We continue our Pac-12 Friday series on college football’s past with another decade of B1G analysis. Needless to say, the 1960s will not be like the 1940s and the 1950s when it comes to mythical national champions, but the B1G still fielded some darn good teams.
Read on to find out which ones were the best of the bunch …
Honorable Mention: 1969 Michigan Wolverines (8-3)
This was the first Bo Schembechler team, and after losing to Missouri and Michigan State early in the season by a combined 34 points, the Wolverines ran the table through the rest of the regular season, upsetting No. 1 Ohio State on November 22. However, Michigan did lose the Rose Bowl to USC.
10. 1967 Purdue Boilermakers (8-2)
This team didn’t win the B1G despite finishing third in the nation for SRS. Two losses by a combined 13 points hurt the Boilermakers in their quest for the conference championship and greater glory in the polls. A win over then-No. 1 Notre Dame was the highlight of the season, for sure.
9. 1963 Illinois Fighting Illini (8-1-1)
With a 2-0-1 record against ranked teams, plus a Rose Bowl win over Washington, this Illinois team was special. The one loss came by six points to Michigan; otherwise, the Fighting Illini would have had a better shot at the MNC we are going to cover in a few weeks.
8. 1961 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0-1)
This team earned our MNC designation this week, despite not playing in the Rose Bowl it earned with a B1G title. The Buckeyes tied TCU in their first game, and then they ran the table, outscoring opponents by a combined 214-76 margin. This included a 50-20 thrashing of Michigan.
7. 1966 Michigan State Spartans (9-0-1)
This squad famously tied Notre Dame in the “Game of the Century” on November 19 before earning a share of the polls’ mythical championship. The Spartans’ 9-0 start came by a combined 283-89 score, and only Ohio State came within single digits of MSU during that win streak. Will MSU have a shot at our MNC in 1966? Find out next month!
6. 1968 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)
This team surely will be among our contenders for the MNC when we get to the 1968 season. The Buckeyes beat four ranked teams by an average margin of more than 16 points each—including a 36-point win over No. 4 Michigan and a 14-point win over No. 2 USC in the Rose Bowl.
5. 1969 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)
This was the team that Michigan upset under Schembechler to restart the modern-day rivalry between the two schools. On paper, it was a better team than the prior season’s squad. It was ranked No. 1 all season, building upon its 1968 championship season, until the last-game loss to the Wolverines.
4. 1964 Michigan Wolverines (9-1)
The lone loss came to unranked Purdue by one point, or else these Wolverines could have been an all-time great team. It beat four Top-10 teams, which included a 27-point Rose Bowl victory over the No. 8 Oregon State Beavers. Three wins came by 10 points or less, revealing mettle.
3. 1962 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2)
Despite losing the Rose Bowl by 5 points to one of the best USC teams ever, these Badgers still rank high on our list, finishing No. 1 for the season in the SRS despite two losses. Wisconsin led the nation in scoring, posting over 32 points a game against the seventh-hardest schedule in the country.
2. 1960 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-1)
This team didn’t win the B1G, but it did finish No. 1 overall in the SRS. A 17-point road loss to eventual league champ Minnesota cost the Hawkeyes a shot at immortality, for sure. Iowa played the toughest schedule in the country, and in its eight victories, outscored opponents, 224-81.
1. 1965 Michigan State Spartans (10-1)
A two-point loss in the Rose Bowl against UCLA cost MSU the AP title, since the voters toyed with a few years of post-bowl finalization in 1965 and 1966. In other years, Sparty may have won an undisputed MNC. Finishing No. 1 in the SRS while giving up just 76 points all season, MSU was dominant.