1948 College Football Recap
Michigan and Notre Dame renewed their duel at the top of the AP poll in 1948.
Both went undefeated again, but close calls at the beginning and end of the season cost the Irish their title. In the home opener against Purdue, Notre Dame could only manage a 28–27 win (Michigan beat the Boilermakers two weeks later, 40–0). In the closer, the Irish had to rally in the last 35 seconds to tie Southern Cal, 14–all.
Michigan, on the other hand, won all nine of its games by at least a touchdown. When the season ended, the Wolverines were the unanimous choice of all the pollsters. And for the second straight year they had the country's top coach: Fritz Crisler in 1947 and now his successor, Bennie Oosterbaan.
Juniors Doak Walker of SMU and Charlie Justice of North Carolina finished 1–2 in the Heisman vote. Walker led the Mustangs to the SWC title and a Cotton Bowl win over Oregon. Justice, the aptly named “Choo-Choo” tailbacked the 3rd-ranked Tar Heel single wing to a 9–0–1 regular season mark but Carolina fell to No.5 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
Michigan was prevented from playing in its second consecutive Rose Bowl by the Big Ten's “no-repeat” rule. Conference runner-up Northewestern, the 7th-ranked team in the country, went instead and defeated No.4 California, 20–14.