1990 College Football Recap

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Final AP Top 25

Bowl Games

Div. 1–A Conference Champs

Heisman Trophy Voting

Other Major Award Winners

Consensus All-America Team

If NCAA officials were undecided as to whether some type of bowl alliance championship was necessary for Division I-A college football, 1990 was the year that may have swayed them. Six different teams held the No. 1 spot during the season and for the first time since Alabama and USC split the national championship in 1978, two teams shared the title. Bobby Ross' Georgia Tech squad, tied once but unbeaten, was named UPI's national champ by the narrowest of margins (847-846), while Colorado (11-1-1) was voted No. 1 by AP's panel of broadcasters and sportswriters.

Though Colorado's schedule was tougher, two of their wins were shrouded in controversy. In a now infamous game on October 6, the Buffaloes mistakenly were allowed five downs to score a last minute touchdown to beat Missouri 33-31. In the Orange Bowl, the Buffs were up 10-9 over Notre Dame late in the fourth when speedster Rocket Ismail took a punt and raced 91 yards for an apparent game-winning TD. Officials, however, called a clip on the play and the TD was disallowed, giving Colorado the win.

BYU junior QB Ty Detmer took home the Heisman Trophy, to the surprise of many, over Notre Dame's Ismail. Detmer decided to return for his final season at BYU while Ismail went for the riches of the CFL, signing a four-year, $18.2 million deal with the Toronto Argonauts.

1990 marked the final installment of the heated Notre Dame-Miami series with the Irish defeating Miami 29-20 in South Bend. Houston QB David Klingler had a game for the ages in late November, throwing for 572 yards and a record 11 TDs against Division I-AA Eastern Washington. The Cougars won 84-21 and Klingler was finally pulled late in the fourth with his team safely up by 63.

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