The 1945 college football season finished with the undefeated United States Military Academy, more popularly known as "Army", being the unanimous choice for the nation's number one team by the 116 voters in the Associated Press writers' poll. The runner up was the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by the United States Naval Academy, more popularly known as "Navy". In 2016, the American Football Coaches Association retroactively named the Oklahoma A&M Cowboys national champion for 1945.
During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the college football teams that would later be described as "Division I-A". The NCAA did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of the Associated Press poll of sportswriters (the UPI Coaches Poll would not start until 1950). The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual NCAA Football Guide of the "unofficial" national champions.
Several new bowl games would debut at the end of the 1945 season, among them the Gator Bowl.
The Associated Press did not poll the writers until the third week of the season. Among the teams that had been ranked highest at the end of 1944, the two service academies--Army and Navy, as well as Ohio State, USC and Michigan. Among the service teams that had ranked high in 1944, Randolph Field, Bainbridge Naval, and Iowa Pre-flight no longer played against college teams. Some service teams still remained in place, even after the end of World War II.
On September 15, Michigan beat Great Lakes Navy, 27-2. On September 22, Michigan lost to Indiana, 13-7. Minnesota beat Missouri, 34-0. In a Friday night game in Los Angeles, USC beat UCLA 13-6. September 29 Notre Dame beat Illinois 7-0, Army beat Louisville Field, 32-0, and Navy beat Villanova 49-0. USC won at California, 13-2, and Ohio State won at Missouri 47-6.
On October 6, Army beat Wake Forest, 54-0 and Navy beat Duke, 21-0. Ohio State beat Iowa 42-0. Minnesota won at Nebraska 61-7. Notre Dame won at Georgia Tech, 40-7. UCLA beat St. Mary's Pre-Flight, 26-14.
October 13 At Yankee Stadium in New York, #1 Army beat #9 Michigan, 28-7. #2 Navy stayed unscored upon with a 28-0 win over Penn State. #3 Notre Dame beat Dartmouth, 34-0. #4 Ohio State beat Wisconsin, 12-0. #5 Minnesota beat Fort Warren, 14-0.
October 20 #1 Army beat Melville PT Boats 55-13. In Baltimore, #2 Navy beat Georgia Tech 20-6. #3 Notre Dame won at Pittsburgh, 39-9. #4 Ohio State lost to #9 Purdue, 35-13. #5 Minnesota defeated Northwestern, 30-7.
October 27 In New York, #1 Army beat #19 Duke 48-13. #2 Notre Dame beat Iowa 56-0. In Philadelphia, #3 Navy defeated #7 Penn, 14-7. #4 Purdue lost to unranked Northwestern, 26-14. #5 Minnesota lost to #12 Ohio State, 20-7. In Birmingham, #6 Alabama beat Georgia 28-14. #8 Indiana beat #14 Tulsa 7-2, to reach 5-0-1.
November 3 #1 Army beat Villanova, 54-0. #2 Notre Dame and #3 Navy, both 5-0-0, met in Cleveland, and played to a 6-6 tie. In Louisville, #4 Alabama defeated Kentucky, 60-19. #5 Indiana beat Cornell College of Iowa, 46-6, but dropped to sixth in the next poll. In Los Angeles, #8 St. Mary's beat USC, 26-0.
November 10 #1 Army (6-0-0) and #2 Notre Dame (5-0-1) met for a contest at Yankee Stadium, and it was no contest, with the Cadets winning 48-0. #3 Alabama was idle. In Baltimore, #4 Navy beat #7 Michigan 33-7. #5 St. Mary's beat Fresno State, 32-6. #6 Indiana won at Minnesota, 49-0.
November 17 In Philadelphia, #1 Army beat #6 Penn, 61-0 #2 Navy defeated Wisconsin 36-7 in Baltimore. In Nashville, #3 Alabama beat Vanderbilt, 71-0. #4 Indiana won at Pittsburgh, 19-0. #5 St. Mary's lost to UCLA, 13-7. #7 Notre Dame won at Northwestern, 34-7.
November 24 #1 Army (8-0-0) and #2 Navy (7-0-1), both unbeaten, were idle as they prepared for the Army-Navy Game. #3 Alabama beat the Pensacola Naval Air Station, 55-6. #4 Indiana closed its season at 9-0-1 with a 26-0 win over #18 Purdue. In New Orleans, #5 Notre Dame beat Tulane, 32-6.
December 1 In the second #1 and #2 matchup of the year, #1 Army (8-0-0) and #2 Navy (7-0-1) met at the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, with Army winning 32-13 to close a perfect season. #3 Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 55-13. #4 Indiana had finished its season. #5 Notre Dame lost to the Great Lakes Navy team, 39-7. #6 Oklahoma State, which had finished the season 9-0-0 and accepted an invitation to the Sugar Bowl, rose to fifth in the final poll.
|California Collegiate Athletic Association||No champion||--|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association||Virginia State College||7-0-1|
|Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Far Western Conference||No champion||--|
|Indiana Intercollegiate Conference||Valparaiso||4-0|
|Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Central (IA)||5-0|
|Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Lone Star Conference||No champion||--|
|Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Gustavus Adolphus||4-0|
|Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association||No champion||--|
|Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association||No champion||--|
|Nebraska College Athletic Conference||Nebraska Wesleyan||2-0|
|New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||--|
|North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|North Dakota College Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Ohio Athletic Conference||Oberlin||2-0|
|Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Pacific Northwest Conference||No champion||--|
|Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference||Colorado College||1-0|
|South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||--|
|Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Redlands||4-0|
|Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Florida A&M College||6-0|
|Southwestern Athletic Conference||Wiley (TX)||6-0|
|State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota||No champion||--|
|Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference||No champion||--|
|Washington Intercollegiate Conference||No champion||--|
|Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference||No champion||--|
|Bowl game||Winning team||Losing team|
|Rose Bowl||No. 2 Alabama||34||No. 11 USC||14|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 5 Oklahoma A&M||33||No. 7 Saint Mary's||13|
|Orange Bowl||Miami (FL)||13||No. 16 Holy Cross||6|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||No. 10 Texas||40||Missouri||27|
|Sun Bowl||New Mexico Lobos||34||Denver||24|
|Gator Bowl||No. 19 Wake Forest||26||South Carolina||14|
|Oil Bowl||No. 18 Georgia||20||No. 17 Tulsa||6|
|Raisin Bowl||Drake||13||Fresno State||12|