1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football
AP Poll national champion
SEC champion
Sugar Bowl champion
Sugar Bowl, W 14–7 vs. Penn State
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
CoachesNo. 2
APNo. 1
1978 record11–1 (6–0 SEC)
Head coachBear Bryant (21st season)
CaptainMarty Lyons
CaptainJeff Rutledge
CaptainTony Nathan
Home stadiumBryant–Denny Stadium
Legion Field
← 1977
1979 →
1978 SEC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Alabama 6 0 0     11 1 0
#16 Georgia 5 0 1     9 2 1
Auburn 3 2 1     6 4 1
LSU 3 3 0     8 4 0
Tennessee 3 3 0     5 5 1
Florida 3 3 0     4 7 0
Mississippi State 2 4 0     6 5 0
Ole Miss 2 4 0     5 6 0
Kentucky 2 4 0     4 6 1
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 84th overall and 45th season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was led by head coach Bear Bryant, in his 21st year, and played their home games at Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. They finished season with eleven wins and one loss (11–1 overall, 6–0 in the SEC), as SEC champions and as national champions after a victory over Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama's costumed "Big Al" mascot officially debuted this season, appearing at the Sugar Bowl.


September 2No. 10 Nebraska*No. 1ABCW 20–377,023
September 16at No. 11 Missouri*No. 1W 38–2073,655
September 23No. 7 USC*No. 1ABCL 14–2477,313
September 30VanderbiltNo. 7W 51–2856,910
October 7at Washington*No. 8W 20–1760,975
October 14FloridaNo. 7W 23–1260,210
October 21at TennesseeNo. 4W 30–1785,436
October 28Virginia Tech*daggerNo. 3W 35–060,210
November 4Mississippi StateNo. 3W 35–1474,217
November 11No. 10 LSUNo. 3ABCW 31–1076,831
December 2vs. AuburnNo. 2W 34–1679,218
January 1, 1979vs. No. 1 Penn State*No. 2ABCW 14–776,824
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll
  • Source: 1978 Alabama football schedule[1]

Before the SeasonEdit

Alabama ended the 1977 season with the disappointment of a #2 finish, an 11-point voting margin behind national champion Notre Dame.

On April 13, 1978, Paul Bryant was one of several coaches quoted in an AP interview that focused on efforts to rid college football of cheating. Bryant advocated a rule requiring coaches notify the NCAA of suspected infractions immediately and getting it over with rather than complaining after losing a game.

On April 20, nearly a dozen players with injuries were held out of the annual A-Day game that ended in a colorless 7-7 tie. The biggest concern was a knee injury to second-string QB Steadman Shealy. Bryant, in the post A-Day game press conference, declared his 1978 team would have "a questionable offense, an average kicking game, and a good defense" in the post-A-Day game press conference.

Sugar BowlEdit

The 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State would go down as a classic.[2] Alabama scored in the second quarter, then Penn State answered in the third, then Alabama took a 14–7 lead on a touchdown set up by a 62-yard punt return. Penn State had a chance to tie in the fourth, but quarterback Chuck Fusina threw an interception into the Alabama end zone.[3] Then Alabama had a chance to put the game away, but fumbled the football back to Penn State at the Nittany Lion 19-yard-line with four minutes to go.[2] Penn State drove to a first and goal at the Alabama eight. On third and goal from the one, Fusina asked Bama defensive lineman Marty Lyons "What do you think we should do?", and Lyons answered "You'd better pass."[4] On third down, Penn State was stopped inches short of the goal line. On fourth down, Penn State was stopped again, Barry Krauss meeting Mike Guman and throwing him back for no gain. Alabama held on for a 14–7 victory. The Crimson Tide split the national championship, winning the AP poll while Southern California won the UPI Coaches' poll. It was Alabama's fifth wire service national championship.


1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
T 78 Aydelette, BuddyBuddy Aydelette Jr
QB 11 Rutledge, JeffJeff Rutledge Sr
C 57 Stephenson, DwightDwight Stephenson Jr
TE 88 Travis, TimTim Travis Jr
FB 45 Whitman, SteveSteve Whitman Jr
Pos. # Name Class
DE 39 Junior, E. J.E. J. Junior So
DT 96 McGriff, CurtisCurtis McGriff Jr
DB 28 McNeal, DonDon McNeal Jr
LB 50 Scott, RandyRandy Scott So
LB 36 Wingo, RichRich Wingo Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured
  • Redshirt.svg Redshirt





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