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1991 NCAA Division I-A football season: Wikis

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The 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with a split champion for the second consecutive season. Both the Miami Hurricanes and the Washington Huskies finished the season undefeated (12-0) and with the top ranking in a nationally recognized poll.

The Hurricanes closed the 1991 season with a 22-0 shutout over #11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, much less dramatic than their November victory over #1 and perennial rival Florida State. That game ended with the FSU place kicker missing a field goal, wide right, which would become a theme in the Miami-FSU rivalry; this game later took on the moniker "Wide Right I." Nebraska lost to both national champions in 1991 and finished at 9-2-1, ranked fifteenth in the AP poll.

The Washington Huskies posted a 15-point victory at #9 Nebraska in September, a 7-point win at #7 California in October, and consecutive Pac-10 and Rose Bowl championships. Washington defended its Rose Bowl title with a 20-point victory in the 1992 Rose Bowl over #4 Michigan, the Big Ten champions with Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. The Wolverines scored a late touchdown to tighten the final score to 34-14, and finished at 10-2, ranked sixth in both polls.

The Florida Gators captured their first SEC title in school history (excepting the 1984 SEC title, which was vacated by the NCAA) in dominating fashion. Alabama finished second in the SEC in 1991 with an 11-1 record, but were annihilated 35-0 by the Gators, led by head coach Steve Spurrier. Florida's luck ran out in the Sugar Bowl, as #18 Notre Dame ran up 39 points to win by 11.

The SEC expanded from 10 to 12 members, adding Arkansas from the Southwest Conference and South Carolina, independent in football and a Metro Conference member for other sports. The two schools, however, would not begin SEC play until the 1992 season, when the SEC split into two divisions and added its season-ending championship game. The All-American Bowl played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, was discontinued as local officials prepared to host the new SEC title game.

Independent Florida State joined the ACC in 1991; known primarily as a basketball conference, the ACC would never be the same for football. Dominant from the moment they joined, Florida State went undefeated in conference play for years and won the conference title for the remainder of the 1990s.

The Big East began to sponsor football, adding powerhouse Miami and other independents, though conference play wasn't yet fully integrated and standings were not kept in 1991.

Contents

Conference standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, Conf. = Conference Record

Conference Champion
Atlantic Coast Conference
Team W L T Pct. Conf.
Clemson 9 2 1 .792 6-0-1
Georgia Tech 8 5 0 .615 5-2
NC State 9 3 0 .750 5-2
Virginia 8 3 1 .708 4-2-1
North Carolina 7 4 0 .636 3-4
Maryland 2 9 0 .182 2-5
Duke 4 6 1 .409 1-6
Wake Forest 3 8 0 .273 1-6
Big Eight Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Nebraska 9 2 1 .792 6-0-1
Colorado 8 3 1 .708 6-0-1
Oklahoma 9 3 0 .750 5-2
Kansas State 7 4 0 .636 4-3
Kansas 6 5 0 .545 3-4
Iowa State 3 7 1 .318 1-5-1
Missouri 3 7 1 .318 1-6
Oklahoma State 0 10 1 .045 0-6-1
Big Ten Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Michigan 10 2 0 .833 8-0
Iowa 10 1 1 .875 7-1
Indiana 7 4 1 .625 5-3
Ohio State 8 4 0 .667 5-3
Illinois 6 6 0 .500 4-4
Michigan State 3 8 0 .273 3-5
Purdue 4 7 0 .364 3-5
Northwestern 3 8 0 .273 2-6
Wisconsin 5 6 0 .455 2-6
Minnesota 2 9 0 .182 1-7
Big West Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Fresno State 10 2 0 .833 6-1
San Jose State 6 4 1 .591 6-1
Utah State 5 6 0 .455 5-2
Pacific 5 7 0 .417 4-3
Long Beach State 2 9 0 .182 2-5
UNLV 4 7 0 .364 2-5
New Mexico State 2 9 0 .182 2-5
Cal State Fullerton 2 9 0 .182 1-6
Mid-American Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Bowling Green 11 1 0 .917 8-0
Central Michigan 6 1 4 .727 3-1-4
Miami (OH) 6 4 1 .591 4-3-1
Toledo 5 5 1 .500 4-3-1
Ball State 6 5 0 .545 4-4
Western Michigan 6 5 0 .545 4-4
Eastern Michigan 3 7 1 .318 3-4-1
Ohio 2 8 1 .227 1-6-1
Kent State 1 10 0 .091 1-7
Pacific Ten Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Washington 12 0 0 1.000 8-0
California 10 2 0 .833 6-2
Stanford 8 4 0 .667 6-2
UCLA 9 3 0 .750 6-2
Arizona State 6 5 0 .545 4-4
Arizona 4 7 0 .364 3-5
Washington State 4 7 0 .364 3-5
USC 3 8 0 .273 2-6
Oregon 3 9 0 .273 1-7
Oregon State 1 10 0 .091 1-7
Southeastern Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Florida 10 2 0 .833 7-0
Alabama 11 1 0 .971 6-1
Tennessee 9 3 0 .750 5-2
Georgia 9 3 0 .750 4-3
Mississippi State 7 5 0 .583 4-3
LSU 5 6 0 .455 3-4
Vanderbilt 5 6 0 .455 3-4
Auburn 5 6 0 .455 2-5
Ole Miss 5 6 0 .455 1-6
Kentucky 3 8 0 .273 0-7
Southwest Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
Texas A&M 10 2 0 .833 8-0
Arkansas 6 6 0 .500 5-3
Baylor 8 4 0 .667 5-3
Texas Tech 6 5 0 .545 5-3
Texas 5 6 0 .455 4-4
TCU 7 4 0 .636 4-4
Houston 4 7 0 .364 3-5
Rice 4 7 0 .364 2-6
SMU 1 10 0 .091 0-8
Western Athletic Conference
Team W L T PCT Conf.
BYU 8 3 2 .692 7-0-1
San Diego State 8 4 1 .654 6-1-1
Air Force 10 3 0 .769 6-2
Utah 7 5 0 .583 4-4
Hawaii 4 7 1 .375 3-5
UTEP 4 7 1 .373 2-5-1
Wyoming 4 6 1 .409 2-5-1
Colorado State 3 8 0 .273 2-6
New Mexico 3 9 0 .250 2-6
Independents
Team W L T PCT Conf.
East Carolina 11 1 0 .917 -
Florida State 11 2 0 .846 -
Penn State 11 2 0 .846 -
Tulsa 10 2 0 .833 -
Louisiana Tech 8 1 2 .818 -
Notre Dame 10 3 0 .769 -
Akron 5 6 0 .455 -
Memphis 5 6 0 .455 -
Army 4 7 0 .364 -
Cincinnati 4 7 0 .364 -
South Carolina 3 6 2 .364 -
Southern Mississippi 4 7 0 .455 -
Southwestern Louisiana 2 8 1 .227 -
Louisville Cardinals 2 9 0 .182 -
Northern Illinois 2 9 0 .182 -
Arkansas State 1 10 0 .091 -
Navy 1 10 0 .091 -
Tulane 1 10 0 .091 -


#1 and #2 Progress

In the pre-season poll, the Florida State was ranked #1 with 54 of the 59 votes cast, Michigan was 2nd, and Miami 3rd. As of the September 10th poll, Florida State remained the overwhelming choice for #1 and Miami reached #2. Those two Sunshine State teams would continue to be 1 and 2 as their November 16th meeting approached (the Florida Gators generally hovered between 5th and 6th place during that same period). On November 16th in Tallahassee, the long awaited #1 & #2 showdown had the 10-0 Seminoles hosting the 8-0 Hurricanes. Visiting Miami won, 17-16 to take the top spot. In the Pacific Northwest, Washington won its Apple Cup game by 35 points on November 23rd and finished the regular season at 11-0; the Huskies took over the #2 spot in the final two polls of the regular season.

Bowl games

Final AP Poll

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Washington
  3. Penn St.
  4. Florida St.
  5. Alabama
  6. Michigan
  7. Florida
  8. California
  9. East Carolina
  10. Iowa
  11. Syracuse
  12. Texas A&M
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Tennessee
  15. Nebraska
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Georgia
  18. Clemson
  19. UCLA
  20. Colorado

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Washington
  2. Miami (FL)
  3. Penn St.
  4. Florida St.
  5. Alabama
  6. Michigan
  7. California
  8. Florida
  9. East Carolina
  10. Iowa
  11. Syracuse
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Texas A&M
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Tennessee
  16. Nebraska
  17. Clemson
  18. UCLA
  19. Georgia
  20. Colorado
  21. Tulsa
  22. Stanford
  23. Brigham Young
  24. Air Force
  25. North Carolina St.

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year

  1. Desmond Howard, Michigan, Jr. - WR-KR
  2. Casey Weldon, Florida St., Sr. - QB
  3. Ty Detmer, BYU, Sr. - QB - (1990 winner)
  4. Steve Emtman, Washington, Jr. - DT
  5. Shane Matthews, Florida, Jr. - QB
  6. Vaughn Dunbar, Indiana, Sr. - TB
  7. Jeff Blake, East Carolina, Sr. - QB
  8. Terrell Buckley, Florida St., Jr. - DB
  9. Marshall Faulk, San Diego St., Fr. - RB
  10. Bucky Richardson, Texas A&M, Sr. - QB

Other major awards

References

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