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1982 NCAA Division I A football season

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Preseason AP #1  Pittsburgh Panthers
Start date  1982
Bowl games  16
Number of teams  113
1982 NCAA Division I-A football season httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Duration  December 17, 1982 – January 1, 1983
Heisman Trophy  Herschel Walker, Georgia RB
Winner  Penn State Nittany Lions
People also search for  1983 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 1982 NCAA Division I-A football season saw Paul "Bear" Bryant retire as head coach at Alabama with 323 career victories in 38 seasons.


The Penn State Nittany Lions won their first consensus national championship, closing out an 11-1 season by defeating Georgia and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker in the Sugar Bowl 27-23, and edging out undefeated SMU for the National Championship. It was Joe Paterno's first national championship, after three undefeated non-championship seasons.

UCLA moved from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Rose Bowl and fulfilled a promise made by coach Terry Donahue by closing out their season there as well, beating Michigan in the post-season Rose Bowl game, 24-14.

It is also the year of "The Play", an improbable finish to the annual rivalry game between Cal and Stanford.

The Aloha Bowl premiered in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Rule changes

  • The penalty for incidental grasping of a facemask was reduced from 15 yards to 5 yards. The 5 yard version of this penalty would be later abolished in the 2008 season.
  • Coaches are no longer allowed to request a conference with the referee regarding a misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule, modifying a 1981 rule permitting such conferences, though a player or substitute can still request them.
  • The penalty for offensive pass interference or illegal touching of a forward pass in the end zone was changed to a 15-yard penalty (5 yards for illegal touching) from a touchback.
  • Penalties on the defense for fouls committed away from a catchable ball will be enforced from the previous spot and will no longer be considered pass interference.
  • Intentional grounding where the spot of enforcement is in the end zone will no longer result in an automatic safety. The defense will have the option to take the result of the play or the safety.
  • Intentional grounding will not be called if a passer throws the ball out of bounds to conserve time.
  • Penalties against the offense that occur behind the scrimmage line will be enforced from the previous spot and not from the spot of the foul.
  • Use of adhesive material (such as stickum) is prohibited.
  • The penalty for ineligible receiver downfield was reduced from 15 yards plus loss of down to 5 yards plus loss of down.
  • Conference changes and new programs

  • This was the first season the Ivy League, Southern Conference, and Southland Conference competed at the I-AA (FCS) level. Southwestern Louisiana would be the only team from those three conferences to remain in Division 1-A, becoming a Division 1-A independent.
  • Ivy League — Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale
  • Southern Conference — Appalachian State, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Furman, Marshall, The Citadel, VMI, and Western Carolina
  • Southland Conference — Arkansas State, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, and Texas–Arlington
  • Southwestern Louisiana, who had been a member of the Southland during the 1981 season, remained in Division I-A as an Independent.
  • This season also saw the loss of Division 1-A independent teams Colgate, Holy Cross, and Northeast Louisiana; dropping the total number of Division 1-A teams down to 113 from the previous season's 137 teams.
  • Notable rivalry games

  • Arizona 28, ASU 18
  • Auburn 23, Alabama 22
  • Cal 25, Stanford 20 (The Play)
  • UCLA 20, USC 19 – In the first game of this rivalry contested at the Rose Bowl, USC trailed 20-13 and had fourth down and goal from the one-yard line with 0:01 left in the game. USC scored a touchdown and decided to go for the two-point conversion with 0:00 on the clock. USC announcer Tom Kelly remarked, "Typical of this great rivalry--even when it's over, it isn't over!" On the ensuing try for two by USC, UCLA's Karl Morgan sacked USC QB Scott Tinsley. This occurred within minutes of The Play, which was happening 400 miles to the north in Berkeley.
  • USC 17, Notre Dame 13
  • Tulane 31, #7 LSU 28 (Tulane's first win at Tiger Stadium since 1948)
  • Ohio St. 24, Michigan 14
  • #8 Nebraska 28, #11 Oklahoma 24
  • #8 Penn St 27, #2 Nebraska 24
  • September

    The pre season poll had a top 5 of 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. North Carolina. Penn State was #8.

    On September 11, #5 North Carolina lost at #1 Pittsburgh by a score of 7-6; the Tar Heels would never return to the top 5 as they went 8-4. Meanwhile, Washington, by virtue of its 55-0 win over UTEP, moved ahead of Pitt in the next poll. Florida replaced North Carolina in the top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.

    After games of September 18, Pittsburgh was again leapfrogged by a team that dominated a weak opponent, as Nebraska beat New Mexico 68-0 and moved ahead of Pitt to #2. The rest of the top 5 was unchanged.

    On September 25, #2 Nebraska was defeated at #8 Penn State by a score of 27-24 in a game that untimately decided the national title. Penn State replaced Nebraska in the new top 5 that was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Alabama, and 5. Florida.


    On October 2, #5 Florida lost at home to unranked LSU 24-13. Georgia replaced Florida in the top 5 and also moved ahead of Alabama. The new poll was 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Penn State, 4. Georgia, and 5. Alabama.

    On October 9, #5 Alabama defeated #3 Penn State in Birmingham 42-21. Alabama jumped up top to #2 while SMU replaced Penn State in the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Alabama, 3. Pittsburgh, 4. Georgia, 5. SMU.

    On October 16, #2 Alabama was knocked off in Knoxville by Tennessee, 35-28. Nebraska returned to the top five. 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, 5. Nebraska.

    On October 23, Washington struggled to beat Texas Tech 10-3 so Pittsburgh moved ahead of them in the poll. The same day, Nebraska squeaked by Missouri at home 23-19 and slipped to #6, with Arkansas taking their place in the top 5. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. Washington, 3. Georgia, 4. SMU, and 5. Arkansas.

    On October 30 in Palo Alto, John Elway and Stanford stunned #2 Washington 43-31. SMU jumped ahead of Georgia into the #2 spot with a 47-9 drubbing of Texas A&M. Undefeated and #7 Arizona State beat #12 USC 17-10 and moved up to #4. The new poll was 1. Pittsburgh, 2. SMU, 3. Georgia, 4. Arizona State, and 5. Arkansas.


    On November 6, #1 Pittsburgh was stunned at home by unranked Notre Dame, 31-16. #5 Arkansas was knocked off by Baylor in Waco 24-17. #3 Georgia romped over #20 Florida 44-0 and moved to the top spot. The new poll was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Arizona State, 4. Nebraska, and 5. Penn State.

    On November 13 in a Pac-10 showdown in Tempe, #7 Washington beat #3 Arizona State 17-13. That put the Huskies back in the top 5. Remembering that Penn State defeated Nebraska earlier in the season, the pollsters moved the Nittany Lions ahead of the Cornhuskers in the new poll that was 1. Georgia, 2. SMU, 3. Penn State, 4. Nebraska, 5. Washington.

    On November 20, #2 SMU was tied by #9 Arkansas 17-17. #5 Washington had its Rose Bowl hopes ended as rival Washington State upset the Huskies 24-20. Pittsburgh returned to the top five replacing Washington. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. Pittsburgh.

    On November 26, in a game that likely decided who would meet #1 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, #2 Penn State shut down Dan Marino and #5 Pittsburgh, 19-10. The next day, #6 Arizona State was knocked out of the Rose Bowl by rival Arizona, 28-18. That gave UCLA the Pac 10 title and Rose Bowl berth. The Bruins replaced Pittsburgh in the top 5 in the final regular season poll. 1. Georgia, 2. Penn State, 3. Nebraska, 4. SMU, 5. UCLA.

    Bowl games

  • Sugar Bowl: #2 Penn St. 27, #1 Georgia 23
  • Orange Bowl: #3 Nebraska 21, #13 LSU 20
  • Cotton Bowl Classic: #4 SMU 7, #6 Pittsburgh 3
  • Rose Bowl: #5 UCLA 24, #19 Michigan 14
  • Sun Bowl: North Carolina 26, #8 Texas 10
  • Gator Bowl: Florida St. 31, #10 West Virginia 12
  • Tangerine Bowl: #18 Auburn 33, Boston College 26
  • Liberty Bowl: Alabama 21, Illinois 15
  • Bluebonnet Bowl: #14 Arkansas 28, Florida 24
  • Peach Bowl: Iowa 28, Tennessee 22
  • Fiesta Bowl: #11 Arizona State 32, #12 Oklahoma 21
  • Independence Bowl: Wisconsin 14, Kansas St. 3
  • Hall of Fame Classic: Air Force 36, Vanderbilt 28
  • Holiday Bowl: #17 Ohio State 47, Brigham Young 17
  • Aloha Bowl: #9 Washington 21, #16 Maryland 20
  • California Bowl: Fresno State 29, Bowling Green 28
  • Final AP Poll

    1. Penn St.
    2. Southern Methodist
    3. Nebraska
    4. Georgia
    5. UCLA
    6. Arizona St.
    7. Washington
    8. Clemson
    9. Arkansas
    10. Pittsburgh
    11. Louisiana St.
    12. Ohio St.
    13. Florida St.
    14. Auburn
    15. Southern California
    16. Oklahoma
    17. Texas
    18. North Carolina
    19. West Virginia
    20. Maryland

    Final Coaches Poll

    1. Penn St.
    2. Southern Methodist
    3. Nebraska
    4. Georgia
    5. UCLA
    6. Arizona St.
    7. Washington
    8. Arkansas
    9. Pittsburgh
    10. Florida St.
    11. Louisiana St.
    12. Ohio St.
    13. North Carolina
    14. Auburn
    15. Michigan
    16. Oklahoma
    17. Alabama
    18. Texas
    19. West Virginia
    20. Maryland

    Other major awards

    Heisman Memorial Trophy: Herschel Walker, Georgia

    Outland Trophy (Interior Lineman): Dave Rimington, Nebraska

    Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award (Lineman or Linebacker): Dave Rimington, Nebraska

    Walter Camp Award (back): Herschel Walker, Georgia

    Davey O'Brien Award (Quarterback): Todd Blackledge, Penn State

    Maxwell Award (college player of the year): Herschel Walker, Georgia


    1982 NCAA Division I-A football season Wikipedia

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