The 1974 NCAA Division I 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, No. 1 at season's end. The United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll did not rank teams on probation, by unanimous agreement of the 25 member coaches' board.[2] The UPI trophy went to the University of Southern California (USC).

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the major college football teams, later known 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.

Rule changes

Conference and program changes

School 1973 Conference 1974 Conference
Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles PCAA (D-I) CCAA (D-II)
Cal State Fullerton Titans CCAA (D-II) PCAA (D-I)
Xavier Musketeers Independent Dropped Program

September

In the preseason poll released on September 2, 1974, the AP ranked Oklahoma No. 1, followed by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 USC.

September 7: No. 3 Notre Dame, the defending national champion, beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 31–7, in a nationally televised game on Monday night, September 9. The few other schools playing that weekend included No. 11 Houston, which lost 30−9 to No. 15 Arizona State, and No. 12 UCLA, which tied No. 16 Tennessee 17−17. Elsewhere, the scheduled Ole Miss-Tulane game in New Orleans was postponed until November 30 due to the threat of Hurricane Carmen. The next poll featured No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 USC.

September 14: No. 1 Oklahoma beat Baylor, 28–11. No. 2 Notre Dame was idle. No. 3 Alabama won at No. 14 Maryland, 21–16. No. 4 Ohio State won at Minnesota, 34–19. No. 5 USC lost to No. 20 Arkansas in Little Rock, 22–7. No. 7 Nebraska, which beat Oregon in its opener, 61–7, moved up in the polls. There was considerable disagreement between AP voters at the top of the next poll, with 19 first-place votes going to Notre Dame, 18 to Oklahoma, and 17 to Ohio State. The top five were No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Nebraska, and No. 5 Alabama.

September 21: No. 1 Notre Dame won at Northwestern, 49–3. No. 2 Ohio State beat Oregon State 51–10. No. 3 Oklahoma was idle. No. 4 Nebraska lost at Wisconsin, 21–20. No. 5 Alabama beat Southern Mississippi at home, 52–0. No. 6 Michigan, which beat Colorado 31–0, replaced Nebraska in the top five. In the next poll, Notre Dame had the edge in first-place votes (26 to 23), but Ohio State took the lead based on overall points. No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Notre Dame were followed by No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Alabama, and No. 5 Michigan.

September 28: No. 1 Ohio State defeated SMU, 28–9. No. 2 Notre Dame was upset at home by Purdue, 31–20. No. 3 Oklahoma rolled over visiting Utah State, 72–3. No. 4 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 23–10. No. 5 Michigan beat Navy, 52–0. Losses by the sixth- through eighth-ranked teams opened the door for No. 9 Texas A&M, which won at Washington 28–15, to move into the top five. The next poll featured No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 Texas A&M.

October

October 5: No. 1 Ohio State beat Washington State 42–7 in Seattle. No. 2 Oklahoma shut out Wake Forest 63–0. No. 3 Alabama beat Mississippi at Jackson, 35–21. No. 4 Michigan won at Stanford, 27–16. No. 5 Texas A&M lost at Kansas, 28–10. No. 6 Nebraska, which beat Minnesota 54–0, moved up to No. 5 in the next poll, with the top four remaining the same.

October 12: No. 1 Ohio State beat visiting No. 13 Wisconsin 52–7. No. 2 Oklahoma barely defeated No. 17 Texas in Dallas, 16–13. No. 3 Alabama survived a game against winless (0–4) Florida State, winning 8–7. No. 4 Michigan beat Michigan State, 21–7. No. 5 Nebraska lost to Missouri 21–10 and was replaced in the next poll by No. 10 Auburn, which beat Kentucky 31–13. The poll featured No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Alabama, and No. 5 Auburn.

October 19: No. 1 Ohio State beat Indiana, 49–9. No. 2 Oklahoma won at Colorado, 49–14. No. 3 Michigan won at Wisconsin, 24–20. No. 4 Alabama won at Tennessee, 28–6. No. 5 Auburn beat Georgia Tech 31–22. The top five remained the same.

October 26: This week was defined by blowouts. No. 1 Ohio State won at Northwestern 55–7, No. 2 Oklahoma beat Kansas State 63–0, No. 3 Michigan beat Minnesota 49–0, No. 4 Alabama beat TCU 41–3 at Birmingham, and No. 5 Auburn beat Florida State 38–6. The top five again remained the same.

November

November 2: No. 1 Ohio State defeated Illinois at home, 49–7. With a record of 8–0, the Buckeyes had outscored their opposition 360 to 75. No. 2 Oklahoma won at Iowa State, 28–10. No. 3 Michigan won at Indiana, 21–7. No. 4 Alabama beat No. 17 Mississippi State 35–0, and thereby jumped over Michigan in the next poll. No. 5 No. 5 Auburn lost at No. 11 Florida, 25–14. No. 8 Texas A&M, which beat Arkansas 20–10, returned to the Top Five: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 Texas A&M.

November 9: In East Lansing, Michigan, No. 1 Ohio State was upset by unranked (and 4–3–1) Michigan State, 16–13. No. 2 Oklahoma, which had beaten Missouri 37–0, took the first spot. No. 3 Alabama beat LSU in Birmingham, 30–0. No. 4 Michigan won at Illinois, 14–6. No. 5 Texas A&M lost at SMU, 18–14. No. 8 No. 8 Notre Dame was idle, but rose to fifth place after losses by No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Penn State. The top five were No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Notre Dame.

November 16: No. 1 Oklahoma won at Kansas, 45–14. No. 2 Alabama won in Florida over Miami, 28–7, and No. 3 Michigan beat Purdue. All three teams were undefeated and untied. No. 4 Ohio State won at Iowa, 35–10, and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 17 Pittsburgh, 14–10. The top five remained the same.

November 23: No. 1 Oklahoma beat No. 6 Nebraska, 28–14. No. 2 Alabama was idle as it prepared for its season ender with Auburn. The latest battle of "The Ten Year War" took place in Columbus, Ohio, as No. 3 Michigan (10–0) met No. 4 Ohio State (9–1) in their annual clash for the Big Ten title. OSU won, 12–10, to clinch a third consecutive Rose Bowl berth. Over the last three years, Michigan was 30−0 against all opponents other than Ohio State, but the Big Ten's rule that only the conference champion could participate in a bowl game kept the Wolverines out of the postseason each year. No. 5 Notre Dame beat Air Force, 38–0. No. 6 USC topped UCLA 34–9 for the Pac-8 title and the right to face Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The next poll featured No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 Notre Dame.

November 29−30: The annual Alabama-Auburn game took place on a Friday night in Birmingham, with No. 2 Alabama winning 17–13 over No. 7 Auburn to close its season at 11–0. The next day, No. 1 Oklahoma won its annual season ender against Oklahoma State, 44–13, to also finish 11–0. With Oklahoma barred from the postseason due to NCAA probation, the Orange Bowl organizers had already arranged for Alabama to meet No. 5 Notre Dame in a rematch of last year's national championship game. However, the Fighting Irish still had one more regular season game left, against No. 6 USC in Los Angeles. After trailing 24–0, the Trojans scored 55 unanswered points and cruised to victory, keeping themselves in national championship contention and effectively eliminating Notre Dame. The final regular season AP Poll featured No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 USC. Since teams on probation were ineligible to be ranked in the coaches' poll, the UPI named Alabama as No. 1, followed by Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and Auburn.

In other action, Tulane lost its final game at Tulane Stadium 26–10 to Ole Miss. The Green Wave played 38 of their next 39 seasons at the Superdome, except for 2005, when they were forced to play all of their games away from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Tulane returned to campus in 2014 when Yulman Stadium opened.

Conference standings

1974 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 13 Maryland $ 6 0 0 8 4 0
No. 11 NC State 4 2 0 9 2 1
Clemson 4 2 0 7 4 0
North Carolina 4 2 0 7 5 0
Duke 2 4 0 6 5 0
Virginia 1 5 0 4 7 0
Wake Forest 0 6 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll[3]
1974 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 1 Oklahoma $ 7 0 0 11 0 0
Missouri 5 2 0 7 4 0
No. 9 Nebraska 5 2 0 9 3 0
Oklahoma State 4 3 0 7 5 0
Colorado 3 4 0 5 6 0
Iowa State 2 5 0 4 7 0
Kansas 1 6 0 4 7 0
Kansas State 1 6 0 4 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 4 Ohio State + 7 1 0 10 2 0
No. 3 Michigan + 7 1 0 10 1 0
No. 12 Michigan State 6 1 1 7 3 1
Wisconsin 5 3 0 7 4 0
Illinois 4 3 1 6 4 1
Purdue 3 5 0 4 6 1
Minnesota 2 6 0 4 7 0
Iowa 2 6 0 3 8 0
Northwestern 2 6 0 3 8 0
Indiana 1 7 0 1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Ivy League football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Harvard + 6 1 0 7 2 0
Yale + 6 1 0 8 1 0
Penn 4 2 1 6 2 1
Brown 4 3 0 5 4 0
Dartmouth 3 4 0 3 6 0
Princeton 3 4 0 4 4 1
Cornell 1 5 1 3 5 1
Columbia 0 7 0 1 8 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1974 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 10 Miami $ 5 0 0 10 0 1
Ohio 3 2 0 6 5 0
Toledo 3 2 0 6 5 0
Kent State 2 3 0 7 4 0
Bowling Green 2 3 0 6 4 1
Western Michigan 0 5 0 3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Tulsa $ 6 0 0 8 3 0
Louisville 3 2 0 4 7 0
West Texas State 3 3 0 6 5 0
Drake 2 3 1 3 7 1
New Mexico State 2 3 0 5 6 0
North Texas State 1 3 2 2 7 2
Wichita State 1 4 1 1 9 1
  • $ – Conference champion
1974 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
San Diego State $ 4 0 0 8 2 1
San Jose State 2 2 0 8 3 1
Pacific (CA) 2 2 0 6 5 0
Long Beach State 1 3 0 6 5 0
Fresno State 1 3 0 5 7 0
Cal State Fullerton 0 0 0 4 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1974 Pacific-8 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 2 USC $ 6 0 1 10 1 1
Stanford 5 1 1 5 4 2
California 4 2 1 7 3 1
UCLA 4 2 1 6 3 2
Washington 3 4 0 5 6 0
Oregon State 3 4 0 3 8 0
Washington State 1 6 0 2 9 0
Oregon 0 7 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Southern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
VMI $   5 1     7 4  
Appalachian State   4 1     6 5  
East Carolina   3 3     7 4  
Richmond   3 3     5 5  
The Citadel   3 4     4 7  
William & Mary   2 3     4 7  
Furman   2 4     5 6  
Davidson   0 3     2 7  
  • $ – Conference champion
1974 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 5 Alabama $ 6 0 0 11 1 0
No. 8 Auburn 4 2 0 10 2 0
Georgia 4 2 0 6 6 0
No. 17 Mississippi State 3 3 0 9 3 0
No. 15 Florida 3 3 0 8 4 0
Kentucky 3 3 0 6 5 0
No. 20 Tennessee 2 3 1 7 3 2
Vanderbilt 2 3 1 7 3 2
LSU 2 4 0 5 5 1
Ole Miss 0 6 0 3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 14 Baylor $ 6 1 0 8 4 0
No. 17 Texas 5 2 0 8 4 0
No. 16 Texas A&M 5 2 0 8 3 0
Arkansas 3 3 1 6 4 1
SMU 3 3 1 6 4 1
Texas Tech 3 4 0 6 4 2
Rice 2 5 0 2 8 1
TCU 0 7 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1974 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
BYU $ 6 0 1 7 4 1
Arizona 6 1 0 9 2 0
Arizona State 4 3 0 7 5 0
New Mexico 3 4 0 4 6 1
UTEP 3 4 0 4 7 0
Colorado State 2 3 1 4 6 1
Utah 1 5 0 1 10 0
Wyoming 1 6 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1974 NCAA Division I independents football records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 6 Notre Dame     10 2 0
No. 7 Penn State     10 2 0
Temple     8 2 0
Boston College     8 3 0
Utah State     8 3 0
No. 19 Houston     8 3 1
Rutgers     7 3 1
Cincinnati     7 4 0
Memphis State     7 4 0
Pittsburgh     7 4 0
Georgia Tech     6 5 0
Hawaii     6 5 0
Miami (FL)     6 5 0
Southern Miss     6 5 0
Tampa     6 5 0
Holy Cross     5 5 1
Tulane     5 6 0
Colgate     4 6 0
Northern Illinois     4 7 0
Navy     4 7 0
South Carolina     4 7 0
Virginia Tech     4 7 0
West Virginia     4 7 0
Army     3 8 0
Dayton     3 8 0
Villanova     3 8 0
Air Force     2 9 0
Southern Illinois     2 9 0
Syracuse     2 9 0
Florida State     1 10 0
Marshall     1 10 0
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games

Wednesday, January 1, 1975

Major bowls

BOWL
COTTON No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions 41 No. 12 Baylor Bears 20
SUGAR No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers 13 No. 18 Florida Gators 10
ROSE No. 5 USC Trojans 18 No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes 17
ORANGE No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 13 No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 11

Nebraska erased a 10-point deficit by defeating Florida in the Sugar Bowl played on New Year's Eve. The following afternoon, Penn State defeated the surprise SWC champion Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Third-ranked Ohio State (led by Woody Hayes) and No. 5 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 dove and caught 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 No. 1 in the UPI poll, and No. 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 polls, USC was ranked first by UPI, followed by Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. The Trojans were second 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.

Other bowls

BOWL City State Date Winner Score Runner-up
SUN El Paso Texas December 28 Mississippi State 26–24 North Carolina
GATOR Jacksonville Florida December 30 No. 6 Auburn 27–3 No. 11 Texas
TANGERINE Orlando Florida December 21 No. 15 Miami (Ohio) 21–10 Georgia
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston Texas December 23 Houston (tie) 31–31 No. 13 N.C. State (tie)
LIBERTY Memphis Tennessee December 16 Tennessee   7–3 No. 10 Maryland
PEACH Atlanta Georgia December 28 Texas Tech (tie)   6–6 Vanderbilt (tie)
FIESTA Tempe Arizona December 28 Oklahoma State 16–6 No. 17 BYU

Heisman Trophy

  1. Archie Griffin, RB - Ohio State, 1,920 points[5][6]
  2. Anthony Davis, RB - USC, 819
  3. Joe Washington, RB - Oklahoma, 661
  4. Tom Clements, QB - Notre Dame, 244
  5. David Humm, QB - Nebraska, 210
  6. Dennis Franklin, QB - Michigan, 100
  7. Rod Shoate, LB -Oklahoma, 97
  8. Gary Sheide, QB - BYU, 90
  9. Randy White, DT - Maryland, 85
  10. Steve Bartkowski, QB - California, 74

See also

References

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2008-12-30.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "UPI Coaches Omitting Oklahoma," Mansfield (O.) News Journal, Sep. 24, 1974, p19
  3. ^ "1974 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Great Gamble Pays Off In Trojan Win," Star-News (Pasadena), January 2, 1975, p B-1
  5. ^ "Archie Griffin". Heisman Trophy. 1974. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "Heisman to Griffin". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 3, 1974. p. 17.