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Open Access Articles- Top Results for 1977 NCAA Division I football season

1977 NCAA Division I football season

The 1977 NCAA Division I football season was one in which the top five teams all finished with records of 11-1-0. Notre Dame, which beat a #1 ranked Texas team in the Cotton Bowl Classic, became the national champion. The year 1977 was the last before NCAA's Division I was divided into I-A and I-AA. On the eve of a national playoff for the smaller programs that would be I-AA, the Sugar Bowl in 1977 became the fourth bowl game to sign a contract guaranteeing an appearance by a major conference champion. The result was that meetings between the media poll choices for the top two teams were less likely, unless those teams were in the Big Ten and Pac-8 (which met in the Rose Bowl), or one of the teams was not obligated to play in a particular bowl game.

Besides the Big 10-Pac-8 matchup in the Rose Bowl, the SWC champion played in the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Big 8 titlist in the Orange Bowl, and the SEC champ in the Sugar Bowl. Top teams that had their choice of which bowl to play were either in a conference outside of the five major powers (such as the ACC or the WAC) or those that were "independent" (not affiliated with any conference), 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 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 64 writers, though not all voted in each poll, and the UPI poll was taken of a 42 member board of coaches.

September

In the preseason poll released on September 5, 1977, the AP ranked Oklahoma first, followed by #2 Michigan, #3 Notre Dame, #4 USC and #5 Ohio State. Alabama was 6th, and the defending champion, Pittsburgh (minus Tony Dorsett and Johnny Majors) was ranked 7th.

September 10 #1 Oklahoma opened its season against the visiting Vanderbilt Commodores, who had finished 2-9-0 the year before. Though the Sooners avoided an upset, their 25-23 win didn't impress the pollsters, and OU dropped to fifth. #2 Michigan won at Illinois, 37-9. #3 Notre Dame won at Pittsburgh, 19-9. #4 USC won at Missouri, 27-10. #5 Ohio State beat visiting Miami (of Florida) 10-0. #6 Alabama beat Ole Miss, 34-13, at Birmingham. Although the top six teams all won their openers, The next poll shuffled the rankings (2-4-3-6-1-5): 1.Michigan 2.USC 3.Notre Dame 4.Alabama 5.Oklahoma 6. Ohio State.

September 17 #1 Michigan beat Duke, 21-9 and #2 USC won at Oregon State, 17-10. A week after losing to Alabama, the Ole Miss Rebels stunned the nation as they defeated #3 Notre Dame 20-13 in a humid 100 degree plus day in Jackson. Humiliated by their loss to Red and Blue, Irish dropped to 11th, and as low as 14th the week after. The #11 Maryland Terrapins fell to an unranked West Virginia team in College Park, 24-16. #4 Alabama lost at #14 Nebraska, 31-24. #5 Oklahoma crushed visiting Utah, 62-24. #6 Ohio State and #10 Penn State which beat Minnesota (38-7) and Houston (31-14), respectively, reached the top five: 1.Michigan 2.USC 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Penn State

September 24 #1 Michigan beat Navy, 14-7. #2 USC beat visiting TCU, 51-0. #3 Oklahoma and #4 Ohio State met in Columbus, Ohio, in the season's first big matchup. In a close game, the visiting Sooners won 29-28 after a touchdown, an onside kick recovery, and a last second field goal by Uwe Von Schaman, and reclaimed first place in the next poll. #5 Penn State beat Maryland, 27-9. #6 Texas A&M, which won at #7 Texas Tech, 33-17, reached the top five: 1.Oklahoma 2.USC 3.Michigan 4.Penn State 5.Texas A&M

October

October 1 #1 Oklahoma beat Kansas 24-9 and #2 USC was idle, but the Trojans were voted #1 anyway in a split vote (23 vs. 19 for OU and 16 for UM). #3 Michigan beat #5 Texas A&M 41-3. #4 Penn State lost at Kentucky, 24-20. #6 Ohio State won at SMU, 35-7. #8 Texas defeated the visiting Rice Owls, 72-15. With USC having a plurality of votes (23 vs. 19 for OU and 16 for UM), the poll was: 1.USC 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Texas

October 8 In Los Angeles, #1 USC was beaten by #7 Alabama, 21-20 when Alabama intercepted the pass on the last minute 2-point conversion try by USC. The same day, in Dallas, #2 Oklahoma and #5 Texas met in their annual game, with Texas winning 13-6. The #2 Sooners' fall on the same day that #1 was beaten was a foreshadowing of something worse. In Big Ten play, #3 Michigan won at Michigan State 24-14 and #4 Ohio State beat Purdue 46-0. #6 Colorado beat visiting Oklahoma State, 29-13, to reach the Top Five, which had the Wolverines return to first place: 1.Michigan 2.Texas 3.Colorado 4.Alabama 5.Ohio State

October 15 #1 Michigan beat #14 Wisconsin 56-0. #2 Texas won at #7 Arkansas, 13-9. #3 Colorado played at Kansas to a 17-17 tie. #4 Alabama beat Tennessee in BIrmingham, 24-10. #5 Ohio State beat Iowa 27-6. #6 USC beat Oregon, 33-15, to return to the top five: 1.Michigan 2.Texas 3.Alabama 4.Ohio State 5.USC

October 22 Previously unbeaten (6-0-0) #1 Michigan was shut out when it visited unranked (4-2-0) Minnesota, 16-0. #2 Texas won at SMU, 30-14. #3 Alabama beat Louisville, 55-6. #4 Ohio State won at Northwestern, 35-15. In South Bend, IN, #11 Notre Dame wore their green jerseys for the first time in decades and overwhelmed #5 USC 49-19. #7 Oklahoma, which beat #16 Iowa State 35-16, returned to the Top Five, and the Longhorns became the fourth team to lead the poll: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.Oklahoma 5.Notre Dame

October 29 #1 Texas beat visiting #14 Texas Tech, 26-0. #2 Alabama beat Mississippi State 37-7 in Jackson. #3 Ohio State beat Wisconsin, 42-0. #4 Oklahoma won at Kansas State, 42-7, and #5 Notre Dame beat Navy, 43-10. Other than the Sooners' trade with the Buckeyes, the poll was stable: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame

November

November 5 #1 Texas won at Houston, 35-21. #2 Alabama embarrassed #18 LSU in Baton Rouge 24-3. #3 Oklahoma won at Oklahoma State, 61-28, #4 Ohio State won at Illinois, 35-0, and #5 Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech, 69-14. For the first time since the season began, the top five remained unchanged (in fact, the top nine were the same): 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame

November 12 #1 Texas beat TCU 44-14. #2 Alabama beat the visiting Miami Hurricanes, 36-0. #3 Oklahoma beat Colorado, 52-14. #4 Ohio State beat Indiana, 35-7, and #5 Notre Dame won at #15 Clemson, 21-17. #6 Michigan won at Purdue, 40-7, and returned to the Top Five: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Michigan

November 19 #1 Texas beat Baylor, 29-7, while #2 Alabama and #3 Oklahoma were idle. Once again, the Big Ten title came down to a meeting between #4 Ohio State and #5 Michigan, 7-0 and 6-1 in conference play, respectively. The game, at Ann Arbor, Michigan, saw the host Wolverines win 14-6 and gain the trip to the Rose Bowl. #6 Notre Dame beat Air Force, 49-0. The poll: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Michigan 5.Notre Dame

November 25 On this Friday night after Thanksgiving, USC defeated UCLA on a last second field goal, 29-27 to knock UCLA out of the Rose Bowl and put the Washington Huskies in.

November 26 #1 Texas closed with a 57-28 win at #12 Texas A&M, with an 11-0-0 record, the SWC title, and a trip to the Cotton Bowl Classic. #2 Alabama closed its season in Birmingham, beating Auburn 48-21. The Crimson Tide was unbeaten (7-0) in SEC conference play, as was Kentucky (6-0). The Kentucky Wildcats, 10-1-0 overall, might otherwise have gone to the Sugar Bowl, but were ineligible because of NCAA probation. #3 Oklahoma had beaten #11 Nebraska, 38-7, on the day after Thanksgiving to close the regular season 10-1-0. #4 Michigan was idle, as was #5 Notre Dame, which closed its season on December 3 with a 48-10 win at Miami. The final regular season poll had been released on November 28: 1.Texas 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Notre Dame

Rule Changes

  • Offensive linemen will be allowed to charge downfield ahead of a screen pass, provided the pass is caught at or behind the line of scrimmage. Previously, this resulted in a five-yard ineligible receiver downfield penalty.

Conference standings

1977 ACC football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. #17 [[North Carolina Tar Heels football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.North Carolina]]
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This page is a soft redirect. #19 Clemson
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This page is a soft redirect. [[NC State Wolfpack football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.NC State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Maryland
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Duke Blue Devils football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Duke]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Virginia Cavaliers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Virginia]]
1 5 0     1 9 1
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This page is a soft redirect. Wake Forest
0 6 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Big 8 football standings
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    Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
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This page is a soft redirect. #7 Oklahoma
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This page is a soft redirect. Iowa State
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This page is a soft redirect. #12 Nebraska
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This page is a soft redirect. Colorado
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Missouri Tigers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Missouri]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Kansas Jayhawks football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Kansas]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Oklahoma State Cowboys football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Oklahoma State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Kansas State
0 7 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Big Ten football standings
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    Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
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This page is a soft redirect. #9 Michigan §
7 1 0     10 2 0
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This page is a soft redirect. #11 Ohio State §
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This page is a soft redirect. Michigan State
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Indiana Hoosiers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Indiana]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Minnesota
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This page is a soft redirect. Purdue
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This page is a soft redirect. Iowa
3 5 0     4 7 0
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This page is a soft redirect. Wisconsin
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Illinois Fighting Illini football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Illinois]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Northwestern Wildcats football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Northwestern]]
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§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Ivy League football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Yale Bulldogs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Yale]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Brown Bears football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Brown]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Harvard Crimson football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Harvard]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Penn Quakers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Pennsylvania]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Dartmouth Big Green football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Dartmouth]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Princeton Tigers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Princeton]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Cornell Big Red football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Cornell]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Columbia Lions football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Columbia]]
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† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Mid-American Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Miami Redskins football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Miami]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Ball State Cardinals football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Ball State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Central Michigan Chippewas football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Central Michigan]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Bowling Green Falcons football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Bowling Green]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Eastern Michigan Hurons football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Eastern Michigan]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Kent State Golden Flashes football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Kent State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Western Michigan Broncos football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Western Michigan]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Northern Illinois
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Toledo Rockets football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Toledo]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Ohio Bobcats football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Ohio]]
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† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
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This page is a soft redirect. [[West Texas A&M Buffaloes football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.West Texas A&M]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Wichita State Shockers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Wichita State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[New Mexico State Aggies football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.New Mexico State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Tulsa
2 2 0     3 8 0
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Drake Bulldogs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Drake]]
1 4 0     2 9 0
style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Southern Illinois Salukis football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Southern Illinois]]
0 3 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Fresno State Bulldogs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Fresno State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Pacific Tigers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Pacific]]
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[San Jose State Spartans football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.San Jose State]]
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Long Beach State 49ers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Long Beach State]]
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Cal State Fullerton Titans football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Cal State Fullerton]]
0 4 0     4 7 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Pacific-8 football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
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This page is a soft redirect. #10 Washington
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This page is a soft redirect. #15 Stanford
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This page is a soft redirect. #13 USC
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This page is a soft redirect. [[California Golden Bears football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.California]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Washington State Cougars football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Washington State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Oregon
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Oregon State Beavers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Oregon State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. UCLA
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† – Conference champion
  • UCLA forfeited 7 wins (5 conference wins) due to an ineligible player.
    Rankings from AP Poll
1977 SEC football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
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This page is a soft redirect. #2 Alabama
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This page is a soft redirect. #6 Kentucky
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This page is a soft redirect. [[LSU Tigers football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.LSU]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Auburn
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This page is a soft redirect. Florida
3 3 0     6 4 1
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This page is a soft redirect. Georgia
2 4 0     5 6 0
style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Mississippi State Bulldogs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Mississippi State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. Ole Miss
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This page is a soft redirect. Tennessee
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Vanderbilt Commodores football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Vanderbilt]]
0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
  • Kentucky ineligible for SEC championship due to NCAA probation. Mississippi State later forfeited all 1977 wins due to NCAA violations.
    Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Southern Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Chattanooga Mocs football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Chattanooga]] §
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This page is a soft redirect. [[VMI Keydets football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.VMI]] §
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. The Citadel
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Furman Paladins football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Furman]]
3 2 1     4 5 2
style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Western Carolina Catamounts football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Western Carolina]]
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style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. Appalachian State
1 4 0     2 9 0
style="text-align:left;" #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect. [[Marshall Thundering Herd football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Marshall]]
0 5 0     2 9 0
§ – Conference co-champions
1977 Southland Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. Conf
    Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
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This page is a soft redirect. Louisiana Tech
4 0 1     9 1 2
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This page is a soft redirect. [[Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Southwestern Louisiana]]
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This page is a soft redirect. [[{{{school}}}#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
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This page is a soft redirect.Arkansas State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.McNeese State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Lamar]]
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† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect.Texas Southern]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Mississippi Valley State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Alcorn State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Southern]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Prairie View A&M]]
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† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Southwest Conference football standings
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This page is a soft redirect. #4 Texas
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This page is a soft redirect.Houston]]
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This page is a soft redirect.TCU]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Rice]]
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Rankings from AP Poll
1977 WAC football standings
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This page is a soft redirect.Brigham Young]] §
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This page is a soft redirect. #18 Arizona State §
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This page is a soft redirect.Colorado State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Wyoming]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Arizona]]
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This page is a soft redirect.New Mexico]]
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This page is a soft redirect.UTEP]]
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§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Division I Independents football records
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This page is a soft redirect. #1 Notre Dame
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This page is a soft redirect. #5 Penn State
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This page is a soft redirect.Colgate]]
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This page is a soft redirect.San Diego State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Tennessee State]]
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This page is a soft redirect. #14 Florida State
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This page is a soft redirect.North Texas]]
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This page is a soft redirect. #8 Pittsburgh
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This page is a soft redirect.Louisville]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Cincinnati]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Georgia Tech]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Memphis]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Syracuse]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Southern Miss]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Temple]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Hawaii]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Navy]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Utah State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Villanova]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Illinois State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Virginia Tech]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Indiana State]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Miami (FL)]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Richmond]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Holy Cross]]
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This page is a soft redirect.Northeast Louisiana]]
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*North Texas (originally 9-2-0) awarded a forfeit win after UCLA was found to be using an ineligible player.[5]
Rankings from AP Poll


#1 and #2 Progress

WEEKS #1 #2 Event
PRE Oklahoma Michigan Michigan 37, Illinois 9 (Sept 10)
1-2 Michigan USC Oklahoma 29, Ohio State 28 (Sept 24)
3 Oklahoma USC
4 USC Oklahoma Alabama 21, USC 20 (Oct 8)
5-6 Michigan Texas Minnesota 16, Michigan 0 (Oct 22)
7-11 Texas Alabama Oklahoma 38, Nebraska 7 (Nov 25)
12-Bowls Texas Oklahoma Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 (Jan 1)
Final Notre Dame Alabama Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 (Jan 1)

Bowl Games

Two former NFL head coaching failures became college football successes, upsetting the #1 and #2 teams. Dan Devine had been unspectacular as Green Bay's coach before succeeding Ara Parsheghian at Notre Dame, while Lou Holtz had coached the New York Jets to a 3-11 finish before taking over at Arkansas.

In the Sugar Bowl, it was a matchup of coaches in Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes; Bryant's #3 Alabama squad easily handled 8th ranked Ohio State, 35-6.

The largest crowd in Cotton Bowl Classic history (76,701) turned out in Dallas to watch the unbeaten #1 Texas Longhorns finalize a national championship. Notre Dame's defense, however, forced five turnovers, setting up five scores. Vagas Ferguson scored three touchdowns, including one on a pass from Joe Montana in a 38-10 win. For Texas, both Earl Campbell and Johnny Lam Jones were injured. Devine changed his mind about resigning his Irish coaching job.[6]

Following the Cotton Bowl Classic and Texas' loss, #4 Michigan hoped an impressive win over the Washington might vault them to a possible national championship. However the Huskies, led by Rose Bowl MVP Warren Moon, raced to a 24-0 3rd quarter lead and held on for a 27-20 upset.

With #1 Texas out of the way, #2 Oklahoma was in a position to claim the championship with a win over #6 Arkansas. The Razorbacks had finished behind Texas in SWC play and had settled for the Orange Bowl. The week of the game, Holtz suspended the Hogs' top rusher, Ben Cowins, and the top receiver, Donny Bobo for violating team rules. The Sooners were 18 point favorites but Cowins' backup Roland Sales rushed for two touchdowns and over 200 yards as the Razorbacks shut down the Sooners' ground game en route to a 24-0 lead and a 31-6 win.[7]

BOWL Winning Team Losing Team
COTTON #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 38 #1 Texas Longhorns 10
ORANGE #6 Arkansas Razorbacks 31 #2 Oklahoma Sooners 6
SUGAR #3 Alabama Crimson Tide 35 #8 Ohio State Buckeyes 6
ROSE #13 Washington Huskies 27 #4 Michigan Wolverines 20

The national championship was disputed as there were 6 one loss teams - Alabama, Arkansas, Notre Dame, and Texas, plus Penn State and Kentucky (who were prohibited from playing in a bowl due to NCAA probation). Notre Dame had lost to Mississippi, who lost to Alabama, who lost to Nebraska, who lost to Oklahoma, who lost to Arkansas, who lost to Texas who lost to Notre Dame. Penn State lost to Kentucky and Kentucky lost to Baylor who had lost to Texas, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Amidst this confusion, there were several good choices for a champion; giant killers Notre Dame and Arkansas, and third-ranked Alabama, and Texas. Notre Dame, on the strength of its lopsided win over #1 Texas, vaulted over Texas, Oklahoma (who lost in the Orange Bowl), Alabama (who won in the Sugar Bowl), and Michigan (who lost in the Rose Bowl). Alabama fans cried foul as they assumed, as the #3 team before the bowls, that if #1Texas and #2 Oklahoma lost (which they did), they would rise to #1 with a win over Ohio State. Some believe Alabama was granted a share of the national title in 1978 despite its loss to the team it shared it with (USC) to make up for 1977. The electors for AP and UPI were divided, but a majority for each service picked Notre Dame. With one AP writer naming all three schools as number one, the writers poll was 37⅓ for Notre Dame, 19⅓ for Alabama and 5⅓ for Arkansas [8] UPI had 23 for Notre Dame, 13 for Alabama and 2 for Arkansas.[9] Dan Devine, who had followed in the footsteps of both Vince Lombardi and Ara Parseghian, reversed his earlier plans and stayed on as coach of the defending NCAA football champion.[6]

Other bowls:

BOWL Location Winner Loser
FIESTA Tempe Penn State 42 Arizona State 30
SUN El Paso Stanford 24 LSU 14
GATOR Jacksonville Pittsburgh 34 Clemson 3
TANGERINE Orlando Florida State 40 Texas Tech 17
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston USC 47 Texas A&M 28
LIBERTY Memphis Nebraska 21 North Carolina 17
PEACH Atlanta N.C. State 24 Iowa State 14
INDEPENDENCE Shreveport Louisiana Tech 24 Louisville 14
HALL OF FAME Birmingham Maryland 17 Minnesota 7

Heisman Trophy

References

  1. http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1977.htm
  2. http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=466
  3. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/1977-standings.html
  4. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/1977-standings.html
  5. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/1977-standings.html
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Notre Dame corrals Longhorns by 38-10," Daily Herald (Chicago), Jan. 3, 1978, p4-1
  7. "Holtz' hot Hogs make Sales pitch," Syracuse Herald Journal, Jan 3, 1978, p39
  8. [appollarchive.com]
  9. Galveston County News, Jan 4, 1978, p27
  10. http://www.heisman.com/winners/hsmn-winners.html