1957 college football season

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The 1957 college football season saw two different national champions. Auburn University was ranked first in the AP writers' poll taken at season's end, while Ohio State University was first in the UPI coaches' poll.[3] Auburn was ineligible for a bowl game, however, having been placed on probation indefinitely by the Southeastern Conference, after having paid two high school players US$500 apiece.[4] 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 "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 1957 consisted of the votes of as many as 360 sportswriters. The UPI poll was taken of a panel of 35 coaches. In both cases, the voters would give their opinion of the ten best teams, and under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. 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 Classic (Dallas).



In the preseason poll released on September 16, 1957, the defending champion Sooners of Oklahoma University -- who had won 40 consecutive games in '53, '54, '55, and '56-- were the first place choice for 127 of 174 writers casting votes, followed by Texas A&M, Michigan State, Minnesota and Tennessee.[5] As the regular season progressed, a new poll would be issued on the Monday following the weekend's games.

On Friday, September 20, the United States Air Force Academy, founded two years earlier, fielded its first college football team. The Falcons made their debut at UCLA and lost, 47-0. They would finish their first season 3-6-1. On September 21, #1 Oklahoma won at Pittsburgh 26-0. #2 Texas A&M beat Maryland 21-13 in a game at Dallas. #3 Michigan State, #4 Minnesota, and #5 Tennessee had not yet begun their seasons. #11 Georgia Tech, which beat Kentucky 13-0 rose to third, while #12 Navy, which had won at Boston College 46-6, rose to fifth. The first AP poll was 1.Oklahoma, 2.Texas A & M, 3.Georgia Tech, 4.Michigan State, and 5.Navy.

September 28 - #1 Oklahoma was idle. #2 Texas A&M won at Texas Tech 21-0 and #3 Georgia Tech played to a 0-0 tie with SMU. #4 Michigan State beat Indiana 54-0. #5 Navy beat visiting William & Mary 33-6. #6 Minnesota, which beat Washington, 46-7, and #7 Duke, which had beaten Virginia 40-0, rose to 3rd and 4th place. The poll was 1.Oklahoma, 2.Michigan State, 3.Minnesota, 4.Duke, and 5.Texas A & M.


October 5 - #1 Oklahoma beat Iowa State 40-14. #2 Michigan State won at California 19-0. #3 Minnesota, beat visiting Purdue, 21-17. #4 Duke beat Maryland 14-0. #5 Texas A&M won at Missouri 28-0. The poll was 1.Oklahoma, 2.Michigan State, 3.Texas A & M, 4.Minnesota, and 5.Duke.

October 12 - A crowd of 75,504 watched in Dallas as #1 Oklahoma had a difficult time with unranked Texas; the Longhorns picked off four of Walter Fondren's passes and the score was 7-7 at the half before the Sooners preserved their winning streak 21-7 in a game that wasn't pretty.[6] At the same time, #2 Michigan State won handily at Michigan 35-6, leading the AP voters to re-evaluate. #3 Texas A&M won at home in College Station, TX, beating Houston 28-6. #4 Minnesota won at Northwestern 41-6. #5 Duke narrowly beat Rice in Houston, 7-6. The Spartans took over the #1 spot in the next poll: 1.Michigan State, 2.Oklahoma, 3.Texas A & M, 4.Minnesota, and 5.Duke.

On October 19 #1 Michigan State lost to Purdue 20-13 and fell out of the top five. #2 Oklahoma, which beat Kansas 47-0, reclaimed the top spot. #3 Texas A&M won at TCU 7-0. #4 Minnesota lost at Illinois 34-14. #5 Duke beat Wake Forest, 34-7. #9 Auburn, which beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta 3-0, rose to 5th place in the polls. The poll: 1.Oklahoma, 2.Texas A & M, 3.Iowa, 4.Duke, and 5.Auburn.

October 26 - #1 Oklahoma edged Colorado 14-13, and lost the top spot again, despite being 5-0-0. #2 Texas A&M beat Baylor 14-0, and replaced the Sooners in the next poll. #3 Iowa, which won at Northwestern 6-0, rose to 3rd. #4 Duke went to neighboring Raleigh to play North Carolina State, and ended with a 14-14 tie. #5 Auburn won at Houston 48-7. #7 Notre Dame, which beat Pittsburgh 13-7, rose to fifth. The poll: 1.Texas A & M, 2.Oklahoma, 3.Iowa, 4.Auburn, and 5.Notre Dame.


November 2 - #1 Texas A&M got past host Arkansas, 7-6. #2 Oklahoma won at Kansas State 13-0. #3 Iowa played Michigan to a 21-21 tie. #4 Auburn beat Florida 13-0. #5 Notre Dame lost to visiting Navy, 20-6. #6 Michigan State, which won at Wisconsin 21-7, rose to fifth. The poll: 1.Texas A & M, 2.Oklahoma, 3.Auburn, 4.Michigan State, and 5.Iowa.

November 9 - #1 Texas A&M beat SMU 19-6. #2 Oklahoma won at Missouri 39-14. #3 Auburn beat Mississippi State 15-7 in Birmingham. #4 Michigan State beat Notre Dame 34-6. #5 Iowa beat Minnesota 44-20. The poll remained unchanged.

November 16 - #1 Texas A&M lost to Rice in Houston, 7-6. The #2 Oklahoma Sooners had not lost a game since September 26, 1953, had won 47 consecutive games, and had a record of 7-0-0 when they hosted Notre Dame. The Irish, 4-2-0 and on a losing streak, were an 18-point underdog coming into Norman. The Sooners, who had scored in 123 consecutive games (dating back to 1945), were unable to reach the end zone, but had held off the Irish on two goal line stands. In the final minutes, Notre Dame was on the 3-yard line on fourth down, when Dick Lynch "crossed up the Sooners" and ran around right end for a touchdown. Oklahoma's desperate passing drive at game's end was stopped by a Notre Dame interception, and the crowd of 62,000 was stunned into silence... and then stood up and applauded for both the Sooners and the Irish. The previous defeat, more than four years earlier, had been at the hands of Notre Dame as well.[7] Final score: Notre Dame 7, Oklahoma 0. #3 Auburn beat Georgia 6-0 at Columbus, Georgia while #4 Michigan State beat Minnesota 42-13. #5 Iowa lost in Columbus to #6 Ohio State, 17-13. The 7-1-0 Buckeyes rose to third, while the 6-1-1 Hawkeyes fell to 8th. #8 Mississippi, which beat Tennessee 14-7 in Memphis, rose to 5th. The poll: 1.Michigan State, 2.Auburn, 3.Ohio State, 4.Texas A&M, and 5.Mississippi.

November 23 - #1 Michigan State closed its season with a 27-0 win over (3-5-1) Kansas State, but fell to 3rd. #2 Auburn, on probation, won at Florida State 29-7. As the only unbeaten (9-0-0) school among the majors, Auburn was voted #1 in the AP poll. #3 Ohio State, which wrapped up its season with a win at Michigan 31-14, was #1 in the UPI poll. #4 Texas A&M lost to Texas 7-9. #5 Mississippi was idle. #6 Oklahoma, who won at Nebraska 53-6, returned to the Top Five. The poll: 1.Auburn, 2.Ohio State, 3.Michigan State, 4.Texas A&M, and 5.Oklahoma.

Thanksgiving Day saw Bear Bryant's #4 Texas A&M team lose to the Texas Longhorns, 9-7. On November 30, #1 Auburn beat Alabama 40-0 at their annual meeting in Birmingham to close its season 10-0-0. Alabama finished its season at 2-7-1. Bryant, who had transformed the Aggies from a 1-9-0 team (1953) to a contender, would accept a job as head coach at the University of Alabama at season's end. #2 Ohio State and #3 Michigan State were both 8-1-0 in the regular season, but Ohio State was 7-0-0 in Big Ten play, compared to the 5-1-0 Spartans, and got the Rose Bowl bid. #5 Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 53-6. #8 Navy, which won the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, 14-0, finished with an 8-1-1 record, a bid to meet Rice in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and a fifth place finish in the final poll. The services were split as to the national champion. The AP Trophy went to the Auburn Tigers, the choice of a majority of writers for #1, and the only major college program to finish unbeaten (Arizona State, then a lesser power, also finished 10-0-0). Auburn, however, was on probation and was ineligible for a bowl. The UPI coaches poll awarded #1 to the Rose Bowl bound, 8-1-0, Ohio State Buckeyes. Both Auburn and Ohio State are recognized in the NCAA Football Guidebook as unofficial national champions for 1957. The final AP poll was: 1.Auburn, 2.Ohio State, 3.Michigan State, 4.Oklahoma, and 5.Navy, while the UPI poll was 1.Ohio State, 2.Auburn, 3.Michigan State, 4.Oklahoma, and 5.Iowa.

Conference standings

The following is an incomplete list of conference standings:

1957 Big 7 football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
#4 Oklahoma600  1010
Kansas420  541
Colorado330  631
Missouri330  541
Iowa State240  451
Kansas State240  361
Nebraska150  190
Rankings from AP Poll
1957 Big Ten football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
#2/1 Ohio State 700  910
#3/3 Michigan State510  810
#6/5 Iowa411  711
#19/15 Wisconsin430  630
Purdue430  540
Michigan331  531
Illinois340  450
Minnesota350  450
Indiana060  180
Northwestern070  090
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1957 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Houston300  541
North Texas State100  550
Tulsa220  460
Cincinnati120  541
Wichita State030  190
Rankings from AP Poll
1957 PCC football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Oregon State §620  820
Oregon §620  740
UCLA520  820
Washington State530  640
Stanford430  640
Washington340  361
California160  190
USC160  190
Idaho030  441
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1957 SEC football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
#1 Auburn 700  1000
#7 Ole Miss501  911
#14 Mississippi State421  621
#17 Florida421  621
#13 Tennessee430  830
Vanderbilt331  532
LSU440  550
Georgia Tech341  442
Georgia340  370
Tulane150  280
Alabama161  271
Kentucky170  370
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Bowl games

BowlHome teamScoreAway teamScore
Sugar Bowl#7 Mississippi Rebels39#11 Texas Longhorns7
Rose Bowl#2 Ohio State Buckeyes10Oregon Ducks7
Orange Bowl#4 Oklahoma Sooners48#16 Duke Blue Devils21
Cotton Bowl Classic#5 Navy Midshipmen20#8 Rice Owls7

Final results

Sixteen college football teams finished the 1957 season with unbeaten and untied records. The Arizona State Sun Devils, with a 10-0-0 record, had the greatest point differential among the four teams with 10 wins. The Sun Devils scored 396 points while allowing only 66. Second was Pittsburg of Kansas (320/53) which was an NAIA team, followed by Middle Tennessee State (241/40) and Auburn (207/28). The remaining undefeated teams had fewer than 10 wins. Three undefeated teams each had nine, eight, seven, and six wins.[8]

Final AP Poll

2Ohio State
3Michigan State
9Texas A&M
10Notre Dame
12Arizona State
14Mississippi St.
15NC State

Final Coaches Poll

1Ohio State
3Michigan State
9Notre Dame
10Texas A&M
12Arizona State
20NC State

Other champions

In 1958, the NAIA ranked its member teams in a poll, and also held a championship game. In St. Petersburg, Florida, the first annual "Holiday Bowl" (unrelated to the San Diego NCAA Division I bowl) was played to match the finalists in the NAIA playoffs. The Pittsburg State Teachers' College Gorillas edged the Hillsdale College Chargers, 27-26, in the second annual title game. The NAIA rankings had Middle Tennessee (10-0-0) first and East Texas State (8-1-0) second at season's end.[9]

See also


  1. ^ http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1957.htm
  2. ^ http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=199
  3. ^ "Auburn or Ohio State-Which Is Grid Champ?", Montana Standard (Butte, MT), December 3, 1957, p11
  4. ^ "Auburn Barred From Bowl Games, Placed on Probation by S.E.C.," Charleston Gazette, February 14, 1956, p13
  5. ^ http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/
  6. ^ "Sooners Pressed in 21-7 Triumph," Oakland Tribune, October 13, 1957, p61
  7. ^ "Irish Down Sooners In Stunning 7-0 Upset," Ada (Okla.) Evening News, November 17, 1957, p9
  8. ^ "16 Collegiate Elevens Enjoy Perfect Seasons", The New York Times. December 2, 1957. Page 44. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "East Texas State in Tangerine Race," The Kerrville (Tex.) Times, November 27, 1957, p8