|1998 NCAA Division I-A season|
|Preseason AP No. 1||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|Duration||December 19, 1998 - |
January 4, 1999
|Ricky Williams, Texas|
|Bowl Championship Series|
|1999 Fiesta Bowl|
|Site||Sun Devil Stadium, |
|Division I-A football seasons|
The 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first of the Bowl Championship Series, which saw Tennessee win the national championship, one year after star quarterback Peyton Manning left for the NFL. The Volunteers defeated the Florida State Seminoles 23-16 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona to secure the inaugural BCS National Championship.
The BCS combined elements of the old Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance it replaced. The agreement existed between the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange Bowls, the Cotton Bowl Classic diminishing in status since the breakup of the Southwest Conference. Like the Bowl Alliance, a national championship game would rotate between the four bowls, with the top two teams facing each other. These teams were chosen based upon a BCS poll, combining the AP poll, the Coaches poll, and a third computer component. The computer factored in things such as strength of schedule, margin of victory, and quality wins without taking into account time (in other words a loss in October and a loss in November were on equal footing).
However, like the Bowl Coalition, the bowls not hosting the national championship would retain their traditional tie-ins.
The first run of the Bowl Championship Series was not without controversy as Kansas State finished third in the final BCS standings but was not invited to a BCS bowl game. Ohio State (ranked 4th) and two-loss Florida (8th) received the at-large bids instead. Also, Tulane went undefeated but finished 10th in the BCS standings and was not invited to a BCS bowl because of their strength of schedule.
The following rule changes were adopted by the NCAA Rules Committee during their 1998 meeting: 
With no teams upgrading from Division I-AA, the number of Division I-A schools was fixed at 112.
|Fiesta Bowl||#1 Tennessee||23||#2 Florida State||16||Tempe, AZ|
|Sugar Bowl||#4 Ohio State||24||#8 Texas A&M||14||New Orleans, LA|
|Orange Bowl||#7 Florida||31||#18 Syracuse||10||Miami, FL|
|Rose Bowl||#9 Wisconsin||38||#6 UCLA||31||Pasadena, CA|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||#20 Texas||38||#25 Mississippi State||11||Dallas, TX|
|Peach Bowl||#19 Georgia||35||#13 Virginia||33||Atlanta, GA|
|Florida Citrus Bowl||#15 Michigan||45||#11 Arkansas||31||Orlando, FL|
|Outback Bowl||#22 Penn State||26||Kentucky||15||Tampa, FL|
|Gator Bowl||#12 Georgia Tech||35||#17 Notre Dame||28||Jacksonville, FL|
|MicronPC Bowl||#24 Miami (FL)||46||NC State||23||Miami, FL|
|Sun Bowl||TCU||28||USC||19||El Paso, TX|
|Alamo Bowl||Purdue||37||#3 Kansas State||34||San Antonio, TX|
|Insight.com Bowl||#23 Missouri||34||West Virginia||31||Tempe, AZ|
|Holiday Bowl||#5 Arizona||23||#14 Nebraska||20||San Diego, CA|
|Liberty Bowl||#10 Tulane||41||BYU||27||Memphis, TN|
|Aloha Bowl||Colorado||51||#21 Oregon||43||Honolulu, HI|
|Oahu Bowl||#16 Air Force||45||Washington||25||Honolulu, HI|
|Independence Bowl||Mississippi||35||Texas Tech||18||Shreveport, LA|
|Music City Bowl||Virginia Tech||38||Alabama||7||Nashville, TN|
|Las Vegas Bowl||North Carolina||20||San Diego State||13||Las Vegas, NV|
|Motor City Bowl||Marshall||48||Louisville||29||Detroit, MI|
|Humanitarian Bowl||Idaho||42||Southern Mississippi||35||Boise, ID|
Rankings are from the AP Poll.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the