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The 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first season of Division I-A football; Division I-A was created in 1978 from the splitting of Division I for football only. The season came down to a rare #1 vs. #2 post-season meeting as #1 Penn State and #2 Alabama met in the New Year's Day Sugar Bowl. The game is most remembered for Alabama's goal line stand with four minutes left in the game. On fourth down and a foot, Alabama managed to keep Penn State out of the end zone and went on to win 14-7. Keith Jackson, who did the play by play for ABC, called it the greatest game he'd ever seen. 76,824 people packed the Louisiana Superdome, which was tremendously loud.

Alabama's only loss that year was 24-14 in Birmingham to Southern California. Both schools claim this year as a national title year. Alabama claimed the national title because it defeated top-ranked Penn State on the field. USC claimed the title because it defeated Alabama in the regular season and also finished with only one loss. The AP Poll and most other voting outlets crowned Alabama as national champion, while the UPI coaches' poll selected USC. This was the first year of the Pacific-10 Conference, as the Pac 8 added Arizona schools the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

Rules changes for 1978Edit

  • Unsuccessful field goals are returned to the previous line of scrimmage. Previously they were placed at the 20-yard line.
  • Balls may not be altered and new or nearly new balls are to be used.

Conference standingsEdit

1978 ACC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#6 Clemson 6 0 0     11 1 0
#20 Maryland 5 1 0     9 3 0
#18 NC State 4 2 0     9 3 0
North Carolina 3 3 0     5 6 0
Duke 2 4 0     4 7 0
Wake Forest 1 5 0     1 10 0
Virginia 0 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Big 8 football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Oklahoma § 6 1 0     11 1 0
#8 Nebraska § 6 1 0     9 3 0
Iowa State 4 3 0     8 4 0
#15 Missouri 4 3 0     8 4 0
Kansas State 3 4 0     4 7 0
Oklahoma State 3 4 0     3 8 0
Colorado 2 5 0     6 5 0
Kansas 0 7 0     1 10 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Big Ten football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#5/5 Michigan § 7 1 0     10 2 0
#12/NR Michigan State § 7 1 0     8 3 0
#13/13 Purdue 6 1 1     9 2 1
Ohio State 6 2 0     7 4 1
Minnesota 4 4 0     5 6 0
Wisconsin 3 4 2     5 4 2
Indiana 3 5 0     4 7 0
Iowa 2 6 0     2 9 0
Illinois 0 6 2     1 8 2
Northwestern 0 8 1     0 10 1
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1978 Ivy League football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Dartmouth 6 1 0     6 3 0
Brown 5 2 0     6 3 0
Yale 4 1 2     5 2 2
Cornell 3 3 1     5 3 1
Harvard 2 4 1     4 4 1
Columbia 2 4 1     3 5 1
Princeton 1 4 2     2 5 2
Pennsylvania 1 5 1     2 6 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Mid-American Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Ball State 8 0 0     10 1 0
Central Michigan 8 1 0     9 2 0
Miami 5 2 0     8 2 1
Western Michigan 5 4 0     7 4 0
Bowling Green 3 5 0     4 7 0
Ohio 3 5 0     3 8 0
Northern Illinois 2 4 0     5 6 0
Kent State 2 6 0     4 7 0
Toledo 2 7 0     2 9 0
[[{{{school}}}|Eastern Michigan]] 1 5 0     3 7 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
New Mexico State 5 1 0     6 5 0
Tulsa 4 1 0     9 2 0
Southern Illinois 3 2 0     7 4 0
Drake 3 3 0     4 7 0
Indiana State 2 3 0     3 8 0
Wichita State 2 4 0     4 7 0
West Texas State 1 5 0     3 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Pacific-10 football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 USC 6 1 0     12 1 0
#14 UCLA 6 2 0     8 3 1
Washington 6 2 0     7 4 0
Arizona State 4 3 0     9 3 0
#17 Stanford 4 3 0     8 4 0
California 3 4 0     6 5 0
Arizona 3 4 0     5 6 0
Oregon 2 5 0     2 9 0
Oregon State 2 6 0     3 7 1
Washington State 1 7 0     3 7 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
San Jose State § 4 1 0     7 5 0
Utah State § 3 1 0     7 4 0
Pacific 3 2 0     4 8 0
Cal State Fullerton 2 2 0     5 7 0
Long Beach State 1 4 0     5 6 0
Fresno State 1 4 0     3 8 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
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
1978 Southern Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Furman § 4 1 0     8 3 0
Chattanooga § 3 1 0     7 3 1
Appalachian State 4 2 0     7 4 0
Western Carolina 4 2 0     6 5 0
The Citadel 2 3 0     5 6 0
VMI 0 3 0     3 8 0
Marshall 0 5 0     1 10 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Southland Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Louisiana Tech 4 1 0     6 5 0
Arkansas State 4 1 0     7 4 0
Texas–Arlington 3 2 0     5 6 0
McNeese State 2 3 0     7 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|Southwestern Louisiana]] 2 3 0     3 8 0
[[{{{school}}}|Lamar]] 0 5 0     2 8 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Division I-A independents football records
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 4 Penn State           11 1 0
[[{{{school}}}|North Texas State]]           9 2 0
East Carolina           9 3 0
Navy           9 3 0
No. 7 Notre Dame           9 3 0
Rutgers           9 3 0
Florida State           8 3 0
[[{{{school}}}|Temple]]           7 3 1
Pittsburgh           8 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|Holy Cross]]           7 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|Louisville]]           7 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|UNLV]]           7 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|Southern Miss]]           7 4 0
[[{{{school}}}|Northeast Louisiana]]           6 4 1
Georgia Tech           7 5 0
[[{{{school}}}|Hawaii]]           6 5 0
Miami           6 5 0
South Carolina           5 5 1
William & Mary           5 5 1
[[{{{school}}}|Cincinnati]]           5 6 0
Villanova           5 6 0
Army           4 6 1
[[{{{school}}}|Memphis State]]           4 7 0
Tulane           4 7 0
Virginia Tech           4 7 0
Air Force           3 8 0
[[{{{school}}}|Colgate]]           3 8 0
[[{{{school}}}|Richmond]]           3 8 0
Syracuse           3 8 0
[[{{{school}}}|Illinois State]]           2 9 0
West Virginia           2 9 0
Boston College           0 11 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 Southwest Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10 [[{{{school}}}|Houston]] 7 1 0     9 3 0
#11 Arkansas 6 2 0     9 2 1
#9 Texas 6 2 0     9 3 0
Texas Tech 5 3 0     7 4 0
#19 [[{{{school}}}|Texas A&M]] 4 4 0     8 4 0
SMU 3 5 0     4 6 1
Baylor 3 5 0     3 8 0
[[{{{school}}}|Rice]] 2 6 0     2 9 0
[[{{{school}}}|TCU]] 0 8 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1978 WAC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
BYU 5 1 0     9 4 0
Utah 4 2 0     8 3 0
[[{{{school}}}|Wyoming]] 4 2 0     5 7 0
[[{{{school}}}|New Mexico]] 3 3 0     7 5 0
[[{{{school}}}|Colorado State]] 2 4 0     5 6 0
San Diego State 2 4 0     4 7 0
[[{{{school}}}|UTEP]] 1 5 0     1 11 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

#1 and #2 ProgressEdit

WEEKS #1 #2 Event
PRE-3 Alabama Arkansas USC 24, Alabama 14 (Sept 23)
4 Oklahoma Arkansas USC 30, Michigan St 9 (Sept 29)
5-6 Oklahoma USC Arizona St. 20, USC 7 (Oct 14)
7-10 Oklahoma Penn State Nebraska 17, Oklahoma 14 (Nov 11)
11 Penn State Nebraska Missouri 35, Nebraska 31 (Nov 18)
12-14 Penn State Alabama Alabama 14, Penn State 7 (Jan 1)

BowlsEdit

Bowl bidsEdit

Top ranked Penn State, as an independent, was not tied to any bowl game so the Nittany Lions accepted the Sugar Bowl invitation where they would meet SEC Champion Alabama, who was ranked 2nd in the AP and 3rd in the UPI. Pac-10 champion USC (ranked 3rd in the AP and 2nd in the UPI) faced #5 Michigan in the Rose Bowl in a battle of one loss teams. Nebraska had upset Oklahoma to earn the Big 8 title and automatic Orange Bowl berth; the Orange Bowl pulled a surprise by inviting the Sooners to play Nebraska in a rematch. Most observers felt Clemson would be invited and Oklahoma would play Houston in the Cotton Bowl Classic. The Cotton Bowl Classic bid went to Notre Dame and Clemson had to settle for the Gator Bowl despite a better record and higher ranking than Notre Dame.

Bowl resultsEdit

In unusually cold and icy Dallas, Notre Dame overcame a 34-13 deficit to beat Houston 35-34. In New Orleans, Alabama used a 4th quarter goal line stand to upset Penn State 14-7. In Pasadena, USC defeated Michigan 17-10, aided by an official's ruling on a touchdown by Charles White when TV replays clearly showed that he fumbled on the two yard line. In the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma won its rematch with Nebraska 31-24. One other Bowl of note saw Clemson beat Ohio State 17-15 in the Gator Bowl; the next day, legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes was fired for punching Clemson defensive back Charlie Bauman in the throat after his game saving interception.

NEW YEARS DAY BOWLS
Cotton Bowl Classic #10 Notre Dame 35 #9 Houston 34
Sugar Bowl #2 Alabama 14 #1 Penn State 7
Rose Bowl #3 USC 17 #5 Michigan 10
Orange Bowl #4 Oklahoma 31 #6 Nebraska 24
OTHER BOWLS
Gator Bowl #7 Clemson 17 #20 Ohio State 15
Fiesta Bowl #8 Arkansas 10 #15 UCLA 10
Bluebonnet Bowl Stanford 25 #11 Georgia 22
Peach Bowl #17 Purdue 41 Georgia Tech 21
Sun Bowl #14 Texas 42 #13 Maryland 0
Tangerine Bowl North Carolina St. 30 #16 Pittsburgh 17
Liberty Bowl #18 Missouri 20 LSU 15
Holiday Bowl Navy 23 Brigham Young 16
Hall of Fame Classic Texas A&M 28 #19 Iowa State 12
Independence Bowl East Carolina 35 Louisiana Tech 13
Garden State Bowl Arizona State 34 Rutgers 18

National championEdit

In the AP poll, Alabama (11-1-0), on the strength of their Sugar Bowl win over Penn State, was voted #1. In the UPI poll, USC (12-1-0) was voted #1, based in a large part on their easy early season 24-14 win at Alabama over the Crimson Tide.

Final AP and UPI rankingsEdit

Rank AP UPI
1. Alabama USC
2. USC Alabama
3. Oklahoma Oklahoma
4. Penn State Penn State
5. Michigan Michigan
6. Clemson Notre Dame
7. Notre Dame Clemson
8. Nebraska Nebraska
9. Texas Texas
10. Houston Arkansas
11. Arkansas Houston
12. Michigan State UCLA
13. Purdue Purdue
14. UCLA Missouri
15. Missouri Georgia
16. Georgia Stanford
17. Stanford Navy
18. N.C. State Texas A&M
19. Texas A&M Arizona State
20. Maryland N.C. State


Heisman Trophy votingEdit

  1. Billy Sims, Oklahoma HB
  2. Chuck Fusina, Penn State QB
  3. Rick Leach, Michigan QB
  4. Charles White, Southern California TB
  5. Charles Alexander, LSU TB

Other major awardsEdit

ReferencesEdit


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with American Football Database, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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