Big Eight Conference football

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The Big Eight Conference is a defunct college athletic conference that was formerly affiliated with the NCAA's Division I-A (now known as FBS).

The Big Eight Conference was a successful football conference, with its member schools being recognized as consensus national champion on eleven occasions, including the last two football seasons the conference existed (1994 and 1995). Seven players from the Big Eight won the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious national award for college football players.

Membership timeline[edit]

History[edit]

The conference was formed in 1907 as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) by five charter schools: the University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of Iowa, and Washington University in St. Louis. After the MVIAA grew to ten schools, six state schools split away on their own in 1928, becoming known as the "Big Six": Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The University of Colorado was added in 1948, and the conference became known as the "Big Seven Conference". Oklahoma State joined in 1958, becoming the eighth and final member. The conference broke up when its members joined the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

Due to its common history with the Missouri Valley Conference, Big Eight championships from 1907 through 1927 are also claimed by the MVC.

Bowl games[edit]

The first Big Eight conference team to attend a bowl game was Missouri, at the 1924 Los Angeles Christmas Festival. Following the 1938 season Oklahoma became the second to attend a bowl game, at the fifth-annual Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. In 1951 and 1952 the conference had a brief ban on its members attending bowl games. When the conference resumed accepting invitations in 1953, its champion regularly thereafter attended the Orange Bowl. This tradition was broken only five times: 1964 (when Nebraska faced #2 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl); 1966 (when Nebraska faced #3 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl); 1973 and 1974 (when undefeated Oklahoma was on probation and barred from bowl games); and 1995 (when Nebraska played in the Bowl Alliance championship at the Fiesta Bowl).

At the 1979 Orange Bowl, #6 Nebraska and #4 Oklahoma were paired against each other in a rematch of their conference game earlier in the season.

Rankings[edit]

In the 1971 college football season, Big Eight teams finished ranked #1 (Nebraska), #2 (Oklahoma) and #3 (Colorado) in the nation in the AP Poll – the only time in college football history teams from one conference have held the top three spots in the final poll. In the final AP Poll issued before the Big Eight became the Big 12, half of the conference's teams were ranked in the nation's top 10 (#1 Nebraska, #5 Colorado, #7 Kansas State, #9 Kansas).

Rivalries[edit]

The Nebraska–Oklahoma football rivalry was one of the most significant in the nation, with national title implications involved during many seasons. The 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma football game is commonly referred to as "The Game of the Century."

With common histories dating back even before the 1907 formation of the conference, many of the Big Eight's rivalries were among the most-played in college football. At the time the Big Eight Conference dissolved in 1996, the conference had the two longest uninterrupted series in Division I-A football: Kansas–Oklahoma (played annually since 1903) and Kansas–Nebraska (played annually since 1906). Many of the conference's series began in the 19th century, including:

  • Kansas–Missouri, first played in 1891 (second-most played series in Division I-A in 1996)
  • Nebraska–Kansas, first played in 1892
  • Nebraska–Missouri, first played in 1892
  • Missouri–Iowa State, first played in 1896
  • Nebraska–Iowa State, first played in 1896
  • Kansas–Iowa State, first played in 1898

Champions[edit]

Conference champions[edit]

Following are the MVIAA/Big Eight football conference champions from 1907 to 1995 (shared championship years are shown in italics):[1][2]

Football conference championships (1907–1995)
School Total titles Outright titles Years
Colorado 5 3 1961 · 1976 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991
Drake 0 0
Grinnell 0 0
Iowa 1 0 1907
Iowa State 2 0 1911 · 1912
Kansas 5 2 1908 · 1930 · 1946 · 1947 · 1968
Kansas State 1 1 1934
Missouri 12 10 1909 · 1913 · 1919 · 1924 · 1925 · 1927 · 1939 · 1941 · 1942 · 1945 ·
1960* · 1969
Nebraska 41 32 1907 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1921 ·
1922 · 1923 · 1928 · 1929 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 ·
1940 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972** · 1975 ·
1978 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1988 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 ·
1995
Oklahoma 33 26 1920 · 1938 · 1943 · 1944 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 ·
1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1962 · 1967 ·
1968 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1984 ·
1985 · 1986 · 1987
Oklahoma State 2 1 1926 · 1976
Washington (St. Louis) 0 0

* Kansas would have won the 1960 title, but after found to be using an ineligible player they were forced to forfeit their victories over Missouri and Colorado, which meant that Missouri was awarded the 1960 Big Eight title.
** Oklahoma would have won the 1972 title, but after found to be using an ineligible player they were forced to forfeit their victories over Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma State, which meant that Nebraska was awarded the 1972 Big Eight title.

National championships[edit]

Big Eight football teams were recognized as national champion on eleven occasions, including four times as back-to-back champions:

Accolades[edit]

The Big Seven Conference established a Coach of the Year award in 1948. The conference began awarding a Player of the Year award in 1967, and began giving separate offensive and defensive awards in 1971. The final awards were given after the 1995 season, after which all of the Big Eight schools entered the Big 12 Conference.

Conference Coach of the Year[edit]

  • 1948: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma
  • 1949: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1950: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1951: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1952: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1953: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1954: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1955: Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma†
  • 1956: Dal Ward, Colorado
  • 1957: Chuck Mather, Kansas
  • 1958: Dan Devine, Missouri
  • 1959: Clay Stapleton, Iowa State
  • 1960: Dan Devine, Missouri†
  • 1961: Sonny Grandelius, Colorado
  • 1962: Bob Devaney, Nebraska
  • 1963: Bob Devaney, Nebraska†
  • 1964: Bob Devaney, Nebraska†
  • 1965: Eddie Crowder, Colorado
  • 1966: Jim Mackenzie, Oklahoma[3]
  • 1967: Chuck Fairbanks, Oklahoma
  • 1968: Pepper Rodgers, Kansas & Dan Devine, Missouri†
  • 1969: Floyd Gass, Oklahoma State
  • 1970: Bob Devaney, Nebraska (AP)† & Vince Gibson, Kansas State (?)
  • 1971: Johnny Majors, Iowa State[4]
  • 1972: Al Onofrio, Missouri[5]
  • 1973: Tom Osborne, Nebraska (AP) & Barry Switzer, Oklahoma (?)
  • 1974: Barry Switzer, Oklahoma†
  • 1975: Bud Moore, Kansas (AP) & Tom Osborne, Nebraska (?)†
  • 1976: Earle Bruce, Iowa State (AP)[6]
  • 1977: Earle Bruce, Iowa State[6]
  • 1978: Tom Osborne, Nebraska†
  • 1979: Jimmy Johnson, Oklahoma State
  • 1980: Tom Osborne, Nebraska (AP)†
  • 1981: Don Fambrough, Kansas
  • 1982: Jim Dickey, Kansas State
  • 1983: Warren Powers, Missouri (AP) & Tom Osborne, Nebraska (Coaches)†
  • 1984: Mike Gottfried, Kansas
  • 1985: Bill McCartney, Colorado
  • 1986: Barry Switzer, Oklahoma†
  • 1987: Barry Switzer, Oklahoma†
  • 1988: Tom Osborne, Nebraska†
  • 1989: Bill McCartney, Colorado†
  • 1990: Bill Snyder, Kansas State (AP) & Bill McCartney, Colorado (Coaches)†
  • 1991: Bill Snyder, Kansas State (AP)† & Glen Mason, Kansas (?)
  • 1992: Tom Osborne, Nebraska†
  • 1993: Bill Snyder Kansas State (AP)† & Tom Osborne, Nebraska (Coaches)†[7]
  • 1994: Tom Osborne, Nebraska†
  • 1995: Glen Mason, Kansas†

Repeat winner

Conference Players of the Year[edit]

  • 1967: Granville Liggins, Oklahoma
  • 1968: Steve Owens, Oklahoma
  • 1969: Steve Owens, Oklahoma†
  • 1970: Jerry Murtaugh, Nebraska
  • 1971: Greg Pruitt, Oklahoma
  • 1972 Offensive: George Amundson, Iowa State
1972 Defensive: Rich Glover, Nebraska
1973 Defensive: Lucious Selmon, Oklahoma
  • 1974 Offensive: Joe Washington, Oklahoma†
1974 Defensive: Rod Shoate, Oklahoma
1975 Defensive: Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma
  • 1976 Offensive: Terry Miller, Oklahoma State
1976 Defensive: Clete Pillen, Nebraska
  • 1977 Offensive: Terry Miller, Oklahoma State†
1977 Defensive: George Cumby, Oklahoma
1978 Defensive: John Corker, Oklahoma State
  • 1979 Offensive: Billy Sims, Oklahoma†
1979 Defensive: George Cumby, Oklahoma†
1980 Defensive: Derrie Nelson, Nebraska
1981 Defensive: Jeff Gaylord, Missouri
1982 Defensive: Rick Bryan, Oklahoma
  • 1983 Offensive: Mike Rozier, Nebraska†
1983 Defensive: Rick Bryan, Oklahoma†
  • 1984 Offensive: Danny Bradley, Oklahoma
1984 Defensive: Leslie O'Neal, Oklahoma State
1985 Defensive: Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma
  • 1986 Offensive: Jamelle Holloway, Oklahoma
1986 Defensive: Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma†
  • 1987 Offensive: Thurman Thomas, Oklahoma State†
1987 Defensive: Danté Jones, Oklahoma
1988 Defensive: Broderick Thomas, Nebraska
1989 Defensive: Alfred Williams, Colorado
1990 Defensive: Alfred Williams, Colorado†
  • 1991 Offensive: Tony Sands, Kansas
1991 Defensive: Joe Bowden, Oklahoma
  • 1992 Offensive: Calvin Jones, Nebraska
1992 Defensive: Deon Figures, Colorado
  • 1993 Offensive: Charles Johnson, Colorado
1993 Defensive: Trev Alberts, Nebraska
1994 Defensive: Ed Stewart, Nebraska
1995 Defensive: Tim Colston, Kansas State

Repeat winner

All-time all-conference team[edit]

After the final Big Eight season was completed in 1995, a panel of twelve longtime observers selected an all-time conference team:[8]

Offense
Position Player Team Years
QB Lynn Dickey KSU 1968–70
RB Billy Sims OU 1975–79
RB Gale Sayers KU 1962–64
TE Keith Jackson OU 1984–87
C Dave Rimington NU 1979–82
OL Dean Steinkuhler NU 1979–83
OL Zach Wiegert NU 1991–94
OL Greg Roberts OU 1975–78
OL Joe Romig CU 1959–61
KR Barry Sanders OSU 1986–88
K Uwe von Schamann OU 1975–78
Defense
Position Player Team Years
DL Lee Roy Selmon OU 1972–75
DL Rich Glover NU 1970–72
DL Leslie O'Neal OSU 1982–85
DL Willie Harper NU 1970–72
LB Brian Bosworth OU 1983–86
LB Gary Spani KSU 1974–77
LB Rod Shoate OU 1972–74
DB Johnny Roland MU 1962–65
DB Roger Wehrli MU 1966–68
DB Randy Hughes OU 1971–74
DB Rickey Dixon OU 1984–87
P Barry Helton CU 1984–87

Heisman Trophy winners[edit]

Rashaan Salaam's Heisman Trophy

Seven players from the Big Eight won the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious national award for college football players:

AFCA Coach of the Year[edit]

FWAA (Eddie Robinson) Coach of the Year[edit]

  • 1971: Bob Devaney, Nebraska
  • 1989: Bill McCartney, Colorado

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "BigEightSports.com". Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Big Eight Conference football record book". Big 12 Conference. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ University of Oklahoma. "Oklahoma Sooners head football coaches" (in English). University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Majors Selected As Coach of Year". Lawrence Journal-World. The Associated Press. November 30, 1971. p. 10. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ University of Missouri (2011). "FB Record Book 2011" (in English). University of Missouri. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Mac Big 12 Coach of the Year". CycloneSportsReport.com. CN Staff. December 1, 2004. Archived from the original on February 10, 2010. 
  7. ^ http://bigeightsports.com/Sports/Football/Seasons/1993.htm
  8. ^ http://newsok.com/all-big-eight-team/article/2520753