Tip Top 25 in helmets, smaller
                                1955 National Championship

Fixing the Final 1955 AP College Football Poll

1) Oklahoma 11-0
2) Michigan State 9-1
3) Maryland 10-1
4) UCLA 9-2
5) Ohio State 7-2
6) Texas Christian 9-2
7) Georgia Tech 9-1-1
8) Auburn 8-2-1

9) Notre Dame 8-2
10) Mississippi 10-1
11) Pittsburgh 7-4
12) Michigan 7-2
13) Southern Cal 6-4
14) Miami (Florida) 6-3
15) Miami (Ohio) 9-0
16) Stanford 6-3-1
17) Texas A&M 7-2-1
18) Navy 6-2-1
19) West Virginia 8-2
20) Army 6-3
To the left is the final 1955 AP college football top 20. You can access all of these teams' full schedules here: College Football Data Warehouse (amongst a number of other places). The fixed final AP poll, expanded to 25 teams, follows the article below.

AP poll voters sure did love themselves some Big 10 football back in these days. Maryland was 10-0 when the final vote was taken, Michigan State 8-1 with a loss to #12 Michigan, yet MSU was rated higher. Ohio State, meanwhile, lost to #16 Stanford and to unrated Duke, and they defeated no top 10 teams, yet they were rated #5.

But let's start with Maryland vs. Michigan State. Maryland lost their bowl game to #1 Oklahoma 20-6, but of course Oklahoma was rated by the AP poll itself as better than Michigan State. MSU won the Rose Bowl 17-14 over #4 UCLA, which is a terrific result, but Maryland had already beaten UCLA 7-0 during the regular season.

I almost let the AP poll have this one because MSU performed slightly better, and they played a tougher schedule. But I just don't think the difference in either regard is enough to make up for the fact that Michigan State took an upset loss and Maryland did not. Maryland should have been #2 both before and after the bowl games.

So switch 'em. Maryland to #2 and Michigan State to #3.
Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1955
This was the 2nd of 3 straight years that Oklahoma and head coach Bud Wilkinson finished unbeaten and untied

Miami-Florida and Pittsburgh

6-3 Miami-Florida is a good example of a team that should have been very easy to rate-- they lost to #6, #7, and #9, and they defeated #11. Looks like they should have been #10, right? Well, they were rated #14, 3 places behind 7-4 Pittsburgh, whom they defeated 21-7 on the road. Obviously they should be moved ahead of Pitt. We'll keep Pitt where they are, though, because Pitt beat Duke, who beat Ohio State, who beat Michigan, who sits right behind Pitt. All of that will matter when I handle Duke and Ohio State next.

Move Miami-Florida up to #11, dropping Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Southern Cal 1 spot each.

Duke and Ohio State

7-2-1 Duke was the most underrated team in this AP poll. In fact, they weren't rated at all (except by the coaches, who had them #16). Yet their only losses came to #7 Georgia Tech and #11 Pittsburgh, and they tied #18 Navy. More importantly, they won 20-14 at #5 Ohio State. Ohio State, in turn, was one of the most overrated teams in this poll-- in addition to Duke, they lost to #16 Stanford, and the only rated team they defeated was #12 Michigan.

Since #11 Pittsburgh beat Duke, Duke beat Ohio State, and OSU beat #12 Michigan, clearly Duke should be moved into the ratings behind Pittsburgh, and OSU should be dropped behind Duke. In this position, Duke has 1 upset tie (with #18 Navy) and OSU has 1 upset loss (to #16 Stanford). Looks like a good fix to me.

Move Duke into the ratings ahead of Michigan, and drop Ohio State behind Duke. Pittsburgh and all the teams that had been rated between Pitt and Ohio State move up 1 slot. Duke comes in at #11, Ohio State drops to #12, and Michigan and all the teams behind them drop 1 spot.

Mississippi, Georgia Tech, and Texas Christian

10-1 Mississippi (originally rated #10) defeated 9-2 Texas Christian (#6) 14-13 in the Cotton Bowl, and so they obviously need to be moved ahead of TCU. Mississippi should also be moved ahead of 9-1-1 Georgia Tech (originally #7), since they took just 1 upset loss, while GT took an upset loss and a tie. Mississippi had a better straight record as well, so I'm not sure why they were ranked so low to begin with.

As for Texas Christian, we'll drop them back behind 8-2 Notre Dame (originally #9). They almost certainly would have dropped at least that far in a post-bowl poll anyway. TCU and Notre Dame appear to have been about the same, but Dame performed much better against common opponents, beating Southern Methodist 17-0 (TCU beat them 20-13) and Miami-Florida 14-0 (TCU 21-19).

Mississippi and Texas Christian thus end up switching places. Mississippi moves up to #5 and TCU drops to #9.


6-2-1 Navy (originally rated #18) took their losses to now-#8 Notre Dame and now-#21 Army (6-3). However, they made up for the Army loss by defeating now-#11 Pittsburgh, and on top of that they tied now-#12 Duke. That gives them a better relevant record than quite a few teams that are ranked ahead of them, including now-#13 Ohio State.

Start with the fact that Navy tied Duke, and Ohio State lost to Duke. That puts Navy effectively a half game ahead. Navy took the upset loss to 6-3 Army, but Ohio State took an upset loss to 6-3-1 Stanford, so they're even in that regard. But Navy made up for theirs by beating a higher-ranked team (Pitt), while OSU did not. That puts Navy effectively a game and a half better than OSU.

Move Navy up ahead of Ohio State, to #13, dropping Ohio State, as well as all the teams that had been rated between OSU and Navy, 1 spot each.

Stanford and Southern Cal

6-3-1 Stanford (originally rated #16) defeated 6-4 Southern Cal (#13) 28-20 on the road, and they had a better straight record, relevant record, and conference record. It was a case of Lastgamitis that pushed USC past Stanford-- they beat 8-2 Notre Dame in their finale. But Stanford had an upset win of their own, over 7-2 Ohio State. There's really no good reason for USC to be rated higher than Stanford.

Move Stanford up ahead of Southern Cal, to #16, dropping USC and Miami-Ohio 1 spot each.

Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Auburn

8-2-1 Auburn was originally rated #8, but then they were slapped around 25-13 by unrated Vanderbilt (8-3) in the Gator Bowl, rendering the Tigers the most overrated team in this AP poll. Since unrated 6-3-1 Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 20-14 in their finale, I'm thinking Tennessee > Vanderbilt > Auburn. Auburn had the best straight record of the 3, but only because Tennessee and Vanderbilt each played 10-1 Mississippi, and Auburn did not.

Two of these teams were unrated, so where should we put them? Our bottom teams, West Virginia and Army, both need to drop behind unrated Syracuse (covered below), and Texas A&M had a better relevant record (and straight record) than Tennessee, so let's put them between Texas A&M and West Virginia.

Move Tennessee in at #19, Vanderbilt at #20, and drop Auburn down to #21. Texas A&M, as well as all the teams that had been rated between Texas A&M and Auburn, all move up 1 spot each. West Virginia and Army drop 2 spots each.


5-3 Syracuse (unrated) defeated 8-2 West Virginia (originally #19) 20-13 and 6-3 Army (#20) 13-0, both on the road, and they should be rated ahead of both.

Bring Syracuse in at #22, dropping West Virginia and Army 1 slot each.


6-3-1 Kentucky (unrated) was erratic, dropping a pair of losses to unrated opponents, 3-5-2 Louisiana State and 6-4 Mississippi State, but they also defeated now-#19 Tennessee 23-0, and they gave 10-1 Mississippi their only loss 21-14. Those games balance out, but they also tied now-#21 Auburn and that gives them a better relevant record than Syracuse, West Virginia, and Army. So let's bring them in ahead of those teams.

Kentucky comes in at #22, dropping Syracuse, West Virginia, and Army 1 spot each. It should also be noted that the SEC was the best conference this season at 30-9-1 against nonconference opponents.

Fixed AP Top 25

I think Miami-Ohio, now #17, is still vastly overrated, but they did go 9-0 against their FCS-level schedule, so who knows how good (or bad) they were? The coaches had 3-5-1 Iowa rated #19, and all I have to say to that is "No"... well, okay one more thing: "Hell No." Our 5 new teams in this fixed and expanded AP top 25 totaled 5 wins and 3 ties against teams the AP poll had rated, and they took 5 losses and no ties against unrated opponents (discounting games against each other).

1) Oklahoma 11-0 --
2) Maryland 10-1 +1
3) Michigan State 9-1 -1
4) UCLA 9-2 --
5) Mississippi 10-1 +5
6) Georgia Tech 9-1-1 +1
7) Notre Dame 8-2 +2
8) Texas Christian 9-2 -2
9) Miami (Florida) 6-3 +5
10) Pittsburgh 7-4 +1
11) Duke 7-2-1 IN
12) Navy 6-2-1 +6
13) Ohio State 7-2 -8
14) Michigan 7-2 -2
15) Stanford 6-3-1 +1
16) Southern Cal 6-4 -3
17) Miami (Ohio) 9-0 -2
18) Texas A&M 7-2-1 -1
19) Tennessee 6-3-1 IN
20) Vanderbilt 8-3 IN
21) Auburn 8-2-1 -13
22) Kentucky 6-3-1 IN
23) Syracuse 5-3 IN
24) West Virginia 8-2 -5
25) Army 6-3 -5