1981 NCAA Division I-AA Football Season
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1981 NCAA Division I-AA Football Season
1981 NCAA Division I-AA season
NCAA logo.svg
Regular season
DurationAugust-November
Playoff
DurationDecember 5-December 19
December 19, 1981
Memorial Stadium
Wichita Falls, Texas
ChampionIdaho State
NCAA Division I-AA football seasons

The 1981 NCAA Division I-AA football season, part of college football in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division I-AA level, began in August 1981 and concluded with the 1981 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game on December 19, 1981, at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Idaho State Bengals won their first I-AA championship, defeating the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in the Pioneer Bowl, 34-23.[1][2][3]

Conference changes and new programs

Conference standings

1981 Association of Mid-Continent Universities football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Eastern Illinois + 2 1 0     7 4 0
Western Illinois + 2 1 0     5 6 0
Northern Iowa + 2 1 0     7 4 0
Southwest Missouri State 0 3 0     3 5 2
  • + – Conference co-champions
1981 Big Sky Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 2 Idaho State $^ 6 1 0     12 1 0
No. 5 Boise State ^ 6 1 0     10 3 0
Montana 5 2 0     7 3 0
Nevada 4 3 0     7 4 0
Weber State 4 3 0     7 4 0
Northern Arizona 2 5 0     4 7 0
Montana State 1 6 0     3 7 0
Idaho 0 7 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA Poll
1981 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 3 South Carolina State $^ 5 0 0     10 3 0
Florida A&M 4 1 0     7 4 0
Bethune-Cookman 3 2 0     6 4 0
Howard 2 3 0     6 5 0
Delaware State 1 4 0     2 9 0
North Carolina A&T 0 5 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee poll
1981 Ohio Valley Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Eastern Kentucky $^ 8 0 0     12 2 0
No. 9 Murray State 5 3 0     8 3 0
Youngstown State 5 3 0     7 4 0
Tennessee Tech 4 4 0     6 5 0
Middle Tennessee 4 4 0     6 5 0
Western Kentucky 4 4 0     6 5 0
Akron 4 4 0     5 5 0
Austin Peay 3 5 0     5 5 0
Morehead State 0 8 0     1 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee poll
1981 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 4 Jackson State $^ 5 1 0     9 2 1
Grambling State 4 1 1     6 4 1
Texas Southern 3 2 1     4 5 1
Alcorn State 3 3 0     5 5 0
Mississippi Valley State 2 4 0     4 6 1
Southern 2 4 0     3 8 0
Prairie View A&M 1 5 0     2 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from Div I-AA Football Committee poll
1981 Yankee Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Rhode Island +^ 4 1 0     6 6 0
No. T-10 UMass + 4 1 0     6 3 0
Boston University 3 2 0     6 5 0
No. T-10 New Hampshire 2 3 0     7 3 0
Connecticut 1 4 0     4 7 0
Maine 1 4 0     3 7 1
  • + – Conference co-champions
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee poll
1981 NCAA Division I-AA independents football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 8 Lafayette         9 2 0
No. 7 Delaware ^         9 3 0
No. 6 Tennessee State ^         9 3 0
Southeastern Louisiana         8 3 0
Lehigh         8 3 0
Nicholls State         5 5 1
Northwestern State         4 6 0
Bucknell         4 6 0
Northeastern         3 7 0
James Madison         3 8 0
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from Div I-AA Football Committee poll

Conference champions

Conference champions

Big Sky Conference - Idaho State
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference - South Carolina State
Ohio Valley Conference - Eastern Kentucky
Southwestern Athletic Conference - Jackson State
Yankee Conference - Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Postseason

After holding four-team playoffs after the first three I-AA seasons, the NCAA increased the bracket size to eight this postseason. It grew to twelve in 1982 and sixteen in 1986. The eight-team field was determined via automatic bids to five conference champions (Idaho State, South Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, and Rhode Island), a bid to the top-ranked independent team (Tennessee State), and two at-large bids (Boise State and Delaware).[4]

NCAA Division I-AA Playoff bracket

First Round
December 5
Campus Sites
Semifinals
December 12
Campus Sites
National Championship Game
Pioneer Bowl
December 19
         
7 Delaware 28
1 Eastern Kentucky* 35
1 Eastern Kentucky 23
4 Boise State* 17
4 Boise State 19
5 Jackson State* 7
1 Eastern Kentucky 23
2 Idaho State 34
8 Rhode Island 0
2 Idaho State* 51
2 Idaho State* 41
3 South Carolina State 12
6 Tennessee State 25
3 South Carolina State* 26*

* Next to team name denotes host institution
* Next to score denotes overtime
Source:[5]

References

  1. ^ "1981 NCAA Division I Football Championship" (PDF). NCAA.org. p. 14. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ "Bengals win I-AA crown". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 20, 1981. p. 6D.
  3. ^ "Bengals ride like the wind". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 20, 1981. p. 2D.
  4. ^ Cooper, Barry (May 1, 1981). "MEAC gets berth in I-AA football playoffs". Tallahassee Democrat. p. 23. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "NCAA sets playoffs for I-AA teams". Fort Lauderdale News. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. UPI. November 29, 1981. p. 29. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.

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