1987 NCAA Division I-A football season

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The 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Miami winning its second national championship during the 80s in an Orange Bowl match-up featuring a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Hurricanes.

Miami's first three games were against ranked opponents, in what was labeled as a rebuilding year, when after some late game theatrics by Michael Irvin against rival Florida State, the Hurricanes were 3–0, the national media started to take notice.

Oklahoma was also seen as quite the juggernaut, averaging 428.8 yards rushing per game with their potent wishbone offense. Miami was able to hold Oklahoma to just 179 yards on the ground, winning the game 20–14.

Also having notable seasons were Syracuse, LSU and Florida State. Syracuse finished the season 11–0–1 and ranked No. 4 after a controversial Sugar Bowl game in which Auburn kicked a late field goal to end the game in a tie. LSU went 10–1–1, ending the season ranked No. 5. This was LSU's first ten win season in 26 years and their highest ranking since 1961.

Florida State finished ranked No. 2, their only loss to Miami, and began a streak of 14 years where FSU either finished in the top 5 or played for the national championship. The Seminoles beat Rose Bowl champion Michigan State and SEC champion Auburn on the road and beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.

This was the first season Akron was a Division 1-A football member. Wichita State discontinued their football program after the 1986 season and have never fielded a team since then. This would be the first of two years SMU would not field a team due to the NCAA's death penalty. The loss of Wichita State and SMU and the gain of Akron decreased the number of teams to 104.

Rule changes[edit]

  • If a roughing the passer penalty occurs on a completed pass, the 15-yard penalty is added to the end of the run.
  • Pushing an opponent in the back in the act of recovering a kick is permitted.
  • Kicking or swinging at an opponent and missing are considered personal fouls instead of non-contact fouls.
  • Uprights now must be 30 feet above the crossbar, same as in the NFL.

Conference standings[edit]

1987 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#12 Clemson 6 1 0     10 2 0
Virginia 5 2 0     8 4 0
Wake Forest 4 3 0     7 4 0
NC State 4 3 0     4 7 0
Maryland 3 3 0     4 7 0
North Carolina 3 4 0     5 6 0
Duke 2 5 0     5 6 0
Georgia Tech 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Oklahoma 7 0 0     11 1 0
#6 Nebraska 6 1 0     10 2 0
#11 Oklahoma State 5 2 0     10 2 0
Colorado 4 3 0     7 4 0
Missouri 3 4 0     5 6 0
Iowa State 2 5 0     3 8 0
Kansas 0 6 1     1 9 1
Kansas State 0 6 1     0 10 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#8/8 Michigan State 7 0 1     9 2 1
#16/16 Iowa 6 2 0     10 3 0
#NR/20 Indiana 6 2 0     8 4 0
#19/18 Michigan 5 3 0     8 4 0
Ohio State 4 4 0     6 4 1
Minnesota 3 5 0     6 5 0
Purdue 3 5 0     3 7 1
Illinois 2 5 1     3 7 1
Northwestern 2 6 0     2 8 1
Wisconsin 1 7 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1987 Mid-American football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Eastern Michigan 7 1 0     10 2 0
Kent State 5 2 1     6 3 1
Miami 5 3 0     8 3 0
Bowling Green 5 3 0     7 4 0
Western Michigan 4 3 1     4 6 1
Central Michigan 4 4 0     6 5 0
Toledo 3 5 0     4 6 0
Ball State 1 6 1     2 8 1
Ohio 0 7 1     0 10 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#18 USC § 7 1 0     8 4 0
#9 UCLA § 7 1 0     10 2 0
Washington 4 3 1     7 4 1
#20 Arizona State 3 3 1     7 4 1
Oregon 4 4 0     6 5 0
Stanford 4 4 0     5 6 0
Arizona 2 3 3     4 4 3
California 2 3 2     3 6 2
Washington State 1 5 1     3 7 1
Oregon State 0 7 0     2 9 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
San Jose State 7 0 0     10 2 0
Fresno State 4 3 0     6 5 0
Cal State Fullerton 4 3 0     6 6 0
UNLV 4 3 0     5 6 0
Utah State 4 3 0     5 6 0
Pacific 3 4 0     4 7 0
Long Beach State 2 5 0     4 7 0
New Mexico State 0 7 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 Auburn 5 0 1     9 1 2
#5 LSU 5 1 0     10 1 1
#14 Tennessee 4 1 1     10 2 1
#13 Georgia 4 2 0     9 3 0
Alabama 4 2 0     7 5 0
Florida 3 3 0     6 6 0
Kentucky 1 5 0     5 6 0
Mississippi State 1 5 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 1 5 0     4 7 0
Ole Miss 1 5 0     3 8 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10 Texas A&M 6 1 0     10 2 0
Arkansas 5 2 0     9 4 0
Texas 5 2 0     7 5 0
Texas Tech 3 3 1     6 4 1
Baylor 3 4 0     6 5 0
TCU 3 4 0     5 6 0
Houston 2 4 1     4 6 1
Rice 0 8 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Miami (FL)           12 0 0
#4 Syracuse           11 0 1
#2 Florida State           11 1 0
#15 South Carolina           8 4 0
Pittsburgh           8 4 0
Penn State           8 4 0
#17 Notre Dame           8 4 0
Southern Miss           6 5 0
Rutgers           6 5 0
Southwestern Louisiana           6 5 0
Memphis           5 5 1
Northern Illinois           5 5 1
West Virginia           6 6 0
Tulane           6 6 0
Army           5 6 0
Boston College           5 6 0
East Carolina           5 6 0
Akron           4 7 0
Cincinnati           4 7 0
Louisville           3 7 1
Temple           3 8 0
Tulsa           3 8 0
Navy           2 9 0
Virginia Tech           2 9 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1987 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Wyoming 8 0 0     10 3 0
BYU 7 1 0     9 4 0
Air Force 6 2 0     9 4 0
UTEP 5 3 0     7 4 0
San Diego State 4 4 0     5 7 0
Hawaii 3 5 0     5 7 0
Utah 2 6 0     5 7 0
Colorado State 1 7 0     1 11 0
New Mexico 0 8 0     0 11 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Season summary[edit]

Notable rivalry games[edit]

The year 1987 saw the first meeting, since 1946, between the University of Miami Hurricanes and Miami University. On November 7, in Florida, "Miami-FL" won 54–3 over "Miami-OH".

No. 1 and No. 2 progress[edit]

The Oklahoma Sooners were No. 1, and their Big 8 Conference rivals, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, were No. 2, during the first eleven polls taken in 1987. Beginning with the September 29 poll, Miami was ranked No. 3. For polls 4 through 11, the ranking remained 1.Oklahoma 2.Nebraska 3.Miami. With the Big Eight champion contracted to play in the Orange Bowl in Miami, the hometown Hurricanes were an obvious choice. The only question was whether the Big 8 team would be the Sooners or the Huskers.

In the 12th poll, issued on the Tuesday before the annual Nebraska–Oklahoma game, 9–0–0 Nebraska was voted No. 1 and 10–0–0 Oklahoma No. 2. The two teams met at Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 21, 1987, with Oklahoma winning 17–7. In the last three polls, Oklahoma stayed at No. 1 and Miami at No. 2.

Bowl games[edit]

Polls[edit]

Final AP Poll[edit]

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Florida State
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Syracuse
  5. LSU
  6. Nebraska
  7. Auburn
  8. Michigan State
  9. UCLA
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Clemson
  13. Georgia
  14. Tennessee
  15. South Carolina
  16. Iowa
  17. Notre Dame
  18. Southern California
  19. Michigan
  20. Arizona State

Final Coaches Poll[edit]

  1. Miami (FL)
  2. Florida State
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Syracuse
  5. LSU
  6. Nebraska
  7. Auburn
  8. Michigan State
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Clemson
  11. UCLA
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Tennessee
  14. Georgia
  15. South Carolina
  16. Iowa
  17. Southern California
  18. Michigan
  19. Texas
  20. Indiana

Awards[edit]

Heisman Trophy[edit]

  1. Winner: Tim Brown, Notre Dame, Sr. WR
  2. Don McPherson, Syracuse, Sr. QB
  3. Gordie Lockbaum, Holy Cross, Sr. TB
  4. Lorenzo White, Michigan State, Sr. TB
  5. Craig Heyward, Pittsburgh, Jr. RB

Other major awards[edit]

  • Maxwell (Player):Don McPherson, Syracuse
  • Camp (Back): Tim Brown, Notre Dame
  • O'Brein Award (QB): Don McPherson, Syracuse
  • Rockne (Lineman): N/A
  • Lombardi (Linebacker): Chris Spielman, Ohio State
  • Outland (Interior): Chad Hennings, Air Force
  • Coach of the Year:

Notes and references[edit]