Texas A & M


October 5 #1 Ohio State beat Washington State 42-7 in Seattle. #2 Oklahoma shut out Wake Forest 63-0. #3 Alabama beat Mississippi at Jackson, 35-21. #4 Michigan won at Stanford, 27-16. #5 Texas A&M lost at Kansas, 28-10. #6 Nebraska, which beat Minnesota 54-0, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Nebraska

October 12 #1 Ohio State beat visiting #13 Wisconsin 52-7. #2 Oklahoma barely defeated #17 Texas in Dallas, 16-13. #3 Alabama survived a game against winless (0-4-0)Florida State, winning 8-7 #4 Michigan beat Michigan State, 21-7. #5 Nebraska lost to Missouri, 21-10. #10 Auburn, which beat Kentucky 31-13, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn

October 19 #1 Ohio State beat Indiana, 49-9 #2 Oklahoma won at Colorado, 49-14. #3 Michigan won at Wisconsin, 24-20. #4 Alabama won at Tennessee, 28-6. #10 Auburn beat Georgia Tech 31-22. The poll was unchanged: 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn

October 26 #1 Ohio State won at Northwestern, 55-7. #2 Oklahoma beat Kansas State, 63-0. #3 Michigan beat Minnesota, 49-0. #4 Alabama beat TCU 41-3 at Birmingham. #5 Auburn beat Florida State 38-6. The poll was unchanged 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn


November 2 #1 Ohio State defeated Illinois at home, 49-7. With a record of 8-0-0, the Buckeyes had outscored their opposition 360 to 75. #2 Oklahoma won at Iowa State, 28-10. #3 Michigan won at Indiana, 21-7. #4 Alabama beat #17 Mississippi State 35-0. #5 Auburn lost at #11 Florida, 25-14. #8 Texas A&M, which beat Arkansas 20-10, returned to the Top Five. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Texas A & M

November 9 In East Lansing, Michigan, #1 Ohio State was upset by unranked (and 4-3-1) Michigan State, 16-13. #2 Oklahoma, which had beaten Missouri 37-0, took the first spot. #3 Alabama beat LSU in Birmingham, 30-0. #4 Michigan won at Illinois, 14-6. #5 Texas A&M lost at SMU, 18-14. #8 Notre Dame was idle, but rose to fifth place. The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame while the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC

November 16 #1 Oklahoma won at Kansas, 45-14. #2 Alabama won in Florida over Miami, 28-7. The other Miami, Miami University, was ranked 12th with a record of 8-0-1. #3 Michigan beat Purdue, 51-0, to extend its record to 10-0-0. #4 Ohio State won at Iowa, 35-10. #5 Notre Dame beat #17 Pittsburgh, 14-10. The AP poll was unchanged: 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame, while the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC

November 23 #1 Oklahoma beat #6 Nebraska, 28-14. #2 Alabama was idle as it prepared for its season ender with Auburn. The game that determined the Big Ten championship took place in Columbus, Ohio, as #3 Michigan (10-0-0) met #4 Ohio State (10-1-0). OSU won, 12-10. #5 Notre Dame beat Air Force, 38-0. USC topped UCLA 34-9 for the Pac-8 title and Rose Bowl berth. The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC and the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Ohio State 3.Notre Dame 4.USC 5.Michigan

The annual Alabama-Auburn game took place on a Friday night, played in Birmingham on November 29, with #2 Alabama winning 17-13 over #7 Auburn to close its season at 11-0-0. On November 30 #1 Oklahoma won its annual season ender against OK State, 44-13, to also close its season 11-0-0. Alabama would go to the Sugar Bowl, while Oklahoma would stay home due to NCAA probation. #4 Notre Dame met #5 USC in Los Angeles. USC won, 55-24 after trailing 24-0, and reached the Top four. The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.USC 5.Michigan and the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Michigan 5.Auburn.

Oklahoma and Alabama, both 11-0-0, were the only undefeated and untied teams at season's end. AP ranked Oklahoma first, and UPI ranked Alabama #1.

Bowl games

Nebraska defeated Florida in the Sugar Bowl played on New Years Eve. On New Years Day, Penn State defeated the surprise SWC champion Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Then things got really interesting. 3rd ranked Ohio State (led by Woody Hayes) and #4 USC (coached by John McKay) played in the Rose Bowl before a crowd of 106,721 in Pasadena. Ohio State led 7-3 after three quarters, and 17-10 in the closing minutes. With 2:03 left, Pat Haden fired a 38-yard pass to John McKay, Jr. (son of USC's coach) to make the score 17-16. Coach McKay then passed up a chance for a tie over the favored Buckeyes, and ordered the Trojans to go for two. Shelton Diggs dived to catch Haden's low pass in the end zone to give USC an 18-17 lead. Ohio State could only get close enough for a desperation 62-yard field goal attempt that fell about 8 yards short as time expired[4].

Alabama, coached by Bear Bryant was ranked #1 in the UPI poll, and #2 (behind on-probation Oklahoma) in the AP, as it went to the Orange Bowl, where it faced 9th ranked Notre Dame, playing its final game under Ara Parseghian. The Irish went out to a 13-0 lead early in the game, but Bama battled back with a field goal, a touchdown and a two point run to close the score to 13-11 with three minutes left. After ruling out an onside kick attempt, the Tide force a Notre Dame punt and got the ball back with 1:37 left. Quarterback Richard Todd attempted to drive the team to field goal range, but he threw his 3rd interception of the game, and Notre Dame ran out the clock to preserve the upset win.

In the final UPI poll, USC was ranked first, with Alabama 2nd, Ohio State 3rd, Michigan 4th and Notre Dame 5th. The Trojans were #2 in the AP poll, where the Oklahoma Sooners were the first place choice for 51 of the 60 writers. The NCAA recognized both the Sooners and the Trojans as champions in its football guide.

ORANGE #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 13 #2 Alabama Crimson Tide 11
ROSE #5 USC Trojans 18 #3 Ohio State Buckeyes 17
SUGAR #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers 13 #18 Florida Gators 10
COTTON #7 Penn State Nittany Lions 41 #12 Baylor Bears 20

Other bowls:

BOWL Location Winner Loser
SUN El Paso Mississippi State 26 North Carolina 24
GATOR Jacksonville Auburn 27 Texas 3
TANGERINE Orlando Miami (Ohio) 21 Georgia 10
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston Houston 31 N.C. State 31
LIBERTY Memphis Tennessee 7 Maryland 3
PEACH Atlanta Texas Tech 6 Vanderbilt 6

Other champions

Many of the schools that are now in the NCAA's "Division I-AA" participated in the Division II playoffs, and were also ranked in the "small college poll", taken by both the UPI (coaches) and AP (a panel of writers). Louisiana Tech was ranked #1 by UPI while Central Michigan was #1 in the AP poll. CMU beat Tech 35-14 in the semi-finals of the Division II playoffs. The playoff winners:

NCAA Division II Central Michigan Chippewas 54 Delaware Blue Hens 14
NCAA Division III Central (Iowa) Dutch 10 Ithaca Bombers 8
NAIA Division I Texas A & I Javelinas 34 Henderson State Reddies 23
NAIA Division II Texas Lutheran Bulldogs 42 Missouri Valley Vikings 0

Heisman Trophy


  1. ^ http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1974.htm
  2. ^ http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=422
  3. ^ "UPI Coaches Omitting Oklahoma," Mansfield (O.) News Journal, Sep. 24, 1974, p19
  4. ^ "The Great Gamble Pays Off In Trojan Win," Star-News (Pasadena), January 2, 1975, p B-1


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