In 1974, United Press International (UPI) and the Associated Press (AP) ranked teams in their College Division or "small college" polls – which had started in 1958 and 1960, respectively – for the final time. UPI published their final poll at the end of the regular season, while the AP waited until postseason games had been completed. UPI's number one selection was the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who during the regular season were 10–0 while outscoring opponents 294–103. The Bulldogs later lost in the playoffs to the Central Michigan Chippewas, winners of the tournament. AP's number one selection was the Chippewas, who were 9–1 during the regular season and finished with an overall record of 12–1 while outscoring opponents 450–127.
United Press International (coaches) final poll
Published on November 27
^D2 Record includes NCAA Division II playoff games ^D3 Record includes NCAA Division III playoff games
^E1 Louisiana Tech final record actually 11–1
^E2 Western Carolina final record actually 9–2 ^N1 Record includes NAIA Division I playoff games ^N2 Record includes NAIA Division II playoff games ^P Record includes Pelican Bowl win