The 1985 college football season marked the first of a two-year stretch where Oklahoma, Penn State and Miami all stayed at the top of the polls. This time around, the Sooners won the national championship, beating the undefeated Nittany Lions in the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes beat Oklahoma in the regular season and had a shot at the title themselves, before a Sugar Bowl loss to Tennessee took them out.
Beyond the Big Three, college football fans saw the following in 1985…
*Iowa and Michigan played one of the memorable games of the regular season, ranked 1-2 in the polls when they met in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won that game and ultimately went to the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines had a big year themselves and made the Fiesta Bowl.
*Nebraska chased a national championship through most of the regular season before losing to Oklahoma and settling for the Fiesta Bowl spot opposite Michigan.
*It was a threshold year in Tennessee. Johnny Majors reached the Sugar Bowl for the first time since coming to Knoxville in 1977 and played spoiler once he got there.
The articles below look at the season-long journey of the teams that shaped the national championship race in the 1985 college football season.