|1974 NCAA Division I football season|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Oklahoma|
|Regular season||September 7 – November 30, 1974|
|Number of bowls||11|
|Bowl games||December 16, 1974 – January 1, 1975|
USC (Coaches, FWAA, NFF)
|Heisman||Archie Griffin (running back, Ohio State)|
The 1974 NCAA Division I football season finished with two national champions. The Associated Press (AP) writers' poll ranked the University of Oklahoma, which was on probation and barred by the NCAA from postseason play, #1 at season's end. The United Press International (UPI) coaches' poll did not rank teams on probation, by unanimous agreement of the 25 member coaches' board. The UPI trophy went to the University of Southern California (USC).
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). Starting in 1974, the UPI joined AP in issuing its final poll after the bowl games were completed. Both polls operated under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., whereby the overall ranking was determined. The AP poll consisted of the votes of 60 writers, though not all voted in each poll, and the UPI poll was taken of a 25-member board.
- Blocking below the waist is prohibited on kickoffs, punts, or free kicks, and anywhere on the field except in a three-yard area around the line of scrimmage.
- Shoulder pads are required equipment for all players. Prior to this, kickers and wide receivers frequently played without shoulder pads.
- Penalty enforcement on running plays is from the end of the run except for fouls committed by the offense; those are penalized from the spot of the foul.
- Players who enter the field are required to remain for one play, and players who leave the field are required to stay on the bench for one play. This ended the practice of sending "messenger" players in to relay plays from the sideline, then leave the field without participating.
- Players leaving the bench to participate in touchdown celebrations will result in a five-yard penalty for the scoring team. If a coach joins in the celebration on the field, the penalty is 15 yards.
- Successful field goals now must travel between the uprights; previously a field goal was declared good if the ball went over an upright, the standard still used by the National Football League. This became a point of dispute in the 1974 Ohio State-Michigan game, as Michigan's game-winning field goal attempt was declared no good due to the ball going over the left upright. Michigan claimed the ball curled just inside the left upright.
Conference and program changes
|School||1973 Conference||1974 Conference|
|Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles||PCAA (D-I)||CCAA (D-II)|
|Cal State Fullerton Titans||CCAA (D-II)||PCAA (D-I)|
|Xavier Musketeers||Independent||Dropped Program|
September 7 #3 Notre Dame, the defending national champion, beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 31-7, in a nationally-televised game on Monday night, September 9. Arizona State, UCLA and Houston were among the few other schools playing that weekend. Elsewhere, the scheduled Ole Miss-Tulane game in New Orleans was postponed until November 30 due to the threat of Hurricane Carmen. The poll was: 1.Oklahoma 2.Notre Dame 3.Alabama 4.Ohio State 5.USC
September 14 #1 Oklahoma beat Baylor, 28-11. #2 Notre Dame was idle. #3 Alabama won at #14 Maryland, 21-16. #4 Ohio State won at Minnesota, 34-19. #5 USC lost to Arkansas in Little Rock, 22-7. #7 Nebraska, which beat Oregon in its opener, 61-7, rose to fourth. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Ohio State 3.Oklahoma 4.Nebraska 5.Alabama
September 21 #1 Notre Dame won at Northwestern, 49-3. #2 Ohio State beat Oregon State 51-10. #3 Oklahoma was idle. #4 Nebraska lost at Wisconsin, 21-20. #5 Alabama beat Southern Mississippi at Alabama, 52-0. #6 Michigan, which beat Colorado, 31-0, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Notre Dame 2.Ohio State 3.Oklahoma 4.Alabama 5.Michigan
September 28 #1 Notre Dame was upset at home by Purdue, 31-20. #2 Ohio State defeated SMU, 28-9. #3 Oklahoma rolled over visiting Utah State, 72-3.#4 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 23-10. #5 Michigan beat Navy, 52-0 #9 Texas A&M, which won at Washington 28-15, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Texas A & M
October 5 #1 Ohio State beat Washington State 42-7 in Seattle. #2 Oklahoma shut out Wake Forest 63-0. #3 Alabama beat Mississippi at Jackson, 35-21. #4 Michigan won at Stanford, 27-16. #5 Texas A&M lost at Kansas, 28-10. #6 Nebraska, which beat Minnesota 54-0, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Nebraska
October 12 #1 Ohio State beat visiting #13 Wisconsin 52-7. #2 Oklahoma barely defeated #17 Texas in Dallas, 16-13. #3 Alabama survived a game against winless (0-4-0)Florida State, winning 8-7 #4 Michigan beat Michigan State, 21-7. #5 Nebraska lost to Missouri, 21-10. #10 Auburn, which beat Kentucky 31-13, rose to fifth. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn
October 19 #1 Ohio State beat Indiana, 49-9 #2 Oklahoma won at Colorado, 49-14. #3 Michigan won at Wisconsin, 24-20. #4 Alabama won at Tennessee, 28-6. #5 Auburn beat Georgia Tech 31-22. The poll was unchanged: 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn
October 26 #1 Ohio State won at Northwestern, 55-7. #2 Oklahoma beat Kansas State, 63-0. #3 Michigan beat Minnesota, 49-0. #4 Alabama beat TCU 41-3 at Birmingham. #5 Auburn beat Florida State 38-6. The poll was unchanged 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Alabama 5.Auburn
November 2 #1 Ohio State defeated Illinois at home, 49-7. With a record of 8-0-0, the Buckeyes had outscored their opposition 360 to 75. #2 Oklahoma won at Iowa State, 28-10. #3 Michigan won at Indiana, 21-7. #4 Alabama beat #17 Mississippi State 35-0, and thereby jumped over Michigan to #3. #5 Auburn lost at #11 Florida, 25-14. #8 Texas A&M, which beat Arkansas 20-10, returned to the Top Five. The poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Texas A & M
November 9 In East Lansing, Michigan, #1 Ohio State was upset by unranked (and 4-3-1) Michigan State, 16-13. #2 Oklahoma, which had beaten Missouri 37-0, took the first spot. #3 Alabama beat LSU in Birmingham, 30-0. #4 Michigan won at Illinois, 14-6. #5 Texas A&M lost at SMU, 18-14. #8 Notre Dame was idle, but rose to fifth place. The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame while the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC
November 16 #1 Oklahoma won at Kansas, 45-14. #2 Alabama won in Florida over Miami, 28-7. The other Miami, Miami University, was ranked 12th with a record of 8-0-1. #3 Michigan beat Purdue, 51-0, to extend its record to 10-0-0. #4 Ohio State won at Iowa, 35-10. #5 Notre Dame beat #17 Pittsburgh, 14-10. The AP poll was unchanged: 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame, while the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Michigan 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC
November 23 #1 Oklahoma beat #6 Nebraska, 28-14. #2 Alabama was idle as it prepared for its season ender with Auburn. The game that determined the Big Ten championship took place in Columbus, Ohio, as #3 Michigan (10-0-0) met #4 Ohio State (10-1-0). OSU won, 12-10. #5 Notre Dame beat Air Force, 38-0. USC topped UCLA 34-9 for the Pac-8 title and Rose Bowl berth. The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.Notre Dame 5.USC and the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Ohio State 3.Notre Dame 4.USC 5.Michigan
The annual Alabama-Auburn game took place on a Friday night, played in Birmingham on November 29, with #2 Alabama winning 17-13 over #7 Auburn to close its season at 11-0-0. On November 30 #1 Oklahoma won its annual season ender against OK State, 44-13, to also close its season 11-0-0. Alabama would go to the Sugar Bowl, while Oklahoma would stay home due to NCAA probation. #4 Notre Dame met #5 USC in Los Angeles. USC won, 55-24 after trailing 24-0, and reached the Top four.
In other action, Tulane lost its final game at Tulane Stadium 26-10 to Ole Miss. The Green Wave played 38 of their next 39 seasons at the Superdome, except for 2005, when they were forced to play all of their games away from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Tulane returned to campus in 2014 when Yulman Stadium opened.
The AP poll was 1.Oklahoma 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.USC 5.Michigan and the UPI poll was 1.Alabama 2.Ohio State 3.USC 4.Michigan 5.Auburn.
Oklahoma and Alabama, both 11-0-0, were the only undefeated and untied teams at season's end. AP ranked Oklahoma first, and UPI ranked Alabama #1.
Wednesday, January 1, 1975
|COTTON||#7 Penn State Nittany Lions||41||#12 Baylor Bears||20|
|SUGAR||#8 Nebraska Cornhuskers||13||#18 Florida Gators||10|
|ROSE||#4 USC Trojans||18||#3 Ohio State Buckeyes||17|
|ORANGE||#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish||13||#2 Alabama Crimson Tide||11|
Nebraska erased a 10-point deficit by defeating Florida in the Sugar Bowl played on New Year's Eve. The following afternoon, Penn State defeated the surprise SWC champion Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Third-ranked Ohio State (led by Woody Hayes) and #4 USC (coached by John McKay) played in the Rose Bowl before a crowd of 106,721 in Pasadena. Ohio State led 7-3 after three quarters, and 17-10 in the closing minutes. With 2:03 left, Pat Haden fired a 38-yard pass to John McKay Jr. (son of USC's coach) to make the score 17-16. Coach McKay then passed up a chance for a tie over the favored Buckeyes, and ordered the Trojans to go for two. Shelton Diggs dove and caught Haden's low pass in the end zone to give USC an 18-17 lead. Ohio State could only get close enough for a desperation 62-yard field goal attempt that fell about 8 yards short as time expired.
Alabama, coached by Bear Bryant was ranked #1 in the UPI poll, and #2 (behind on-probation Oklahoma) in the AP, as it went to the Orange Bowl, where it faced 9th ranked Notre Dame, playing its final game under Ara Parseghian. The Irish went out to a 13-0 lead early in the game, but Bama battled back with a field goal, a touchdown and a two-point run to close the score to 13-11 with three minutes left. After ruling out an onside kick attempt, the Tide force a Notre Dame punt and got the ball back with 1:37 left. Quarterback Richard Todd attempted to drive the team to field goal range, but he threw his 3rd interception of the game, and Notre Dame ran out the clock to preserve the upset win.
In the final polls, USC was ranked first by UPI, followed by Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. The Trojans were second in the AP poll, where the Oklahoma Sooners were the first place choice for 51 of the 60 writers. The NCAA recognized both the Sooners and the Trojans as champions in its football guide.
|SUN||El Paso||Texas||December 28||Mississippi State||26–24||North Carolina|
|GATOR||Jacksonville||Florida||December 30||#6 Auburn||27–3||#11 Texas|
|TANGERINE||Orlando||Florida||December 21||#15 Miami (Ohio)||21–10||Georgia|
|ASTRO-BLUEBONNET||Houston||Texas||December 23||Houston (tie)||31–31||#13 N.C. State (tie)|
|LIBERTY||Memphis||Tennessee||December 16||Tennessee||7–3||#10 Maryland|
|PEACH||Atlanta||Georgia||December 28||Texas Tech (tie)||6–6||Vanderbilt (tie)|
|FIESTA||Tempe||Arizona||December 28||Oklahoma State||16–6||#17 BYU|
- Archie Griffin, RB - Ohio State, 1,920 points
- Anthony Davis, RB - USC, 819
- Joe Washington, RB - Oklahoma, 661
- Tom Clements, QB - Notre Dame, 244
- David Humm, QB - Nebraska, 210
- Dennis Franklin, QB - Michigan, 100
- Rod Shoate, LB -Oklahoma, 97
- Gary Sheide, QB - BYU, 90
- Randy White, DT - Maryland, 85
- Steve Bartkowski, QB - California, 74
- Griffin and Washington were juniors
- 1974 NCAA Division I football rankings
- 1974 College Football All-America Team
- 1974 NCAA Division II football season
- 1974 NCAA Division III football season
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2008-12-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "UPI Coaches Omitting Oklahoma," Mansfield (O.) News Journal, Sep. 24, 1974, p19
- "1974 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "The Great Gamble Pays Off In Trojan Win," Star-News (Pasadena), January 2, 1975, p B-1
- "Archie Griffin". Heisman Trophy. 1974. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- "Heisman to Griffin". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 3, 1974. p. 17.