1958 NCAA University Division football season

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The 1958 NCAA University Division football season was notable in that it was the first to feature the two-point conversion. On January 13, 1958, the eleven-man NCAA Rules Committee unanimously approved a resolution to allow teams to choose between kicking an extra point after a touchdown, or running or passing from the three-yard line for two points. [2] [3] University of Michigan athletic director Fritz Crisler said at the meeting in Fort Lauderdale, "It's a progressive step which will make football more interesting for the spectators," adding that the rule "will add drama to what has been the dullest, most stupid play in the game." [4] [5]


Louisiana State University (LSU), with a record of 10–0, was crowned the national champion at the end of the regular season by both major polls, and won the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. The Iowa Hawkeyes won the Rose Bowl by 26 points and were crowned national champions by the Football Writers Association of America in January, after the bowl games.

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the major college football teams in the University Division, later known as Division I-A. The NCAA did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual NCAA Football Guide of the "unofficial" national champions. The AP poll in 1958 consisted of the votes of as many as 203 sportswriters. Though not all writers voted in every poll, each would give their opinion of the twenty best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. Although the rankings were based on the collective opinion of the representative sportswriters, the teams that remained "unbeaten and untied" were generally ranked higher than those that had not. A defeat, even against a strong opponent, tended to cause a team to drop in the rankings, and a team with two or more defeats was unlikely to remain in the Top 20. The top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose Bowl (near Los Angeles at Pasadena), the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), the Orange Bowl (Miami), and the Cotton Bowl (Dallas).

Conference and program changes

Conference changes

Membership changes

School1957 Conference1958 Conference
Washington and Lee Generals Southern Independent


In the preseason poll released on September 15, 1958, the Buckeyes of Ohio State University were the first place choice for 46 of 99 writers casting votes, followed by Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan State and 1957's champion, Auburn. [6] As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.

Most teams did not begin play until September 27. On September 13, Kentucky beat Hawaii 51–0 in a game in Louisville, and attempted the 2-point conversion, but without success. [7] One of the first successful 2-point conversions in an NCAA game happened when Iowa State Teachers College hosted Bradley University at Cedar Falls, Iowa on September 13. Max Huffman carried the ball over twice on conversion attempts to give the Panthers of Iowa Teachers a 29–12 win over the Braves. [8] On September 20, No. 6 Mississippi and No. 8 Texas Christian were among the winners, beating Memphis State (17–0) and Kansas (42–0) respectively, but the Top Five schools had not yet started play.

The poll for the five 0–0 teams was 1. Ohio State 2. Oklahoma 3. Auburn 4. Michigan State and 5. Notre Dame.

September 27 No. 1 Ohio State narrowly beat SMU at home, 23–20, and fell to third in the next poll. No. 2 Oklahoma, on the other hand, rolled over visiting West Virginia 47–14, and rose to first place. No. 3 Auburn beat Tennessee in Birmingham, 13–0, and No. 4 Michigan State beat California 32–12. No. 5 Notre Dame beat Indiana 18–0, but fell to 7th, while No. 8 Army, which beat South Carolina 45–8, took the place of the Irish.

The poll: 1. Oklahoma 2. Auburn 3. Ohio State 4. Michigan State 5. Army


October 4 No. 1 Oklahoma got past visiting Oregon, 6–0, and dropped to second. No. 2 Auburn, which beat UT-Chattanooga 30–8 at home, moved up to the top spot. No. 3 Ohio State beat Washington at home, 12–7. No. 4 Michigan State played Michigan to a 12–12 tie, and fell to 9th. No. 5 Army beat Penn State 26–0. No. 7 Notre Dame, which beat SMU in Dallas, 14–6, returned to the Top Five.

Poll: 1. Auburn 2. Oklahoma 3. Army 4. Notre Dame 5. Ohio State

October 11 No. 5 Ohio State won at Illinois, 19–13 No. 1 Auburn won at Kentucky, 8–0. No. 2 Oklahoma sustained a 15–14 loss at Dallas in their annual meeting with the Texas Longhorns. In South Bend, Indiana, the visiting No. 3 Army Cadets (or Black Knights) beat No. 4 Notre Dame, 14–2, and were voted No. 1 in the next poll. No. 6 Wisconsin, which beat Purdue 31–6, and No. 9 Michigan State, which beat Pittsburgh 22–8, rose in the polls, to put Big Ten schools at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5. The poll:

Poll: 1. Army 2. Auburn 3. Ohio State 4. Wisconsin 5. Michigan State

On October 18 at West Point, New York, No. 1 Army beat Virginia 35–6. No. 2 Auburn tied with Georgia Tech 7–7 in Atlanta and fell in the polls. No. 3 Ohio State beat Indiana 49–8. No. 4 Wisconsin lost to Iowa at home, 20–9, and No. 5 Michigan State began a five-game losing streak with a 14–6 defeat at Purdue. The Spartans would finish the season with a 3–5–1 record after starting 2–0–1. No. 7 Texas (24–6 over Arkansas) and No. 9 LSU (32–7 over Kentucky) rose in the polls.

Poll: 1. Army 2. Ohio State 3. LSU 4. Texas 5. Auburn

October 25 For the top-ranked teams, a tie was only slightly better than a loss. No. 1 Army played to a 14–14 tie against the Panthers at Pittsburgh, and No. 2 Ohio State tied with Wisconsin at home 7–7. No. 3 LSU beat Florida 10–7, and the win was enough to propel it to first place. No. 4 Texas lost to the Rice Owls in Houston, 34–7. No. 5 Auburn beat Maryland at home, 20–7. No. 7 Iowa, which beat Northwestern 26–20, rose to 2nd in the next poll.

Poll: 1. LSU 2. Iowa 3. Army 4. Auburn 5. Ohio State


November 1 No. 1 LSU beat Ole Miss 14–0 No. 2 Iowa won at Michigan, 37–14. No. 3 Army crushed Colgate, 68–6. No. 4 Auburn won 6–5 at Florida. In Columbus, No. 5 Ohio State was upset by visitingNo. 11 Northwestern, 21–0. The next poll was: 1. LSU 2. Iowa 3. Army 4. Northwestern 5. Auburn

November 8 No. 1 LSU beat Duke 50–18. No. 2 Iowa won at Minnesota 28–6. No. 3 Army beat the Rice Owls in Houston, 14–7. No. 4 Northwestern lost at Madison to No. 7 Wisconsin, 17–13. No. 5 Auburn beat Mississippi State 33–14 at home. The next poll was: 1. LSU 2. Iowa 3. Army 4. Auburn 5. Wisconsin

November 15 No. 1 LSU beat Mississippi State at Jackson 7–6. No. 2 Iowa lost at home to Ohio State 38–28. No. 3 Army beat Villanova 26–0. No. 4 Auburn met the Georgia Bulldogs halfway in Columbus, Georgia, and won 21–6. No. 5 Wisconsin. No. 6 Oklahoma, which beat Missouri 39–0, rose to 4th. The poll was: 1. LSU 2. Auburn 3. Army 4. Oklahoma 5. Wisconsin

November 22 In New Orleans, the No. 1 LSU Tigers crushed Tulane 62–0, scoring 56 points in the second half, to close their season 10–0–0. They would face the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. Behind them, were the No. 2 Auburn Tigers, who beat Wake Forest at home 21–7. No. 3 Army was idle as it prepared for the annual Army-Navy game. No. 4 Oklahoma crushed Nebraska 40–7. No. 5 Wisconsin beat Minnesota to close its season at 6–1–1. No. 6 Iowa, which beat Notre Dame 31–21, returned to the Top 5. 1. LSU 2. Auburn 3. Oklahoma 4. Iowa 5. Army

On November 29 No. 2 Auburn defeated Alabama 14–8 in Birmingham to finish its season at 9–0–1. No. 3 Oklahoma won at Oklahoma State 7–0. In Philadelphia, No. 5 Army beat Navy, 22–6, to finish its season 8–0–1.

The final AP Poll was released on December 1, and the No. 1 LSU Tigers, at 10–0–0, won the AP Trophy with 130 of the first place votes. The other 73 votes were spread among 12 schools, including Rose Bowl bound No. 2 Iowa (17), No. 3 Army (13), No. 4 Auburn (9), No. 5 Oklahoma (10), No. 6 Air Force (2), No. 7 Wisconsin (13), No. 8 Ohio State (3), and No. 9 Syracuse Orangemen. The United States Air Force Academy football team, nicknamed the Falcons, had a 9–0–1 record in only their second year of playing college football, and accepted a bid to face Texas Christian University in the Cotton Bowl.

Conference standings

1958 Atlantic Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 12 Clemson $510  830
No. 15 South Carolina 520  730
Duke 320  550
North Carolina 430  640
Maryland 330  460
Wake Forest 240  370
NC State 250  271
Virginia 150  190
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll [9]
1958 Big Seven Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 5 Oklahoma $600  1010
Missouri 411  541
Colorado 420  640
Kansas 321  451
Kansas State 240  370
Nebraska 150  370
Iowa State 060  460
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 2 Iowa $510  811
No. 7 Wisconsin 511  711
No. 8 Ohio State 412  612
No. 13 Purdue 312  612
Indiana 321  531
Illinois 430  450
Northwestern 340  540
Michigan 151  261
Minnesota 160  180
Michigan State 051  351
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Border Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Hardin–Simmons $400  650
Arizona State 410  730
Arizona 210  370
New Mexico A&M 130  460
Texas Western 140  270
West Texas State 140  190
  • $ Conference champion
1958 Ivy League football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Dartmouth $610  720
Cornell 520  630
Princeton 520  630
Brown 430  630
Penn 430  450
Harvard 340  450
Columbia 160  180
Yale 070  270
  • $ Conference champion
1958 Middle Atlantic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 20 Rutgers x400  810
Lafayette 511  531
Gettysburg 311  711
Lehigh 212  333
Delaware 230  530
Bucknell 150  180
Temple 050  080
Muhlenberg *120  440
Juniata x600  701
Lycoming 410  710
Lebanon Valley 311  431
Susquehanna 320  340
Moravian 330  440
Wagner 330  350
Dickinson 340  440
Albright 241  261
Wilkes 170  180
Scranton *220  530
Pennsylvania Military x710  720
Johns Hopkins 510  530
Haverford 420  430
Western Maryland 140  360
Swarthmore 140  170
Drexel 150  170
Ursinus 080  080
West Chester *100  910
Franklin & Marshall *310  540
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • * – Ineligible for championship due to insufficient conference games
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Texas State $211  721
Cincinnati 112  622
Tulsa 220  730
Houston 220  540
Wichita 121  451
  • $ Conference champion
1958 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 16 California $610  740
Washington State 620  730
USC 421  451
Oregon State 530  640
Oregon 440  460
UCLA 241  361
Stanford 250  280
Washington 160  370
Idaho 030  450
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Skyline Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Wyoming $610  830
New Mexico 510  730
BYU 520  640
Colorado State 430  640
Utah 330  470
Utah State 250  370
Denver 250  280
Montana 070  0100
  • $ Conference champion
1958 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 1 LSU $600  1100
No. 4 Auburn 601  901
No. 11 Ole Miss 320  920
Vanderbilt 213  523
Tennessee 430  460
Alabama 341  541
Kentucky 341  541
No. 14 Florida 231  641
Georgia Tech 231  541
Georgia 240  460
Tulane 150  370
Mississippi State 160  360
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Southern Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
West Virginia $400  451
VPI 310  541
George Washington 320  350
VMI 221  622
Richmond 340  370
The Citadel 230  460
Davidson 230  540
Furman 120  270
William & Mary 141  261
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 10 TCU $510  821
No. 18 SMU 420  640
Rice 420  550
Texas 330  730
Arkansas 240  460
Texas A&M 240  460
Baylor 150  370
  • $ Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1958 NCAA University Division independents football records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
No. 3 Army     801
No. 6 Air Force     902
No. 9 Syracuse     820
No. 19 Oklahoma State     830
Boston College     730
Florida State     740
Holy Cross     630
Navy     630
Penn State     631
No. 17 Notre Dame     640
Pacific (CA)     640
Villanova     640
Pittsburgh     541
Detroit     441
Boston University     450
San Jose State     450
Texas Tech     370
Marquette     271
Drake     270
Dayton     280
Miami (FL)     280
Colgate     180
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games

Major bowls

Thursday, January 1, 1959

Orange No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners 21No. 9 Syracuse Orangemen 6
Sugar No. 1 LSU Tigers 7No. 12 Clemson Tigers 0
Cotton No. 10 TCU Horned Frogs (tie)0No. 6 Air Force Falcons (tie)0
Rose No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes 38No. 16 California Golden Bears 12

Other bowls

Sun El Paso, TXDecember 31 Wyoming 14–6 Hardin–Simmons
Gator Jacksonville, FLDecember 27No. 11 Ole Miss   7–3No. 14 Florida
Tangerine Orlando, FLDecember 27 East Texas State 26–7 Missouri Valley
Bluegrass Louisville, KYDecember 13 Oklahoma State 15–6 Florida State

Notably, the Tangerine Bowl initially extended a bid to Buffalo. However, when the bowl organizers told the school that its two black players would not be allowed to play, the team unanimously voted to turn down the bid. [10] The Bulls did not appear in a bowl game until a half century later in 2008.


Heisman Trophy

  1. Pete Dawkins , HB - Army, 1,394 points
  2. Randy Duncan, QB - Iowa, 1,021
  3. Billy Cannon, HB - LSU, 975
  4. Bob White RB - Ohio State, 365
  5. Joe Kapp, QB - California, 227
  6. Bill Austin, RB - Rutgers, 197
  7. Bob Harrison, C-LB - Oklahoma, 187
  8. Dick Bass, RB - Pacific, 96
  9. Don Meredith, QB - SMU, 75
  10. Nick Pietrosante, FB - Notre Dame, 70

Source: [11] [12]

See also

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  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "NCAA announces new point-after scoring". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 13, 1958. p. 2B.
  3. "Colleges get PAT bonus for run or pass". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). INS. January 13, 1958. p. B3.
  4. Down, Fred (January 13, 1958). "New two-point rule to kill kick attempts". Bend Bulletin. (Oregon). United Press. p. 2.
  5. "Pass or Run Conversion Worth Two Points Now," San Antonio Express, January 13, 1958, p9-A
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Kentucky Rips Hawaii 51–0," The Lima News, September 14, 1958, p37.
  8. "Damron Directs T Teachers to 29–12 Win Before 6,800," Waterloo Sunday Courier, September 14, 1958, p37
  9. "1958 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  10. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=buffalo58
  11. "Dawkins completes double; named to Heisman award". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. December 3, 1958. p. 2C.
  12. "Pete Dawkins". Heisman Trophy. 1958. Retrieved January 29, 2017.