1982 NCAA Division I-A football season

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The 1982 NCAA Division I-A football season saw Paul "Bear" Bryant retire as head coach at Alabama with 323 career victories in 38 seasons.

The Penn State Nittany Lions won their first consensus national championship, closing out an 11-1 season by defeating Georgia and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker in the Sugar Bowl 27-23, and edging out undefeated SMU for the National Championship. It was Joe Paterno's first national championship, after three undefeated non-championship seasons.

UCLA moved from the LA Coliseum to the Rose Bowl and fulfilled a promise made by coach Terry Donahue by closing out their season there as well, beating Michigan in the post-season Rose Bowl game, 24-14.

It is also the year of “The Play”, a near impossible finish to the annual rivalry game between Cal and Stanford.

The Aloha Bowl premiered in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This was the first season the Ivy League, Southern Conference, and Southland Conference competed at the I-AA (FCS) level.[3] Southwestern Louisiana would be the only team from those three conferences to remain in Division 1-A, becoming a Division 1-A independent. Through the 2012 season, the Ivy League has yet to participate in the post-season tournament, despite an automatic bid, citing academic concerns. This season also saw the loss of Division 1-A independent teams Colgate, Holy Cross, and Northeast Louisiana; dropping the total number of Division 1-A teams down to 113 from the previous season's 137 teams.

Rule Changes[edit]

  • The penalty for incidental grasping of a facemask was reduced from 15 yards to 5 yards. The 5 yard version of this penalty would be later abolished in the 2008 season.
  • Coaches are no longer allowed to request a conference with the referee regarding a misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule, modifying a 1981 rule permitting such conferences, though a player or substitute can still request them.
  • The penalty for offensive pass interference in the end zone was changed to a 15-yard penalty from a touchback.
  • Penalties on the defense for fouls committed away from a catchable ball will be enforced from the previous spot and will no longer be considered pass interference.
  • Intentional grounding where the spot of enforcement is in the end zone will no longer result in an automatic safety. The defense will have the option to take the result of the play or the safety.
  • Intentional grounding will not be called if a passer throws the ball out of bounds to conserve time.
  • Penalties against the offense that occur behind the scrimmage line will be enforced from the previous spot and not from the spot of the foul.
  • Use of adhesive material (such as stickum) is prohibited.

Conference standings[edit]

1982 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#8 Clemson 6 0 0     9 1 1
#20 Maryland 5 1 0     8 4 0
#18 North Carolina 3 3 0     8 4 0
Duke 3 3 0     6 5 0
NC State 3 3 0     6 5 0
Virginia 1 5 0     2 9 0
Wake Forest 0 6 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Nebraska 7 0 0     12 1 0
#16 Oklahoma 6 1 0     8 4 0
Oklahoma State 3 2 2     4 5 2
Kansas State 3 3 1     6 5 1
Missouri 2 3 2     5 4 2
Iowa State 1 5 1     4 6 1
Kansas 1 5 1     2 7 2
Colorado 1 5 1     2 8 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#NR/15 Michigan 8 1 0     8 4 0
#12/12 Ohio State 7 1 0     9 3 0
Iowa 6 2 0     8 4 0
Illinois 6 3 0     7 5 0
Wisconsin 5 4 0     7 5 0
Indiana 4 5 0     5 6 0
Purdue 3 6 0     3 8 0
Northwestern 2 7 0     3 8 0
Michigan State 2 7 0     2 9 0
Minnesota 1 8 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1982 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Bowling Green 7 2 0     7 5 0
Western Michigan 5 2 2     7 2 2
Miami 5 3 0     7 4 0
Central Michigan 5 3 1     6 4 1
Ohio 5 4 0     6 5 0
Toledo 5 4 0     6 5 0
Northern Illinois 5 4 0     5 5 0
Ball State 4 4 0     5 6 0
Eastern Michigan 1 7 1     1 9 1
Kent State 0 9 0     0 11 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Tulsa 6 0 0     10 1 0
Wichita State 4 1 0     8 3 0
Southern Illinois 4 1 0     6 5 0
Indiana State 3 2 0     5 6 0
Drake 2 4 0     4 7 0
New Mexico State 1 4 0     3 8 0
West Texas State 1 4 0     3 8 0
Illinois State 0 5 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#5 UCLA 5 1 1     10 1 1
#7 Washington 6 2 0     10 2 0
#6 Arizona State 5 2 0     10 2 0
#15 USC 5 2 0     8 3 0
Arizona 4 3 1     6 4 1
California 4 4 0     7 4 0
Stanford 3 5 0     5 6 0
Washington State 2 4 1     3 7 1
Oregon 2 6 0     2 8 1
Oregon State 0 7 1     1 9 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Fresno State 6 0 0     11 1 0
Long Beach State 5 1 0     6 5 0
San Jose State 4 2 0     8 3 0
Utah State 2 3 0     5 6 0
Pacific 2 4 0     2 9 0
UNLV 1 4 0     3 8 0
Cal State Fullerton 0 6 0     3 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#4 Georgia 6 0 0     11 1 0
#11 LSU 4 1 1     8 3 1
#14 Auburn 4 2 0     9 3 0
Vanderbilt 4 2 0     8 4 0
Tennessee 3 2 1     6 5 1
Alabama 3 3 0     8 4 0
Florida 3 3 0     8 4 0
Mississippi State 2 4 0     5 6 0
Ole Miss 0 6 0     4 7 0
Kentucky 0 6 0     0 10 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Penn State           11 1 0
#13 Florida State           9 3 0
#10 Pittsburgh           9 3 0
#19 West Virginia           9 3 0
Boston College           8 3 1
Southwestern Louisiana           7 3 1
East Carolina           7 4 0
Miami           7 4 0
Southern Miss           7 4 0
Virginia Tech           7 4 0
Notre Dame           6 4 1
Cincinnati           6 5 0
Georgia Tech           6 5 0
Navy           6 5 0
Louisville           5 6 0
Rutgers           5 6 0
Army           4 7 0
South Carolina           4 7 0
Temple           4 7 0
Tulane           4 7 0
William & Mary           3 8 0
North Texas           2 9 0
Syracuse           2 9 0
Memphis           1 10 0
Richmond           0 10 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 SMU 7 0 1     11 0 1
#17 Texas 7 1 0     9 3 0
#9 Arkansas 5 2 1     9 2 1
Houston 4 3 1     5 5 1
Baylor 3 4 1     4 6 1
Texas A&M 3 5 0     5 6 0
Texas Tech 3 5 0     4 7 0
TCU 2 6 0     3 8 0
Rice 0 8 0     0 11 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1982 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
BYU 7 1 0     8 4 0
New Mexico 6 1 0     10 1 0
Air Force 4 3 0     8 5 0
San Diego State 4 3 0     7 5 0
Hawaii 4 4 0     6 5 0
Colorado State 3 5 0     4 7 0
Utah 2 4 0     5 6 0
Wyoming 2 6 0     5 7 0
UTEP 1 6 0     2 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Notable rivalry games[edit]

  • Arizona 28, ASU 18
  • Auburn 23, Alabama 22
  • Cal 25, Stanford 20 (The Play)
  • UCLA 20, USC 19 - In the first game of this rivalry contested at the Rose Bowl, USC trailed 20-13 and had 4th & Goal from the one-yard line with 0:01 left in the game. USC scored a touchdown and decided to go for the two-point conversion with 0:00 on the clock. USC announcer Tom Kelly remarked, "Typical of this great rivalry--even when it's over, it isn't over!" On the ensuing try for two by USC, UCLA's Karl Morgan sacked USC QB Scott Tinsley. This occurred within minutes of The Play, which was happening 400 miles to the north in Berkeley.
  • USC 17, Notre Dame 13
  • Tulane 31, #7 LSU 28 (Tulane's first win at Tiger Stadium since 1948)
  • Ohio St. 24, Michigan 14
  • #8 Nebraska 28, #11 Oklahoma 24
  • #8 Penn St 27, #2 Nebraska 24

September[edit]

The pre season poll had a top 5 of 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. North Carolina. Penn State was #8.

On September 11, #5 North Carolina lost at #1 Pittsburgh by a score of 7-6; the Tar Heels would never return to the top 5 as they went 8-4. Meanwhile, Washington, by virtue of its 55-0 win over UTEP, moved ahead of Pitt in the next poll. Florida replaced North Carolina in the top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.

After games of September 18, Pittsburgh was again leapfrogged by a team that dominated a weak opponent, as Nebraska beat New Mexico 68-0 and moved ahead of Pitt to #2. The rest of the top 5 was unchanged.

On September 25, #2 Nebraska was defeated at #8 Penn State by a score of 27-24 in a game that untimately decided the national title. Penn State replaced Nebraska in the new top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.

October[edit]

On October 2, #5 Florida lost at home to unranked LSU 24-13. Georgia replaced Florida in the top 5 and also moved ahead of Alabama. The new poll was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Georgia, and 5. Alabama.

On October 9, #5 Alabama defeated #3 Penn State in Birmingham 42-21. Alabama jumped up top to #2 while SMU replaced Penn State in the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Alabama, 3. Pittsburgh, 4. Georgia, 5. SMU.

On October 16, #2 Alabama was knocked off in Knoxville by Tennessee, 35-28. Nebraska returned to the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, 5. Nebraska.

On October 23, Washington struggled to beat Texas Tech 10-3 so Pittsburgh moved ahead of them in the poll. The same day, Nebraska squeaked by Missouri at home 23-19 and slipped to #6, with Arkansas taking their place in the top 5. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, and 5. Arkansas.

On October 30 in Palo Alto, John Elway and Stanford stunned #2 Washington 43-31. SMU jumped ahead of Georgia into the #2 spot with a 47-9 drubbing of Texas A&M. Undefeated and #7 Arizona State beat #12 USC 17-10 and moved up to #4. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. SMU, 3. Georgia, 4. Arizona State, and 5. Arkansas.

November[edit]

On November 6, #1 Pittsburgh was stunned at home by unranked Notre Dame, 31-16. #5 Arkansas was knocked off by Baylor in Waco 24-17. #3 Georgia romped over #20 Florida 44-0 and moved to the top spot. The new poll was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Arizona State, 4. Nebraska, and 5. Penn State.

On November 13 in a Pac-10 showdown in Tempe, #7 Washington beat #3 Arizona State 17-13. That put the Huskies back in the top 5. Remembering that Penn State defeated Nebraska earlier in the season, the pollsters moved the Nittany Lions ahead of the Cornhuskers in the new poll that was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Penn State, 4. Nebraska, 5. Washington.

On November 20, #2 SMU was tied by #9 Arkansas 17-17. #5 Washington had its Rose Bowl hopes ended as rival Washington State upset the Huskies 24-20. Pittsburgh returned to the top five replacing Washington. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. Pittsburgh.

On November 26, in a game that likely decided who would meet #1 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, #2 Penn State shut down Dan Marino and #5 Pittsburgh, 19-10. The next day, #6 Arizona State was knocked out of the Rose Bowl by rival Arizona, 28-18. That gave UCLA the Pac 10 title and Rose Bowl berth. The Bruins replaced Pittsburgh in the top 5 in the final regular season poll. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State, 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. UCLA.

#1 and #2 Progress[edit]

WEEKS #1 #2 Event
PRE-1 Pittsburgh Washington Washington 55, UTEP 0 Sep 11
2 Washington Pittsburgh Nebraska 68, New Mexico St. 0 Sep 18
3 Washington Nebraska Penn State 27, Nebraska 24 Sep 25
4-5 Washington Pittsburgh Alabama 34, Arkansas St 7 Oct 2
6 Washington Alabama Tennessee 35, Alabama 28 Oct 16
7 Washington Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 14, Syracuse 0 Oct 23
8 Pittsburgh Washington Stanford 43, Washington 31 Oct 30
9 Pittsburgh SMU Notre Dame 31, Pitt 16 Nov 6
10-11 Georgia SMU Arkansas 17, SMU 17 Nov 20
12-14 Georgia Penn State Penn State 27, Georgia 23 Jan 1

Bowl Games[edit]

Final AP Poll[edit]

  1. Penn St.
  2. Southern Methodist
  3. Nebraska
  4. Georgia
  5. UCLA
  6. Arizona St.
  7. Washington
  8. Clemson
  9. Arkansas
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. Louisiana St.
  12. Ohio St.
  13. Florida St.
  14. Auburn
  15. Southern California
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Texas
  18. North Carolina
  19. West Virginia
  20. Maryland

Final Coaches Poll[edit]

  1. Penn St.
  2. Southern Methodist
  3. Nebraska
  4. Georgia
  5. UCLA
  6. Arizona St.
  7. Washington
  8. Arkansas
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Florida St.
  11. Louisiana St.
  12. Ohio St.
  13. North Carolina
  14. Auburn
  15. Michigan
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Alabama
  18. Texas
  19. West Virginia
  20. Maryland

Other Major Awards[edit]

Heisman Memorial Trophy: Herschel Walker, Georgia

Outland Trophy(Interior Lineman): David Rimington, Nebraska

Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award(Lineman or Linebacker): Dave Rimington, Nebraska

Walter Camp Award(back): Herschel Walker, Georgia

Davey O'Brien Award(Quarterback): Todd Blackledge, Penn State

Maxwell Award(college player of the year): Herschel Walker, Georgia

References[edit]