1940 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

Minnesota became the first school in the five years of the AP poll to win the championship a second time. The Gophers won the pivotal game of the year against Michigan, stopping Tom Harmon and the visiting Wolverines, 7–6, in the mud on the first Saturday in November. It settled both the national and Big Nine championships.

Harmon ran wild against everyone else, particularly California. In the season opener, which also happened to be his birthday, Harmon accounted for five touchdowns against the Bears: a 96–yard kickoff return, a 72–yard punt return, runs of 86 and 8 yards from scrimmage, and a TD pass. Harmon went on to lead the nation in scoring and all-purpose running and sweep the post-season Player of the Year awards.

The most significant development of the year was Stanford's turn-around from a 1–7–1 loser in 1939 to an undefeated juggernaut under first year coach Clark Shaughnessy. The second-ranked Indians did it using Shaughnessy's revolutionary T-formation with junior quarterback Frankie Albert directly behind center and men in motion.

Elsewhere, Tennessee turned in its third consecutive 10–0 regular season under coach Bob Neyland. The 4th-ranked Vols met another unbeaten team, No.5 Boston College, in the Sugar Bowl. BC won, 19–13, in coach Frank Leahy's last game before moving on to Notre Dame.

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