1968 College Football Recap
The Associated Press returned to a Top 20 poll in 1968 and decreed that from now on its national champion would be selected after New Year's. AP waited until after the bowl games in 1965, then went back to making its final decision in mid-December from 1966–67.
On Sept. 28, Purdue and Notre Dame played in the first of the season's two No.1 vs No.2 showdowns. It was only the second game for both teams and the Boilermakers won 37–22.
The national title was on the line three months later when No.1 Ohio St. met No.2 Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes were 9–0 and the Trojans 9–0–1. USC also had Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson, who had led the nation in rushing and all-purpose running for the second year in a row. No matter, Ohio St. spotted USC a 10–0 lead then came back to win 27–16.
Penn State, under third year coach Joe Paterno, was the only other major unbeaten team, finising the year 11–0 with a one-point win over Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Down 14–7 with 1:16 left, the Lions rallied to score as time ran out. Kansas stopped the subsequent two-point conversion try but was called for having 12 men on the field. Given a second chance, Penn State converted and won 15–14.
The headline of the year followed the annual Harvard-Yale game in Cambridge where undefeated and untied Harvard scored 16 points in the last minute to tie undefeated and untied Yale. Next day, the Harvard Crimson crowed: “HARVARD BEATS YALE, 29–29.”