1944 Big Ten Conference football season

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1944 Big Ten Conference football season
SportFootball
Number of teams9
Top draft pickElroy Hirsch
ChampionOhio State
Season MVPLes Horvath
Football seasons
← 1943
1945 →
1944 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 2 Ohio State $ 6 0 0     9 0 0
No. 8 Michigan 5 2 0     8 2 0
Purdue 4 2 0     5 5 0
Minnesota 3 2 1     5 3 1
Indiana 4 3 0     7 3 0
No. 15 Illinois 3 3 0     5 4 1
Wisconsin 2 4 0     3 6 0
Northwestern 0 5 1     1 7 1
Iowa 0 6 0     1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
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.

Season overview[edit]

Results and team statistics[edit]

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

Key
AP final = Team's rank in the final AP Poll of the 1945 season[1]
AP high = Team's highest rank in the AP Poll throughout the 1945 season[1]
PPG = Average of points scored per game[1]
PAG = Average of points allowed per game[1]
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[2]

Regular season[edit]

Bowl games[edit]

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[edit]

The following players were picked by the Associated Press (AP) and/or the United Press (UP) as first-team players on the 1944 All-Big Nine Conference football team.[3][4]

All-Americans[edit]

At the end of the 1944 season, Big Ten players secured four of the consensus first-team picks for the 1944 College Football All-America Team.[5] The Big Ten's consensus All-Americans were:

  • 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:

1945 NFL Draft[edit]

The following Big Ten players were selected in the first 10 rounds of the 1945 NFL Draft:[6]

Name Position Team Round Overall pick
Elroy Hirsch Wide receiver Michigan 1 5
Don Lund Back Michigan 1 7
Jack Dugger End Ohio State 2 12
Wayne Williams Back Minnesota 2 13
Milan Lazetich Tackle Michigan 2 16
Stan Mohrbacher Guard Iowa 3 24
Gordon Appleby Center Ohio State 3 26
Bob Wiese Back Michigan 5 39
Forest Masterson Center Iowa 5 40
Pete Pihos Wide receiver Indiana 5 41
Dick Barwegen Guard Purdue 6 44
Gene Fekete Back Ohio State 6 49
Chuck Dellago Guard Minnesota 6 52
Fred Negus Center Wisconsin 7 59
Jack Mead End Wisconsin 7 64
Pat O'Brien Tackle Purdue 8 73
Nick Vodick Back Northwestern 8 75
Les Joop Tackle Illinois 9 82

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "1944 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  2. ^ Wilfrid Smith (December 17, 1944). "Horvath Voted Big Nine's Most Valuable: Buckeye Star 21st To Receive Tribune Award". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
  3. ^ "All-Western Conference Team". The Logan Daily News. November 27, 1944. p. 5.
  4. ^ "Four Ohio State Stars Named on the All-Conference Team". The Milwaukee Journal (UP story). November 22, 1944. p. 6.
  5. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. pp. 5–6. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "1945 NFL Draft: Full Draft". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 4, 2017.