1965 College Football Recap
Anxious to avoid the uproar that followed its regular season final poll last year, AP waited until after New Year's to crown the 1965 national champion.
Good move. At the end of the regular season Michigan State, Arkansas and Nebraska were all 10–0, with Alabama at 8–1–1 (the Tide lost their opener to Georgia and tied Tennessee). The bowl match-ups had Arkansas playing LSU in the Cotton, Michigan State vs UCLA in the Rose, and Nebraska vs Alabama in the Orange. Each game followed the other on TV.
The three top-ranked teams all lost. Arkansas, denied the '64 national title it deserved, had its 22–game winning streak snapped in Dallas. LSU took a 14–7 lead in the second quarter then shut the Razorbacks out in the second half.
Michigan State, UPI's national champ, had opened the regular season with a 13–3 win over UCLA. The Spartans hoped to close the year on the same note, but couldn't overcome the Bruins' 14–0 halftime lead. The victory was UCLA's first Rose Bowl win ever.
So the Orange Bowl, in its second year at night, became the national championship game. Underdog Alabama built up a 24–7 lead by halftime then held off a Nebraska comeback to win 39–28.
Bama's Bear Bryant joined Minnesota's Bernie Bierman (1940–41), Army's Red Blaik (1944–45), Notre Dame's Frank Leahy (1946–47) and Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson (1955–56) as the only coaches to win back-to-back national titles.