1921 college football season
|1921 NCAA football season|
Bo McMillin scoring against Harvard
|Total # of teams||102|
|Number of bowls||3|
|Bowl games||December 26, 1921 – January 2, 1922|
|Champions||California Golden Bears
Cornell Big Red
The 1921 NCAA football season had no clear-cut champion, with the Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book listing California Golden Bears, Cornell Big Red, Iowa Hawkeyes, Lafayette Leopards, Washington & Jefferson Presidents, and Vanderbilt Commodores as champions. Only California, Cornell, and Lafayette claim national championships for the 1921 season.
Andy Smith's Pacific Coast Conference champion "Wonder Team" at California continued on its streak since 1920. Eastern power Cornell was coached by Gil Dobie and led by one of the sport's great backfields with George Pfann, Eddie Kaw, Floyd Ramsey, and Charles E. Cassidy. Jock Sutherland's Lafayette Maroons were led on the line by Frank Schwab.
Big Ten champion Iowa upset Notre Dame 10–7. Grantland Rice noted that the 1921 Notre Dame team "was the first team we know of to build its attack around a forward passing game, rather than use a forward passing game as a mere aid to the running game."
1921 was the last season for the old Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Vanderbilt tied co-champion Georgia on an onside kick. On October 6, Centre upset Harvard 6–0 in what is widely considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Overjoyed students painted the "impossible formula" C6H0 (Centre 6, Harvard 0) on everything in sight. Georgia Tech also claimed a conference title.
The 1922 Rose Bowl was fought to a scoreless tie, between California and Washington & Jefferson, in the last Rose Bowl to be played at Tournament Park. W&J is the smallest school to ever play in a Rose Bowl.
Conference and program changes
- Two conferences began play in 1921:
|School||1920 Conference||1921 Conference|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||Program Established||Independent|
|Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels||Independent||SIAA|
|San Diego State Professors||Program Established||Independent|
First radio broadcast
A historical highlight of the regular season was the 1921 West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh football game, the first college football game to be broadcast live on radio. Today, college football on radio is common for nearly every game in every division.
On October 29, Centre College beat Harvard 6 to 0 in what is widely considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Overjoyed students painted the "impossible formula" C6H0 (Centre 6, Harvard 0) on everything in sight.
In the 1922 Rose Bowl, the heavily favored California Golden Bears played Washington & Jefferson to a scoreless tie. The game holds several distinctions including being the only scoreless Rose Bowl game, the first tie in a Rose Bowl, the first African-American quarterback to play in the Rose Bowl (Charlie West from Washington & Jefferson), the first freshman to play in a Rose Bowl (Herb Kopf of Washington and Jefferson), the last Rose Bowl to be played at Tournament Park, and the smallest school (Washington & Jefferson College had only 450 students at the time) to ever play in a Rose Bowl.
The following is a potentially incomplete list of conference standings:
Awards and honors
The consensus All-America team included:
|QB||Aubrey Devine||5'9"||170||Sr.||Des Moines, Iowa||Iowa|
|QB||Bo McMillin||5'9"||165||Sr.||Fort Worth, Texas||Centre|
|HB||Glenn Killinger||5'9"||163||Sr.||Harrisburg, Pennsylvania||Penn State|
|HB||Mal Aldrich||5'11"||165||Sr.||Fall River, Massachusetts||Yale|
|FB||Eddie Kaw||5'10"||168||Jr.||Houston, Texas||Cornell|
|E||Harold Muller||6'0"||180||Jr.||Dunsmuir, California||California|
|T||Dan McMillan||6'1"||225||Sr.||Los Angeles, California||California|
|G||Fiske Brown||Sr.||Plymouth, Massachusetts||Harvard|
|G||Stan Keck||5'11"||206||Sr.||Greensburg, Pennsylvania||Princeton|
|C||Herb Stein||6'1"||186||Sr.||Warren, Ohio||Pittsburgh|
|G||Frank Schwab||5'11"||195||Sr.||Saltsburg, Pennsylvania||Lafayette|
|G||Iolas Huffman||5'11"||228||Sr.||Chandlersville, Ohio||Ohio State|
|E||Eddie Anderson||Sr.||Mason City, Iowa||Notre Dame|
- Receptions leader: Eddie Anderson, Notre Dame, 26
- Receiving yards leader: Eddie Anderson, 394
- Official 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision Records Book (PDF). The National Collegiate Athletic Association. pp. 76–77.
- Grantland Rice (December 3, 1921). "Where The West Got The Jump: In Addition To Developing Strong Defense and Good Running Game, Has Built Up Forward Pass" (PDF). American Golfer.
- Sciullo Jr, Sam, ed. (1991). 1991 Pitt Football: University of Pittsburgh Football Media Guide. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Sports Information Office. p. 116.
- Campbell, Jim (August 2006). "The 1922 Rose Bowl: David v. Goliath" (PDF). College Football Historical Society Newsletter. LA84 Foundation. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
- Washington and Jefferson College