1971 College Football Recap
In 1971, Nebraska became only the sixth team since '36 to repeat as national champions.
A year ago, the Huskers were lucky to claim their first title after the two teams ranked above them lost their bowl games. This time Bob Devaney's defenders were No.1 from the start and obliged to repel all comers, all 13 of them.
The pivotal games were two No.1 vs No.2 holiday showdowns with Oklahoma (10–0) on Thanksgiving and Alabama (11–0) on New Year's.
With the Big Eight title at stake against the Sooners, Nebraska led early, fell behind late 31–28, then rallied to win 35–31. In the Orange Bowl, Bama fumbled early and often and the Huskers won easily, extending their three-year unbeaten string to 32.
Oklahoma routed Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and Colorado beat Houston by 12 in the Bluebonnet to give the Big Eight a unique Win, Place & Show in the final AP poll. The SEC had the next best conference showing with Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee coming in 4th, 7th and 9th, respectively.
Michigan went to the Rose Bowl unbeaten and untied after shading Ohio State 10–7. In Pasadena, however, the Wolverines fell to Stanford on a last second field goal.
The Heisman Trophy was decided in another close contest. Cornell running back Ed Marinaro, who averaged an NCAA record 174.6 yards a game during his career, lost out to Auburn QB Pat Sullivan by 152 points.