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1980 NCAA Division I-A football season: Wikis

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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 and 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.

This year's edition of "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" was won on a last minute 92 yard pass from Georgia's own endzone, known by the play by play call "Run, Lindsay, run!".

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.

The Pittsburgh Panthers also had a stellar season, led by offensive tackle Mark May. The team went 11-1 and finished ranked #2, finishing the season with a rout of South Carolina and Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers in the Gator Bowl. 29 players from this team went on the play in the NFL.

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.

Contents

Rules changes for 1980

  • Full arm extension on pass blocking allowed.
  • Illegal use of hands penalty reduced to 5 yards.

Conference standings

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, Conf. = Conference Record

Conference Champion
Atlantic Coast Conference
Team W L T Conf.
North Carolina Tar Heels 11 1 0 6-0
Maryland Terrapins 8 4 0 5-1
North Carolina State Wolfpack 6 5 0 3-3
Clemson Tigers 6 5 0 2-4
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5 6 0 2-4
Virginia Cavaliers 4 7 0 2-4
Duke Blue Devils 2 9 0 1-5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 1 9 1 0-0
Big Ten Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Michigan Wolverines 10 2 0 8-0
Purdue Boilermakers 9 3 0 7-1
Ohio State Buckeyes 9 3 0 7-1
Iowa Hawkeyes 4 4 0 4-7
Minnesota Golden Gophers 5 6 0 4-5
Indiana Hoosiers 6 5 0 3-5
Wisconsin Badgers 4 7 0 3-5
Illinois Fighting Illini 3 7 1 3-5
Michigan State Spartans 3 8 0 2-6
Northwestern Wildcats 0 11 0 0-9
Big Eight Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Oklahoma Sooners 10 2 0 7-0
Nebraska Cornhuskers 10 2 0 6-1
Missouri Tigers 8 4 0 5-2
Kansas Jayhawks 4 5 2 3-3-1
Oklahoma State Cowboys 3 7 1 2-4-1
Iowa State Cyclones 6 5 0 2-5
Kansas State Wildcats 3 8 0 1-6
Colorado Buffaloes 1 10 0 1-6
Mid-American Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Central Michigan Chippewas 9 2 0 7-2
Western Michigan Broncos 7 4 0 6-3
Northern Illinois Huskies 7 3 0 4-3
Miami (OH) Redskins 5 6 0 4-3
Ohio Bobcats 6 5 0 5-4
Ball State Cardinals 6 5 0 4-5
Bowling Green Falcons 4 7 0 4-4
Toledo Rockets 4 7 0 3-6
Kent State Golden Flashes 3 8 0 3-6
Eastern Michigan Hurons 1 9 0 1-7
Pacific-10 Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Washington Huskies 9 3 0 6-1
UCLA Bruins 9 2 0 5-2
USC Trojans 8 2 1 4-2-1
Arizona State Sun Devils 7 4 0 5-3
Oregon Ducks 6 3 2 4-3-1
Stanford Cardinal 6 5 0 3-4
Arizona Wildcats 5 6 0 3-4
Washington State Cougars 4 7 0 3-4
California Golden Bears 3 8 0 3-5
Oregon State Beavers 0 11 0 0-8
Southeastern Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Georgia Bulldogs 12 0 0 6-0
Alabama Crimson Tide1 10 2 0 5-1
Mississippi State Bulldogs 9 3 0 5-1
Florida Gators 8 4 0 4-2
Louisiana State Tigers 7 4 0 4-2
Tennessee Volunteers 5 6 0 3-3
Ole Miss Rebels1 3 8 0 2-4
Kentucky Wildcats 3 8 0 1-5
Auburn Tigers 5 6 0 0-6
Vanderbilt Commodores 2 9 0 0-6
Southwest Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Baylor Bears 10 2 0 8-0
SMU Mustangs 8 4 0 5-3
Houston Cougars 7 5 0 5-3
Texas Longhorns 7 5 0 4-4
Rice Owls 5 6 0 4-4
Arkansas Razorbacks 7 5 0 3-5
Texas Tech Red Raiders 5 6 0 3-5
Texas A&M Aggies 4 7 0 3-5
TCU Horned Frogs 1 10 0 1-7
Western Athletic Conference
Team W L T Conf.
Brigham Young Cougars 12 1 0 6-1
Colorado State Rams 6 4 1 5-1-1
Hawaiʻi Rainbows 8 3 0 4-3
Wyoming Cowboys 6 5 0 4-4
San Diego Aztecs 4 8 0 4-4
Utah Utes 5 5 1 3-3-1
New Mexico Lobos 4 7 0 3-4
Air Force Falcons 2 9 0 1-6
UTEP Miners 1 11 0 1-6


#1 and #2 Progress

WEEKS #1 #2 Event
PRE Ohio State Alabama
1-3 Alabama Ohio State UCLA 17, Ohio State 0 (Oct. 4)
4-5 Alabama USC Oregon 7, USC 7 (Oct 18)
6 Alabama Texas SMU 20, Texas 6 (Oct 25)
7 Alabama UCLA Miss. St 6, Alabama 3 (Nov. 1) Arizona 23, UCLA 17 (Nov. 1)
8 Notre Dame Georgia Ga. Tech 3, Notre Dame 3 (Nov. 8)
9 Georgia USC Washington 20, USC 10 (Nov 15)
10-11 Georgia Notre Dame USC 20, Notre Dame 3 (Dec 6)
12 Georgia Florida State End Regular Season

Bowl games

Final AP Poll

  1. Georgia
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan
  5. Florida State
  6. Alabama
  7. Nebraska
  8. Penn State
  9. Notre Dame
  10. North Carolina
  11. UCLA
  12. Brigham Young
  13. Southern California
  14. Baylor
  15. Ohio St
  16. Washington
  17. Purdue
  18. Miami (FL)
  19. Mississippi State
  20. SMU

Final Coaches Poll

  1. Georgia
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan
  5. Florida St.
  6. Alabama
  7. Nebraska
  8. Penn St.
  9. North Carolina
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Brigham Young
  12. UCLA
  13. Baylor
  14. Southern California
  15. Ohio St.
  16. Purdue
  17. Washington
  18. Miami (FL)
  19. Florida
  20. Southern Methodist

Heisman Trophy voting

  1. George Rogers South Carolina, RB
  2. Hugh Green Pittsburgh, DE
  3. Herschel Walker Georgia, RB
  4. Mark Herrmann Purdue, QB
  5. Jim McMahon Brigham Young, QB

Other major awards

References

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