1954 Big Ten Conference football season
|1954 Big Ten Conference football season|
|Number of teams||10|
|Top draft pick||Alan Ameche|
|Season MVP||Alan Ameche|
|1954 Big Ten football standings|
|No. 1 Ohio State $||7||–||0||–||0||10||–||0||–||0|
|No. 9 Wisconsin||5||–||2||–||0||7||–||2||–||0|
|No. 15 Michigan||5||–||2||–||0||6||–||3||–||0|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1954 Big Ten Conference football season was the 59th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1954 college football season.
The 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, won the conference football championship, compiled a 10–0, was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll, and defeated USC in the 1955 Rose Bowl. Halfback Howard Cassady was selected as the team's most valuable player and was a consensus first-team All-American.
The 1954 Wisconsin Badgers football team, under head coach Ivy Williamson, compiled a 7–2 record and was ranked No. 9 in the final AP Poll. Fullback Alan Ameche won the 1954 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference. Ameche broke Ollie Matson's career rushing record, finishing his tenure at Wisconsin with 3,212 rushing yards.
Purdue quarterback Len Dawson led the conference with 1,464 passing yards.
- 1 Season overview
- 2 Awards and honors
- 3 1955 NFL Draft
- 4 References
Results and team statistics
|Conf. Rank||Team||Head coach||AP final||AP high||Overall record||Conf. record||PPG||PAG||MVP|
|1||Ohio State||Woody Hayes||#1||#1||10–0||7–0||24.9||7.5||Howard Cassady|
|2 (tie)||Wisconsin||Ivy Williamson||#9||#2||7–2||5–2||22.2||10.9||Alan Ameche|
|2 (tie)||Michigan||Bennie Oosterbaan||#15||#11||6–3||5–2||15.4||9.7||Fred Baer|
|4||Minnesota||Murray Warmath||NR||#8||7–2||4–2||21.7||14.1||Bob McNamara|
|5||Iowa||Forest Evashevski||NR||#3||5–4||4–3||21.3||15.7||Warren Lawson|
|6||Purdue||Stu Holcomb||NR||#5||5–3–1||3–3||18.3||14.9||Tom Bettis|
|7||Indiana||Bernie Crimmins||NR||NR||3–6||2–4||12.2||15.9||Florian Helinski|
|8 (tie)||Michigan State||Duffy Daugherty||NR||#6||3–6||1–5||19.7||16.6||John Matsock|
|8 (tie)||Northwestern||Bob Voigts||NR||NR||2-7||1-5||11.2||15.8||Ziggie Niepokoj|
|10||Illinois||Ray Eliot||NR||#5||1–8||0–6||11.4||20.0||Jack Chamblin|
AP final = Team's rank in the final AP Poll of the 1954 season
AP high = Team's highest rank in the AP Poll throughout the 1954 season
PPG = Average of points scored per game; conference leader's average displayed in bold
PAG = Average of points allowed per game; conference leader's average displayed in bold
MVP = Most valuable player as voted by players on each team as part of the voting process to determine the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy; trophy winner in bold
Two Big Ten teams changed head coaches between the 1953 and 1954 seasons:
- In December 1953, Wes Fesler resigned as Minnesota's head coach to accept a position as a partner, vice president and sports director at Minneapolis radio station WDGY. In January 1954, Murray Warmath signed a four-year contract as Minnesota's new head football coach.
- In January 1954, Michigan State's head coach Clarence Munn was elevated to a new position as the school's athletic director. Longtime line coach Duffy Daugherty became the new head football coach.
On September 25, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played two conference games and six non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in five wins and one loss.
- Ohio State 28, Indiana 0.
- Wisconsin 52, Marquette 14.
- Michigan 14, Washington 0.
- Minnesota 19, Nebraska 7.
- Iowa 14, Michigan State 10.
- Purdue 31, Missouri 0.
- Northwestern 27, Iowa State 14.
- Penn State 14, Illinois 12.
On October 2, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played one conference game and eight non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in five wins and three losses, giving the Big Ten a 10–4 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 21, California 13.
- Wisconsin 6, Michigan State 0.
- Army 26, Michigan 7.
- Minnesota 46, Pittsburgh 7.
- Iowa 48, Montana 6.
- Purdue 27, Notre Dame 14.
- Indiana 34, Pacific 6.
- USC 12, Northwestern 7.
- Stanford 12, Illinois 2.
On October 9, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played four conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in two wins, giving the Big Ten a 12–4 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 40, Illinois 7.
- Wisconsin 13, Rice 7.
- Michigan 14, Iowa 13.
- Minnesota 26, Northwestern 7.
- Purdue 13, Duke 13.
- Michigan State 21, Indiana 14.
On October 16, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played four conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in two losses, giving the Big Ten a 12–6 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 20, Iowa 14.
- Wisconsin 20, Purdue 6.
- Michigan 7, Northwestern 0.
- Minnesota 19, Illinois 6.
- Missouri 20, Indiana 14.
- Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 19.
On October 23, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played four conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in one win and one loss, giving the Big Ten a 13–7 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 14.
- Michigan 34, Minnesota 0.
- Iowa 27, Indiana 14.
- Purdue 27, Michigan State 13.
- Pittsburgh 14, Northwestern 7.
- Illinois 34, Syracuse 6.
On October 30, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played against each other in five conference games.
- Ohio State 14, Northwestern 7.
- Iowa 13, Wisconsin 7.
- Indiana 13, Michigan 9.
- Minnesota 19, Michigan State 13.
- Purdue 28, Illinois 14.
On November 6, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played three conference games and four non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in three wins and one loss, giving the Big Ten a 16–8 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 26, Pittsburgh 0.
- Wisconsin 34, Northwestern 13.
- Michigan 14, Illinois 7.
- Minnesota 44, Oregon State 6.
- Iowa 25, Purdue 14.
- Miami (OH) 6, Indiana 0.
- Michigan State 54, Washington State 6.
On November 13, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played against each other in five conference games.
- Ohio State 28, Purdue 6.
- Wisconsin 27, Illinois 14.
- Michigan 33, Michigan State 7.
- Minnesota 22, Iowa 20.
- Indiana 14, Northwestern 13.
On November 20, 1954, the Big Ten football teams played four conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in one win and one loss, giving the Big Ten a 17–9 record in non-conference games played to that date.
- Ohio State 21, Michigan 7.
- Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 0.
- Notre Dame 34, Iowa 18.
- Purdue 13, Indiana 7.
- Michigan State 40, Marquette 10.
- Northwestern 20, Illinois 7.
On January 1, 1955, Ohio State (ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll) defeated USC (ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll) by a 20–7 score before a crowd of 89,191 in Pasadena, California. UCLA (ranked No. 2) was not permitted to play in the Rose Bowl due to the Pacific Coast Conference's no-repeat rule. Ohio State quarterback Dave Leggett was selected as the game's most valuable player.
On February 3, 1955, Bob Voigts resigned as Northwestern's head football coach. Voigts had come under fire from alumni after Northwestern won only one conference game in two seasons. Less than a week later, Lou Saban was announced as Voigts' replacement. Saban had been an assistant coach at Northwestern in 1954. He had played for Indiana in 1941 and 1942 and for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1949.
Awards and honors
All-Big Ten honors
|End||Dean Dugger||Ohio State||AP, Ed|
|End||Ron Kramer||Michigan||AP, Ed|
|Tackle||Art Walker||Michigan||AP, Ed|
|Tackle||Dick Hilinski||Ohio State||AP|
|Tackle||Randy Schrecengost||Michigan State||Ed|
|Guard||Cal Jones||Iowa||AP, Ed|
|Guard||Tom Bettis||Purdue||AP, Ed|
|Center||Gary Messner||Wisconsin||AP, Ed|
|Quarterback||Len Dawson||Purdue||AP, Ed|
|Halfback||Howard Cassady||Ohio State||AP, Ed|
|Halfback||Bobby Watkins||Ohio State||Ed|
|Fullback||Alan Ameche||Wisconsin||AP, Ed|
|Fullback||Alan Ameche||Wisconsin||AAB, AFCA, AP, FWAA, INS, NEA, TSN, UP, CP, WCFF|
|Halfback||Howard Cassady||Ohio State||AAB, AFCA, AP, FWAA, INS, NEA, TSN, UP, CP, WCFF|
|Guard||Cal Jones||Iowa||AAB, FWAA, NEA, TSN, UP, CP, WCFF|
Other Big Ten players who were named first-team All-Americans by at least one selector were:
|End||Dean Dugger||Ohio State||FWAA|
|Tackle||Art Walker||Michigan||AAB, FWAA|
|Guard||Tom Bettis||Purdue||FWAA, INS, CP|
1955 NFL Draft
|Back||Bobby Watkins||Ohio State||2||23|
|End||Dean Dugger||Ohio State||4||46|
|Guard||Hank Bullough||Michigan State||5||53|
|Back||Leroy Bolden||Michigan State||6||73|
|Back||Dave Leggett||Ohio State||7||74|
|Back||Bert Zagers||Michigan State||7||84|
- "Ameche Anxious To Play in Pro Ranks". Green Bay Press-Gazette. December 1, 1954.
- "1954 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Wilfrid Smith (December 12, 1954). "Ameche Voted Big 10's Most Valuable: Badger Star Tops Cassady and M'Namara". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
- "Fesler Resigns as Minn. Coach". The Bakersfield Californian. December 14, 1953. p. 38.
- "Warmath New Minn. Coach". Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. January 30, 1954. p. 7.
- "Munn, Daugherty Elevated at MSC". The Ludington Daily News. January 16, 1954. p. 1.
- David Condon (February 4, 1955). "A Wildcat's Career, from Star Athlete to Coach, Comes to an End: Coaching Out, Says Graham As Voigts Quit Under Fire". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
- Wilfrid Smith (February 9, 1955). "Lou Saban Named N.U. Football Coach: Aid Succeeds Bob Voigs On One-Year Pact". Chicago Tribune. p. 3-1.
- "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. pp. 5–6. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "1954 Heisman Trophy Voting". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "1955 NFL Draft: Full Draft". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 4, 2017.