1966 college football season

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The 1966 University Division football season was marked by some controversy as the year of "The Tie", a famous November 19 game between the two top-ranked teams, Michigan State and Notre Dame, that ended in a 10-10 tie. Both teams were crowned national champions by various organizations after the regular season concluded. Neither team participated in a post-season bowl game. Georgia was retroactively ranked #1 in the Massey Ratings system. In 1966, The Bulldogs went 10-1, with wins over seventh ranked Florida and fifth ranked Georgia Tech in the regular season, as well as convincingly defeating tenth ranked SMU in the Cotton Bowl by a score of 24-9. In addition to being retroactively named as one of the national champions of the 1966 season, Georgia finished as SEC Co-champion with Alabama, which finished #2 in the Massey Ratings system. Notre Dame finished third in the Massey Ratings, while Michigan State finished ranked fourth. Alabama finished the regular season undefeated and would finish third in the AP poll, while Georgia finished fourth in the AP poll. Alabama would go on to win the Sugar Bowl in dominant fashion. 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 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). In 1966, both services issued their final polls at the close of the regular season, but before teams competed in bowl games. The Associated Press presented the "AP Trophy" to the winner.

The AP poll in 1966 consisted of the votes of as many as 63 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. Those who cast votes 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. In the preseason poll for 1966, Alabama was slightly ahead of Michigan State in first place votes (15 vs. 12) and points.

The American Broadcasting Company began showing college football in color this season. By the NCAA rules, only 8 national and 5 regional telecasts were allowed during the season.

Rule changes[edit]

  • A jersey numbering system was adopted requiring the center, tackles and guards on the offense to wear numbers 50-79. The offensive team captain must designate the players occupying these positions to an official upon request; failure to do so results in a five-yard penalty.
  • Intentionally throwing a backward pass out of bounds to conserve time is illegal.
  • Pyramiding players (allowing a player to stand on another player) in an effort to block a kick is outlawed. This change was made in response to Cornell University having two players stand with two other players on their shoulders trying to block kicker Charlie Gogolak's field goal attempts during a game against Princeton University.

September[edit]

In the preseason poll released on September 12, 1966, the top six teams were from different conferences. First place was the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC), followed by defending UPI champ Michigan State (Big Ten), Nebraska (Big Eight), UCLA (Pacific-8), Arkansas (SWC) and Notre Dame (independent).

September 17 #2 Michigan State beat North Carolina State 28-10 at home. #3 Nebraska beat Texas Christian (TCU) 14-10. In Los Angeles, #4 UCLA crushed the Pittsburgh Panthers, 57-14. At a game in Little Rock, #5 Arkansas beat visiting Oklahoma State 14-10, but fell to 6th place in the next poll, while #9 USC won at Texas, 10-6. Alabama had not yet begun its season. The poll was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Alabama 4.Nebraska and 5.USC.

September 24 #1 Michigan State beat Penn State 42-8 at home in East Lansing. #2 UCLA won 31-12 at Syracuse, #3 Alabama easily handled Louisiana Tech 34-0, and #4 Nebraska won over Utah State 28-7 but would drop to sixth. The Cornhuskers were replaced by #8 Notre Dame, which had beaten #7 Purdue at home, 26-14. #5 USC beat Wisconsin in Los Angeles 38-3. In the poll, it was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Alabama 4.Notre Dame and 5.USC.

October[edit]

October 1 #1 Michigan State won at Illinois, 26-10. #2 UCLA hosted Missouri and won, 24-15. #3 Alabama beat Mississippi 17-7, while #4 Notre Dame won 35-7 at Northwestern and thus jumped over Alabama to #3. #5 USC played Oregon State in a game at Portland, winning 21-0, but it dropped from fifth to sixth. Its place was taken by #7 Arkansas, which shut out Texas Christian by the same 21-0 score. The next poll was 1.Michigan State 2.UCLA 3.Notre Dame 4.Alabama 5.Arkansas. All of the Top Ten teams remained unbeaten (the next five were USC, Nebraska, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Florida

October 8 #1 Michigan State beat Michigan at home, 20-7. #2 UCLA won in Houston against Rice, 27-24. #3 Notre Dame and #4 Alabama registered shutouts, beating Army (35-0) and Clemson (26-0), respectively. Thus, Notre Dame and Alabama jumped over UCLA. #5 Arkansas was itself shut out, 7-0, by the Baylor Bears. They were replaced at fifth place by #6 USC which won 17-14 at Washington. #7 Nebraska beat the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, 31-3. In a matchup between #9 Georgia Tech and #8 Tennessee in Atlanta, Tech won 6-3. With two unbeatens gone, the eight remaining in the poll were 1.Michigan State 2.Notre Dame 3.Alabama 4.UCLA 5.USC 6.Nebraska 7.Georgia Tech 8.Florida

October 15 #1 Michigan State narrowly beat Ohio State in Columbus, 11-8, while #2 Notre Dame held North Carolina scoreless at home, 32-0, which was enough for them to trade places in the next poll. Likewise, #3 Alabama edged Tennessee 11-10 while #4 UCLA overwhelmed Penn State 49-11 to jump back ahead of Alabama. UCLA's Los Angeles rival, #5 USC, beat Stanford 21-7. #6 Nebraska won 21-10 over Kansas State. #7 Georgia Tech met Auburn in Birmingham, winning 17-3 to stay unbeaten, and #8 Florida won at North Carolina State, 17-10. Oklahoma, which was scheduled to face Notre Dame, beat Kansas 35-0, while Purdue (set to face Michigan State) beat Michigan 22-21 in Ann Arbor. Purdue was the only team with a loss in the next poll: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.USC 6.Georgia Tech 7.Nebraska 8.Florida 9.Purdue 10.Oklahoma

On October 22, #1 Notre Dame met #10 Oklahoma at Norman and beat them, 38-0. #2 Michigan State hosted #9 Purdue and won 41-20, which would give State the Big Ten crown. Because of a Big Ten rule barring two straight Rose Bowl appearances, Purdue went to Pasadena instead of the Spartans. #3 UCLA won 28-15 at California in Berkeley, while in Birmingham, #4 Alabama handled Vanderbilt 42-6 and #5 USC beat visiting Clemson 30-0. It was #6 Georgia Tech over Tulane, 35-17, and #7 Nebraska won 21-19 at Colorado in a game that would determine the Big 8 championship. Arkansas returned to the Top Ten with a 41-0 triumph over Wichita State at Little Rock and Wyoming (which had gone 6-0-0 with a 35-10 win over Utah State) reached #10. The next poll had nine unbeaten teams, and Arkansas: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.USC 6.Ga Tech 7.Florida 8.Nebraska 9.Arkansas 5-1 10.Wyoming

October 29 Week Eight featured games in large cities. In a Friday night game in Miami, #5 USC lost 10-7 to the Hurricanes. #1 Notre Dame met Navy in a game at Philadelphia and won 31-7. #2 Michigan State traveled to metropolitan Chicago (Evanston) to beat Northwestern 22-0. In Los Angeles, #3 UCLA beat the Air Force Academy 38-13. #4 Alabama beat Mississippi State 27-14 in Tuscaloosa. Three other teams won again to go 7-0-0 (#6 Georgia Tech over Duke 48-7, #7 Florida over Auburn 30-27 and #8 Nebraska 35-0 over Missouri). #9 Arkansas won 34-0 over Texas A&M, and #10 Wyoming's Top Ten ranking ended with its first loss, 12-10 at Colorado State. The remaining unbeatens in the Halloween rankings were 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.UCLA 4.Alabama 5.Georgia Tech 6.Nebraska and 7.Florida.

November[edit]

November 5 #1 Notre Dame beat Pittsburgh at home, 40-0. #2 Michigan State beat Iowa at home, 56-7. In Seattle, The #3 UCLA Bruins suffered their first loss, falling 16-3 at Washington. #4 Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 at Birmingham. #5 Georgia Tech got by Virginia in Atlanta, 14-13. #6 Nebraska, which had won 24-13 at Kansas, entered the Top Five, which contained the nation's five unbeaten major teams: 1.Notre Dame 2.Michigan State 3.Alabama 4.Nebraska 5.Georgia Tech.

On November 12, #1 Notre Dame crushed Duke 64-0 at home. #2 Michigan State won at Indiana 37-19. #3 Alabama over South Carolina 24-0 at Tuscaloosa for its third straight shutout win. #4 Nebraska won 21-6 over Oklahoma State, and #5 Georgia Tech beat Penn State 21-0. The Top Five remained the same, as #1 Notre Dame and #2 Michigan State prepared to meet on State's turf in East Lansing.

November 19, In "the game of the century" #1 Notre Dame played #2 Michigan State to a 10-10 tie in East Lansing. The Spartans closed their season with a 9-0-1 record and no postseason game, since they had played the 1965 Rose Bowl and were barred from a repeat. After the game, the AP and UPI split, with the AP ranking Notre Dame #1 and the UPI ranking Michigan State #1. Without injured star QB Gary Beban, #8 UCLA still managed to beat #7 USC 14-7. Although UCLA finished with a better overall record (9-1) and ranking (#5) than USC (7-3), it was the Trojans who were voted by the conference to go on to the Rose Bowl, due to having played one more "conference game." UCLA students took to the streets protesting the decision in anger, at one point blocking the nearby 405 Freeway. The Rose Bowl would pit USC vs. Purdue when the ideal matchup was largely considered UCLA vs. Michigan State. #3 Alabama, #4 Nebraska and #5 Georgia Tech were all idle. The poll remained unchanged.

On Thanksgiving Day, #4 Nebraska and Oklahoma met at Norman, with the Sooners winning 10-9 to leave the Cornhuskers with a 9-1-0 finish. On Saturday, November 26, #1 Notre Dame went to Los Angeles to hand #10 USC a 51-0 shutout loss -- the most points scored against USC up to that time, and USC's largest margin of defeat to this day. #3 Alabama won over Southern Mississippi in Mobile. #5 Georgia Tech lost to #7 Georgia 23-14 at Athens. The Bulldogs closed with a 9-1-0 finish, an unbeaten SEC record (tied with Alabama), and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl to face SMU. In the final regular poll, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Alabama were first, second and third, with Georgia 4th and UCLA 5th. On December 3, #3 Alabama closed its season with a 31-0 win over Auburn in Birmingham, for its fourth straight shutout and a 10-0-0 record.

Conference standings[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of conference standings:

1966 AAWU football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
USC 4 1 0     7 4 0
#5 UCLA 3 1 0     9 1 0
Oregon State 3 1 0     7 3 0
Washington 4 3 0     6 4 0
California 2 3 0     3 7 0
Oregon 1 3 0     3 7 0
Washington State 1 3 0     3 7 0
Stanford 1 4 0     5 5 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1966 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Clemson   6 1         6 4  
NC State   5 2         5 5  
Maryland   3 3         4 6  
Virginia   3 3         4 6  
Duke   2 3         5 5  
Wake Forest   2 4         3 7  
South Carolina   1 3         1 9  
North Carolina   1 4         2 8  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll[3]
1966 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#6 Nebraska 6 1 0     9 2 0
Colorado 5 2 0     7 3 0
Missouri 4 2 1     6 3 1
Oklahoma 4 3 0     6 4 0
Oklahoma State 4 2 1     4 5 1
Iowa State 2 3 2     2 6 2
Kansas 0 6 1     2 7 1
Kansas State 0 6 1     0 9 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1966 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2/2 Michigan State 7 0 0     9 0 1
#7/6 Purdue 6 1 0     9 2 0
Michigan 4 3 0     6 4 0
Illinois 4 3 0     4 6 0
Minnesota 3 3 1     4 5 1
Ohio State 3 4 0     4 5 0
Northwestern 2 4 1     3 6 1
Wisconsin 2 4 1     3 6 1
Indiana 1 5 1     1 8 1
Iowa 1 6 0     2 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1966 Missouri Valley football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
North Texas 3 1 0     8 2 0
Tulsa 3 1 0     6 4 0
Cincinnati 2 2 0     3 7 0
Louisville 1 3 0     6 4 0
Wichita State 1 3 0     2 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll


1966 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Alabama § 6 0 0     11 0 0
#4 Georgia § 6 0 0     10 1 0
Florida 5 1 0     9 2 0
Ole Miss 5 2 0     8 3 0
Tennessee 4 2 0     8 3 0
LSU 3 3 0     5 4 1
Kentucky 2 4 0     3 6 1
Auburn 1 5 0     4 6 0
Mississippi State 0 6 0     2 8 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     1 9 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1966 Southern Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
East Carolina § 4 1 1     4 5 1
William & Mary § 4 1 1     5 4 1
West Virginia 3 1 1     3 5 2
George Washington 4 3 0     5 5 0
Davidson 2 3 0     4 5 0
The Citadel 3 5 0     4 6 0
Richmond 2 4 0     2 8 0
Furman 1 4 0     3 7 1
VMI 1 4 0     2 8 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1966 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10 SMU 6 1 0     8 3 0
Arkansas 5 2 0     8 2 0
Texas 5 2 0     7 4 0
Texas A&M 4 3 0     4 5 1
Baylor 3 4 0     5 5 0
Texas Tech 2 5 0     4 6 0
TCU 2 5 0     2 8 0
Rice 1 6 0     2 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1966 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Wyoming 5 0 0     10 1 0
BYU 3 2 0     8 2 0
Arizona State 3 2 0     5 5 0
Utah 3 2 0     5 5 0
Arizona 1 4 0     3 7 0
New Mexico 0 5 0     2 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games[edit]

In the final AP poll, taken before the bowl games, 9-0-1 Notre Dame was the overwhelming choice of the writers for the AP Trophy, with 41 of the 56 first place votes, and Michigan State was second. Alabama, which had gone unbeaten and later won the Sugar Bowl against Nebraska, still finished third. Georgia, whose only blemish had been a one-point loss to the Miami Hurricanes, was fourth and UCLA was fifth.

BOWL
Sugar #3 Alabama Crimson Tide 34 #6 Nebraska Cornhuskers 7
Cotton #4 Georgia Bulldogs 24 #10 SMU Mustangs 9
Rose #7 Purdue Boilermakers 14 USC Trojans 13
Orange Florida Gators 27 #8 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets 12

Other bowls:

BOWL Location Winner Loser
SUN El Paso, TX Wyoming 28 Florida State 20
GATOR Jacksonville, FL Tennessee 18 Syracuse 12
TANGERINE Orlando, FL Morgan State 14 West Chester 6
BLUEBONNET Houston, TX Texas 19 Mississippi 0
LIBERTY Memphis, TN #9 Miami Hurricanes 14 Virginia Tech Hokies 7

Other champions[edit]

The schools that are now in the NCAA's "Division I-AA" were ranked in the "small college poll", taken by both the UPI (coaches) and AP (a panel of writers). In 1966, both services ranked the 10-0-0 San Diego State Aztecs #1 and the 8-2-0 Montana Grizzlies #2. The teams met in the Camellia Bowl in Sacramento (one of four postseason games for college division teams). San Diego State won, 28-7. In the NAIA championship game, the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets beat the UW-Whitewater Warhawks 42-21.

See also[edit]

References[edit]