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Teams that started and ended AP #1


Loves Buckeye History
Staff member
'16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner
This was asked on the USC board, and since I bothered to do the research to post the info over there, I thought I'd list it here also.

Only looking at the AP polls, all these teams started and finished #1:

1936 - Minnesota, first poll taken in Oct., when they were 3-0
1941 - Minnesota, first poll taken in Oct., when they were 2-0
1942 - Ohio State, started 1 in Oct, dropped to #10 finished #1
1943 - Notre Dame, first poll in Oct., when they were 2-0
1945 - Army, first poll taken in Oct., when they were 2-0
1947 - Notre Dame, first poll taken in Oct,. when they were 1-0

(pre-season polls from now on)

1951 - Tennessee
1952 - Michigan St.
1956 - Oklahoma
1965 - Alabama (only after top 3 teams all lost bowl games!)
1974 - Oklahoma (got #1 in AP only due to probation)
1975 - Oklahoma
1978 - Alabama
1985 - Oklahoma
1991 - Miami
1993 - Florida State - thanks to BC nailing ND
1999 - Florida State - led wire-to-wire as you mentioned

Amazing that in 1942 we went from 1 to 10 and back to 1. There used to be a lot more movement in the polls week to week. I think that movement is something we need more of, especially in the first half of the year.
More info -These are the teams that started #1, went undefeated, and lost the AP number 1 ranking sometime during the year, but ended up AP #1.

1941 - Minnesota (Texas went around them, then had a tie, so Minny went back to #1)
1947 - ND went undefeated, TSUN went around them temporarily and also finished won all their games, but ND was #1 in last official AP poll (An unofficial poll put TSUN #1 after their 1-1-48 Rose Bowl win over USC 49-0)
1951 - Tennessee (Mich St went around them temporarily, both teams won all their games)
1952 - Michigan St (Wisconsin jumped from #8 to #1 after beating #2 Illinois in October, then lost their next game. Mich St. won all their games, and was #1 except for that single week
1956 - Oklahoma won all their games, but was jumped one week by Mich. St who promptly lost. They were later jumped by Tennessee who also won all their games but finished #2. This is the same year that Johnny Majors finished second in the Heisman to the QB of a 2-8 ND team, Paul Hornung
1974 - Oklahoma probation team was temporarily passed by both ND and Ohio State, who both lost games after that
1991 - Miami was jumped by Florida State until wide right 1. Washington also won all their games, but never got above Miami in the AP poll

1945 Army and 1999 Florida St. never lost the #1 AP ranking. First poll in 1945 was in early October, when Army was 2-0.

I don't have the teams that started #1, won all their games, but didn't finish AP number 1. I know that's the next question!

OK, these are the teams that started AP #1 and went undefeated, but didn't end up #1.

1937 - Cal (5-0 when first poll was taken in October, finished 9-0-1. Lost #1 to Pitt who was also 9-0-1. Cal received zero first place votes in the final poll, but was ranked #2)
1948 - ND went 9-0, as did TSUN. TSUN went around them, which was payback for the last official poll of 1947. (An unofficial poll put TSUN #1 in the previous season after their 1-1-48 Rose Bowl win over USC 49-0)
1953 - ND went 8-0-1, final #1 Maryland was 10-0
1966 - Alabama went 10-0, finished #3 behind ND and Michigan St. who had the epic 10-10 tie that year.
1979 - USC went 11-0-1 (Stanford was 21-21 tie), #1 Alabama was 12-0. USC's 17-16 Rose Bowl win that year knocked Ohio State from #1 spot.

1945 Army and 1999 Florida St. never lost the #1 AP ranking.

So the only 2 teams that were #1 in the first AP poll, won all their games, but didn't end up AP #1 are:

1948 ND
1966 Bama
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