1944 college football season
|1944 NCAA football season|
|Total # of teams||95|
|First AP #1 of season||Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|Number of bowls||5|
|Heisman||Les Horvath, Ohio State QB/FB|
The 1944 NCAA football season was played during the Second World War. The football team of the United States Military Academy, more popularly known as Army, was crowned as the nation’s #1 team by 95 of the 121 writers who participated in the AP Poll. As in 1943, the AP poll included service teams, drawn from flight schools and training centers which were preparing men for fighting in World War II, and the teams played against the colleges as part of their schedules. Half of the final Top 20 teams were composed of service teams, in addition to the two service academies at West Point and Annapolis. Most colleges that had suspended their programs in 1943 were back in 1944, including the entire Southeastern Conference.
In the AP poll, each participating 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 top twenty results.
On September 16 the Great Lakes Naval Training Center team defeated Fort Sheridan, 62–0, before a crowd of 25,000 at its base north of Chicago. Michigan beat Iowa Pre-Flight, 12–7 before a crowd of 22,000 in Ann Arbor.
September 23 Great Lakes won at Purdue, 27–18. In Milwaukee, Michigan beat Marquette 14–0. At San Antonio, Randolph Field defeated Abilene Field, 67–0.
September 30 Notre Dame won at Pittsburgh 58–0. Great Lakes and Illinois played to a 26-26 tie. Michigan lost to Indiana, 20–0. In Houston, Randolph Field beat Rice 59–0. Army beat North Carolina, 46–0. North Carolina Pre-Flight, quarterbacked by Otto Graham (formerly of Northwestern, and a future Cleveland Browns star) upset Navy, 21–14.
October 7 Notre Dame beat Tulane 26-0 and Army defeated Brown 59-7. In games between service teams and colleges, the servicemen triumphed, as N.C. Pre-Flight won at Duke, 13-6, Great Lakes won at Northwestern 25-0, and Randolph Field won at Texas 42-6. In the poll that followed, Notre Dame was first, and Army third, with the service teams occupying the other spots.
October 14 In Boston, #1 Notre Dame beat Dartmouth, 64-0. #2 North Carolina Pre-Flight was tied by Virginia, 13-13. #3 Army beat Pittsburgh, 69-7. #4 Randolph Field, quarterbacked by “Bullet Bill” Dudley, beat SMU at home in San Antonio, 41-0. #5 Great Lakes beat Western Michigan 38-0. #8 Ohio State won at Wisconsin, 20-7 and #11 Iowa Pre-Flight won at Purdue, 13-6. N.C. Pre-Flight and Great Lakes fell out of the top five: 1.Notre Dame 2.Army 3.Randolph Field 4.Ohio State 5.Iowa Pre-Flight.
October 21 #1 Notre Dame defeated Wisconsin 28-13. #2 Army beat the Coast Guard Academy, 76-0. #3 Randolph Field and Camp Polk played a Sunday game at Fort Worth, Texas, with Randolph's Ramblers winning 67-0. #4 Ohio State beat Great Lakes, 26-6. #5 Iowa Pre-Flight defeated Fort Warren, 30-0. In Atlanta, #8 Georgia Tech defeated Navy 17-15.
October 28 #1 Notre Dame won at Illinois, 13-7. At a war bonds fundraiser at the Polo Grounds in New York, #2 Army beat Duke 27-7. #3 Randolph Field defeated Morris Field 19-0. #4 Ohio State beat Minnesota 34-14. #5 Georgia Tech reached 5-0-0 after a 13-7 over the flight training school located on the U.Ga. campus, Georgia Pre-Flight.
November 4 #1 Army rolled over Villanova, 83-0. In six games, the Cadets had outscored their opponents by an average of 60 to 3. In Baltimore, #2 Notre Dame lost to #6 Navy, 32-13. #3 Ohio State beat Indiana 21-7. #4 Randolph Field beat North Texas Agricultural (later called the University of Texas-Arlington) 68-0. #5 Georgia Tech lost at Duke, 19-13, and fell out of the top five, as Navy moved up.
November 11 At Yankee Stadium in New York, #1 Army crushed #5 Notre Dame, 59-0. #2 Ohio State beat Pittsburgh 54-19. #3 Navy beat Cornell, 48-0. #4 Randolph Field defeated Maxwell Field, 25-0. #8 Michigan, which beat Illinois, 14-0, took Notre Dame's place in the Top Five.
November 18 In Philadelphia, #1 Army beat Pennsylvania, 62-7. In Georgetown, Texas, #2 Randolph Field beat Southwestern University, 54-0. #3 Navy defeated Purdue in Baltimore, 32-0. In Cleveland, before a crowd of 83,627 fans, #4 Ohio State beat Illinois 26-12. #5 Michigan defeated Wisconsin, 14-0. In a Sunday game between service teams, #6 Bainbridge NTC of Maryland defeated Camp Lejeune, 33-6.
November 25 #1 Army (8-0-0) and #2 Navy (6-2-0) were both idle as they prepared for the annual Army–Navy Game. #3 Ohio State beat Michigan 18-14. The next day, #4 Randolph Field beat Amarillo Field, 33-0, and #5 Bainbridge Naval beat Camp Perry, 21-13.
December 2 #1 Army and #2 Navy met in Baltimore. Army's offense was held to its lowest score of the season, but won 23-7 to cap a perfect season. Army had scored 59 points or more in seven of its nine games, with a 504 to 35 aggregate over its opponents. #3 Ohio State had finished its season, while #4 Randolph Field and #5 Bainbridge Naval were idle. After the release of the final poll, Randolph Field participated in two more games for the sale of bonds. In Los Angeles, the "Ramblers" beat the Fourth Air Force team (March Field), 20-7, on December 10. Six days later, Randolph Field met the Second Air Force Superbombers at the Polo Grounds in New York for the “Treasury Bond Bowl”, and won 13-6 to complete their season at 11-0-0.
The following is a potentially incomplete list of conference standings:
|Bowl||Winning team||points||Losing team||points|
|Rose Bowl||#7 USC Trojans||25||#12 Tennessee Volunteers||0|
|Sugar Bowl||#11 Duke Blue Devils||29||Alabama Crimson Tide||26|
|Orange Bowl||Tulsa Golden Hurricane||26||#13 Georgia Tech||12|
|Cotton Bowl||Oklahoma A&M Cowboys||34||TCU Horned Frogs||0|
Awards and honors
The consensus All-America team included:
|QB||Les Horvath||5'10"||173||Sr.||Parma, Ohio||Ohio State|
|HB||Glenn Davis||5'9"||175||So.||Claremont, California||Army|
|HB||Bob Jenkins||6'1"||195||Jr.||Talladega, Alabama||Navy|
|FB||Doc Blanchard||6'0"||205||Jr.||Bishopville, South Carolina||Army|
|E||Phil Tinsley||6'1"||188||Sr.||Bessemer, Alabama||Georgia Tech|
|E||Paul Walker||6'3"||203||Jr.||Springfield, Missouri||Yale|
|T||Don Whitmire||5'11"||215||Sr.||Giles Co., Tennessee||Alabama|
|G||Bill Hackett||5'9"||191||Jr.||London, Ohio||Ohio State|
|C||John Tavener||6'0"||220||Sr.||Newark, Ohio||Indiana|
|G||Ben Chase||6'1"||195||San Diego, California||Navy|
|T||John Ferraro||6'4"||245||So.||Los Angeles, California||USC|
|E||Jack Dugger||6'3"||210||Sr.||Canton, Ohio||Ohio State|
- Team scoring most points per game: Army, 56.0
- “Navy Upset”, The Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, Oct. 1, 1944, p17
- “Randolph Field Steamrolls Over Southern Methodist 41-0”, Amarillo Sunday Globe-Times, Oct. 15, 1944, pB-6