1936 college football season
|1936 NCAA football season|
|Total # of teams||131|
|First AP #1 of season||Minnesota Golden Gophers|
|Number of bowls||6|
|Champions||Minnesota Golden Gophers (AP)
Pittsburgh Panthers (Various)
|Heisman||Larry Kelley, Yale E|
The 1936 NCAA football season was the first in which the Associated Press writers' poll selected a national champion. The first AP poll, taken of 35 writers, was released on October 20, 1936. Each writer listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the twenty teams with the highest number of points. In the first poll, Minnesota received 32 first place votes, and 3 votes for an additional 25 points, for a total of 345 altogether.
The 1936 season also saw the addition of another major New Year's Day bowl game, as Dallas hosted the first Cotton Bowl Classic.
Conference and program changes
|School||1935 Conference||1936 Conference|
|The Citadel Bulldogs||SIAA||Southern|
|George Washington Colonials||Independent||Southern|
|St. Francis (NY) Terriers||Independent||Dropped Program|
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||Independent||Southern|
|William & Mary Indians||Virginia||Southern|
Defending champ (under the Dickinson ratings) SMU had a tough time in beating North Texas, 6-0, and Rose Bowl winner Stanford lost its opener to visiting Santa Clara 13-0. Sugar Bowl winner TCU lost at Texas Tech 7-0. LSU beat visiting Rice 20-7. Alabama beat Samford 34-0 and Pittsburgh beat Ohio Wesleyan 53-0.
October 10 Minnesota beat visiting Nebraska 7-0. Pittsburgh won at Ohio State 6-0 Washington won at UCLA 14-0 Santa Clara beat San Francisco 15-7. Alabama beat Mississippi State 7-0. Northwestern beat North Dakota State 40-7.
October 17 Minnesota defeated Michigan 26-0. Santa Clara won at San Jose State 20-0 In Birmingham, Alabama and Tennessee played to a 0-0 tie. Northwestern edged Ohio State 14-13. In a meeting between Pittsburgh's two unbeaten (3-0-0) and untied schools, Pittsburgh was beaten by Duquesne, 7-0. Washington beat Oregon State 19-7.
The first AP Poll was released on October 20, with Minnesota being the majority favorite, with 32 of 35 first place votes, and 345 out of 350 points. The Gophers were followed by 2.Duke 3.Army 4.Northwestern and 5.Purdue. USC, ranked #6, received one first place vote.
October 24 #1 Minnesota hosted #5 Purdue, in a meeting of unbeaten (3-0-0) schools. Minnesota proved the AP voters right by winning 33-0. #2 Duke (5-0-0) lost to (1-2-1) Tennessee, 15-13. #3 Army beat Springfield College 33-0. #4 Northwestern won at Illinois 13-2. #8 Washington beat California 13-0. #9 Pittsburgh beat visiting, and previously unbeaten, #7 Notre Dame 26-0. #16 Fordham edged visiting #12 St. Mary's 7-6. The next top five was 1.Minnesota 2.Pitt 3.Northwestern 4.Washington 5.Fordham
October 31 In a Friday night game, #1 Minnesota and #3 Northwestern, both unbeaten (4-0-0), met in a Big Ten conference game at Evanston. The Gophers had not lost a game in more than three years, and the game was scoreless after three quarters, until Northwestern's line "ripped a gaping hole in the Gophers' forward wall" and Steve Toth drove across the goal line. With five minutes left, Minnesota's Rudy Gmitro was in the clear for a touchdown before being brought down by Fred Vanzon, and Northwestern held on for the 6-0 win.
At the Polo Grounds in New York, #2 Pittsburgh and #5 Fordham played to a 0-0 tie. In Portland, #4 Washington beat Oregon 7-0, but dropped to 6th. #10 Marquette beat visiting #20 St. Mary's 20-6 and rose to 4th place (the Warriors would give up football after 1960). The next top five was 1.Northwestern 2.Minnesota 3.Fordham 4.Marquette 5.Pitt.
November 7 #1 Northwestern beat Wisconsin 26-18. #2 Minnesota beat Iowa 52-0 #3 Fordham defeated visiting Purdue 15-0. #4 Marquette narrowly won in Omaha against Creighton, 7-6. #5 Pittsburgh beat Penn State 34-7.
#14 Alabama and #10 Tulane, both 5-0-1, met at Tuscaloosa. Alabama's 34-7 win was followed by its rise to 4th place in the poll.
November 14 #1 Northwestern won 9-0 at Michigan to clinch the Big Ten title, while #2 Minnesota beat Texas 47-19. #3 Fordham was idle. #4 Alabama beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 20-16. #5 Pittsburgh won at Nebraska 19-6 In Birmingham, #7 LSU beat Auburn 19-6 to extend its record to 7-0-1.
November 21 #1 Northwestern lost at #11 Notre Dame, 26-6, while #2 Minnesota won at Wisconsin 24-0 #3 Fordham and visiting Georgia played to a 7-7 tie. #4 Pittsburgh was idle. #5 LSU beat Lafayette College of Louisiana 93-0. #9 Santa Clara won in San Francisco at St. Mary's, 19-0. In the poll that followed, Northwestern—which had been one game away from a perfect season—fell to seventh place and Minnesota regained the top spot: 1.Minnesota 2.LSU 3.Alabama 4.Pitt 5.Santa Clara.
On November 26, Thanksgiving Day, #3 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 14-6 in Birmingham. #4 Pittsburgh beat its other crosstown rival, Carnegie Tech, 31-14. #6 Washington beat #20 Washington State 40-0. At Yankee Stadium Fordham, which had fallen to 8th, (5-0-2) lost to NYU, 7-6.
The following is a potentially incomplete list of conference standings:
|Bowl||Winning team||points||Losing team||points|
|Rose Bowl||#3 Pittsburgh Panthers||21||#5 Washington Huskies||0|
|Sugar Bowl||#6 Santa Clara Broncos||21||#2 LSU Tigers||14|
|Orange Bowl||#14 Duquesne Dukes||13||Mississippi State Bulldogs||12|
|Cotton Bowl||#16 TCU Horned Frogs||16||#20 Marquette Golden Eagles||6|
|Sun Bowl||Hardin-Simmons Cowboys||34||Texas School of Mines (UTEP)||6|
|Bacardi Bowl||Auburn Tigers||7||Villanova Wildcats||7|
"There is no longer any blot left on Pittsburgh's Rose Bowl escutcheon," wrote Grantland Rice. "Here was a Panther who belonged to the jungle and not to the zoo-- a fast, hard driving slashing Panther who put both fang and claw to work in beating Washington's Huskies 21 to 0 before 87,200 chilly witnesses.".
Pitt had been ranked #3 by the AP, behind #2 LSU, which met Santa Clara in the Sugar Bowl. #1 ranked Minnesota, like other Big Ten teams, was not allowed to play postseason. LSU had lost the previous Sugar Bowl to TCU, by a 3-2 score. A crowd of 41,000 turned out in New Orleans, only to see the Tigers lose again. The Santa Clara Broncos took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and won 21-14.
A crowd of 17,000 turned out in Dallas to watch the first Cotton Bowl Classic. Sammy Baugh of Texas Christian completed only 5 of 13 pass attempts, but had 110 yards, a touchdown, and the win, as TCU beat Marquette 16-6.
In the first annual Orange Bowl, 12,000 filled the stands in Miami to see the Duquesne Dukes beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 13-12. Boyd Brumbaugh scored Duquesne's first touchdown and made the only extra point by either side.
Villanova tied Auburn, 7-7, in the Bacardi Bowl, played before 6,000 spectators in sunny Havana, Cuba, Tuskegee Institute beat Prairie View A&M 6-0 in Houston before 3,000, and Hardin-Simmons beat Texas School of Mines 34-6 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
In 1936, John Heisman died and the trophy that is awarded to the best college football player in the nation was renamed in his honor. Larry Kelley, the second winner of the award was the first man to win it officially named as the "Heisman Trophy."
- "Gophers Given Big Edge Over Other Grid Squads," The Sheboygan (Wis.) Press, Oct. 20, 1936, p10
- "Wildcats Smash Gophers' Long Gridiron Dynasty, 6-0," Wisconsin State Journal, Oct. 31, 1936, p9
- Grantland Rice, from North American News syndicate, quoted in "Panthers Turn Rose Bowl into 21 to 0 Rout," Lincoln (Neb.) State Journal, Jan. 2, 1937, p7
- "Santa Clara Scores Twice First Period To Trip L.S.U. 21-14," Lincoln (Neb.) State Journal, Jan. 2, 1937, p7
- "Slingin' Sam Rifles Texas Christian to 16-6 Bowl Conquest," Lincoln (Neb.) State Journal, Jan. 2, 1937, p7
- "Dukes' Passes Down Mississippi, 13 to 12," Lincoln (Neb.) State Journal, Jan. 2, 1937, p7
- "Heisman Trophy". heisman.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2008. Retrieved 2015-12-03.