1985 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams105
Preseason AP No. 1Oklahoma[1]
Post-season
Bowl games18
Heisman TrophyBo Jackson (running back, Auburn)
Champion(s)Oklahoma (AP, Coaches, FWAA)
Division I-A football seasons
← 1984
1986 →

The 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season saw the Oklahoma Sooners, led by head coach Barry Switzer, win the national championship.

Oklahoma finished the season 11–1, with their only loss to Miami at home, in a game in which future NFL star Troy Aikman was lost for the season. The Sooners regrouped and went undefeated the rest of the way, finishing the season with a win over Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

Michigan would finish No. 2, the highest finish of a Bo Schembechler led team. The team shined on defense, led by All-Americans Mike Hammerstein and Mark Messner.

Tennessee finished the season with a victory over No. 2 Miami in the Sugar Bowl. This team won the school's first SEC championship in 16 years and was nicknamed the "Sugar Vols". The SEC title was the first of three for coach Johnny Majors.

Air Force Falcons, under Fisher DeBerry had what is considered their best season ever, defeating Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and finishing No. 8 in the AP Poll (No. 5 in the Coaches' Poll).

This year's edition of the Iron Bowl is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever. Despite Auburn having Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson on its side, Alabama won this game with a last second field goal.

This would be the last year for the I-A/I-AA hybrid Missouri Valley Conference in football. Five of the seven teams in the conference (Drake, Illinois State, Indiana State, Southern Illinois, and West Texas State) had been playing Division I-AA football since the 1982 season, while Tulsa and Wichita State would remain I-A, becoming independents the following season.

Rule changes

September

The preseason AP Poll was led by No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Auburn, No. 3 SMU, No. 4 Iowa, and No. 5 Florida. None of the top teams played in the first week of the season, so the top five remained the same in the first-regular season poll.

September 7: No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Iowa had not started their seasons. No. 2 Auburn opened with a 49-7 defeat of Southwestern Louisiana. No. 3 SMU’s 35-23 victory over UTEP did not impress the AP voters enough to keep the Mustangs in the top five. They fell behind No. 5 Florida, who won 35-23 at Miami, and No. 6 USC, who defeated No. 11 Illinois 20-10. The next poll featured No. 1 Auburn, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 USC, and No. 5 Iowa.

September 14: No. 1 Auburn won 29-18 over Southern Mississippi. No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 6 SMU were scheduled to play each other this weekend, but the game was postponed until December at the request of the television broadcasters. No. 3 Florida played Rutgers to a 28-28 tie. No. 5 Iowa opened with a 58-0 shutout of Drake, and No. 4 USC was idle. The next poll featured No. 1 Auburn, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 USC, No. 4 Iowa, and No. 5 SMU.

September 21: No. 1 Auburn was idle, and No. 2 Oklahoma still had not begun their season. No. 3 USC lost 20-13 to Baylor. No. 4 Iowa beat Northern Illinois 48-20. No. 5 SMU was idle and fell out of the top five again. Moving up were No. 6 Florida State, who defeated Memphis 19-10 and had beaten perennial power Nebraska a few weeks earlier, and No. 7 Ohio State, who won 36-13 at Colorado. The top five in the next poll were No. 1 Auburn, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Iowa, No. 4 Florida State, and No. 5 Ohio State.

September 28: No. 1 Auburn lost 38-20 at Tennessee. No. 2 Oklahoma finally began their schedule with a 13-7 win at Minnesota, but the voters were more impressed by No. 3 Iowa’s 57-3 blowout of Iowa State. No. 4 Florida State got past Kansas 24-20, No. 5 Ohio State beat Washington State 48-32, and No. 6 SMU won 56-21 at TCU. The top five in the next poll were No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 SMU, No. 4 Florida State, and No. 5 Ohio State.

October

October 5: No. 1 Iowa got past Michigan State 35-31 on a bootleg run by quarterback Chuck Long for a touchdown with 27 seconds left. No. 2 Oklahoma won 41-6 at Kansas State. No. 3 SMU fell 28-6 to Arizona and soon dropped out of the polls, finishing just 6-5. No. 4 Florida State was idle. No. 5 Ohio State lost a close one, 31-28 at Illinois. No. 6 Oklahoma State (25-13 over Tulsa) and No. 7 Michigan (33-6 over Wisconsin) moved up in the next poll: No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Florida State, and No. 5 Oklahoma State.

October 12: No. 1 Iowa won 23-13 at Wisconsin. No. 2 Oklahoma beat No. 17 Texas 14-7, but once again a lower-ranked team was more dominant than the Sooners as No. 3 Michigan overwhelmed Michigan State 31-0. No. 4 Florida State lost 59-27 at No. 12 Auburn, and No. 5 Oklahoma State fell 34-24 to No. 9 Nebraska. Moving up were No. 6 Arkansas, who won 30-7 at Texas Tech, and No. 7 Florida, who handled No. 14 Tennessee 17-10. The top five in the next poll were No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Arkansas, and No. 5 Florida.

October 19: In a memorable Big Ten showdown between No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Michigan, the Hawkeyes prevailed 12-10 on a field goal with two seconds left. No. 3 Oklahoma, playing their first home game of the year, lost 27-14 to Miami. No. 4 Arkansas also lost, falling 15-13 to Texas; both Iowa and the Longhorns scored all of their points on field goals in this weekend’s victories. No. 5 Florida moved up again with a 45-0 shutout of Southwestern Louisiana. No. 6 Penn State won 24-20 at Syracuse, and No. 7 Nebraska defeated Missouri 28-20. The top five in the next poll were No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 Nebraska.

October 26: This weekend finally saw some stability at the top. No. 1 Iowa visited Northwestern and won 49-10, No. 2 Florida beat Virginia Tech 35-18, No. 3 Penn State blanked West Virginia 27-0, No. 4 Michigan defeated Indiana 42-15, and No. 5 Nebraska won 17-7 over Colorado. The top five remained the same in the next poll.

November

November 2: No. 1 Iowa fell 22-13 to No. 8 Ohio State, while No. 2 Florida handled No. 6 Auburn 14-10. No. 3 Penn State defeated Boston College 16-12, but No. 4 Michigan had to settle for a 3-3 tie against Illinois. No. 5 Nebraska won 41-3 at Kansas State. No. 7 Air Force moved up with a 31-10 victory over San Diego State, becoming the first service academy in two decades to be ranked in the top five: No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Nebraska, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Air Force. Because Florida was on probation for recruiting violations and ineligible to be ranked in the Coaches’ Poll, the coaches picked Penn State as their top team.

November 9: No. 1 Florida went down 24-3 to No. 17 Georgia, and No. 2 Penn State grabbed the top spot in both polls with a 31-10 win at Cincinnati. No. 3 Nebraska overwhelmed Iowa State 49-0, No. 4 Ohio State won 35-17 at Northwestern, No. 5 Air Force beat Army 45-7, and No. 6 Iowa shut out Illinois 59-0. The next poll featured No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Air Force, and No. 5 Iowa.

November 16: The top two teams won easily, as No. 1 Penn State defeated Notre Dame 36-6 and No. 2 Nebraska beat Kansas 56-6. Less fortunate were No. 3 Ohio State, who fell 12-7 to Wisconsin, and No. 4 Air Force, who lost 28-21 at No. 16 Brigham Young. No. 5 Iowa edged Purdue 27-24, while No. 6 Miami was idle. No. 7 Oklahoma shut out Colorado 31-0 and moved back into the top five: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Iowa, No. 4 Miami, and No. 5 Oklahoma.

November 23: No. 1 Penn State, the only remaining undefeated team, finished their season with a 31-0 blowout of Pittsburgh. As was often the case in this era, the Big 8 championship came down to a battle between No. 2 Nebraska and No. 5 Oklahoma. This year the Sooners had an easy time, clinching an Orange Bowl berth with a 27-7 defeat of the Cornhuskers. No. 3 Iowa earned the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth with a 31-9 win over Minnesota. Their opponent in Pasadena would be No. 8 UCLA, who lost 17-13 to USC this weekend but had already clinched the Pac-10 title. No. 4 Miami breezed past Colorado State 24-3. Iowa’s victory eliminated No. 6 Michigan from Big Ten contention, but the Wolverines still came away with a 27-17 win over their rival, No. 12 Ohio State. The next poll featured No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Miami, and No. 5 Michigan.

November 28-30: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Iowa, and No. 5 Michigan had finished their schedules. No. 3 Oklahoma, already assured of the Big 8 title, shut out No. 17 Oklahoma State 13-0, while No. 4 Miami dominated Notre Dame 58-7. In addition, the final two bowl tie-ins were determined this weekend. No. 10 Tennessee shut out Vanderbilt 30-0 to tie Florida for the SEC title; even though the Gators had the head-to-head advantage, their probation barred them from postseason games and delivered the Sugar Bowl spot to the Volunteers. Meanwhile, No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 18 Texas played each other for the SWC championship, and the Aggies dominated the Longhorns 42-10 to earn a Cotton Bowl berth. Miami moved up in the next poll: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Miami, No. 3 Iowa, No. 4 Oklahoma, and No. 5 Michigan.

December

December 7: No. 4 Oklahoma finally played the game against SMU which had originally been scheduled for September 14, and the Sooners’ 35-13 victory moved them up one spot in the final poll of the regular season: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Miami, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Iowa, and No. 5 Michigan.

The highest-ranked postseason matchup would be the Orange Bowl between undefeated No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Oklahoma. No. 2 Miami, the only team to defeat Oklahoma in the regular season, matched up with No. 8 Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl featured the traditional Big Ten vs. Pac-10 game with No. 4 Iowa against No. 13 UCLA, and the Cotton Bowl pitted No. 11 Texas A&M against No. 16 Auburn. No. 5 Michigan and No. 7 Nebraska, the top-ranked teams which finished second in their respective conferences, would square off in the Fiesta Bowl.

Conference standings

1985 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 18 Maryland $ 6 0 0 9 3 0
No. 19 Georgia Tech 5 1 0 9 2 1
Virginia 4 3 0 6 5 0
Clemson 4 3 0 6 6 0
North Carolina 3 4 0 5 6 0
Duke 2 5 0 4 7 0
NC State 2 5 0 3 8 0
Wake Forest 1 6 0 4 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 1 Oklahoma $ 7 0 0 11 1 0
No. 11 Nebraska 6 1 0 9 3 0
Oklahoma State 4 3 0 8 4 0
Colorado 4 3 0 7 5 0
Iowa State 3 4 0 5 6 0
Kansas 2 5 0 6 6 0
Kansas State 1 6 0 1 10 0
Missouri 1 6 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 10 Iowa $ 7 1 0 10 2 0
No. 2 Michigan 6 1 1 10 1 1
Illinois 5 2 1 6 5 1
No. 14 Ohio State 5 3 0 9 3 0
Michigan State 5 3 0 7 5 0
Minnesota 4 4 0 7 5 0
Purdue 3 5 0 5 6 0
Wisconsin 2 6 0 5 6 0
Indiana 1 7 0 4 7 0
Northwestern 1 7 0 3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Bowling Green $ 9 0 0 11 1 0
Miami 7 1 1 8 2 1
Central Michigan 6 3 0 7 3 0
Western Michigan 4 4 1 4 6 1
Northern Illinois 4 4 0 4 7 0
Ball State 3 6 0 4 7 0
Eastern Michigan 3 6 0 4 7 0
Toledo 3 6 0 4 7 0
Kent State 2 6 0 3 8 0
Ohio 2 7 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1985 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Tulsa $ 3 0 0 6 5 0
West Texas State 3 1 1 6 3 1
Illinois State 3 1 1 6 3 2
Indiana State 2 2 0 4 6 0
Wichita State 2 3 0 3 8 0
Southern Illinois 1 3 0 4 7 0
Drake 1 5 0 4 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Tulsa also played Houston and East Carolina and recorded those games as conference games, but the league did not count them toward Tulsa's finish. The conference was a hybrid of NCAA Division I-A and I-AA programs. Tulsa and Wichita State were I-A and the other teams were I-AA.
1985 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Fresno State $ 7 0 0 11 0 1
Cal State Fullerton 5 2 0 6 5 0
UNLV 4 2 1 5 5 1
Long Beach State 4 3 0 6 6 0
Utah State 3 4 0 3 8 0
San Jose State 2 4 1 2 8 1
Pacific (CA) 2 5 0 5 7 0
New Mexico State 0 7 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1985 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 7 UCLA $ 6 2 0 9 2 1
Arizona 5 2 0 8 3 1
Arizona State 5 2 0 8 4 0
Washington 5 3 0 7 5 0
USC 5 3 0 6 6 0
Oregon 3 4 0 5 6 0
Washington State 3 5 0 4 7 0
Stanford 3 5 0 4 7 0
Oregon State 2 6 0 3 8 0
California 2 7 0 4 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 4 Tennessee $ 5 1 0 9 1 2
No. 5 Florida 5 1 0 9 1 1
No. 13 Alabama 4 1 1 9 2 1
No. 20 LSU 4 1 1 9 2 1
Georgia 3 2 1 7 3 2
Auburn 3 3 0 8 4 0
Ole Miss 2 4 0 4 6 1
Vanderbilt 1 4 1 3 7 1
Kentucky 1 5 0 5 6 0
Mississippi State 0 6 0 5 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Florida ineligible for SEC championship due to NCAA probation.
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 6 Texas A&M $ 7 1 0 10 2 0
No. 12 Arkansas 6 2 0 10 2 0
No. 17 Baylor 6 2 0 9 3 0
Texas 6 2 0 8 4 0
SMU 5 3 0 6 5 0
Houston 3 5 0 4 7 0
Rice 2 6 0 3 8 0
Texas Tech 1 7 0 4 7 0
TCU 0 8 0 3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 8 Air Force + 7 1 0 12 1 0
No. 16 BYU + 7 1 0 11 3 0
Utah 5 3 0 8 4 0
Hawaii 4 3 1 4 6 2
Colorado State 4 4 0 5 7 0
San Diego State 3 4 1 5 6 1
New Mexico 2 6 0 3 8 0
Wyoming 2 6 0 3 8 0
UTEP 1 7 0 1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1985 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 3 Penn State       11 1 0
No. 9 Miami (FL)       10 2 0
Army       9 3 0
No. 15 Florida State       9 3 0
West Virginia       7 3 1
Southern Miss       7 4 0
Syracuse       7 5 0
Virginia Tech       6 5 0
Pittsburgh       5 5 1
Cincinnati       5 6 0
Notre Dame       5 6 0
South Carolina       5 6 0
Southwestern Louisiana       4 7 0
Navy       4 7 0
Temple       4 7 0
Boston College       4 8 0
Memphis State       2 7 2
Rutgers       2 8 1
East Carolina       2 9 0
Louisville       2 9 0
Tulane       1 10 0
Rankings from AP Poll

AP Final Poll

Main article: 1985 NCAA Division I-A football rankings

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Michigan
  3. Penn State
  4. Tennessee
  5. Florida
  6. Texas A&M
  7. UCLA
  8. Air Force
  9. Miami (FL)
  10. Iowa
  11. Nebraska
  12. Arkansas
  13. Alabama
  14. Ohio State
  15. Florida State
  16. BYU
  17. Baylor
  18. Maryland
  19. Georgia Tech
  20. LSU

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Michigan
  3. Penn St.
  4. Tennessee
  5. Air Force
  6. UCLA
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Miami (FL)
  9. Iowa
  10. Nebraska
  11. Ohio St.
  12. Arkansas
  13. Florida St.
  14. Alabama
  15. Baylor
  16. Fresno St.
  17. Brigham Young
  18. Georgia Tech
  19. Maryland
  20. LSU

Notable rivalry games

AP Poll No. 1 and No. 2 progress

WEEKS No. 1 No. 2 Event
PRE-1 Oklahoma Auburn Auburn 49, LA-Lafayette 7 Sep 7
2–4 Auburn Oklahoma Tennessee 38, Auburn 20 Sep 28
5–6 Iowa Oklahoma Oklahoma 14, Texas 7 Oct 12
7 Iowa Michigan Iowa 12, Michigan 10 Oct 19
8–9 Iowa Florida Ohio State 22, Iowa 13 Nov 2
10 Florida Penn State Georgia 24, Florida 3 Nov 9
11–12 Penn State Nebraska Oklahoma 27, Nebraska 7 Nov 23
13 Penn State Air Force Miami 58, Notre Dame 7 Nov 30
14–15 Penn State Miami Oklahoma 25, Penn State 10 Jan 1

Bowl games

Main article: 1985–86 NCAA football bowl games

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year
Winner: Bo Jackson, Auburn, RB (1,509 points)

Other annual awards

References

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-02.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "1985 Heisman Trophy Voting".