1922 college football season
|1922 NCAA football season|
Image of pivotal play in Princeton–Chicago game
|Number of bowls||2|
|Bowl games||December 25, 1922 – January 1, 1923|
|Champion||California Golden Bears|
Cornell Big Red
The 1922 NCAA football season had a number of unbeaten and untied teams, and no clear-cut champion, with the Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book listing California, Cornell, Iowa, Princeton, and Vanderbilt as national champions. California, Cornell, and Princeton were all picked by multiple selectors.
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. Bill Roper's Princeton team was dubbed the "team of destiny" by Grantland Rice after defeating Chicago 21–18 in the first game nationally broadcast on radio. Today, college football on radio is common for nearly every game in every division. On the same day, Cal defeated USC at the dedication of Rose Bowl Stadium.
The Southern Conference would begin its first season of football in 1922. Vanderbilt tied with North Carolina and Georgia Tech for the conference championship. The Commodores tied Michigan 0–0 on October 14 at the dedication of Dudley Field, the South's first permanent college football stadium. On the same day, Big Ten champion Iowa upset Yale.
The West Virginia Mountaineers played the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the only other bowl game this season, the San Diego East-West Christmas Classic. WVU won 21-13.
- 1 Rule changes
- 2 Conference and program changes
- 3 September
- 4 October
- 5 November
- 6 Rose Bowl
- 7 Other Bowls
- 8 National championship
- 9 Conference standings
- 10 Awards and honors
- 11 References
The 1922 season included the new "try for a point" rule. One was allowed to either kick an extra point after a touchdown as usual, or to place the ball anywhere beyond the five yard line and try to score either by touchdown or by a kick, and receive the one point if successful. On the "try for a point," any foul by the defense awarded the offense the point, and any foul by the offense made the try no good
Conference and program changes
- Six new conferences began play in 1922:
- California Coast Conference – active until 1924
- Indiana Intercollegiate Conference – active until 1950
- Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference – an active NCAA Division III conference
- North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – an NCAA Division II conference active through the 2007 season; later known as just the North Central Conference
- South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference – an NAIA conference active through the 1999 season; later known as the South Dakota-Iowa Athletic Conference
- Southern Conference – an active Division I FCS conference; its 20 members broke away from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) and South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SAIAA) in 1921 and 1922
|School||1921 Conference||1922 Conference|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||SIAA||SoCon|
|Brigham Young Cougars||New Program||Rocky Mountain|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||SIAA||SoCon|
|Idaho Vandals||Independent||Pacific Coast|
|Mississippi A&M Bulldogs||SIAA||SoCon|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||SAIAA||SoCon|
|NC State Wolfpack||SAIAA||SoCon|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||SIAA||SoCon|
|Southern California Trojans||Independent||Pacific Coast|
|Tulane Green Wave||SIAA||SoCon|
|VPI Fighting Gobblers||SAIAA||SoCon|
|Washington and Lee Generals||SAIAA||SoCon|
September 30 Harvard beat Middlebury 20-0, Princeton beat Johns Hopkins 30-0, and Cornell beat St. Bonaventure 55-6. Vanderbilt opened its season with a 38-0 win over Middle Tennessee Normal (now MTSU). Baylor beat North Texas 55-0 California beat Santa Clara 45-14.
October 7 Princeton defeated Virginia 5-0, Harvard beat Holy Cross 20-0, and Cornell beat Niagara 66-0 Vanderbilt beat Henderson-Brown College 33-0 North Carolina lost to Yale at New Haven, 18-0. Iowa beat Knox College 61-0, and Michigan defeated Case 48-0. Chicago beat Georgia 20–0 Drake opened its season with a win over Cornell College of Iowa, 16-0 Baylor beat Hardin-Simmons 42-0 In a meeting with the visiting Mare Island Marines service team, California routed them 80-0.
October 14 Princeton beat Colgate 10-0, Harvard defeated Bowdoin 15-0, and Cornell beat New Hampshire 68-7 At New Haven, Iowa defeated Yale 6-0. In the first game between Eastern and Western teams of the college football season, Iowa dominated Yale. Yale lost to a Western team for the first time ever.
In Nashville, Michigan and Vanderbilt played to a 0-0 tie at the inaugural game for Dudley Field, the first dedicated football-only stadium in the South in the style of the Eastern schools. After beating Duke 20-0 in a Thursday game, North Carolina beat South Carolina, 10-7. Centre gave VPI its only loss of the season. Drake defeated Kansas 6-0. California beat St. Mary's 41-0.
October 21 Harvard had been shocked the year before in a 6-0 upset by the "Prayin' Colonels" of Centre College of Danville, Kentucky. In the rematch, the Crimson beat Centre 24-10. Princeton recorded another shutout, blanking Maryland 26-0. Cornell defeated Colgate 14-0.
In Dallas, Vanderbilt and Texas, both unbeaten, met at the State Fair, with the Commodores winning 20-10. In Houston, Baylor defeated Rice 31-0. North Carolina won at NC State, 14-9. Georgia beat Tennessee 7–3.
October 28 In the first football game ever broadcast nationally on the radio Princeton (4-0-0) traveled to the University of Chicago (3-0-0) for a rematch of Chicago's 1921 win. The game was witnessed by 32,000 fans, and listened to on New York's WEAF radio station. John Thomas ran for three touchdowns and Chicago's Maroons led 18-7 as the fourth quarter began, but a 40-yard fumble return closed the gap. In the closing minutes, Princeton back Harry Crum was buried under a pile of players as he plunged toward the goal line, and when the mass was untangled, it was a touchdown. With the help of a superior kicking game, Princeton won 21-18.
California was 4-0-0, and USC was 5-0-0, when the teams met in Pasadena. Cal had a 2-0 lead at halftime, and held off USC on two goal line stands, before scoring a touchdown and a field goal to win 12-0.
November 4 Princeton beat Swarthmore, 22-13. Cornell (5-0-0) trounced Columbia, which had been 4-1-0, by a score of 56-0. Harvard beat the visiting Florida Gators 24-0. In the Gators' first ever game against a traditional northeastern college football power, the Gators stopped in Washington, D. C. and were greeted by President Warren Harding. The 1922 Spalding's Football Guide ranked Florida as the best forward passing team in the country. The 1922 Florida freshmen won the southern crown for freshmen squads.
The Alabama Crimson Tide had its first intersectional victory, 9–6 over John Heisman's Penn. Alabama coach Xen C. Scott resigned due to cancer at year's end. Vanderbilt won at Tennessee, 14-6. In New Orleans, North Carolina defeated Tulane 19-12.
November 11 Princeton and Harvard were both unbeaten(6-0-0) when the Tigers travelled to Cambridge to face the Crimson. Princeton had not won on Harvard's home field since 1896, and 54,000 turned out to watch. Although both teams were unbeaten, Harvard was heavily favored to overcome the young Tiger team, and led 3-0 early in the game. On the 18 yard line, though, the Tigers outsmarted Harvard with a triple pass that set up Harry Crum's touchdown run, and went on to win 10-3. Grantland Rice wrote the next day, "Crimson shadows around Cambridge way were thicker tonight than the Chinese wall and as deep as the darkness of Stygia itself..." 
In Seattle, California (7-0-0) faced Washington (5-0-0) in a battle of unbeatens, and handed the Huskies their first defeat, 45-7.
November 18 Princeton beat Yale, 3-0, to close a perfect season. Cornell beat Albright, 48-14 Harvard lost its second straight game, falling 3-0 to Brown Iowa won at Ohio State 12-9 to stay unbeaten. Drake defeated Grinnell College. 21-0 Baylor beat Oklahoma State, 10-0 Vanderbilt won at Georgia 12-0. Auburn upset Centre 6–0. The 1922 Tigers are considered one of Auburn's greatest football teams. At Charlotte, NC, North Carolina defeated Davidson 20-6. California defeated Nevada, 61-13.
November 25 Harvard won at Yale, 10-3. California closed its season with a 28-0 win at Stanford. Iowa closed its season at 7-0-0 with a win over Northwestern 37-3, Michigan won at Minnesota 16-7; Drake won at Mississippi State in Starkville, 48-6
November 30 was Thanksgiving Day in 1922. In Philadelphia, Cornell defeated Penn 6-3. In Dallas, Baylor defeated SMU, 24-0, to win the Southwest Conference title. The following week, Baylor lost to the Haskell Indians team, 21-20. North Carolina closed its season with a 10-7 win at Virginia, to finish at 9-1-0. Vanderbilt beat Sewanee, 26-0, to close at 8-0-1.
Though it had a record of 9-1-0 overall, USC was actually the fourth best team in Pacific Coast Conference play, behind California, Oregon and Washington, having been defeated by PCC champion California. Penn State had won its first five games, then only one of the next five, and had a 6-3-1 record at season's end. USC defeated Penn State 14-3.
The 1922 San Diego East-West Christmas Classic was a college football postseason bowl game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Mountaineers defeated the Bulldogs 21-13 to go undefeated with a 10-0-1 record. It is widely criticized that this team was not selected to go to the Rose Bowl or receive a share of the National Championship.
Three different "retro polls", taken years later and based on opinions drawn from historical research, reached different conclusions. The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, declared retroactively that Cornell University (8-0-0) was the best, while the College Football Researchers' Association (CFRA) recognized shared between Drake University (7-0-0) and Princeton University (8-0-0); and the National Championship Foundation (NCF) cited the University of California (9-0-0) as best. The Princeton team was dubbed the "team of destiny" by Grantland Rice after defeating Chicago in the first game nationally broadcast on radio. Today, college football on radio is common for nearly every game in every division.
The other unbeaten and untied team was the University of Iowa (7-0-0), which canceled its game with unbeaten Drake University that year. Other teams that had no defeats in 1922 were West Virginia University (10-0-1), Vanderbilt University (8-0-1), the University of Michigan (6-0-1), and the United States Military Academy (Army), which had an 8-0-2 record. Clyde Berryman retroactively selected Vanderbilt as a national champion, which tied Michigan.
The following is a potentially incomplete list of conference standings:
Awards and honors
The consensus All-America team included:
|QB||Gordon Locke||5'10"||165||Jr.||Denison, Iowa||Iowa|
|HB||Harry Kipke||5'11"||155||Jr.||Lansing, Michigan||Michigan|
|HB||Eddie Kaw||5'10"||168||Sr.||Houston, Texas||Cornell|
|FB||John Webster Thomas||Jr.||Ocheyedan, Iowa||Chicago|
|E||Harold Muller||6'0"||180||Sr.||Dunsmuir, California||California|
|C||Edgar Garbisch||6'0"||185||So.||Washington, Pennsylvania||Army|
|G||Frank Schwab||5'11"||195||Sr.||Saltsburg, Pennsylvania||Lafayette|
|T||Herb Treat||6'0"||190||Somerville, Massachusetts||Princeton|
- Team scoring most points: California, 398 (including mid majors, King College, 498)
- Team giving up least points: Vanderbilt, 1.8 per game
- Official 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision Records Book (PDF). The National Collegiate Athletic Association. pp. 76–77.
- Jon Blackwell. "1922: The team of destiny".
- History.com staff (October 28, 2009). "Princeton-Chicago football game is broadcast across the country". History.com. A+E Networks. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- "Tigers Humble Chicago, 21–18, By Long Passes". Chicago Daily Tribune. October 29, 1922. p. 2. Retrieved April 21, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "October 28, 1922: The First National Radio Broadcast of College Football".
- Chuck Sudo. "89 Years Ago Today, College Football Entered the Radio Age". Archived from the original on 2017-11-05.
- HUGE FLAGSTAFF FOR PASADENA. Enormous Steel Pole 122 and ½ Feet Long Will Stand in Rose Bowl. Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1922. MONDAY afternoon at 2 o'clock the new flagstaff of the Tournament of Roses stadium, now called the Rose Bowl, will be put in place with suitable ceremony under auspices of the Pasadena Lions Club, donor of the pole.
- "New Rule." Appleton Post Crescent [Appleton, Wisconsin] 23 Sept. 1922: 9.
- Michael Oriard, King Football: Sport and Spectacle (UNC Press 2004), p41
- "Princeton Gets Revenge Defeating Chicago, 21-18," Decatur (Ill.) Daily Review, Oct. 29, 1922, p6.
- "Bears Tear Through Trojan Defense in the Final Quarter," Oakland Tribune, Oct. 29, 1922, p. 1-D
- "Harvard Is Held To 24 Points Only Ten After First Quarter". Florida Alligator. November 5, 1922.
- Newton, Virgil M. (September 19, 1923). "'Ark' Newton Ready To Go". St. Petersburg Times.
- Associated Press (December 1, 1922). "Florida Freshmen Claim The Crown". p. 6. Retrieved February 5, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Grantland Rice, "Tiger Gets Good Grip on John Harvard's Flanks and Wins 10-3," Syracuse Herald, Nov. 12, 1922, p13
- "Auburn's Gator Bowl Champs Rated Among Top Tiger Teams". Ocala Star-Banner. January 16, 1955.
- The 2001 ESPN Information Please Sports Almanac (Hyperion ESPN Books, 2000), p153
- Jon Blackwell. "1922: The team of destiny".
- "QPRS National Champions Since 1920" (PDF).