1960 college football season

1960 college football season

The 1960 college football season marked the last time that the University of Minnesota was a national champion on the gridiron. Murray Warmath's Minnesota Gophers were not in the Top 20 in preseason polling, but received the AP Trophy at the end of the regular season. During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the college football teams that would later be described as "Division I-A". The NCAA did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual NCAA Football Guide" of the "unofficial" national champions. The AP poll in 1960 consisted of the votes of 48 sportswriters; the year before, more than 200 voters had split first place votes between Syracuse, Mississippi, LSU, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin and Alabama [ "UCLA Threat To Syracuse's Title Hopes," Oakland Tribune", December 1, 1959, p44 ] . The Associated Press relied thereafter on a "special panel representing all sections of the country" [ "Ole Miss Retains Slim Lead in Poll," The Independent (Long Beach, Cal.), September 27, 1960, pC-1 ] . Though not all the panelists voted in every poll, each would give their opinion of the twenty best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. Although the rankings were based on the collective opinion of the representative sportswriters, the teams that remained "unbeaten and untied" were generally ranked higher than those that had not. A defeat, even against a strong opponent, tended to cause a team to drop in the rankings, and a team with two or more defeats was unlikely to remain in the Top 20. The top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose Bowl (near Los Angeles at Pasadena), the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, Louisiana), the Orange Bowl (Miami, Florida), and the Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas).


In the preseason poll released on September 12, 1960, the defending champion Syracuse Orangemen and 1959's second place finisher, the Mississippi Rebels were #1 and #2, with 26 and 21 first place votes respectively. The were followed by the #3 Washington Huskies from Seattle, the #4 Texas Longhorns and the #5 Illinois Illini. [ www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/ ] . As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.

The Big Ten schools would not kick off until September 24. On September 17, #2 Mississippi beat the Houston Cougars in Houston, 42-0. #3 Washington crushed the visiting College of the Pacific, 55-6 (the school became the University of the Pacific in 1961). #4 Texas opened its season with a loss at home to Nebraska, falling 14-13.

Ole Miss was voted #1, followed by 2.Syracuse 3.Washington 4.Illinois and previously unranked 5.Alabama, which had beaten #13 Georgia 21-6 in Birmingham

September 24
#1 Mississippi beat Kentucky in Memphis, 21-6. #2 Syracuse opened its season with a 55-7 win over Boston University. #3 Washington won at home again, beating the University of Idaho vandals 41-12. #4 Illinois beat Indiana 17-6. #5 Alabama was tied 6-6 by Tulane in New Orleans.

The poll remained 1.Mississippi 2.Syracuse 3.Washington 4.Illinois, but 5.Kansas, which had crushed Kansas State 41-0 on the road, rose from 7th to 5th. Minnesota entered the poll at the #18 spot.


October 1 #1 Mississippi played its second straight game in Memphis, Tennessee, beating Memphis State 31-20. #2 Syracuse defeated #5 Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, 14-7, to reclaim the top spot. #3 Washington narrowly lost 15-14 at home to the #17 Navy Midshipmen. #4 Illinois beat West Virginia 33-0. In the poll, Syracuse and Ole Miss were #1 and #2, followed at 3, 4 and 5 by Big Ten teams Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State. Purdue was 7th, Michigan State 13th, and Minnesota 14th. Iowa had beaten Northwestern 42-0 on the road, while Ohio State had shut out visiting USC.

October 8
#1 Syracuse struggled to beat Holy Cross 15-6 in Worcestor, Mass. #2 Mississippi won in their third consecutive trip to Tennessee, beating Vanderbilt 26-0 in Nashville. #3 Iowa beat #13 Michigan State in East Lansing, 27-15. #4 Illinois lost in Champaign, Ill., to #5 Ohio State, 34-7. #6 Navy, which had beaten SMU 26-7 at a game in the naval port of Norfolk, Virginia, came in at fifth. The next poll was: 1.Mississippi 2.Iowa 3.Ohio State 4.Syracuse 5.Navy. Minnesota reached the Top Ten at #10

On October 15, #1 Mississippi beat Tulane in New Orleans 26-13, and #2 Iowa beat #12 Wisconsin at home, 28-21. #4 Syracuse beat #20 Penn State 21-15, and #5 Navy beat the Air Force Academy 35-3 in Baltimore. #3 Ohio State lost a close one at Purdue 24-21. The Iowa Hawkeyes narrowly topped the next poll, with 23 first place votes to 22 for Ole Miss, and only two points to separate #1 and #2 (442-440) They were followed by 3.Syracuse 4.Navy and newcomer 5.Missouri, which was 5-0 after a 45-0 win over Kansas State at Manhattan, KS. Minnesota rose from 10th to 6th.

October 22 #1 Iowa beat #10 Purdue 21-14 and #2 Mississippi edged #14 Arkansas 10-7 in Little Rock. #3 Syracuse won at West Virginia 45-0, while #4 Navy beat the Ivy League's Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, 27-0. #5 Missouri, which had held its opponents to single digits, continued winning with a 34-8 thrashing of Iowa State. Iowa tightened its hold on #1 in the next poll, with 34 of the 48 votes for first place. The next week's Top 20 had only nineteen teams, with Kansas at #19 with 2 points. The top five remained the same with 1.Iowa 2.Mississippi 3.Syracuse 4.Navy and 5.Missouri.

October 29 #1 Iowa beat #19 Kansas 21-7. #2 Mississippi played its 7th game of the season, but its first at home in Oxford, and were tied 6-6 by the LSU Tigers. #3 Syracuse lost to Pitt 10-0. In Philadelphia, #4 Navy beat Notre Dame 14-7. #5 Missouri crushed Nebraska in Lincoln, 28-0, to go 7-0-0. At this time, they had outscored their opponents 210-31.

Iowa stayed #1, Missouri rose to #2. #6 Minnesota rose to #3 after posting its sixth win, a 48-7 routing of Kansas State, and Ohio State returned to the top five at #5 after beating Michigan State in East Lansing, 21-10. With three Big Ten teams, the top five was 1.Iowa 2.Missouri 3.Minnesota 4.Navy and 5.Ohio State.


November 5 The battle between the Big Ten's two 6-0-0 teams, #1 against #3, took place in Minneapolis, where #1 Iowa lost to #3 Minnesota, 27-10. #4 Navy lost in Durham, North Carolina, to #13 Duke 19-10
#2 Missouri beat #18 Colorado at home 16-6. #5 Ohio State handled Indiana 36-7. Having dethroned the #1 team, the Minnesota Gophers took the top spot in the poll released on November 7, 1960, with 40 of the 47 voters voting them as #1. Mississippi, still unbeaten, returned to the Top Five after a 45-0 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga. The top five was 1.Minnesota 2.Missouri 3.Ohio State 4.Mississippi and 5.Iowa.

November 12
#1 Minnesota lost to Purdue, 23-14. #2 Missouri gave up more than a touchdown for the first time, but still won 41-19 at Oklahoma. #3 Ohio State lost at #5 Iowa, 35-12. #4 Mississippi, following its win against UT-Chattanooga, beat the parent #14 University of Tennessee in Knoxville, 24-3. Washington, which had beaten California 27-7, returned to the Top Five. The Missouri Tigers captured #1 in the next poll, which was 1.Missouri 2.Iowa 3.Mississippi 4.Minnesota and 5.Washington

November 19 Unbeaten #1 Missouri, with only a home game left between it and the national championship, lost to visiting Kansas, 23-7, but the game was later forfeited to Missouri. #2 Iowa defeated Notre Dame in South Bend, 28-0. #3 Mississippi finished its season unbeaten (9-0-1) with a 35-9 win at home over Mississippi State. #4 Minnesota closed its season with a 26-7 win at Wisconsin. #5 Washington played its season ender against 4-4-1 Washington State in Spokane, winning only by a 2-point conversion, 8-7. In the penultimate poll, released November 21, Minnesota, Iowa and Mississippi had 13½, 17½ and 13 first place votes respectively (voters were allowed to split their choices for #1), and Minnesota was again #1. The following Saturday, November 26, #3 Mississippi finished its season unbeaten (9-0-1) with a 35-9 win at home over Mississippi State.

With both the AP and UPI finishing their voting before the bowl games, the championship was determined in December. The AP writers divided among Minnesota (8-1-0), Mississippi (9-0-1) and Iowa (8-1-0), and some voters split their choices. As such, the Minnesota Gophers received 17½ votes for #1, Mississippi got 16, and Iowa 12½. Minnesota had 433½ poll points, ahead of 411 for Ole Miss and 407½ for Iowa. Minnesota was also the #1 choice in the UPI coaches poll.

Bowl games

Because the final polls came out in December, the outcome of the post-season bowl games had no effect on the championship, giving the bowls the status of exhibitions. As winner of the Big Ten title, #1 Minnesota went to the Rose Bowl to face Washington, which had the best record of the five teams in the AAWU (today's Pac 10). #2 Mississippi, as winner of the SEC, was invited to the Sugar Bowl to face unranked Rice University. The Big Ten did not allow its teams to play in a postseason game other than the Rose Bowl, so #3 Iowa stayed home. Although Washington upset Minnesota 17-7 in Pasadena, the post-season loss did not affect the Gophers' championship.

Other bowls:

Other Champions

The Ohio University Bobcats (10-0-0), were named #1 by both the UPI and the AP in their "small college" polls. Ohio U. had held its opponents to 8 points or less, including five shutouts. UPI's 47 member board of coaches ranked Bowling Green State University (which Ohio U. had beatedn 14-7) 2nd, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne, Muskingum and Florida A & M [ "Ohio University Hailed as Small College Champ by Big Margin Over Bee Gees," The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, O.), November 25, 1960, p13 ] . AP's 8-member regional board had the Top 5 as Ohio U., Lenoir-Rhyne, Humboldt State, Whitworth and West Chester, all of which were unbeaten and untied. [ "Ohio Univ. Named Champs In AP Poll," "Berkshire Eagle", December 1, 1960, p35 ] . In the NAIA championship game, the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears beat the Humboldt State Lumberjacks 15-14 in the Camellia Bowl.


ee also

1961 Rose Bowl

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