1944 Big Ten Conference football season
|1944 Big Ten Conference football season|
|Number of teams||9|
|Top draft pick||Elroy Hirsch|
|Season MVP||Les Horvath|
|1944 Big Ten football standings|
|No. 2 Ohio State $||6||–||0||–||0||9||–||0||–||0|
|No. 8 Michigan||5||–||2||–||0||8||–||2||–||0|
|No. 15 Illinois||3||–||3||–||0||5||–||4||–||1|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1944 Big Ten Conference football season was the 49th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1944 college football season.
The 1944 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Carroll Widdoes, compiled a perfect 9–0 record, won the Big Ten championship, led the conference in scoring offense (31.9 points per game), and was ranked No. 2 in the final AP Poll. The team was retroactively selected as a national champion by the National Championship Foundation. Quarterback Les Horvath was a consensus first-team pick for the 1944 College Football All-America Team and received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the Big Ten and . End Jack Dugger and center John Tavener were also consensus first-team All-Americans.
Michigan, under head coach Fritz Crisler, compiled an 8–2 record, finished in second place in the conference, and was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Fullback Don Lund received the team's most valuable player award.
Indiana, under head coach Bo McMillin, compiled a 7–3 record and led the conference in scoring defense (7.9 points per game). Center John Tavener was a consensus first-team All-American and received Indiana's most valuable player award.
Results and team statistics
|Conf. Rank||Team||Head coach||AP final||AP high||Overall record||Conf. record||PPG||PAG||MVP|
|1||Ohio State||Carroll Widdoes||#2||#2||9–0||6–0||31.9||8.8||Les Horvath|
|2||Michigan||Fritz Crisler||#8||#5||8–2||5–2||20.4||9.1||Don Lund|
|3||Purdue||Cecil Isbell||NR||#7||5–5||4–2||20.7||16.6||Babe Dimancheff|
|4||Minnesota||George Hauser||NR||NR||5–3–1||3–2–1||25.0||18.0||John Lundquist|
|5||Indiana||Bo McMillin||NR||#15||7–3||4–3||29.2||7.9||John Tavener|
|6||Illinois||Ray Eliot||#15||#9||5–4–1||3–3||27.3||14.9||Buddy Young|
|7||Wisconsin||Harry Stuhldreher||NR||#19||3–6||2–4||12.4||20.0||Clarence Esser|
|8||Northwestern||Pappy Waldorf||NR||NR||1–7–1||0–5–1||11.3||17.8||Max Morris|
|9||Iowa||Slip Madigan||NR||NR||1–7||0–6||6.6||30.0||Bob Snyder|
AP final = Team's rank in the final AP Poll of the 1945 season
AP high = Team's highest rank in the AP Poll throughout the 1945 season
PPG = Average of points scored per game
PAG = Average of points allowed per game
MVP = Most valuable player as voted by players on each team as part of the voting process to determine the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy
During the 1944 season, the Big Ten maintained its long-standing ban on postseason games. Accordingly, no Big Ten teams participated in any bowl games.
All-Big Ten players
- Jack Dugger, end, Ohio State (AP, UP)
- Frank Bauman, end, Purdue (AP, UP)
- Milan Lazetich, tackle, Michigan (AP, UP)
- Bill Willis, tackle, Ohio State (AP, UP)
- Bill Hackett, guard, Ohio State (AP, UP)
- Ralph Serpico, guard, Illinois (AP, UP)
- John Tavener, center, Indiana (AP, UP)
- Les Horvath, halfback/quarterback, Ohio State (AP, UP)
- Joe Ponsetto, quarterback, Michigan (AP)
- Buddy Young, halfback, Illinois (AP, UP)
- Babe Dimancheff, fullback/halfback, Purdue (AP, UP)
- Bob Wiese, fullback, Michigan (UP)
- Jack Dugger, end, Ohio State (FWAA, INS, SN, UP, WC)
- Bill Hackett, guard, Ohio State (AAB, AP, COL, FN, FWAA, CP, WC)
- John Tavener, center, Indiana (UP, FWAA, INS, LK, CP)
- Les Horvath, quarterback, Ohio State (AAB, AP, COL, FN, FWAA, INS, LK, NEA, SN, UP, CP, WC)
Other Big Ten players who were named first-team All-Americans by at least one selector were:
- Bill Willis, tackle, Ohio State (LK, SN, UP)
- Ralph Serpico, guard, Illinois (SN)
- Buddy Young, quarterback, Illinois (LK)
- Jug Girard, halfback, Wisconsin (LK)
- Babe Dimancheff, fullback, Purdue (INS, CP)
1945 NFL Draft
|Elroy Hirsch||Wide receiver||Michigan||1||5|
|Jack Dugger||End||Ohio State||2||12|
|Gordon Appleby||Center||Ohio State||3||26|
|Pete Pihos||Wide receiver||Indiana||5||41|
|Gene Fekete||Back||Ohio State||6||49|
- "1944 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Wilfrid Smith (December 17, 1944). "Horvath Voted Big Nine's Most Valuable: Buckeye Star 21st To Receive Tribune Award". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
- "All-Western Conference Team". The Logan Daily News. November 27, 1944. p. 5.
- "Four Ohio State Stars Named on the All-Conference Team". The Milwaukee Journal (UP story). November 22, 1944. p. 6.
- "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. pp. 5–6. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- "1945 NFL Draft: Full Draft". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 4, 2017.