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1930 college football season: Map


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The 1930 college football season saw Notre Dame repeat as national champion under the Dickinson system, and a post-season Rose Bowl matchup between two unbeaten (9-0-0) teams, Washington State and Alabama, ranked #2 and #3, respectively. Alabama won the Pasadena contest, 24-0.

Major conferences that existed in 1930 were the Western Conference(today's Big Ten), the Pacific Coast Conference (now the Pac-10), the Big Six (forerunner of the Big 12), the Southwest Conference, and the Southern Conference (whose members later formed the SEC and the ACC). At season's end, the Rissman Trophy was awarded to the team that finished first in the "Dickinson ratings", which considered strength of schedule, in that a win, loss or tie against a "strong" opponent was worth more than one against a lesser team, and the results were averaged.


September 20 Stanford opened its season against a non-college team, beating the West Coast Army club, 32-0

September 27 Nearly all the big schools scheduled tune-up games against weaker visitors, and all but one shut out the opposition. Michigan opened its season with a doubleheader, beating Denison 33-0 and Eastern Michigan 7-0. Other schools rolled up high schores, as Stanford beat the Olympic Club, 18-0; Army beat Boston University 39-0; Alabama beat Samford, 43-0; USC rolled over UCLA 52-0; Tennessee beat Maryville College 54-0; Dartmouthmarker beat Norwich College 79-0; and Tulanemarker defeated Lafayette College of Louisiana, 84-0. Only Washington State was scored upon, getting a surprise from the Coyotes of College of Idaho, which unleashed a surprise passing attack for two touchdowns (and 12 of 19 completions) in the fourth quarter. WSU won 47-12.


October 4 Notre Dame opened its season with a 20-14 win over visiting Southern Methodist.Northwestern beat visiting Tulanemarker, 14-0. Washington State won at California 16-0 and USC beat visiting Oregon State 27-7, while Stanford defeated Santa Clara 20-0. Dartmouthmarker beat Bates 20-0 and Army beat Furman, 54-0. Alabama rolled over visiting Ole Miss, 64-0 and in Danville, Kentucky, Tennessee dfeated Centre College 18-0. Michigan and Michigan State played to a scoreless tie.

October 11 Washington State edged visiting USC 7-6.Notre Dame beat Navy 26-2. Northwestern beat Ohio State 19-2, and Michigan narrowly won over Purdue 14-13. Dartmouthmarker crushed visiting Boston University 74-0, and Army beat Swarthmore 39-0. Tennessee beat Ole Miss 27-0. In Birmingham, Alabama shut out Sewanee 25-0, and in Dallas, Tulanemarker beat Texas A&M 19-9. In Minneapolis, Stanford and Minnesota played to a 0-0 tie.

October 18 Alabama and Tennessee, both 3-0-0, and both unscored upon, met at Tuscaloosa in a game that would ultimately determine the fictional championship of the South. Alabama won 18-6.Notre Dame beat Carnegie Tech 21-6. Northwestern won at Illinois 32-0 and Michigan won at Ohio State, 13-0 USC won at Utah State 65-0, Washington State won in Spokane at Gonzaga University, 24-0, and Stanford beat Oregon State 13-7. Dartmouthmarker beat Columbia 52-0 and Army defeated Harvard, 6-0. Tulanemarker defeated Birmingham Southern College 21-0

October 25 Alabama and Vanderbilt, both 4-0-0, met at Birmingham. In another close game, Alabama won 12-7. USC (3-1-0) and Stanford (3-0-1) met in Palo Alto, with the Trojans handing the Indians their first loss of the season, 41-12. Notre Dame won at Pittsburgh 35-19. Washington State beat visiting Montana, 61-0. Northwestern beat Centre College 45-7 and Michigan beat Illinois 15-7.(Dartmouthmarker was scored upon, winning at Harvard 7-2, and Army's streak of shutouts ended with its 7-7 tie at Yale. Tennessee beat visiting North Carolina 9-7, and in Atlanta, Tulanemarker shut out Georgia Tech 28-0.


November 1 Dartmouthmarker (5-0-0) and (3-1-1) Yale (3-1-1) played to a 0-0 tie in New Haven. Notre Dame beat Indiana 27-0 and Northwestern won at Minnesota 27-6 USC beat Denver, 33-13.Army defeated visiting North Dakota 33-6. In Portland, Washington State defeated Oregon State 14-7. Alabama won at Kentucky, 19-0, Tennessee beat Clemson 27-0 and Tulanemarker beat Mississippi State 53-0

November 8 Notre Dame beat Pennsylvania 60-20. Washington State won at Idaho 33-7. Northwestern won at Indiana 25-0 and Michigan won at Harvard 6-3. Army defeate Illinois at Yankee Stadium, 13-0.USC beat California 74-0 and Stanford beat Washington 25-7Alabama won at Florida, 20-0, Tulanemarker beat Auburn 21-0, and Allegheny College did what no other team had done that season, scoring two touchdowns against Dartmouthmarker; the Big Green won 43-14 to stay unbeaten. Tennessee shut out Carson-Newman College 34-0

November 15 Tennessee and Vanderbilt University, both 6-1-0, met at Nashville, with Tennessee winning 13-0.Notre Dame defeated Drake University 28-7. In Seattle, Washington State won another close one, beating Washington 3-0j. Alabama beat LSU in a game at Montgomery, Alabama, 33-0, while Tulanemarker (6-1-0) and Georgia (6-0-1) met at New Orleans, with Tulane handing the Bulldogs their first loss, 25-0Northwestern beat Wisconsin 20-7 and Michigan beat Minnesota 7-0USC defeated visiting Hawaii 52-0, while Stanford beat Caltechmarker, 57-7Dartmouthmarker won at Cornell 19-13. Army beat Kentucky Wesleyan 47-2

November 22 Notre Dame and Northwestern, both unbeaten (7-0-0) met at Evanston, with the Fighting Irish winning 14-0. Michigan beat Chicago 16-0Stanford won at California 41-0. Army defeated Ursinus College 18-0.

November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Alabama (8-0-0) met Georgia (6-1-1) in Birmingham. The Crimson Tide extended its unbeaten streak, 13-0, to close the regular season unbeaten. The champion of the South also earned a Rose Bowl invitation to face Washington State. USC beat Washington 32-0. Tennessee defeated Kentucky 8-0 and Tulanemarker won over LSU, 12-7.

November 29 (8-0-0) Notre Dame and (8-0-1) Army met at Chicago, with the Irish narrowly winning 7-6. In Philadelphia, Washington State beat Villanova, 13-0, to close its season 9-0-0. (8-1-1)Stanford hosted (7-0-1) Dartmouthmarker and won 14-7


Although the Rose Bowl was the lone postseason game, and other bowl games were still four years in the future, several big contests were played after most colleges had completed their seasons.

December 6 In Los Angeles, a crowd of 90,000 turned out at the Coliseum as Notre Dame (9-0-0) visited USC (8-1-0). While some predicted a Trojans win, or at least a close game, "Rockne's Ramblers" scored six minutes into the game and never looked back. Paul O'Connor, a third string player earlier in the season, had 11 carries for 142 yards, and one touchdown. The Irish closed their season with a decisive 27-0 victory and with another victory over a tough opponent, finished first in the Dickinson ratings. Nobody realized at the time that Knute Rockne had coached his final game. Rockne was killed in a plane crash on March 31, 1931. At Jacksonville, Tennessee defeated Florida 13-6.

December 13 In the Army–Navy Game, played in New York, Army won 6-0 to close its season at 9-1-1.

Conference Leaders

CONFERENCE Champion Conf. Overall
Pacific Coast Washington State (6-0-0) (9-0-0)
Independent Notre Dame (10-0-0) (10-0-0)
Western Michigan/Northwestern (5-0-0)/(5-0-0) (8-0-1)/(7-1-0)
Southern Alabama (8-0-0) (9-0-0)
Big Six Kansas (4-1-0) (6-2-0)
Southwestern Texas (4-1-0) (8-1-1)

Dickinson System

The AP sportswriters' poll would not begin continuously until 1936. (although, the first time was a one instance publishing in 1934) Frank G. Dickinson, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, had invented the Dickinson System to rank colleges based upon their records and the strength of their opposition. Notre Dame, Washington State and Alabama, all unbeaten and untied, were ranked first, second and third by Dickinson, with the Irish getting the higher rating based on the their opposition .

The system was originally designed to rank teams in the Big Nine (later the Big Ten) conference. Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack Rissman then persuaded Dickinson to rank the nation's teams under the system, and awarded the Rissman Trophy to the winning university .

The system awarded 30 points for a win over a "strong team", and 20 for a win over a "weak team". Losses were awarded points (15 for loss to a strong team, 10 for loss to a weak team). Ties were treated as half a win and half a loss (22.5 for a tie with a strong team, 15 for a tie with a weak team). An average was then derived by dividing the points by games played.


Final Dickinson rankings

TEAM Record Rating
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10-0-0 25.13
2 Washington State Cougars 9-0-0 20.44
3 Alabama Crimson Tide 9-0-0 20.18
4 Northwestern Wildcats 7-1-0 18.63
5 Michigan Wolverines 8-0-1 18.34
6 USC Trojans 8-2-0 17.98
7 Stanford Indians 9-1-1 17.92
8 Dartmouth Big Green 7-1-1 17.11
9 Army Cadets 9-1-1 16.66
10 Tennessee Volunteers 9-1-0 16.15
11 Tulane Green Wave 8-1-0 16.05

1931 Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl stadium's capacity had been increased to 81,000, but only 65,000 spectators turned out to watch an East-West matchup between two unbeaten (9-0-0), but out-of-state teams, the Washington State Cougars and the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was the Cougars who were decked out in crimson, however, in what reports of the day described as "a bizarre touch". Besides solid red jerseys, pants ans socks, the WSU players had bright red leather helmets and shoes.

Freddie Sington, Bama's star tackle/linebacker, was pitted against WSU's Turk Edwards, and blocked WSU's only chance to score. In addition, Sington blocked for the rushing of Johnny Campbell, "The Mississippi Rabbit", who ran 42 yards for one of Alabama's three touchdowns in the second quarter. After a 21-0 halftime lead, Alabama went on to a 24-0 win.


  1. "Little Idaho College Makes Good Showing," The Independent (Helena, Mont.), Sept. 28, 1930, p9
  2. "Notre Dame Upsets U.S.C., Wins 27 to 0," Oakland Tribune December 7, 1930, p1
  5. "Notre Dame's Easy Win Over S.C. Gives Irish National Title," The Lima (O.) News, December 7, 1930, p23
  6. Herschel Nissenson Tales From College Football's Sidelines (Sports Publishing LLC, 2001), p93.
  7. "The Dickinson system awards 30 points for a victory over a strong team, and 20 for victory over a weak team. Defeats count half as much as victories, and ties are consideredas games half won and half lost. Dividing this total by the number of games played gives the final rating, "ILLINOIS BEST FOOTBALL TEAM OF YEAR," The Syracuse Herald, Dec. 4, 1927, p23
  8. "SINGTON STARS IN ALABAMA'S 24-0 TRIUMPH," Oakland Tribune, January 2, 1931, p1

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