1995 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams108[1]
Preseason AP No. 1Florida State[2]
Post-season
Bowl games18
Heisman TrophyEddie George (running back, Ohio State)
Bowl Alliance Championship
1996 Fiesta Bowl
SiteSun Devil Stadium,
Tempe, Arizona
Champion(s)Nebraska (AP, Coaches, FWAA)
Division I-A football seasons
← 1994
1996 →

The 1995 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first year of the Bowl Alliance.

Tom Osborne led Nebraska to its second straight national title with a victory over Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.

This matchup was only possible because of the new Bowl Alliance. Under the old system, Nebraska would have been tied to the Orange Bowl and Florida to the Sugar Bowl. The Bowl Alliance created a national championship game which would rotate between the Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta Bowls free of conference tie-ins and featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 teams as chosen by the Bowl Alliance Poll. The Pac-10 and Big Ten chose not to participate, keeping their tie-ins with the Rose Bowl.

Nebraska was a football dynasty, playing in its third consecutive national title game, and became the first school to claim back-to-back titles since the 1970s. This was a dominant Nebraska team, averaging 52 points per game and a 39-point average margin of victory, including a 62–24 victory over Florida. This lopsided victory came after Florida was picked by many sportswriters to win the game.

Ohio State almost created a national title controversy, going into its final regular season game against Michigan undefeated and ranked No. 2. Had they finished the season No. 2 the Bowl Alliance would have been unable to pit No. 1 vs. No. 2 as the Big Ten champ was tied to the Rose Bowl. However, Michigan upset Ohio State. Buckeye running back Eddie George still won the Heisman Trophy.

Things were lively in the state of Florida, where the Florida Gators won their third straight SEC championship. Florida State started the season No. 1, but lost an ACC game for the first time ever when Virginia stopped a last-minute drive a few inches from the end zone, knocking them out of the national title race.

However, Northwestern was able to steal the show as the year's Cinderella story. Its only regular season loss came against Miami-OH. Northwestern began the season with an upset of Notre Dame and went on to defeat Michigan and Penn State later in the season. Undefeated in the Big Ten after decades as a doormat, the Wildcats went on to face USC in the Rose Bowl. However, the Wildcats lost to the Trojans in what was a see-saw game until USC pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Miami and Alabama had to sit the post season out, as they were on NCAA probation.

The Southwest Conference played its final game ever, an 18–17 Houston win over Rice. Four of its members would join the Big 8 to form the Big 12; the other four were split between the WAC and the newly formed Conference USA.

The Hall of Fame Bowl, originally played in Birmingham, then moved to Tampa, Florida gained corporate sponsorship, and was now known as the Outback Bowl. The Freedom Bowl was discontinued and the Holiday Bowl absorbed its WAC tie-in.

The first ever Division I-A overtime game was played during the 1995 bowl season, the Las Vegas Bowl between Toledo and Nevada. Overtime would be adopted permanently for all games in 1996. Due to the adoption of overtime, the season-ending 3–3 game between Wisconsin and Illinois on November 25 is the last tied game in Division I-A.[3]

Rule changes

Conference and program changes

One team upgraded from Division I-AA prior to the season. As such, the total number of Division I-A schools increased to 108.

School 1994 Conference 1995 Conference
North Texas Mean Green Southland Conference I-A Independent

Regular Season

August-September

Florida State was the top-ranked team in the preseason AP Poll, with defending champion Nebraska at No. 2 followed by No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Penn State, and No. 5 Florida.

August 31-September 2: No. 1 Florida State opened their season with a 70-26 blowout of Duke. No. 2 Nebraska was just as dominant, winning 64-21 at Oklahoma State. No. 3 Texas A&M defeated LSU 33-17. No. 4 Penn State had not started their schedule. No. 5 Florida beat Houston 45-21. The top five remained the same in the next poll.

September 9: No. 1 Florida State won 45-26 at Clemson, and No. 2 Nebraska visited Michigan State for a 50-10 victory. No. 3 Texas A&M was idle. No. 4 Penn State struggled against Texas Tech, winning 24-23 on a field goal with four seconds left. No. 5 Florida beat Kentucky 42-7 in Lexington. No. 6 Auburn overwhelmed Chattanooga 76-10 and moved up in the next poll: No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Florida, and No. 5 Auburn.

September 16: No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Nebraska continued their dominant performances, respectively defeating North Carolina State 77-17 and Arizona State 77-28. No. 3 Texas A&M also piled on the points, beating Tulsa 52-9, and No. 4 Florida showed similar firepower with a 62-37 win over No. 8 Tennessee. In contrast, No. 5 Auburn found themselves in a defensive struggle at LSU, and the Bayou Bengals prevailed 12-6. No. 6 USC beat Houston 45-10 and moved up in the next poll: No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Florida, and No. 5 USC.

September 23: No. 1 Florida State defeated Central Florida 46-14, and No. 2 Nebraska beat Pacific 49-7. No. 3 Texas A&M lost 29-21 at No. 7 Colorado even after Buffaloes quarterback Koy Detmer was sidelined with a torn ACL. No. 4 Florida was idle, and No. 5 USC won 31-10 at No. 25 Arizona. The next poll featured No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Colorado, and No. 5 USC.

September 30: No. 1 Florida State was idle. After winning all their previous games by 40 points or more, No. 2 Nebraska had “only” a two-touchdown margin of victory in their 35-21 defeat of Washington State. No. 3 Florida beat Mississippi 28-10, No. 4 Colorado won 38-17 at No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 5 USC shut out Arizona State 31-0, and No. 7 Ohio State defeated No. 15 Notre Dame 45-26. The next poll featured No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Florida, and No. 4 Colorado, with USC and Ohio State tied at No. 5.

October

October 7: No. 1 Florida State defeated Miami 41-17. No. 2 Nebraska was idle. No. 3 Florida won 28-10 at No. 21 LSU, but No. 4 Colorado fell 40-24 to No. 24 Kansas. No. 5 Ohio State made a late comeback to beat No. 12 Penn State 28-25, while fellow No. 5 USC was a 26-16 winner at California. The next poll featured No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 USC.

October 14: No. 1 Florida State dropped 70 points on an opponent for the third time in six games, winning 72-13 over Wake Forest. No. 2 Nebraska kept up the pace with a 57-0 shutout of Missouri. No. 3 Florida visited No. 7 Auburn and won 49-38. No. 4 Ohio State made another fourth-quarter comeback to ensure a 27-16 win at No. 21 Wisconsin, their fifth ranked opponent in six games. No. 5 USC defeated Washington State 26-14. The top five remained the same in the next poll.

October 21: No. 1 Florida State beat Georgia Tech 42-10, while No. 2 Nebraska defeated No. 8 Kansas State 49-25. No. 3 Florida was idle. No. 4 Ohio State shut out Purdue 28-0, but No. 5 USC fell 38-10 at No. 17 Notre Dame. No. 6 Tennessee was idle but moved up in the next poll: No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Tennessee.

October 28: No. 1 Florida State was idle. No. 2 Nebraska won 44-21 at No. 7 Colorado, No. 3 Florida visited Georgia for a 52-17 victory, No. 4 Ohio State beat No. 25 Iowa 56-35, and No. 5 Tennessee defeated South Carolina 56-21. After two straight blowouts of highly-rated opponents, Nebraska moved to the top spot in the next poll: No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Tennessee.

November-December

November 2-4: No. 1 Nebraska overwhelmed Iowa State 73-14. The biggest upset of the season occurred in Charlottesville, where No. 24 Virginia hosted No. 2 Florida State. The Seminoles had dominated the ACC ever since they joined the league in 1992; in fact, they had not lost a single conference game in their three and a half years of membership. However, the streak came to an end with a 33-28 Cavaliers victory, as Florida State’s Warrick Dunn fell just short of a game-winning touchdown as time ran out. No. 3 Florida defeated Northern Illinois 58-20, No. 4 Ohio State won 49-21 at Minnesota, and No. 5 Tennessee shut out Southern Mississippi 42-0. No. 6 Northwestern, a surprise contender for the Big Ten title, beat No. 12 Penn State 21-10 and moved into the top five: No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Tennessee, and No. 5 Northwestern.

November 11: No. 1 Nebraska visited No. 10 Kansas and won 41-3 to sew up the Big 8 title. No. 2 Ohio State defeated Illinois by the same 41-3 margin. No. 3 Florida won 63-7 at South Carolina to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game. No. 4 Tennessee was idle, and No. 5 Northwestern beat Iowa 31-20. The top five remained the same in the next poll.

November 18: No. 1 Nebraska was idle. No. 2 Ohio State won 42-3 over Indiana, and No. 3 Florida defeated Vanderbilt 38-7. No. 4 Tennessee needed a fourth-quarter comeback to edge Kentucky 34-31, while No. 5 Northwestern had an easier time of it with a 23-8 victory at Purdue. The Wildcats moved ahead of the Volunteers in the next poll: No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Northwestern, and No. 5 Tennessee.

November 24-25: No. 1 Nebraska put an exclamation point on their dominant regular season with a 37-0 shutout of rival Oklahoma. An even bigger rivalry game took place the next day, when No. 2 Ohio State visited No. 18 Michigan. For the second time in three years, the Wolverines spoiled the Buckeyes’ shot at an undefeated season, as 313 rushing yards by Tim Biakabutuka and two second-half interceptions by Charles Woodson led to a 31-23 Michigan win. No. 4 Northwestern, who had finished their regular-season schedule, received the Rose Bowl berth which would have gone to Ohio State if the Buckeyes had defeated their nemeses. Meanwhile, No. 3 Florida beat No. 6 Florida State 35-24 and No. 5 Tennessee won 12-7 over Vanderbilt. The next poll featured No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Tennessee, and No. 5 Ohio State.

December 2: No. 2 Florida was heavily favored to defeat No. 23 Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game, and the Gators did not disappoint, blowing out the Razorbacks 34-3 to complete an undefeated regular season. The final pre-bowl AP Poll featured No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Florida, and No. 3 Northwestern, with Tennessee and Ohio State tied at No. 4.

As the only two undefeated teams in the country, No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Florida were the obvious choices for the national championship game, and they would square off in the Fiesta Bowl to decide the title. The Rose Bowl featured its traditional Big Ten/Pac-10 matchup with No. 3 Northwestern and No. 17 USC. Other major bowl pairings included the two teams tied at No. 4 (Tennessee and Ohio State) facing each other in the Citrus Bowl, No. 6 Notre Dame against No. 8 Florida State in the Orange Bowl, No. 7 Colorado meeting No. 12 Oregon in the Cotton Bowl, and No. 9 Texas (champion of the SWC in that conference’s last year of existence) versus Big East-winning No. 13 Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

Conference standings

1995 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 4 Florida State +   7 1     10 2  
No. 16 Virginia +   7 1     9 4  
Clemson   6 2     8 4  
Georgia Tech   5 3     6 5  
North Carolina   4 4     7 5  
Maryland   4 4     6 5  
NC State   2 6     3 8  
Duke   1 7     3 8  
Wake Forest   0 8     1 10  
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big East Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
No. 10 Virginia Tech +   6 1     10 2  
No. 20 Miami (FL) +   6 1     8 3  
No. 19 Syracuse   5 2     9 3  
West Virginia   4 3     5 6  
Boston College   4 3     4 8  
Rutgers   2 5     4 7  
Temple   1 6     1 10  
Pittsburgh   0 7     2 9  
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big Eight Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 1 Nebraska $ 7 0 0 12 0 0
No. 5 Colorado 5 2 0 10 2 0
No. 7 Kansas State 5 2 0 10 2 0
No. 9 Kansas 5 2 0 10 2 0
Oklahoma 2 5 0 5 5 1
Oklahoma State 2 5 0 4 8 0
Missouri 1 6 0 3 8 0
Iowa State 1 6 0 3 8 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 8 Northwestern $ 8 0 0 10 2 0
No. 6 Ohio State 7 1 0 11 2 0
No. 13 Penn State 5 3 0 9 3 0
No. 17 Michigan 5 3 0 9 4 0
Michigan State 4 3 1 6 5 1
No. 25 Iowa 4 4 0 8 4 0
Illinois 3 4 1 5 5 1
Wisconsin 3 4 1 4 5 2
Purdue 2 5 1 4 6 1
Minnesota 1 7 0 3 8 0
Indiana 0 8 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big West Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Nevada $ 7 0 0 9 3 0
Southwestern Louisiana 4 2 0 6 5 0
Utah State 4 3 0 4 7 0
Arkansas State 3 3 0 6 5 0
Northern Illinois 3 3 0 3 8 0
New Mexico State 3 4 0 4 7 0
San Jose State 3 4 0 3 8 0
Louisiana Tech 2 4 0 5 6 0
Pacific (CA) 2 4 0 3 8 0
UNLV 1 5 0 2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1995 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 24 Toledo $ 7 0 1 11 0 1
Miami 6 1 1 8 2 1
Ball State 6 2 0 7 4 0
Western Michigan 6 2 0 7 4 0
Eastern Michigan 5 3 0 6 5 0
Bowling Green 3 5 0 5 6 0
Central Michigan 2 6 0 4 7 0
Akron 2 6 0 2 9 0
Ohio 1 6 1 2 8 1
Kent State 0 7 1 1 9 1
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Pacific-10 Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 12 USC ^ + 6 1 1 9 2 1
Washington + 6 1 1 7 4 1
No. 18 Oregon 6 2 0 9 3 0
Stanford 5 3 0 7 4 1
UCLA 4 4 0 7 5 0
Arizona 4 4 0 6 5 0
Arizona State 4 4 0 6 5 0
California 2 6 0 3 8 0
Washington State 2 6 0 3 8 0
Oregon State 0 8 0 1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
  • ^ – Rose Bowl representative per tie-breaking rules based on overall record, due to Washington-USC tie
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Eastern Division
No. 2 Florida x$ 8 0 0 12 1 0
No. 3 Tennessee 7 1 0 11 1 0
Georgia 3 5 0 6 6 0
South Carolina 2 5 1 4 6 1
Kentucky 2 6 0 4 7 0
Vanderbilt 1 7 0 2 9 0
Western Division
Arkansas x 6 2 0 8 5 0
No. 21 Alabama 5 3 0 8 3 0
No. 22 Auburn 5 3 0 8 4 0
LSU 4 3 1 7 4 1
Ole Miss 3 5 0 6 5 0
Mississippi State 1 7 0 3 8 0
Championship: Florida 34, Arkansas 3
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 14 Texas $ 7 0 0 10 2 1
No. 23 Texas Tech 5 2 0 9 3 0
No. 15 Texas A&M 5 2 0 9 3 0
Baylor 5 2 0 7 4 0
TCU 3 4 0 6 5 0
Houston 2 5 0 2 9 0
Rice 1 6 0 2 8 1
SMU 0 7 0 1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Western Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Colorado State +   6 2     8 4  
BYU +   6 2     7 4  
Utah +   6 2     7 4  
Air Force +   6 2     8 5  
San Diego State   5 3     8 4  
Wyoming   4 4     6 5  
Fresno State   2 6     5 7  
New Mexico   2 6     4 7  
Hawaii   2 6     4 8  
UTEP   1 7     2 10  
  • + – Conference co-champions
1995 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 11 Notre Dame     9 3 0
East Carolina     9 3 0
Louisville     7 4 0
Cincinnati     6 5 0
Southern Miss     6 5 0
Army     5 5 1
Navy     5 6 0
Tulsa     4 7 0
Memphis     3 8 0
Northeast Louisiana     2 9 0
North Texas     2 9 0
Tulane     2 9 0
Rankings from AP Poll

No. 1 and No. 2 progress

WEEKS No. 1 No. 2 Event Date
PRE-9 Florida State Nebraska Nebraska 44, Colorado 21 Oct 28
10 Nebraska Florida State Virginia 33, Florida St. 28 Nov 2
11-13 Nebraska Ohio State+ Michigan 31, Ohio State 23 Nov 25
14-15 Nebraska Florida Nebraska 62, Florida 24 Jan 1

+Ohio State, a Big Ten school, was not part of the Bowl Alliance. Florida was No. 3 during weeks 11 through 13.

Bowl games

Main article: 1995–96 NCAA football bowl games

Final AP Poll

Main article: 1995 NCAA Division I-A football rankings

  1. Nebraska
  2. Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. Florida State
  5. Colorado
  6. Ohio State
  7. Kansas State
  8. Northwestern
  9. Kansas
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Notre Dame
  12. USC
  13. Penn State
  14. Texas
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Virginia
  17. Michigan
  18. Oregon
  19. Syracuse
  20. Miami-FL
  21. Alabama
  22. Auburn
  23. Texas Tech
  24. Toledo
  25. Iowa

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Nebraska
  2. Tennessee
  3. Florida
  4. Colorado
  5. Florida St.
  6. Kansas St.
  7. Northwestern
  8. Ohio St.
  9. Virginia Tech
  10. Kansas
  11. Southern California
  12. Penn St.
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Texas
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Syracuse
  17. Virginia
  18. Oregon
  19. Michigan
  20. Texas Tech
  21. Auburn
  22. Iowa
  23. East Carolina
  24. Toledo
  25. LSU

Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year

Winner: Eddie George, Ohio State, Running Back (1460 votes)

Other major awards

References

  1. ^ "1995 NCAA Division IA Football Power Ratings". www.jhowell.net.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-03.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Sometimes history isn't always pretty as the CFB's last tie shows". ESPN.com. 10 November 2016.