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Nebraska 7, Oklahoma 0. This wartime cover shows Lt. Gus Kitchens, the 1940 Oklahoma football captain who was reported Missing In Action on April 10th, 1942, just after having been awarded the Army Star of Valor for his part in a raid on a Japanese Air Base in Raboul.
Navy 14, Army 0. For the first time since 1892, and never again thereafter, the great service rivalry was staged at West Point, after being held in Annapolis in 1942 after a 49-year lapse. A faction in the War Department lobbied for the game's cancellation, but just nine days before kickoff, it was decided to give it the thumbs up. Lon Keller again produced one of his more memorable program covers as a fitting tribute to the men in uniform.
Tennessee 14, Tulsa 7. While Bob Neyland was off fighting the Axis, John Barnhill proved a fine replacement, leading the Vols to a fine 32-5-2 record in the General's absence. And this time the Knoxville boys were able to finish the job on New Year's Day.
Army 23, Navy 7. This was only the second time that these two teams had clashed in Baltimore, and the first time since 1924. The Cadet eleven that year was one of the all-time great squads in the history of college football, with Notre Dame a 59-0 victim and an average game score of 56 to 4! And no, that's not a misprint. So at least give the Middies a bit of credit for holding it down to a mere 23 to 7.
Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18. The Rambling Wreck was beginning to enjoy these little New Year's vacations, and for the second straight year they took in the sights and then came back with a bowl victory. This time it was New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl, and Tulsa was the victim.
LSU 19, Texas A&M 14. After three straight near misses in Sugar Bowls of the 30's, Mike and his masters shrewdly went to Miami this time, and broke through against Texas A&M in a game surrounded by patriotic wartime fervor.
Southern California 20, Washington 0. Only a pair of losses to teams from the local service bases marred the Trojans' 1943 season, and on the first day of the New Year they completed their sweep of the college competition by walloping the Washington Huskies in their Pasadena "home away from home."
Army 32, Navy 13. This is perhaps our favorite Army-Navy cover of all time, commemorating the just-completed victory in World War II, and it also marked the end of another National Championship season for the Cadets. Navy itself was a leading powerhouse that year, having come into this finale also undefeated. The artist on this was the old Washington Evening Star cartoonist Gib Crockett, who illustrated the program covers for many Army-Navy games over the years.
Southern California 25, Tennessee 0. Just as they had done five years earlier, the Vols swept into Pasadena on the wave of an undefeated season. And just as they had been done to in 1940, they weren't able to make a dent in the Trojan goal line all afternoon.
Tulsa 26, Georgia Tech 12. This was the third straight New Year's Day that found Georgia Tech in a different major bowl game. This year it was the Orange Bowl, but in a rematch of the past year's Sugar Bowl against Tulsa, this time the Jackets came up short.
Army 21, Oklahoma 7. Although the Sooners lost their first game of the season to an Army team which had been unbeaten since 1943, it nevertheless marked the beginning of what was to become one of the most powerful dynasties in the history of college football. Following this loss, Oklahoma went on to win eight of its last ten games, capping the season with a Gator Bowl win. And in 1947, when Bud Wilkinson took over the coaching position from Big Jim Tatum, the Sooners began a stretch where for the next twelve seasons they went an amazing 114-10-3 run, one which included six bowl wins, four undefeated seasons, and a li'l ol' 47-game winning streak. The Sooner depicted on the cover you see here was about to show that he meant business.
Riding a 30-game unbeaten streak, the Cadets were fought to a standstill ( 0 - 0 ) by a tough Illinois team.
Army 42, Virginia Tech 0. This made 32 games in a row since the Cadets had last tasted defeat, and from the opening gun there wasn't much doubt as to who was in charge of this one.
Columbia 21, Army 20. For a 32 game stretch going all the way back to the first game of 1944, the mighty Cadets had not tasted defeat, and they were heavily favored over a very good but unranked Lion eleven. But after racing to a 20-7 halftime lead, Army finally succumbed to the arm of Columbia's Gene Rossides and the acrobatic feats of end Bill Swiacki, whose leaping stab of a pass at the Army three yard line late in the game set up the Lions' winning score.
Georgia 20, North Carolina 10. Led by Hall of Famer Charlie (Choo-Choo) Justice, the North Carolina Tar Heels were coming off a one loss season and were primed for the showdown. But the Bulldogs had more than a match for them in the person of their own Hall of Famer, halfback Charlie Trippi. When the dust had settled, the Jawja boys had capped a perfect season with a thrilling 20-10 triumph that was only clinched in the closing minutes on a Trippi touchdown pass to end Dan Edwards.
Army 21, Navy 21. A typically powerful Army team had blitzed through the first eight games of their schedule without a blemish and with an average 25 point victory margin. Meanwhile Navy had been whomped eight straight. They're both still trying to figure this last game out.
Georgia Tech 20, Kansas 14. After last year's consignment to the Oil Bowl ghetto, where they drubbed St. Mary's of California, the Jackets returned to the more pleasant venue of Miami. Here they padded their already sterling major bowl record by handing the previously unbeaten Kansas Jayhawks the only loss of the season. This was getting to be a downright habit.
Army 20, Harvard 7. Returning to their unbeaten ways after a year's lapse, the Cadets made short work of the pink tea sippers from the banks of the Charles.
Michigan 49, Southern cal 0. Making their first Rose Bowl (or any Bowl) appearance in 46 years, the Wolverines picked up right where they left off, stomping the previously once-beaten Trojans of Southern California by the same 49-0 score that they'd beaten Stanford by, way back in 1902. This impressed the AP pollsters so much that in an unprecedented move they took a special post-game vote and vaulted Michigan over Notre Dame into the # 1 spot in the rankings. This was never to happen again until nearly 20 years later, when the post-New Year's poll became an annual tradition.
Michigan 7, Michigan state 3. Going into their opening game against an increasingly tough Michigan State team, Michigan was on a complete roll, as the defending national champions coming off a 23 game winning streak that went back to the middle of the 1946 season. Biggie Munn's Spartans fought them tooth and nail in one of the best games in the history of the rivalry, but in the end the Wolverines had made it 24 and counting.
Michigan 7, Ohio State 7. The Wolverines had a chance at the Rose Bowl if they'd beaten the Buckeyes in their season finale, but after 60 minutes of futile line plunges by both sides, Ohio State backed into the Big Ten title by holding the Maize and Blue to a draw.
Oklahoma 35, LSU 0. Many fans know about the Sooners' record 47-game winning streak between 1953 and 1957, but many are unaware that they had also ran off 31 straight between and 1950. This massacre of a very good LSU team only confirmed the Sooners' dominance that year, and only one of Notre Dame's greatest teams of all time, plus a lack of a post-Bowl poll, prevented them from a #1 ranking in 1949.
Longshot Santa Clara Upsets ‘Cats. Underdog Santa Clara scored 14 third-quarter points and withstood the challenge of Kentucky quarterback Babe Parilli to gain a 21-13 win. It was Bear Bryant and Kentucky's first major bowl appearance. Santa Clara's 3,300-mile, four-day trip by train to Miami marked its only appearance in the Orange Bowl.
Illinois 40, Stanford 7. In what was fast becoming a yearly embarrassment for Pacific Coast football, Stanford became the latest victim of a Big Ten Rose Bowl beatdown, as Illinois ran all over Chuck Taylor's men by five touchdowns. It was the sixth straight win for the Big Ten since the two conferences were first paired in Pasadena in 1947.
Kentucky 13, Oklahoma 7. This wasn't the greatest day in Oklahoma football history, but you can't win em all. Going into the game, the Sooners had won 31 straight, and if that isn't enough to impress you, a few years later they put together a run of 47---still a Division I record.
Maryland 28, Tennessee 13. Even this upset at the hands of an unbeaten and somewhat underrated Maryland team couldn't totally erase the memories of an otherwise perfect season, highlighted by convincing wallopings of every opponent from Alabama to Kentucky to Vanderbilt.
Alabama 61, Syracuse 6. Coach Red Drew's career was winding down, but in 1952 he had his moments. And for ending the season with a bang, it'd be hard to top the sledgehammer that the Tide wielded over the Syracuse Orangemen on a sunny New Year's Day in Miami. It was the most onesided game in the history of the entire event.
Georgia Tech 24, Mississippi 7. 1952 may have been Georgia Tech's most dominant team ever, save for the World War I era when John Heisman's 1917 wrecking crew ran roughshod over all comers by the tune of 491 points to 17. But this Bobby Dodd eleven was one for the ages, grinding twelve straight opponents into the dust, and capping it all off with an easy win over previously unbeaten Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. The Rebels were never in the game.
Maryland 38, Mississippi 0. In 1952 the Rebels had ruined Maryland's unbeaten season in a game down in Oxford, but this time the #1 ranked Terps were ready for them, as they continued their National Championship run. Pictured on the cover were three of the Terrapins' brightest stars, including the mighty (if diminutive) Chet Hanulak, AKA "Hanulak from Hakensak," the name of his New Jersey hometown.
Minnesota 22, Michigan 0. Except for the decade-long drought between 1933 and 1942, the Wolverines had generally kept the Little Brown Jug safe in Ann Arbor. Not this day, however, as Heisman Trophy runnerup Paul Giel and his mates dazzled Michigan into a coma. They would do so only one more time for the remainder of the decade.
Texas 16, Tennessee 0. Tennessee came roaring into the Cotton Bowl on the heels of a near-perfect season, marred only by a close loss at Duke and a tie with Kentucky. But Texas was loaded, and it never hurt them that they had the home state crowd on their side.