The 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season saw Georgia take its first national title since World War II.
The Georgia Bulldogs starred freshman running back Herschel Walker, who made his NCAA debut against Tennessee. Down 15-2 at halftime, Georgia sent in Walker, the third string running back at the time, to try to light a spark. Walker ran over All-American safety Bill Bates, in a play that would set the tempo for the rest of his career.
The Bulldogs ran through the rest of the season unscathed, beating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Walker rushed for 150 yards against Notre Dame, a defense which had not given up a hundred yard game that whole season. He did this with a dislocated shoulder.
Florida State defeated #3 ranked Nebraska on the Cornhuskers' home turf, and the following week defeated the #2 ranked Pitt Panthers
It was an unusual year for the Pac-10 as 5 of its 10 members were placed on probation by the conference (but not the NCAA) including traditional powers USC and UCLA, along with both Oregon schools and Arizona State. So half the conference was ineligible for bowl games and it was feared that the 4th or 5th place finisher would end up in the Rose Bowl. Ironically, USC and UCLA both got as high as #2 in the polls before being upset. As it turned out, the probation didn't matter as Washington won the conference outright with a 6-1 record.
This year's edition of the Holiday Bowl was a classic as the BYU staged a fourth quarter comeback, led by future NFL star Jim McMahon. Down 45-25 to SMU with less than four minutes left, McMahon threw three touchdown passes, including a Hail Mary as time expired, caught in the endzone by Clay Brown, despite being surrounded by three SMU defenders.