1975 NCAA Division I football season
|1975 NCAA Division I football season|
|Total # of teams||137|
|Preseason AP #1||Oklahoma Sooners|
|Regular season||September 4 – December 6, 1975|
|Number of bowls||11|
|Bowl games||December 20, 1975 – January 1, 1976|
|Heisman||Archie Griffin, Ohio State RB|
The 1975 NCAA Division I football season saw University of Oklahoma repeat as national champion in the Associated Press (AP) writers' poll, and were ranked #1 in the United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll, just ahead of runner up Arizona State, runner-up in both final polls, despite having an undefeated 12–0 season and a win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.
During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football, teams that would later be described 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). The AP poll consisted of the votes of as many as 63 writers, though not all voted in each poll, and the UPI poll was taken of a 25-member board of coaches.
- Jerseys are required to be changed if the shoulder pads are exposed and/or the uniform numbers become unreadable.
- The game ball composition and appearance are standardized.
- The team bench area is expanded from between the 35-yard lines to between the 30-yard lines.
- Penalty enforcement of fouls committed during kickoffs, field goal attempts, and punts when the ball is not in possession of either team is from the spot of the foul, changed from the previous spot.
- The referee has the authority (without consulting with the two coaches) to suspend a game due to severe weather (lightning, etc.).
- If a player is observed playing without a mouthpiece, his team will be charged a time-out (or a five-yard penalty if out of time-outs) to correct.
Conference and program changes
|School||1974 Conference||1975 Conference|
|Ball State Cardinals||D-II Independent||MAC|
|Central Michigan Chippewas||D-II Independent||MAC|
|Louisville Cardinals||Missouri Valley||D-I Independent|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||D-I Independent||MAC|
|North Texas State Mean Green||Missouri Valley||D-I Independent|
|Wisconsin–Milwaukee Panthers||D-I Independent||Dropped Program|
September 6 Most teams had yet to open their seasons, but #2 Alabama lost its home opener in Birmingham to unranked Missouri, 20-7. #6 Penn State was the only other top 10 team to play the weekend, and struggled to defeat Temple in a game in Philadelphia, winning 26-25. In the next poll, Missouri rose to fifth place, while Alabama dropped to 13th. Penn State fell from 6th to 10th. The poll: 1.Oklahoma 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.USC 5.Missouri
September 13 #1 Oklahoma beat Oregon 62-7. #2 Michigan won at Wisconsin, 23-6. #3 Ohio State won at #11 Michigan State, 21-0. #4 USC beat Duke 35-7 at home and #5 Missouri was idle. The poll was unchanged: 1.Oklahoma 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.USC 5.Missouri
September 20 #1 Oklahoma beat #15 Pittsburgh 46-10, and Michigan was tied by Stanford at home, 19-19. #3 Ohio State beat #7 Penn State 17-9. #4 USC defeated Oregon State 24-7. #5 Missouri won at Illinois, 30-20. Missouri's Big Eight rival, #6 Nebraska, beat Indiana 45-0, and rose to fourth. The poll: 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Nebraska 5.Missouri
In a Friday night game September 26 at Miami, #1 Oklahoma eked out a win over the Hurricanes, 20-17. The next day, September 27 #2 Ohio State beat North Carolina 32-7. #3 USC beat visiting Purdue, 19-6. Nebraska beat TCU 56-14, and #5 Missouri edged Wisconsin, 27-21. The poll was unchanged: 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Nebraska 5.Missouri
October 4 #1 Oklahoma had another narrow win, beating visiting #19 Colorado, 21-20, while in Los Angeles, #2 Ohio State had no problems in defeating #13 UCLA, 41-20. The Buckeyes and Bruins would meet again at season's end. #3 USC won 27–16 at Iowa, and #4 Nebraska defeated the Miami Hurricanes at home, 31-16. #5 Missouri played its third straight game against a Big Ten team, losing at #12 Michigan, 31-7. After a promising start, the Tigers would go on to a 6-5-0 finish. #7 Texas, which beat Utah State 61-7, rose to fifth. Ohio State took over first place from Oklahoma, with 47 of the 62 first place votes. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.USC 4.Nebraska 5.Texas
October 11 #1 Ohio State beat visiting Iowa 49-0. In their annual meeting in Dallas, #2 Oklahoma defeated #5 Texas 24-17 to regain the top spot. #3 USC beat Washington State 28-10. #4 Nebraska beat visiting Kansas 16-0. #6 Texas A&M, which won 38-9 at Texas Tech, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Nebraska 5.Texas A & M
October 18 #1 Oklahoma won 25–3 at Kansas State, and #2 Ohio State had a second straight shutout at home, 56–0 over Wisconsin. #3 USC beat visiting Oregon 17-3. #4 Nebraska won 28–20 at Oklahoma State, and #5 Texas A&M won at TCU, 14-6. The poll was unchanged: 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Nebraska 5.Texas A & M
October 25 #1 Oklahoma beat Iowa State, 39-7, #2 Ohio State won 35–6 at Purdue, and #3 USC won at #14 Notre Dame, 24-17. #4 Nebraska beat #10 Colorado, 63-21, and #5 Texas A&M beat Baylor at home, 19-10. The poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.Nebraska 4.USC 5.Texas A & M
November 1 #1 Oklahoma won 27–7 at #19 Oklahoma State, #2 Ohio State defeated Indiana at home, 24-14, and #3 Nebraska won 30–7 at #12 Missouri. Coach John McKay announced he would be leaving USC after the season to coach the NFL's expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and #4 USC abruptly lost 28–14 at California, beginning a four-game losing streak after a 7-0 start. #5 Texas A&M was idle, and #6 Alabama beat Mississippi State in Jackson, 21-10. The poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Ohio State 3.Nebraska 4.Texas A & M 5.Alabama
November 8 #1 Oklahoma were stunned 23–3 in Norman by the visiting Kansas Jayhawks, led by quarterback Nolan Cromwell. #2 Ohio State won at Illinois, 40-3, and #3 Nebraska won at Kansas State, 12-0. #4 Texas A&M beat SMU, 36-3, and #5 Alabama won 23–10 at LSU. #6 Michigan, which beat Purdue 28-0, rose to fourth. The poll was: 1.Ohio State 2.Nebraska 3.Texas A & M 4.Michigan 5.Alabama
November 15 #1 Ohio State beat Minnesota 38-6, and #2 Nebraska beat Iowa 52-0. #3 Texas A&M won 33–14 at Rice, 33-14, and #4 Michigan won 21–15 at Illinois to extend its record to 8-0-2, while #5 Alabama beat Southern Mississippi at home, 27-6. The poll was unchanged: 1.Ohio State 2.Nebraska 3.Texas A & M 4.Michigan 5.Alabama
November 22 The game that determined the Big Ten championship took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as unbeaten (10-0) #1 Ohio State visited unbeaten, but twice tied (8-0-2) #4 Michigan. OSU won 21-14 and got the trip to the Rose Bowl, where it would have a rematch with 11th-ranked UCLA (The Bruins would beat out Cal for the Rose Bowl bid by beating USC, 25-22, the following Friday). In Norman, Oklahoma, a trip to the Orange Bowl was on the line as #2 Nebraska (10-0) closed its season against #7 Oklahoma (9–1) in a game for the Big Eight title. Oklahoma handed the Cornhuskers their first loss, 35-10, and Nebraska settled for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. #3 Texas A&M and #5 Alabama were both idle, #6 Texas (9–1) was also idle, but rose to fifth. The poll was: 1.Ohio State 2.Texas A & M 3.Oklahoma 4.Alabama 5.Texas
November 29 #2 Texas A&M (9–0) hosted the #5 Texas (9–1) at College Station, with the Aggies winning, 20-10. #4 Alabama closed its season with its tenth straight win after its opening loss, a 28–0 win over Auburn in Birmingham. In the final AP poll released on December 1, #1 Ohio State (11–0), #2 Texas A&M (10–0) and #7 Arizona State (11–0) were all undefeated. On December 6, however, the Aggies lost in Little Rock to #18 Arkansas, 31-6. The Southwest Conference race finished with a three way tie between Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M, all 6-1 in conference play. Arkansas got the Cotton Bowl berth, while Texas went to the Bluebonnet Bowl and Texas A&M to the Liberty Bowl.
Map of participating teams
Thursday, January 1, 1976
|COTTON||#18 Arkansas Razorbacks||31||#12 Georgia Bulldogs||10|
|SUGAR||#4 Alabama Crimson Tide||13||#8 Penn State Nittany Lions||6|
|ROSE||#11 UCLA Bruins||23||#1 Ohio State Buckeyes||10|
|ORANGE||#3 Oklahoma Sooners||14||#5 Michigan Wolverines||6|
This was the first season that both the Pac-8 and Big Ten conferences allowed their teams to play in bowl games other than the Rose Bowl. Unranked USC (7–4), fifth in the Pac-8 (3–4), was invited to the Liberty Bowl, head coach John McKay's final game before going to the NFL to coach the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. California, who tied UCLA for the Pac-8 title (UCLA earned the Rose Bowl berth due to their win over Cal) was left out of any bowls, as were Washington and Stanford, all of whom beat and finished ahead of USC. Michigan, the Big Ten runner up, was invited to play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, which passed over higher-ranked Alabama (10–1), who met Penn State in the Sugar Bowl, rather than the higher-ranked Big 8 runner-up, Nebraska. The Huskers went to the Fiesta Bowl to play host Arizona State (11–0).
USC sent McKay out a winner and climbed to 17th, as they shut out uninspired Texas A&M, still reeling from being upset by Arkansas on December 6 and losing out on the Cotton Bowl bid. The day after Christmas, Arizona State, the WAC champion, won arguably the biggest game to date in their history over Big 8 runner-up Nebraska, 17–14. Arizona State was one of two Division I teams to finish undefeated and untied as they completed a 12–0 season. Another ASU, Arkansas State, also finished unbeaten and untied, but were unranked. New Year's Eve saw Alabama beat Penn State 13-6 in the Sugar Bowl. On New Year's Day, Arkansas beat SEC runner up Georgia in the Cotton Bowl 31-10. The Rose Bowl was a rematch between #1 Ohio State and #11 UCLA; Ohio State had beaten UCLA in Los Angeles on October 4, 41-20. After that game, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes was so impressed by UCLA in defeat, he predicted that his Buckeyes would be playing the Bruins again in the Rose Bowl. This time, the 11th-ranked Bruins (8-2-1) handed the previously undefeated and #1 ranked Buckeyes a 23-10 loss. UCLA was the only team to score more than 14 points on Ohio State all season, and they did it twice. #2 Oklahoma (10-1) defeated #4 Michigan (8-1-2), 14-6, in the Orange Bowl to claim the national title. The final rankings were 1.Oklahoma 2. Arizona State 3.Ohio State 4.Alabama 5.UCLA
|FIESTA||Tempe, AZ||December 26||#6 Arizona State||17–14||#5 Nebraska|
|SUN||El Paso, TX||December 26||#20 Pittsburgh||33–19||#19 Kansas|
|LIBERTY||Memphis, TN||December 22||USC||20–0||#2 Texas A&M|
|GATOR||Jacksonville, FL||December 29||#17 Maryland||13–0||#13 Florida|
|TANGERINE||Orlando, FL||December 20||#16 Miami (OH)||20–7||South Carolina|
|ASTRO-BLUEBONNET||Houston, TX||December 27||#9 Texas||38–21||#10 Colorado|
|PEACH||Atlanta, GA||December 31||West Virginia||13–10||NC State|
Heisman Trophy voting
The Heisman Trophy is given to the year's most outstanding player
- Archie Griffin, RB - Ohio State, 1,800 points
- Chuck Muncie, RB - California, 730
- Ricky Bell, RB - USC, 708
- Tony Dorsett, RB - Pittsburgh, 616
- Joe Washington, RB - Oklahoma, 250
- Jimmy DuBose, RB - Florida, 112
- John Sciarra, QB - UCLA, 86
- Gordon Bell, RB - Michigan, 84
- Lee Roy Selmon, DT - Oklahoma, 79
- Gene Swick, QB - Toledo, 73
- Bell and Dorsett were juniors
Through 2016, Griffin is the only multiple winner of the Heisman Trophy.
- 1975 NCAA Division I football rankings
- 1975 College Football All-America Team
- 1975 NCAA Division II football season
- 1975 NCAA Division III football season
- "1975 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "Archie Griffin". Heisman Trophy. 1975. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- "Griffin is first Heisman repeater". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 2, 1975. p. 17.