The 1943 college football season concluded with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame crowned as the nation’s #1 team by a majority of the voters in the AP poll, followed by the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks as the runner-up. For the third time in the history of the AP Poll, a team that had lost a game was the mythical national champion; Minnesota had been the first AP champion in 1936, and Ohio State was champion in 1942. Notre Dame lost its final game of the season, a Chicago contest against the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Along the way, however, the Fighting Irish had played one of the toughest college schedules ever, beating two #2 ranked teams (Michigan and Iowa Pre-Flight) and another two #3 ranked teams (Navy and Army).
In 1943, as many as 131 sportswriters participated in the AP poll, which included, for the first time, “service teams“. Drawn from flight schools and training centers for participants in World War II, the service teams played against the colleges. At the same time, a number of universities suspended their football programs. Most of the members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) -- Alabama and Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt -- did not field teams in 1943. In addition, Pacific Conference teams Oregon and Oregon State, Washington State, and Stanford, did not play, nor did Boston College, the Citadel, Duquesne, Fordham, Harvard, Michigan State, Syracuse, and William & Mary.
Each participating writer in the AP Poll listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the top twenty results.
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