2005 NCAA Division I-A football season
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|2005 NCAA Division I-A season|
|Total # of teams||119|
|Preseason AP #1||USC Trojans|
|Regular season||September 1–December 3|
|Number of bowls||28 (+5 All-Star)|
|Bowl games||December 20, 2005 –
January 4, 2006
|National championship||2006 Rose Bowl|
|Location of championship||Rose Bowl Stadium,
|Heisman||Reggie Bush, USC RB
|NCAA Division I-A football season
The 2005 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with the least amount of controversy surrounding the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game in many years.
To an extent it was a return to classic football. All eight BCS teams were traditional powerhouses, many of the schools having worn the same uniforms for half a century, and Penn State and Florida State having the same coaches for nearly half a century. Alabama was back in the mix for the SEC title, shaking off the residual effects of NCAA sanctions, and though Penn State is a relative newcomer to the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan were still in the running for the conference title until the last game.
The BCS saw good fortune as two teams, the USC Trojans and the Texas Longhorns, went wire to wire as #1 and #2, respectively—the second year in a row that had happened—and finished as Division I-A's only undefeated teams after the regular season. As a result, there was no dispute over the choice of teams selected for the BCS title game (there were five undefeated teams in the 2004 regular season: Oklahoma, USC, Auburn, Utah, and Boise State). The game was played at the Rose Bowl, where Texas edged the favored, defending champion Trojans in large part due to a historic performance by Texas quarterback Vince Young, who gained 467 yards of total offense and ran for three touchdowns. The victory earned the Longhorns their first consensus national championship since 1969. (Texas won a split title in 1970.)
There was also an unlikely comeback team in the season. The UCF Golden Knights came from a helpless 0–11 record in 2004, to a respectable 8–5 record and an appearance in the Conference USA Championship game and a Hawaii Bowl berth. Although their season apparently got off to a poor start with a loss to South Carolina on opening day and a pasting by their intrastate rival, South Florida, they pulled off 8 wins over a 9 game span (only loss was a 31–52 rout by Southern Miss) including getting a win over eventual conference champions, Tulsa. Tulsa ended up beating UCF 44–27. In the Hawaii Bowl, the Golden Knights were a failed PAT away from sending Nevada to double overtime. Also, Penn State, who went 4-7 in 2004, managed an 11-1* record and #3 ranking in 2005, but not being ranked until after the 44-14 pasting of then #19 Minnesota, where Penn State took control of the Governor's Victory Bell for the first time since 1998.
Quite a few conference changes took place in 2005. Temple became an independent football program after expulsion from the Big East Conference and Army ended its brief affiliation with Conference USA and also returned to football independence. Boston College left the Big East to become the ACC's 12th member, allowing that league to split into divisions and start a conference championship game.
Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida left Conference USA to join the Big East, to bring the membership in that league back up to eight. TCU also left Conference USA to join the Mountain West Conference as its ninth member.
Conference USA responded to the mass defections by adding Central Florida and Marshall from the Mid-American Conference, knocking the MAC's membership down from 14 to 12, and Rice, Southern Methodist, UTEP, and Tulsa from the WAC to get up to 12 members. Like the ACC, C-USA split into two divisions and started a conference championship game.
In response to their losses, the WAC added Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State from the Sun Belt Conference while the Sun Belt picked up independent Florida Atlantic and Florida International, who had just transitioned from Division I-AA. Division I-A membership is now at 119 schools.
 2005 Rule Changes
- After the Big Ten Conference's 2004 experiment with instant replay, its use was expanded to all but the Sun Belt and the WAC conferences in Division I-A. The rules varied between conferences (including the use of coaches' challenges similar to the NFL in the Mountain West Conference) until the NCAA standardized the rules in 2006. Replay was also permitted in bowl games and, provided the visiting team agreed to its use, in inter-sectional regular season games.
- The protection for a receiver who signals a fair catch includes situations when the ball is muffed until it hits the ground.
- Penalties for spearing or similar hits in which the tackler leads with the crown of the head are enforced regardless of the "intent" of the tackler.
- The penalty for leaping on field goals/PATs now states it is a foul if a player lined up more than one yard behind the line of scrimmage jumps and lands on players of any team trying to block the kick. If lined up one yard or closer to the line, it is not a foul.
- Eliminated the "legal clipping zone"; hits from behind below the knee are prohibited anywhere on the field.
- Provided for officials a specific list of acts by players considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
These acts include:
- Simulated throat-slashing and gun-firing
- Bowing at the waist
- Chest-pounding and crossing hands in front of the chest
- High-stepping into the end zone
- Spinning the ball like a top
- Taunting by standing over an opposing player
- Diving into the end zone unchallenged
- Placing a hand on the ear simulating not being able to hear the crowd
- Jumping into the crowd (similar to the "Lambeau Leap")
- Choreographed celebrations with teammates.
Non-choreographed or spontaneous celebrations after a score or a play are permitted provided the player(s) are not bringing attention to themselves.
 Coaching changes
Steve Spurrier returned to the college coaching ranks for the first time since 2001, taking the reins at South Carolina and turning out a respectable 7–5 season. Urban Meyer, the previous year's hot coach after leading Utah to an undefeated season, took over at Spurrier's old job, Florida. Charlie Weis left the New England Patriots to take over the head coach job at his alma mater, Notre Dame and was able to lead them to a BCS bowl.
Barry Alvarez, who took over a woeful Wisconsin program in 1990 and turned it into a Big Ten force, retired, as did Bill Snyder, who turned Big 8 doormat Kansas State into a Big 12 power. Dan Hawkins, who helped lead Boise State to the status of a mid-major powerhouse, left the Broncos to coach the Colorado Buffaloes, a team trying to change its image after recruiting scandals broke out the previous season.
 Bowl Games
 BCS Bowls
Rankings given are AP rankings going into bowl games
- Rose Bowl: #2 (BCS #2) Texas 41, #1 (BCS #1) Southern California 38
- Fiesta Bowl: (BCS #4) #4 Ohio State 34, (At Large) #5 Notre Dame 20
- Sugar Bowl: (Big East Champ) #11 West Virginia 38, (SEC Champ) #8 Georgia 35
- Orange Bowl: (Big Ten Champ) #3 Penn State 26, (ACC Champ) #25 Florida State 23 (3 OT)
 Other New Years Day Bowls
- Cotton Bowl: #13 Alabama 13, #18 Texas Tech 10
- Capital One Bowl: #21 Wisconsin 24, #7 Auburn 10
- Gator Bowl: #12 Virginia Tech 35, #15 Louisville 24
- Outback Bowl: #16 Florida 31, #25 Iowa 24
 December Bowl Games
- Peach Bowl: #10 LSU 40, #9 Miami (FL) 3
- Houston Bowl: #14 TCU 27, Iowa State 24
- Liberty Bowl: (C-USA Champ) Tulsa 31, Fresno State 24
- MPC Computers Bowl: #19 Boston College 27, Boise State 21
- Meineke Car Care Bowl: NC State 14, South Florida 0
- Independence Bowl: Missouri 38, South Carolina 31
- Sun Bowl: #17 UCLA 50, Northwestern 38
- Music City Bowl: Virginia 34, Minnesota 31
- Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma 17, #6 Oregon 14
- Emerald Bowl: Utah 38, #24 Georgia Tech 10
- Alamo Bowl: Nebraska 32, #20 Michigan 28
- Insight Bowl: Arizona State 45, Rutgers 40
- Champs Sports Bowl: #23 Clemson 19, Colorado 10
- Motor City Bowl: Memphis 38, (MAC Champ) Akron 31
- Hawai'i Bowl: (WAC Champ) Nevada 49, UCF 48 (OT)
- Fort Worth Bowl: Kansas 42, Houston 13
- Las Vegas Bowl: California 35, BYU 28
- Poinsettia Bowl: Navy 51, Colorado State 30
- GMAC Bowl: Toledo 45, UTEP 13
- New Orleans Bowl: Southern Mississippi 31, (Sun Belt Champ) Arkansas State 19
 Heisman Trophy voting
The Heisman Trophy voting was basically a 3 man show: Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart (who won the Heisman Trophy in 2004), and Vince Young, who helped Texas win the national championship for the 1st time since 1970. Bush won the trophy, with Young coming in second.
The Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player. There is no winner for 2005 because of irregularities discovered in 2010.
- 2. Vince Young, Jr. Texas QB (1,608 pts)
- 3. Matt Leinart, Sr. USC QB (797 pts)
- 4. Brady Quinn Jr. Notre Dame QB (191 pts)
- 5. Michael Robinson, Sr. Penn State QB (49 pts)
In June 2010, the NCAA ruled that Bush had received improper gifts in violation of NCAA policies. On September 14, 2010, Bush announced in a statement from the New Orleans Saints that he would forfeit his title of 2005 Heisman Trophy winner and return his trophy. Vince Young, the runner-up in 2005, commented that he would not accept the trophy if it was taken away from Bush. On September 15, 2010, the Heisman Trust announced that the 2005 trophy would be vacated, and there would be no winner for that season.
 Other major award winners
- Walter Camp Award (top player): Vacated*
- Maxwell Award (top player): Vince Young, QB, Texas
- AP Player Of the Year: Reggie Bush, RB, USC (AP does not vacate titles stripped by ineligible teams or players.)
- Lombardi Award (top lineman/linebacker): A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
- John Mackey Award (tight end): Marcedes Lewis, UCLA
- Doak Walker Award (running back): Vacated*
- Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player): Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
- Outland Trophy (interior lineman): Greg Eslinger, C, Minnesota
- Dave Rimington Trophy (center): Greg Eslinger, Minnesota
- Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Vince Young, QB, Texas
- Johnny Unitas Award (Sr. quarterback): Matt Leinart, USC
- Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Mike Hass, Oregon State
- Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Michael Huff, Texas
- Lou Groza Award (placekicker): Alexis Serna, Oregon State
- Ray Guy Award (punter): Ryan Plackemeier, Wake Forest
- The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award: Joe Paterno, Penn State
- Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (head coach): Mack Brown, Texas
- Broyles Award (assistant coach): Greg Davis, Texas
* Originally awarded to Reggie Bush, but vacated due to ineligibility