1962 College Football Recap
For the first time since the AP poll began in 1936, the two highest-ranked teams had a date on New Year's Day: No.1 Southern Cal and No.2 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Many consider it the most exciting bowl game ever. It certainly had the wildest second half. Wisconsin, the nation's most prolific team on offense (31 points per game), trailed 42–14 after three quarters. Quarterback Ron VanderKelen got the Badgers back in the hunt in the fourth frame, directing three TD drives while the defense picked up a safety. With a minute to go, Wisconsin had rallied to within 42–37, but time ran out.
After going 9–1, 9–0–1, and 9–1 over the last three regular seasons, Mississippi finally went unbeaten and untied. But perfection only landed coach Johnny Vaught's team in third place. The Rebels beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
Texas and Alabama each held No.1 briefly during the regular season. The Longhorns were on top for two weeks in October until a 14–14 tie with Rice changed voters' minds. Bama had its moment in November but it only lasted a week, ending with a 7–6 loss to Georgia Tech.
Longest run of the season? Heisman winner Terry Baker's 99–yard romp in the Liberty Bowl as Oregon State downed Villanova, 6–0.
Biggest cutback? The AP poll was reduced from a Top 20 to Top 10 and would stay that way until 1968.