1969 college football season
|1969 NCAA University Division football season|
|Total # of teams||123|
|Preseason AP #1||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|Number of bowls||11|
|Champions||Texas Longhorns (AP, Coaches)|
|Heisman||Steve Owens, Oklahoma HB|
The 1969 college football season was celebrated as the 100th anniversary of college football (the first season being the one in 1869).
During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the major college football teams, later known as "Division I-A." The NCAA Football Guide, however, did note an "unofficial national champion" based on the top ranked teams in the "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular, followed by the "coaches' poll" by United Press International) (UPI). In 1969, the UPI issued its final poll before the bowls, but the AP Trophy was withheld until the postseason was completed.
The AP poll in 1969 consisted of the votes of as many as 45 sportswriters, though not all of them voted in every poll. Those who cast votes would give their opinion of the ten best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. In 1969, there were four regular season games that matched "Top Five" teams.
- Cleat lengths are limited to 3/4 inch (19 mm).
- Batting a lateral pass forward is illegal.
- The definition of "roughing the kicker" is clarified.
Conference and program changes
- The Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA, now known as the Big West Conference) began its first season of play in 1969 with seven teams from the state of California.
|School||1968 Conference||1969 Conference|
|Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles||CCAA||PCAA|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||CCAA||PCAA|
|Long Beach State 49ers||CCAA||PCAA|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||MAC||Independent|
|San Jose State Spartans||Independent||PCAA|
|San Diego State Aztecs||CCAA||PCAA|
|UC Santa Barbara Gauchos||Independent||PCAA|
In the preseason poll released on September 15, 1969, the defending champion #1 Ohio State Buckeyes were picked #1 with 26 of the 33 first place votes. Arkansas was second, followed by Penn State, Texas and USC.
September 20: #1 Ohio State had not yet started its season. #2 Arkansas beat Oklahoma State 39-0 at Little Rock. #3 Penn State beat Navy at Annapolis, 45-22. #4 Texas won at California 17-0. #5 USC won at Nebraska 31-21
Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Penn State, 3. Arkansas, 4. Texas, 5. USC
September 27: #1 Ohio State opened its season with a 62-0 dismantling of Texas Christian (TCU). #2 Penn State beat Colorado 27-3 at home. #3 Arkansas hosted Tulsa and won 55-0. #4 Texas won at home, 49-7, over Texas Tech. #5 USC beat Northwestern at home 48-6. The first seven spots in the poll remained unchanged: 1.Ohio State 2.Penn State 3.Arkansas 4.Texas 5.USC On September 27, 1969, Rutgers hosted Princeton, just as it had on November 6, 1869 in the first college football game. In 1869, Rutgers had 6 goals to Princeton's four. A century later, Rutgers won 29-0.
October 4: #1 Ohio State beat Washington at Seattle, 41-14. Penn State narrowly won at Kansas State 17-14, and fell to fifth in the poll. Arkansas beat TCU at Little Rock, 24-6. #4 Texas, which beat Navy 56-17 at home, rose to second, and USC, which won at Oregon State 31-7, was fourth. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Arkansas, 4. USC, 5. Penn State
October 11: the top teams played ranked opponents. #1 Ohio State beat #19 Michigan State 54-21 at home. In Dallas #2 Texas defeated #8 Oklahoma 27-17. #3 Arkansas was idle #4 USC got past #16 Stanford 26-24 #5 Penn State beat #17 West Virginia 20-0 at home. Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. USC, 4. Arkansas, 5. Penn State
October 18: #1 Ohio State won at Minnesota 34-7. #2 Texas was idle. #3 USC tied with #11 Notre Dame 14-14 at South Bend, and dropped to 7th, while Notre Dame fell to 12th. #4 Arkansas won 21-7 at Baylor. #5 Penn State narrowly stayed unbeaten at Syracuse, winning 15-14, and fell to 8th. #7 Tennessee, which had beaten #20 Alabama 41-14 in Birmingham for its fifth win, rose to third, while unbeaten #6 Missouri Tigers reached fifth after its 31-21 win over Oklahoma State
Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee, 4. Arkansas, 5. Missouri
October 25: #1 Ohio State beat Illinois 41-0. #2 Texas defeated Rice 31-0 in Austin. #3 Tennessee was idle. #4 Arkansas beat Wichita State 52-14 in Little Rock. #8 Penn State defeated Ohio University 42-3 and returned to the Top 5. #6 Missouri Tigers lost to unranked Colorado at Boulder, 31-24. #6 USC beat Georgia Tech 29-18 Poll: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee, 4. Arkansas, 5. Penn State
November 1: #1 Ohio State won at Northwestern 35-6. #2 Texas beat SMU at Dallas 45-14. #3 Tennessee won at #11 Georgia 17-3 #4 Arkansas beat Texas A & M at home, 35-13. #5 Penn State beat Boston College 38-16. The poll remained unchanged: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee and 4. Arkansas were all at 6-0-0; 5. Penn State was 7-0, and 6. USC and 7. UCLA stayed unbeaten at 6-0-1 and 7-0-1, respectively.
November 8: #1 Ohio State beat Wisconsin 62-7 at home. #2 Texas beat Baylor at home 56-14. #3 Tennessee beat South Carolina 29-14, #4 Arkansas defeated Rice in Houston, 30-6, and #5 Penn State was idle. The poll remained unchanged: 1. Ohio State, 2. Texas, 3. Tennessee and 4. Arkansas and 5. Penn State were all 7-0, and 6. USC and 7. UCLA were both at 7-0-1, respectively.
November 15: #1 Ohio State hosted #10 Purdue and won 42-14. By this time, Woody Hayes's Buckeyes had outscored their opposition 371 to 69 and had an 8-0-0 record with one game left. #2 Texas beat TCU 69-7 at home to stay unbeaten. But in Jackson, #3 Tennessee lost to #18 Mississippi 38-0. #4 Arkansas beat SMU 28-15 in Dallas, and #5 Penn State beat Maryland 48-0 at home. #6 USC, which had beaten Washington at Seattle 16-7, rose to five. In the next poll, Ohio State and Texas stayed at #1 and #2, while 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,and 9 (Arkansas, Penn State, USC, UCLA, Missouri and Notre Dame) each moved up a notch.
November 22: After averaging 46 points a game in its first eight, #1 Ohio State could only manage 12 points against #12 Michigan in Ann Arbor, and lost 24-12. The Wolverines won the Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl. #5 USC, aided by a pass interference penalty and controversial late touchdown, closed with a 14-12 win over #6 UCLA in a matchup of unbeatens (both 8-0-1) that decided the Pac-8 championship and the other spot in the Rose Bowl. #4 Penn State won at Pittsburgh 27-7. In the next poll, Texas took the top spot: 1. Texas, 2. Arkansas, 3. Penn State, 4. Ohio State, 5. USC.
On Thanksgiving Day, in Southwest Conference play, #1 Texas won at Texas A&M 49-12, while #2 Arkansas beat Texas Tech 33-0 in Little Rock. November 29 #3 Penn State which won at North Carolina State 33-8, had been considered for the Cotton Bowl Classic, where the Southwestern Conference champ (Texas or Arkansas) would go. Before Ohio State's loss, however, the players had voted to accept a bid to the Orange Bowl, because they preferred going to Miami instead of Dallas, even though the Nittany Lions went to the Orange Bowl the previous season and defeated Kansas 15-14. Certain to move up to #2 regardless of how the Texas-Arkansas game came out, Penn State unexpectedly had passed up a chance to go up against the #1 team in the nation.
December 6: #1 and #2 would not meet in a bowl, but faced off at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the final regular season game for both teams. Both unbeaten at 9-0-0, the #1 Texas Longhorns met the #2 Arkansas Razorbacks for a game that would determine the unofficial champion. Among the 44,000 spectators that day was U.S. President Richard Nixon, who had with him a plaque to award to the "national champion", while an estimated 50 million viewers watched the game on ABC. After three quarters, Arkansas had a 14-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Longhorns' quarterback James Street couldn't find a receiver and ran 42 yards for a touchdown, then carried over the ball for two to make the score 14-8. Then, with 4:47 to play, the Longhorns were on their own 43 on fourth down. Street threw long to Randy Peschel open downfield. Peschel caught the ball and fell out of bounds on the 13. After Ted Koy's 11 yard run, Jim Bertelsen went over to tie the score. The extra point by Happy Feller gave Texas the 15-14 win. Because both teams had been unbeaten in Southwest Conference play, the game also determined the SWC championship, with Texas getting the bid for the Cotton Bowl Classic. President Nixon presented the plaque to Texas coach Darrell Royal after the game. In the final regular season poll, it was 1. Texas, 2. Penn State, 3. Arkansas, 4. Ohio State, and 5. USC.
The following is an incomplete list of conference standings:
|COTTON||#1 Texas Longhorns||21||#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish||17|
|ORANGE||#2 Penn State Nittany Lions||10||#6 Missouri Tigers||3|
|SUGAR||#13 Mississippi Rebels||27||#3 Arkansas Razorbacks||22|
|ROSE||#5 USC Trojans||10||#7 Michigan Wolverines||3|
East Tennessee State went undefeated and beat Louisiana Tech, led by Terry Bradshaw, in the Grantland Rice Bowl in Baton Rouge, LA. At the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the #1 Texas Longhorns were facing the end of their unbeaten streak before a crowd of 73,000. Trailing 17-14 with 2:26 left in the game, Texas was 10 yards from goal, but it was 4th down, and going for a tie was out of the question. Failing to convert would give Notre Dame the ball and the chance to run out the clock. Texas QB James Street managed to fire a pass over the head of the equally determined Notre Dame linebacker, Bob Olson. Cotton Speyrer came down with the ball on the 2 yard line, just before the ball hit the ground. The officials paused before ruling that the pass was indeed complete, giving Texas the first down, and two plays later, Billy Dale took the ball in for the winning points and, ultimately, the title . In the final poll, the Texas Longhorns were the top choice for 36 of the 45 writers voting, and won the AP Trophy as the final #1. The Final Top 20 was: 1.Texas 2.Penn State 3.USC 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame 6.Missouri 7.Arkansas 8.Mississippi 9.Michigan 10.UCLA 11.Nebraska 12.Houston 13.LSU 14.Florida 15.Tennessee 16.Colorado 17.West Virginia 18.Purdue 19.Stanford and 20.Auburn.
|SUN||El Paso||Nebraska 45||Georgia 6|
|GATOR||Jacksonville||Florida 14||Tennessee 13|
|TANGERINE||Orlando||Toledo 56||Davidson 33|
|ASTRO-BLUEBONNET||Houston||Houston 36||Auburn 7|
|LIBERTY||Memphis||Colorado 47||Alabama 33|
|PEACH||Atlanta||West Virginia 14||South Carolina 3|
|PASADENA||Pasadena||San Diego State 28||Boston U. 7|
|Rice Bowl||Baton Rouge||East Tennessee State 34||Louisiana Tech 14|
The schools that were in what is now known as Division I FCS were ranked in the "small college poll", taken by both the UPI (coaches) and AP (a panel of writers). In 1969, both services ranked the 9-0-0 North Dakota State #1 and the 8-0-0 Montana Grizzlies #2. The teams met in the Camellia Bowl in Sacramento (one of four postseason games for college division teams). North Dakota State won, 30-3.
Special helmet design
Many schools, at the behest of the NCAA, commemorated the 1969 season by wearing a special decal on their football helmets. The decal consisted of the numeral "100" inside a football shaped outline. The decal was designed to commemorate the 1869 game between Rutgers and Princeton, often cited as the first college football game. Decals varied greatly from one team to another. Some teams placed the decals unobtrusively on the front or back of the helmet. Other teams placed them prominently on the side, either in addition to or in place of their regular team logo. Colors and design of the decals also varied greatly between teams; with different numeral styles and color schemes in use. One notable exception was Harvard, which abstained from the 1969 commemoration, and had its own special helmet decal made for the 1974 season, which commemorates an 1874 game that Harvard played against McGill that Harvard claims was the "real" first football game.
Steve Owens of Oklahoma had rushed for 3,867 yards and scored 56 touchdowns in three seasons with the Sooners. In 1969, he had 29 touchdowns and scored 138 points, and rushed for 248 yards against Iowa State. He was the 19th selection in the 1970 NFL draft and played for the Detroit Lions. Following Owens in the Heisman voting were three quarterbacks: Mike Phipps of Purdue, Rex Kern of Ohio State, and Archie Manning of Mississippi. Defensive tackle Mike Reid of Penn State, the Outland Trophy winner, was fifth.
- "Grid squads get 11 games". Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 15, 1970. p. 14.
- "Looking back 1969: Lions make the wrong choice, attend Orange and finish 2nd again," The Daily Collegian (State College, PA), November 18, 1989
- "Nittany Lions Prefer Orange," THE POST-STANDARD (Syracuse), November 17, 1969, p19
- "Wild Texas Gamble Clips Arkansas", Oakland Tribune, December 7, 1969, p52
- "1969 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- "Longhorns Gamble Pays Off," Amarillo Globe-Times, January 2, 1970, p19
- Arey, Charles. "The College Football Centennial Logo". The Helmet Project. NationalChamps.net. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- Arey, Charles. "Ivy League football helmets". The Helmet Project. NationalChamps.net. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- "Steve Owens is Heisman winner". Spartanburg Herald-Jornal (South Carolina). Associated Press. November 26, 1969. p. 14.
- "Heisman Trophy goes to Owens". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). UPI. November 25, 1969. p. 8.