1938 College Football Recap

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Final AP Top 20

Bowl Games with Top 20 Teams

Major Conference Champions

Heisman Trophy Voting

Other Major Award Winners

Consensus All-America Team

Texas Christian won both the national championship and the Heisman Trophy in 1938. The Horned Frogs were undefeated and untied through 10 regular season games and they had little Davey O'Brien at quarterback.

At just 5-foot-7 and 150 lbs., O'Brien didn't look anything like predecessor Sammy Baugh. But he threw the football like Baugh, leading the nation in passing yardage for the second year in a row. O'Brien capped the season with a second half touchdown pass and field goal to spark the TCU to a come-from-behind 15–7 victory over 6th ranked Carnegie Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

Although bowl games would not count in AP's final Top 20 selections until 1965, the Orange and Rose bowls featured four of 1938's top seven teams in two of the more memorable frays of the season.

Tennessee and Oklahoma were both 11–0 and ranked 2nd and 4th, respectively, when they collided in Miami. The Vols won, 17–0, but play was so rough and penalties so numerous (a combined 220 yards stepped off against both sides) that it became known as the '39 “Orange Brawl”.

No.3 Duke faced No.7 Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The Blue Devils were undefeated, untied and unscored upon in nine games. USC was 8–2. The Trojans won, 7–3, with less than a minute to play when reserve quarterback Doyle Nave and reserve end Al Krueger combined for 14–yard touchdown pass.

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