1983 NCAA Division I-A football season

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1983 NCAA Division I-A season
Number of teams 112
Preseason AP #1 Nebraska Cornhuskers[1]
Post-season
Duration December 10, 1983 –
January 2, 1984
Bowl games 16
Heisman Trophy Mike Rozier, Nebraska RB
Winner Miami Hurricanes
Division I-A football seasons
← 1982
1984 →

The 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the University of Miami, led by Bernie Kosar, winning their first national championship over perennial power and top ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

The 31-30 win over Nebraska is still talked about as one of the greatest games of all time, not only for its last minute finish, but for its role in changing the face of college football. Miami came into the game ranked #5, but losses by #2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl and #4 Illinois in the Rose Bowl launched them to #1 (despite protests from #3 Auburn)

Nebraska scored a touchdown with 48 seconds remaining, putting them within one point of the Hurricanes. Despite knowing a tie would still give Nebraska the national title, Coach Tom Osborne decided to go for two points and the win rather than one point and the tie. Miami was able to hold, snapping Nebraska's 22-game winning streak and launching Miami as a powerhouse program.

This Miami team was the first to win a national title without a single player voted to the first team All-Americans and only the second to win a national title gaining more passing yards than rushing.

The Auburn Tigers, featuring Bo Jackson also had a stellar season going 11-1 and beating Michigan in the Sugar Bowl 9-7. Despite entering the bowl games ranked third in both major polls, and with both teams ranked higher losing their bowl games, the Tigers ended ranked third in the final AP poll as Miami jumped from 5th to ranked #1 when they beat #1 ranked Nebraska to gain the National Championship.[2] Auburn had played the toughest schedule in the nation, including eight bowl teams, seven of which were ranked in the top 20 (four in the top ten). Even with this difficult schedule the Tigers were ranked first by a few polls, including the New York Times computer rankings. The NCAA record book also formally recognizes the Tigers as co-national champions, along with Nebraska (and of course, Miami). [3] It is not uncommon for the NCAA record book to "recognize" multiple national champions in a given year, with the AP and Coaches' poll winner regarded as true national champions.

The Holiday Bowl was also a classic, as BYU, led by future NFL star Steve Young, defeated Missouri with a last second halfback pass.

The annual rivalry game between Oregon and Oregon State is still widely known and derided as "The Toilet Bowl", as the teams played to a 0-0 tie, the last scoreless tie in college football. The game featured 11 total turnovers, as 6 fumbles were lost (out of 11 total), 5 interceptions, and 4 missed field goals.

This season saw no conference have two or more teams tie for the title—an event that did not happen again in either Division I-A or its successor, Division I FBS, until 2009. (Note, however, that even when a conference officially recognizes multiple champions, it will invariably have some kind of tiebreaker system to determine placement for bowl berths.)

Due to the school's financial troubles the NCAA demoted North Texas to Division 1-AA for the 1983 season dropping the number of Division 1-A teams to 112 (North Texas would later move back up to Division 1-A in 1995).

Rule Changes[edit]

  • The winner of the pre-game coin toss now has the option to defer their choice to the second half.
  • Roughing the passer now includes an automatic first down in addition to yardage penalties.
  • Running into the kicker is now a foul, with a five-yard penalty assessed.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct will be called against a kicker or punter who feigns being roughed to draw a penalty.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct will also be called for taunting a defender with the ball, spiking the ball, etc. against a player or if an entire team runs onto the field to celebrate a score.
  • A two-yard buffer (halo) is established around a kick/punt returner when the ball begins its downward flight.
  • Conferences are permitted to add a seventh official (side judge) to their crews. The Big Ten Conference is the first to establish seven-man crews.
  • Extended the "team area" from 25-yard line to 25-yard line.
  • Penalties that occur at the end of any quarter will cause the period to be extended for one un-timed down.
  • The visiting team must wear white jerseys. This rule change mostly affected Georgia Tech and LSU, which traditionally wore white at home.

September[edit]

The pre season top five was 1. Nebraska 2. Oklahoma, 3. Texas, 4. Penn State, and 5. Auburn. Miami was not ranked.

In the kickoff classic on August 29, Nebraska routed defending national champion Penn State, 44-6. Penn State opened with 3 losses and never made it back into the top 20. They were replaced in the top 5 by Notre Dame.

September 17 was a day of shakeup in the top 5. #2 Oklahoma lost at home to #6 Ohio State, 24-12. #3 Texas won at #4 Auburn 20-7. #5 Notre Dame lost at home to Michigan State, 28-23. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Ohio State, 4. Arizona, and 5. North Carolina. Nebraska and Texas would hold their spots at #1 and #2 for the remainder of the regular season.

On September 24, #3 Ohio State lost at #7 Iowa 20-14. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Arizona, 4. Iowa, and 5. North Carolina.

October[edit]

On October 1, #3 Arizona was tied by California at Berkeley 33-33 and #4 Iowa was shut out at Illinois, 33-0. The new poll was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Alabama, 4. North Carolina and 5. West Virginia.

On October 8, #3 Alabama lost at Penn State, 34-28. Auburn replaced their rivals in the top 5.

October 15 saw no changes as the top 5 all won.

On October 22, #4 West Virginia lost at Penn State 41-23. Florida replaced them in the top 5 that was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. North Carolina, 4. Auburn, and 5. Florida.

On October 29, #3 North Carolina started a 3-game losing streak by falling to #13 Maryland 28-26. #5 Florida lost at #4 Auburn 28-21. The new top five was 1. Nebraska, 2. Texas, 3. Auburn, 4. Georgia, and 5. Miami

November[edit]

November 5 saw no change in the top 5, but on November 12, #4 Georgia lost at home to #3 Auburn, 13-7. Illinois clinched the Big 10 title and Rose Bowl berth with a 49-21 rout of Indiana, their 9th straight win. The Illini jumped ahead of Miami and replaced Georgia at #4. That would be the last change in the top 5 for the regular season. The key bowl matchups were set with #1 Nebraska facing #5 Miami in the Orange Bowl, #2 Texas facing #7 Georgia in the Cotton Bowl, #3 Auburn facing Big 10 runner up #8 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, and #4 Illinois facing unranked Pac-10 champion UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Conference standings[edit]

1983 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#11 Clemson 7 0 0     9 1 1
Maryland 5 1 0     8 4 0
North Carolina 4 3 0     8 4 0
Georgia Tech 3 3 0     3 8 0
Virginia 3 4 0     6 5 0
Duke 3 4 0     3 8 0
Wake Forest 1 6 0     4 7 0
NC State 1 6 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 Nebraska 7 0 0     12 1 0
Oklahoma 5 2 0     8 4 0
Missouri 5 2 0     7 5 0
Oklahoma State 3 4 0     8 4 0
Iowa State 3 4 0     4 7 0
Kansas 2 5 0     4 6 1
Colorado 2 5 0     4 7 0
Kansas State 1 6 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10/10 Illinois 9 0 0     10 2 0
#8/9 Michigan 8 1 0     9 3 0
#14/14 Iowa 7 2 0     9 3 0
#9/8 Ohio State 6 3 0     9 3 0
Wisconsin 5 4 0     7 4 0
Purdue 3 5 1     3 7 1
Michigan State 2 6 1     4 6 1
Indiana 2 7 0     3 8 0
Northwestern 2 7 0     2 9 0
Minnesota 0 9 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1983 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Northern Illinois 8 1 0     10 2 0
Toledo 7 2 0     9 2 0
Bowling Green 7 2 0     8 3 0
Central Michigan 7 2 0     8 3 0
Ball State 4 4 0     6 5 0
Western Michigan 4 5 0     6 5 0
Miami 3 5 0     4 7 0
Ohio 3 6 0     4 7 0
Kent State 1 8 0     1 10 0
Eastern Michigan 0 9 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Tulsa 5 0 0     8 3 0
Southern Illinois 5 1 0     13 1 0
New Mexico State 3 2 0     5 6 0
Indiana State 3 3 0     9 4 0
Illinois State 2 2 1     6 4 1
Wichita State 3 3 0     3 8 0
Drake 1 6 0     1 10 0
West Texas State 0 5 1     0 10 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#17 UCLA 6 1 1     7 4 1
Washington 5 2 0     8 4 0
Washington State 5 3 0     7 4 0
USC 4 3 0     4 6 1
Arizona 4 3 1     7 3 1
Arizona State 3 3 1     6 4 1
Oregon 3 3 1     4 6 1
California 3 4 1     5 5 1
Oregon State 1 6 1     2 8 1
Stanford 1 7 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Cal State Fullerton 5 1 0     7 5 0
UNLV 4 2 0     7 4 0
Long Beach State 3 3 0     8 4 0
San Jose State 3 3 0     5 6 0
Utah State 3 3 0     5 6 0
Fresno State 2 4 0     6 5 0
Pacific 1 5 0     3 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Auburn 6 0 0     11 1 0
#5 Georgia 5 1 0     10 1 1
#6 Florida 4 2 0     9 2 1
Tennessee 4 2 0     9 3 0
#15 Alabama 4 2 0     8 4 0
Ole Miss 4 2 0     6 6 0
Kentucky 2 4 0     6 5 1
Mississippi State 1 5 0     3 8 0
LSU 0 6 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Miami           11 1 0
Virginia Tech           9 2 0
#19 Boston College           9 3 0
#16 West Virginia           9 3 0
#20 East Carolina           8 3 0
#18 Pittsburgh           8 3 1
Penn State           8 4 1
Southern Miss           7 4 0
Memphis           6 4 1
Florida State           8 4 0
Notre Dame           7 5 0
Syracuse           6 5 0
William & Mary           6 5 0
South Carolina           5 6 0
Cincinnati           4 6 1
Southwestern Louisiana           4 6 0
Temple           4 7 0
Tulane           4 7 0
Louisville           3 8 0
Navy           3 8 0
Richmond           3 8 0
Rutgers           3 8 0
Army           2 9 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#5 Texas 8 0 0     11 1 0
#12 SMU 7 1 0     10 2 0
Baylor 4 3 1     7 4 1
Texas A&M 4 3 1     5 5 1
Arkansas 4 4 0     6 5 0
Texas Tech 3 4 1     3 7 1
Houston 3 5 0     4 7 0
TCU 1 6 1     1 8 2
Rice 0 8 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1983 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 BYU 7 0 0     11 1 0
#13 Air Force 5 2 0     10 2 0
Wyoming 5 3 0     7 5 0
New Mexico 4 3 0     6 6 0
Hawaii 3 3 1     5 5 1
Utah 4 4 0     5 6 0
Colorado State 4 4 0     5 7 0
San Diego State 1 6 1     2 9 1
UTEP 0 8 0     2 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

AP final poll[edit]

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Nebraska
  3. Auburn
  4. Georgia
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. Brigham Young
  8. Michigan
  9. Ohio State
  10. Illinois
  11. Clemson
  12. SMU
  13. Air Force
  14. Iowa
  15. Alabama
  16. West Virginia
  17. UCLA
  18. Pittsburgh
  19. Boston College
  20. East Carolina
  21. Penn State

Final coaches poll[edit]

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Nebraska
  3. Auburn
  4. Georgia
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. Brigham Young
  8. Ohio St.
  9. Michigan
  10. Illinois
  11. Southern Methodist
  12. Alabama
  13. UCLA
  14. Iowa
  15. Air Force
  16. West Virginia
  17. Penn St.
  18. Oklahoma St.
  19. Pittsburgh
  20. Boston College

Notable rivalry games[edit]

#1 and #2 Progress[edit]

In the preseason poll released on August 27, Big 8 Conference rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma were #1 and #2. After the Oklahoma Sooners lost 24-14 to Ohio State on September 17, the Nebraska Cornhuskers remained #1 and were trailed for nearly the entire season by Texas. Nebraska received all 60 of the first place votes in the polls of September 26 and October 3, and no fewer than 51 as the season continued, while the Longhorns never received more than five votes during the same period. Meanwhile, the University of Miami Hurricanes, unranked in the preseason Top 20, began winning after their first week 28-3 loss to Florida. Miami came in at #15 in the September 26 poll. As they continued unbeaten, the Hurricanes gathered force, rising to #12, #10, #8, #7, and reached #5 by October 31, where they remained in the final regular season poll after they were invited to play against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Bowl games[edit]

Heisman Trophy voting[edit]

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the

Most Outstanding Player of the year
Winner: Mike Rozier, Nebraska RB (1,801 points)

Other annual awards[edit]

References[edit]