The 1951 college football season finished with seven unbeaten major college teams, of which five were unbeaten and untied. Ultimately, the Tennessee Volunteers were voted the best team by the Associated Press, followed by the Michigan State Spartans, with the Vols having a plurality of first place votes (139 to 104). Tennessee lost in the Sugar Bowl to the equally undefeated and untied No. 3 Maryland Terrapins, but the postseason games were not taken into account by the major polls. Tennessee, Michigan State, and Illinois all claim national championships for 1951.

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 did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual NCAA Football Guide of the "unofficial" national champions The AP Poll in 1951 consisted of the votes of as many as 307 sportswriters.[2]

Though not all writers voted in every poll, each would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. Although the rankings were based on the collective opinion of the representative sportswriters, the teams that remained "unbeaten and untied" were generally ranked higher than those that had not. A defeat, even against a strong opponent, tended to cause a team to drop in the rankings, and a team with two or more defeats was unlikely to remain in the Top 20 Generally, the top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose Bowl (near Los Angeles at Pasadena), the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), the Orange Bowl (Miami), and the Cotton Bowl (Dallas).

Conference and program changes

Conference changes

Membership changes

School 1950 Conference 1951 Conference
CCNY Beavers Independent Dropped Program[3]
High Point Panthers Independent Dropped Program
Houston Cougars Gulf Coast Missouri Valley
Kent State Golden Flashes Independent MAC
Montana Grizzlies Independent Skyline (Mountain States)
New Mexico Lobos Border Skyline (Mountain States)
Niagara Purple Eagles Western New York Little Three Dropped Program

September

In the preseason poll released on September 24, 1951, Tennessee and Michigan State were ranked first and second, with Tennessee having 60 of the 115 first place votes. MSU had opened its season on the 22nd with a 6–0 win over Oregon State. They were followed by No. 3 Ohio State, defending champion No. 4 Oklahoma, and No. 5 California (which had won its opener against Santa Clara, 34–0). As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.

On September 14, the Central Missouri Jules played the Southwestern Moundbuilders in the rejected touchdown game where Southwestern's head coach Harold Hunt "rejected" a touchdown awarded by officials because his player stepped out of bounds.[4]

On September 29 No. 1 Tennessee beat Mississippi State 14–0. No. 2 Michigan State won at No. 17 Michigan, 25–0, to take the top spot from the Vols. No. 3 Ohio State beat visiting SMU 7–0 in a win not deemed good enough to stay in the top five. No. 4 Oklahoma beat William & Mary 49–7. No. 5 California won in Philadelphia against No. 19 Penn, 35–0, and rose to second in the next poll. The game was broadcast in New York in a test for color television [5] No. 14 Notre Dame, which had beaten Indiana 48–6, rose to fifth. The poll: No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 California, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Oklahoma, and No. 5 Notre Dame.

October

October 6 No. 1 Michigan State won at No. 7 Ohio State, 24–20. No. 2 California beat Minnesota, 55–14. No. 3 Tennessee beat No. 16 Duke 26–0. No. 4 Oklahoma lost at No. 10 Texas A&M, 14–7 and fell out of the top five. No. 5 Notre Dame had beaten Mercy College of Detroit, 40–6, the night before. The next poll: No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 California, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Texas A&M, and No. 5 Notre Dame.

October 13 No. 1 Michigan State had trouble in defeating Marquette 20–14. No. 2 California beat Washington State 42–35 and took over the top spot from the Spartans in the next poll. No. 3 Tennessee beat the University of Chattanooga 42–13. No. 4 Texas A&M beat Trinity College 53–14 and fell from the top five. No. 5 Notre Dame lost to visiting SMU, 27–20. Taking the places of the Aggies and the Irish were No. 6 Texas (which had beaten No. 11 Oklahoma in Dallas, 9–7) and No. 8 Georgia Tech (which had beaten LSU 25–7). The next poll: No. 1 California, No. 2 Tennessee, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Texas, and No. 5 Georgia Tech.

October 20 In Los Angeles, No. 1 California and No. 11 USC, both unbeaten at 4–0–0, faced off, and the Golden Bears lost the game, along with the top spot in the poll, 21–14. Earlier, in Birmingham, No. 2 Tennessee defeated Alabama 27–13. No. 3 Michigan State won at Penn State, 32–21. No. 4 Texas lost at Arkansas, 16–14. No. 5 Georgia Tech defeated Auburn 27–7. Appearing in the top five were No. 8 Illinois (which had a 27–20 win over No. 20 Washington) and No. 7 Maryland (which had beaten North Carolina 14–7). The next poll: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 4 Illinois, and No. 5 Maryland.

Another significant game on this date, though for a far different reason, was the DrakeOklahoma A&M matchup. Then-unbeaten Drake was led by quarterback Johnny Bright, who was leading the nation in total offense at the time and had been touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Two years earlier, he had been the first black player to appear in a game at A&M's home field, without incident. The same could not be said about this game. Bright was forced to leave the game in the first quarter after suffering three concussions and a broken jaw as the result of a racially motivated attack by white A&M player Wilbanks Smith, and A&M ultimately won 27–14. The attack was immortalized in a photo sequence in the Des Moines Register that won the photographers a Pulitzer Prize. It also had an enduring legacy on the sport:

October 27 No. 1 Tennessee beat Tennessee Tech 68–0. No. 2 Michigan State beat visiting Pitt, 53–26. No. 3 Georgia Tech won narrowly at Vanderbilt, 8–7. No. 4 Illinois won at Indiana, 21–0. Unbeaten (4–0–0) and No. 5 Maryland visited once-beaten (4–1–0) LSU, and won convincingly, 27–0. With the top five teams staying unbeaten, the poll changed only slightly: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Illinois, No 4 Maryland, and No. 5 Georgia Tech.

November

November 3 No. 1 Tennessee won at North Carolina, 27–0 for its fourth shutout. In six games, the Vols had outscored their opponents, 207–14. No. 2 Michigan State was idle and dropped to fifth in the next poll. No. 3 Illinois beat No. 15 Michigan 7–0. No. 4 Maryland shut out Missouri 35–0. No. 5 Georgia Tech was tied by Duke, 14–14. No. 6 Princeton, which rose to 5–0–0 after a 12–0 win over Brown and had not lost a game in more than two years, gave an Ivy League addition to the Top Five. The next poll: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Illinois, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Princeton, and No. 5 Michigan State.

November 10 No. 1 Tennessee beat Washington & Lee, 60–14. No. 2 Illinois beat Iowa 40–13. In Baltimore, No. 3 Maryland beat Navy, 40–21. No. 4 Princeton won at Harvard, 54–13 but left the top five. No. 5 Michigan State (6–0–0) hosted No. 11 Notre Dame (5–1–0), shut out the Irish 35–0, and returned to the No. 1 spot in the poll. In Los Angeles, two unbeaten and untied (7–0–0) powers faced off, as No. 6 USC and No. 7 Stanford met. The Stanford Indians beat the Trojans 27–20. The next poll: No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Tennessee, No. 3 Illinois, No. 4 Stanford, and No. 5 Maryland.

November 17 No. 1 Michigan State won at Indiana, 30–26. No. 2 Tennessee won at Mississippi, 46–21. No. 3 Illinois got a blemish on its record with a 0–0 tie at Ohio State. No. 4 Stanford beat Oregon State 35–14. No. 5 Maryland overwhelmed N.C. State 53–0. No. 6 Princeton, which had shut out Yale 27–0, came back to the top five. The next poll: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Maryland, and No. 5 Princeton.

November 24 No. 1 Tennessee beat No. 9 Kentucky 28–0. No. 2 Michigan State beat Colorado 45–7 to finish its season at 9–0–0. No. 3 Stanford suffered its first defeat, falling to No. 19 California 20–7. No. 4 Maryland stayed unbeaten, defeating West Virginia 54–7. No. 5 Princeton closed its season with a 13–0 win over Dartmouth. No. 6 Illinois, which won at Northwestern 3–0, returned to the top five. The penultimate poll: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Illinois, and No. 5 Princeton.

On December 1 No. 1 Tennessee closed its season unbeaten with a 35–27 win over Vanderbilt. No. 6 Georgia Tech, the only other highly-ranked team which had not finished its season, defeated Georgia 48–6. This result moved the Yellow Jackets up a spot in the final poll: No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Georgia Tech, and No. 6 Princeton, with all six teams being undefeated (although Illinois and Georgia Tech both had ties on their record).

The nation's seventh undefeated team was the No. 14 University of San Francisco Dons, who closed their season—and their football program—with a perfect record of 9 wins, 0 losses and 0 ties. After their November 24 game against in-state Jesuit rival Loyola University, a 20–2 win, USF stopped playing football.

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1951 Big Seven Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 10 Oklahoma $ 6 0 0 8 2 0
Colorado 5 1 0 7 3 0
Kansas 4 2 0 8 2 0
Iowa State 2 4 0 4 4 1
Nebraska 2 4 0 2 8 0
Missouri 1 5 0 3 7 0
Kansas State 0 6 0 0 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 4 Illinois $ 5 0 1 9 0 1
Purdue 4 1 0 5 4 0
No. 8 Wisconsin 5 1 1 7 1 1
Michigan 4 2 0 4 5 0
Ohio State 2 2 2 4 3 2
Northwestern 2 4 0 5 4 0
Minnesota 1 4 1 2 6 1
Indiana 1 5 0 2 7 0
Iowa 0 5 1 2 5 2
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Border Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Texas Tech $ 4 0 0 7 4 0
Arizona State 4 1 0 6 3 1
Hardin–Simmons 4 1 0 6 6 0
Arizona 3 3 0 6 5 0
Texas Western 2 4 0 3 7 0
New Mexico A&M 1 4 0 1 9 0
West Texas State 1 5 0 2 7 0
Arizona State–Flagstaff 0 1 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Middle Three Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Lehigh $ 2 0 0 7 2 0
Rutgers 1 1 0 4 4 0
Lafayette 0 2 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Tulsa $ 4 0 0 9 2 0
Drake 3 1 0 7 2 0
Oklahoma A&M 3 2 0 3 7 0
Houston 2 2 0 6 5 0
Detroit 2 4 0 4 7 0
Wichita 2 4 0 2 7 0
Bradley 0 3 0 4 5 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 7 Stanford $ 6 1 0 9 2 0
No. 17 UCLA 4 1 1 5 3 1
No. 12 California 5 2 0 8 2 0
USC 4 2 0 7 3 0
No. 18 Washington State 4 3 0 7 3 0
Oregon State 3 5 0 4 6 0
Washington 1 5 1 3 6 1
Oregon 1 6 0 2 8 0
Idaho 0 3 0 2 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Rocky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Colorado Mines $ 4 0 0 7 2 0
Colorado College 3 2 0 4 5 0
Idaho State 3 2 0 5 4 0
Colorado State–Greeley 2 3 0 4 3 0
Western State (CO) 2 3 0 3 5 0
Montana State 0 4 0 0 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Skyline Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Utah $ 4 1 0 7 4 0
Wyoming 5 1 1 7 2 1
Denver 4 3 0 6 4 0
Colorado A&M 3 3 1 5 4 1
BYU 2 3 1 6 3 1
Utah State 2 4 1 3 5 1
New Mexico 2 4 0 4 7 0
Montana 1 4 0 2 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 5 Georgia Tech + 7 0 0 11 0 1
No. 1 Tennessee + 5 0 0 10 1 0
LSU 4 2 1 7 3 1
Ole Miss 4 2 1 6 3 1
No. 15 Kentucky 3 3 0 8 4 0
Auburn 3 4 0 5 5 0
Vanderbilt 3 5 0 6 5 0
Alabama 3 5 0 5 6 0
Florida 2 4 0 5 5 0
Georgia 2 4 0 5 5 0
Mississippi State 2 5 0 4 5 0
Tulane 1 5 0 4 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Southern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 3 Maryland + 5 0 0 10 0 0
VMI + 5 0 0 7 3 0
Washington and Lee 5 1 0 6 4 0
William & Mary 5 1 0 7 3 0
No. 19 Clemson 3 1 0 7 3 0
Duke 4 2 0 5 4 1
South Carolina 5 3 0 6 4 0
Wake Forest 5 3 0 6 4 0
George Washington 2 3 1 2 6 1
North Carolina 2 3 0 2 8 0
West Virginia 2 3 0 5 5 0
NC State 2 6 0 3 7 0
Richmond 2 6 0 3 8 0
The Citadel 1 3 0 4 6 0
Furman 1 4 1 3 6 1
Davidson 1 5 0 1 8 0
VPI 1 7 0 2 8 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 11 TCU $ 5 1 0 6 5 0
No. 9 Baylor 4 1 1 8 2 1
Texas 3 3 0 7 3 0
Rice 3 3 0 5 5 0
Texas A&M 1 3 2 5 3 2
Arkansas 2 4 0 5 5 0
SMU 1 4 1 3 6 1
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Independents

1951 Eastern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Bucknell     9 0 0
No. 6 Princeton     9 0 0
Northeastern     6 0 1
No. 19 Holy Cross     8 2 0
Carnegie Tech     6 2 0
Hofstra     6 2 1
Cornell     6 3 0
No. 16 Boston University     6 4 0
Temple     6 4 0
Columbia     5 3 0
Villanova     5 3 0
Fordham     5 4 0
Franklin & Marshall     5 4 0
Penn     5 4 0
Penn State     5 4 0
Syracuse     5 4 0
Buffalo     4 4 0
Colgate     4 5 0
Dartmouth     4 5 0
Drexel     3 4 0
Harvard     3 5 1
Boston College     3 6 0
Yale     2 5 2
Pittsburgh     3 7 0
Army     2 7 0
Brown     2 7 0
NYU     1 7 0
Tufts     0 7 2
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 2 Michigan State     9 0 0
Xavier     9 0 1
Wabash     7 0 1
No. 13 Notre Dame     7 2 1
Dayton     7 3 0
Toledo     6 4 0
Washington University     5 4 0
Wayne     5 4 0
Bowling Green     4 4 1
Marquette     4 6 1
Baldwin–Wallace     3 5 0
John Carroll     3 6 0
Rose Poly     2 5 0
Youngstown     2 6 1
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Southern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 13 Virginia     8 1 0
Maryland State     7 1 0
Arkansas State     10 2 0
Stetson     8 1 2
Florida State     6 2 0
Northeast Louisiana State     6 2 0
Miami (FL)     8 3 0
Tampa     7 3 1
Delaware     5 3 0
Memphis State     5 3 0
Sewanee     5 3 0
Louisville     5 4 0
Chattanooga     6 5 0
Grambling     3 5 1
Navy     2 6 1
Delta State     1 8 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1951 Western college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 14 San Francisco     9 0 0
La Verne     5 3 0
Pacific (CA)     6 5 0
Fresno State     5 5 0
Santa Clara     3 5 1
Hawaii     4 7 0
Loyola (CA)     3 6 0
San Jose State     2 7 1
Cal Poly San Dimas     1 6 0
Rankings from AP Poll

Minor conferences

Conference Champion(s) Record
California Collegiate Athletic Association San Diego State 4–0
Central Church College Conference Concordia (NE) 3–0
Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association West Virginia State 5–0–1
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Kansas State Teachers
Pittsburg State
4–1
College Conference of Illinois Illinois Wesleyan 5–0
Evergreen Conference Pacific Lutheran
Puget Sound
Western Washington College
4–1
Far Western Conference NBCA 3–1
Gulf Coast Conference North Texas State 2–0
Indiana Collegiate Conference Valparaiso 4–0
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Saint Ambrose 5–0
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference College of Emporia 6–0
Lone Star Conference East Texas State Teachers 5–0
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Alma
Hope
4–1
Mid-American Conference Cincinnati 3–0
Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference Lawrence 7–0
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Gustavus Adolphus 6–0
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Northeast Missouri State
Southwest Missouri State
4–0–1
Nebraska College Conference Doane
Peru State
6–1
New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference Eastern New Mexico 5–0
North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Dakota 6–0
North Dakota College Athletic Conference Dickinson State
Valley City State
4–0
Ohio Athletic Conference Ohio Wesleyan 6–0
Ohio Valley Conference Murray State College 5–1
Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference Northeastern State College (OK) 5–0
Oregon Collegiate Conference Oregon College
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Bloomsburg State Teachers 7–0
Pacific Northwest Conference Lewis & Clark
Pacific (OR)
4–1
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Colorado Mines 4–0
South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference South Dakota Mines 6–0
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Occidental 4–0
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Morris Brown 8–0
Southwestern Athletic Conference Prairie View A&M College 6–1
State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota St. Cloud State Teachers 4–0
Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference Abilene Christian
Howard Payne
Texas A&I
3–1
Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference La Crosse State Teachers 6–0

Minor conference standings

1951 Badger-Illini Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northwestern (WI) $ 6 0 1 6 0 1
Milton 5 1 0 5 1 0
St. Procopius 3 1 2 3 2 2
Concordia (IL) 2 2 1 2 3 1
Mission House 2 4 0 2 4 0
Wisconsin–Extension 2 4 0 2 4 0
Wisconsin Tech 2 4 0 2 4 0
Aurora 0 6 0 0 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 California Collegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
San Diego State $ 4 0 0 10 0 1
Cal Poly 2 1 1 5 4 1
Pepperdine 2 1 1 5 4 1
Santa Barbara 1 3 0 5 4 0
Los Angeles State 0 4 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Central Church College Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Concordia (NE) $ 3 0 0 8 1 0
York (NE) 2 1 0 5 3 0
Tarkio 1 2 0 1 7 0
Dana 0 3 0 2 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
West Virginia State $ 5 0 1 6 2 1
North Carolina A&T 5 1 0 7 1 1
North Carolina College 5 1 1 7 2 1
Virginia Union 5 4 0 5 5 0
Lincoln (PA) 4 2 0 6 2 0
Virginia State 5 3 0 5 3 0
Hampton 4 4 0 5 4 0
Winston-Salem State 4 2 0 4 4 0
Howard 5 4 0 5 4 0
Morgan State 3 4 0 3 5 0
Bluefield State 3 3 0 3 6 0
Johnson C. Smith 3 4 0 3 5 0
Delaware State 2 4 0 2 7 0
St. Augustine's 2 5 0 3 6 0
Shaw 1 8 0 1 9 0
Saint Paul's (VA) 0 7 0 0 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Central Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Pittsburg State + 4 1 0 7 3 0
Emporia State + 4 1 0 5 3 1
Washburn 3 2 0 6 3 0
Fort Hays State 2 3 0 5 4 0
St. Benedict's 2 3 0 4 5 0
Southwestern (KS) 0 5 0 1 7 1
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 College Conference of Illinois football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Illinois Wesleyan $ 5 0 0 8 0 0
Wheaton (IL) 3 1 0 6 2 0
Lake Forest 3 2 0 3 4 1
Millikin 3 2 0 3 4 0
Illinois College 3 3 0 4 4 0
Augustana (IL) 2 3 0 3 4 1
North Central (IL) 2 3 0 3 5 0
Elmhurst 1 3 0 4 4 0
Carthage 0 5 0 0 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Evergreen Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Western Washington + 4 1 0 8 1 0
Puget Sound + 4 1 0 7 1 0
Pacific Lutheran + 4 1 0 4 3 0
Whitworth 1 4 0 4 3 1
Eastern Washington 1 4 0 2 6 0
Central Washington 1 4 0 1 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 Far Western Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Cal Aggies $ 3 1 0 5 4 0
San Francisco State 2 0 0 8 2 0
Humboldt State 2 1 0 4 3 1
Southern Oregon 1 2 0 1 8 0
Chico State 0 4 0 0 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Gulf Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
North Texas State $ 2 0 0 8 4 0
Midwestern (TX) 0 1 1 5 4 1
Trinity (TX) 0 1 1 4 5 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Gulf States Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Mississippi Southern $ 4 0 0 6 5 0
Southeastern Louisiana 4 1 0 7 3 0
Southwestern Louisiana 3 2 0 6 4 0
Louisiana Tech 2 3 0 4 5 0
Louisiana College 1 4 0 5 6 0
Northwestern State 0 5 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Hoosier Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Hanover $ 6 0 0 6 3 0
Indiana Central 4 2 0 5 3 0
Earlham 3 3 0 4 4 0
Manchester (IN) 3 3 0 4 4 0
Taylor 3 3 0 3 5 0
Franklin (IN) 1 5 0 2 6 0
Anderson (IN) 1 5 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Indiana Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Valparaiso $ 4 0 0 9 0 0
Saint Joseph's (IN) 3 1 0 4 4 0
Butler 3 2 0 4 4 1
Evansville 1 1 0 5 5 0
Indiana State 0 3 1 0 6 1
Ball State 0 4 1 0 6 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northern Illinois State 6 0 0 9 0 0
Western Illinois 4 1 1 7 1 1
Central Michigan 4 2 0 5 3 0
Eastern Illinois 2 2 2 4 2 2
Michigan State Normal 2 4 0 4 5 0
Illinois State Normal 1 4 1 3 5 1
Southern Illinois 0 6 0 0 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Iowa Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northern Division
Loras xy 5 0 0 6 4 0
Luther 4 1 0 6 3 0
Buena Vista 3 2 0 3 4 0
Wartburg 2 3 0 2 5 0
Upper Iowa 1 4 0 1 5 0
Westmar 0 5 0 1 6 1
Southern Division
St. Ambrose xy$ 5 0 0 9 2 0
Iowa Wesleyan 3 2 0 5 2 1
Dubuque 3 2 0 3 4 0
Simpson 2 3 0 2 7 0
Parsons 1 4 0 4 4 0
Central (IA) 1 4 0 3 6 0
Championship: St. Ambrose 44, Loras 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
1951 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
College of Emporia $ 6 0 0 8 0 0
McPherson 5 1 0 7 2 0
Ottawa 4 2 0 6 3 0
Kansas Wesleyan 3 3 0 5 4 0
Bethany (KS) 2 4 0 4 5 0
Baker 1 5 0 2 7 0
Bethel (KS) 0 6 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Lone Star Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
East Texas State $ 5 0 0 9 2 0
Southwest Texas State 2 2 1 6 3 1
Sam Houston State 2 2 1 4 4 1
Stephen F. Austin 2 3 0 4 4 1
Lamar Tech 2 3 0 4 6 0
Sul Ross 1 4 0 3 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Mason–Dixon Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Western Maryland $ 3 0 0 8 0 0
Randolph–Macon 3 1 1 5 3 1
Hampden–Sydney 1 1 2 4 3 2
Bridgewater 1 2 0 1 3 0
Johns Hopkins 0 2 1 2 5 1
Gallaudet 0 2 0 1 4 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Conference standings were based on the Dickinson Scoring System.
1951 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Alma + 4 1 0 7 2 0
Hope + 4 1 0 5 4 0
Albion 3 2 0 6 2 0
Hillsdale 2 3 0 2 6 0
Kalamazoo 2 3 0 2 6 0
Adrian 0 5 0 0 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Cincinnati $ 3 0 0 10 1 0
Miami (OH) 3 1 0 7 3 0
Kent State 2 1 0 4 3 2
Ohio 2 2 0 5 4 1
Western Reserve 1 3 0 2 6 1
Western Michigan 0 4 0 4 4 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Mid-Ohio League football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Bluffton + 4 1 0 6 2 0
Findlay + 4 1 0 5 2 0
Ohio Northern 3 2 0 4 5 0
Cedarville 2 3 0 ? ? ?
Ashland 2 3 0 2 5 1
Defiance 0 5 0 0 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Gustavus Adolphus $ 6 0 0 8 0 1
Minnesota–Duluth 5 1 0 5 2 1
St. Thomas (MN) 5 1 0 6 2 0
Saint John's (MN) 4 1 0 4 3 0
St. Olaf 3 2 0 3 4 0
Hamline 3 3 0 3 3 0
Concordia (MN) 2 4 0 4 4 0
Saint Mary's (MN) 1 5 0 1 6 0
Macalester 0 6 0 2 7 0
Augsburg 0 6 0 0 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Missouri College Athletic Union football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Missouri Valley $ 4 0 0 10 1 0
William Jewell 3 1 0 8 3 0
Culver–Stockton 2 2 0 3 4 0
Central Methodist 1 3 0 1 8 0
Tarkio 0 4 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Kirksville State + 4 0 1 7 1 1
SW Missouri State + 4 0 1 6 3 1
Missouri Mines 3 2 0 3 5 0
NW Missouri State 2 3 0 2 6 1
SE Missouri State 0 4 1 2 5 1
Central Missouri State 0 4 1 0 7 2
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Nebraska College Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Peru State + 6 1 0 8 2 0
Doane + 6 1 0 7 2 0
Wayne State (NE) 5 2 0 6 3 0
Kearney State 4 3 0 5 3 0
Hastings 4 3 0 5 4 0
Nebraska Wesleyan 2 5 0 2 8 0
Chadron State 1 6 0 1 8 0
Midland 0 7 0 1 7 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 New Mexico Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Eastern New Mexico $ 5 0 0 8 1 0
New Mexico Western 3 1 1 6 2 1
Adams State 3 2 0 3 6 0
Panhandle A&M 2 3 0 6 4 0
New Mexico Highlands 1 3 1 3 4 1
New Mexico Military 0 5 0 2 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 North Central Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
South Dakota $ 6 0 0 7 1 0
South Dakota State 4 1 1 8 1 1
Iowa State Teachers 3 3 0 3 4 0
North Dakota 2 3 0 2 4 0
Morningside 2 4 0 3 5 1
North Dakota State 1 4 1 1 5 1
Augustana (SD) 1 4 0 3 5 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 North State Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Lenoir–Rhyne $ 6 0 0 10 1 0
Elon 4 2 0 6 3 0
Catawba 3 2 0 5 5 0
Appalachian State 3 3 0 6 3 0
East Carolina 1 4 0 4 6 0
Western Carolina 1 4 0 3 6 0
Guilford 1 4 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Northwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Pacific (OR) + 4 1 0 8 2 0
Lewis & Clark + 4 1 0 6 2 0
College of Idaho 3 2 0 5 4 0
Linfield 1 3 1 3 3 3
Whitman 1 3 1 3 5 1
Willamette 1 4 0 3 5 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 Ohio Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Ohio Wesleyan $ 6 0 0 8 1 0
Heidelberg 3 0 1 7 1 1
Mount Union 2 1 0 3 4 1
Muskingum 3 2 1 5 2 1
Denison 3 2 1 4 3 1
Oberlin 2 2 0 4 4 0
Otterbein 2 2 1 2 4 2
Wooster 2 3 0 6 3 0
Akron 1 3 0 1 8 0
Wittenberg 1 5 0 4 6 0
Capital 0 2 1 2 4 1
Marietta 0 3 1 2 4 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Ohio Valley Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Murray State $ 5 1 0 8 1 0
Eastern Kentucky 4 2 0 7 3 0
Marshall 4 2 0 5 5 1
Evansville 3 3 0 5 5 0
Tennessee Tech 3 3 0 5 5 1
Western Kentucky 2 4 0 4 5 0
Morehead State 0 6 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Oklahoma Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northeastern State $ 5 0 0 9 1 0
SW Oklahoma State 3 2 0 4 6 0
SE Oklahoma State 3 2 0 3 6 0
Central State (OK) 2 3 0 2 7 0
NW Oklahoma State 1 3 1 4 4 1
East Central 0 4 1 1 6 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Oregon Collegiate Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Oregon College $ 3 0 0 6 0 1
Oregon Tech 2 1 0 2 3 0
Vanport 1 2 0 3 5 0
Eastern Oregon 0 3 0 3 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Smoky Mountain Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Emory and Henry $ 2 0 0 9 0 1
East Tennessee State 1 1 0 4 5 0
Carson–Newman 0 2 0 4 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
South Dakota Mines $ 6 0 0 8 0 0
Southern State 6 1 0 6 1 1
Black Hills 3 1 0 6 2 0
Northern State 3 2 0 4 4 0
Huron 3 3 0 5 3 0
Yankton 3 3 0 3 4 0
General Beadle 1 4 0 1 5 0
Sioux Falls 0 5 0 0 7 0
Dakota Wesleyan 0 6 0 0 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Occidental $ 4 0 0 6 2 0
Redlands 2 2 0 3 5 0
Whittier 2 2 0 2 7 0
Caltech 1 3 0 2 5 0
Pomona 1 3 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Morris Brown $ 8 0 0 10 1 0
Xavier (LA) 5 1 0 8 1 0
Florida A&M 4 1 0 7 1 1
Fisk 5 2 0 6 2 0
South Carolina State 4 2 0 5 2 0
Bethune–Cookman 4 2 0 7 2 0
Benedict 5 3 0 7 3 0
Tuskegee 5 3 0 6 3 0
Alabama A&M 3 3 0 3 5 0
Lane 2 2 0 3 4 0
Morehouse 2 3 0 3 4 0
Clark (GA) 3 5 0 3 5 0
Allen 1 5 0 3 7 0
Knoxville 0 5 0 0 8 1
Alabama State 0 6 0 0 8 0
Fort Valley State 0 0 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Prairie View A&M $ 6 1 0 9 1 0
Texas College 4 1 2 5 2 2
Southern 4 1 2 5 4 2
Arkansas AM&N 4 2 1 5 3 1
Langston 4 3 0 4 5 0
Wiley 2 4 1 3 5 1
Samuel Huston 1 6 0 1 8 0
Bishop 0 7 0 0 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Texas Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Abilene Christian + 3 1 0 6 4 0
Texas A&I + 3 1 0 5 4 0
Howard Payne + 3 1 0 3 6 0
McMurry 1 3 0 3 7 0
Austin 0 4 0 2 7 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1951 Wisconsin State College Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
La Crosse State $ 6 0 0 7 2 0
Stout State 5 1 0 7 1 0
Whitewater State 3 2 0 3 3 0
Superior State 3 2 1 4 2 2
Platteville State 2 2 2 2 3 2
Milwaukee 1 2 3 1 4 3
Eau Claire State 2 4 0 3 5 0
River Falls State 1 3 2 3 3 2
Stevens Point State 0 3 3 0 3 4
Oshkosh State 0 4 1 0 4 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1951 Yankee Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Maine $ 3 0 1 6 0 1
UMass 2 0 0 3 4 1
Connecticut 2 1 0 4 4 0
New Hampshire 1 2 1 5 2 1
Rhode Island 1 3 0 3 5 0
Vermont 0 3 0 0 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion

Rankings

Main article: 1951 NCAA football rankings

Bowl games

All six games played were on Tuesday, January 1, 1952.[6][7]

Bowl game Winning team Losing team
Cotton Bowl No. 15 Kentucky 20 No. 11 TCU 7
Sugar Bowl No. 3 Maryland 28 No. 1 Tennessee 13
Rose Bowl No. 4 Illinois 40 No. 7 Stanford 7
Orange Bowl No. 5 Georgia Tech 17 No. 9 Baylor 14
Gator Bowl Miami (FL) 14 No. 20 Clemson 0
Sun Bowl Texas Tech 25 Pacific (CA) 14

Heisman Trophy

  1. Dick Kazmaier, RB - Princeton, 1777 points
  2. Hank Lauricella, RB - Tennessee, 424
  3. Babe Parilli, QB - Kentucky, 344
  4. Bill McColl, E - Stanford, 313
  5. Johnny Bright, RB - Drake, 230
  6. Johnny Karras, RB - Illinois, 223
  7. Larry Isbell, QB - Baylor, 163
  8. Hugh McElhenny, RB - Washington, 103
  9. Ollie Matson, RB - San Francisco, 95
  10. Don Coleman, L - Michigan State, 93
  11. Bob Ward, L - Maryland, 92
Source:[8][9]

See also

References

  1. ^ "1951 Preseason AP Football Poll". CollegePollArchive.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  2. ^ appollarchive.com/football/ap
  3. ^ "City College drops varsity football". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 14, 1952. Retrieved September 19, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ McDermott, William F (December 9, 1951). "Football's Man of the Year". Los Angeles Times. p. H10. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "Once Over Lightly", The Independent (Long Beach, California), Oct 8, 1951, p18
  6. ^ "Bowl game results". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 2, 1952. p. 16.
  7. ^ "Attendance rises at bowl games". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. January 2, 1952. p. 32.
  8. ^ "Dick Kazmeier wins Heisman award". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. December 5, 1951. p. 37.
  9. ^ "Kazmeier wins Heisman Trophy". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. December 5, 1951. p. 49.