1977 NCAA Division I football season

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The 1977 NCAA Division I football season was one in which the top five teams finished with 11–1 records. Notre Dame, which beat top-ranked and undefeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl, became the national champion.[3][4]

The 1977 season was the last before NCAA's Division I was divided into I-A and I-AA. On the eve of a national playoff for the smaller programs that would be I-AA, the Sugar Bowl in 1977 became the fourth bowl game to sign a contract guaranteeing an appearance by a major conference champion. The result was that meetings between the media poll choices for the top two teams were less likely, unless those teams were in the Big Ten and Pac-8 (which met in the Rose Bowl), or one of the teams was not obligated to play in a particular bowl game.

Besides the Big Ten-Pac-8 matchup in the Rose Bowl, the Southwest champion played in the Cotton, the Big Eight titlist in the Orange, and the SEC champ in the Sugar. Top teams that had their choice of which bowl to play were either independent or in a conference outside of the five major powers (such as the ACC or WAC).

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for major college football teams, which became Division I-A in 1978. The NCAA Football Guide, however, did note an "unofficial national champion" based on the top ranked teams in the final "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular, followed by the "coaches' poll" by United Press International) (UPI). The AP poll consisted of the votes of as many as 64 writers, though not all voted in each poll, and the UPI poll was taken of a 42-member board of coaches.

Conference and program changes[edit]

School 1976 Conference 1977 Conference
Chattanooga Mocs D-I Independent SoCon
East Carolina Pirates SoCon D-I Independent
Marshall Thundering Herd D-I Independent SoCon
Southern Illinois Salukis D-I Independent Missouri Valley
Western Carolina Catamounts D-I Independent SoCon
William & Mary Indians SoCon D-I Independent

September[edit]

In the preseason poll released on September 5, the AP ranked Oklahoma first, followed by Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, and Ohio State. Sixth was Alabama, and defending champion Pittsburgh (minus Tony Dorsett and Johnny Majors) was ranked seventh.

September 10 #1 Oklahoma opened its season at home against Vanderbilt, 2–9 the year before. Though the Sooners avoided an upset, their narrow 25–23 win didn't impress the pollsters, and OU dropped to fifth. #2 Michigan won 37–9 at Illinois, and #3 Notre Dame won 19–9 at Pittsburgh. #4 USC won 27–10 at Missouri, and #5 Ohio State beat visiting Miami (FL) 10–0. #6 Alabama beat Mississippi 34–13 at Birmingham. Although the top six teams all won their openers, The next poll shuffled the rankings (2-4-3-6-1-5): 1.Michigan 2.USC 3.Notre Dame 4.Alabama 5.Oklahoma 6. Ohio State.

September 17 #1 Michigan beat Duke 21–9 and #2 USC won at Oregon State, 17–10. A week after losing to Alabama, Mississippi stunned the nation with a 20–13 defeat of #3 Notre Dame on a humid 100 °F (38 °C) day in Jackson. The Irish dropped to eleventh, and as low as fourteenth the week after. #11 Maryland fell 24–16 to unranked West Virginia at home in College Park. #4 Alabama lost 31–24 at #14 Nebraska. #5 Oklahoma crushed visiting Utah, 62–24. #6 Ohio State and #10 Penn State which beat Minnesota 38–7 and Houston 31–14, respectively, reached the top five: 1.Michigan 2.USC 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Penn State

September 24 #1 Michigan beat Navy, 14–7. #2 USC beat visiting TCU 51–0. #3 Oklahoma and #4 Ohio State met in Columbus in the season's first big matchup. In a close game, the visiting Sooners won 29–28 after a touchdown, an onside kick recovery, and a last second field goal by Uwe von Schamann, and reclaimed first place in the next poll. #5 Penn State beat Maryland, 27–9. #6 Texas A&M, which won 33–17 at #7 Texas Tech, reached the top five: 1.Oklahoma 2.USC 3.Michigan 4.Penn State 5.Texas A&M

October[edit]

October 1 #1 Oklahoma beat Kansas 24–9 and #2 USC was idle, but the Trojans were voted #1 anyway in a split vote (23 vs. 19 for OU and 16 for UM). #3 Michigan beat #5 Texas A&M 41–3. #4 Penn State lost 24–20 at Kentucky, and #6 Ohio State won 35–7 at SMU. #8 Texas defeated visiting Rice 72–15. With USC having a plurality of votes (23 vs. 19 for OU and 16 for UM), the poll was: 1.USC 2.Oklahoma 3.Michigan 4.Ohio State 5.Texas

October 8 In Los Angeles, #1 USC was beaten 21–20 by #7 Alabama; on a two-point conversion try by USC in the final minute, the Tide intercepted to seal the upset. Earlier in Dallas, #2 Oklahoma and #5 Texas met in their annual game, and Texas won 13–6. In Big Ten play, #3 Michigan won 24–14 at Michigan State and #4 Ohio State beat Purdue 46–0. #6 Colorado beat visiting Oklahoma State 29–13 to move to third, and the Wolverines returned to the top: 1.Michigan 2.Texas 3.Colorado 4.Alabama 5.Ohio State

October 15 #1 Michigan beat #14 Wisconsin 56–0, and #2 Texas won at #7 Arkansas, 13–9. #3 Colorado played at Kansas, a 17–17 tie. #4 Alabama beat Tennessee in Birmingham, 24–10. #5 Ohio State beat Iowa 27–6. #6 USC beat Oregon 33–15 to return to the top five: 1.Michigan 2.Texas 3.Alabama 4.Ohio State 5.USC

October 22 #1 Michigan (6–0) was shut out 16–0 at unranked Minnesota, and #2 Texas won 30–14 at SMU. #3 Alabama beat Louisville 55–6, and #4 Ohio State won 35–15 at Northwestern. #11 Notre Dame wore their green jerseys for the first time in decades and overwhelmed #5 USC 49–19. #7 Oklahoma beat #16 Iowa State 35-16 and returned to the top five, and the Longhorns became the fourth team to lead the poll: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Ohio State 4.Oklahoma 5.Notre Dame

October 29 #1 Texas beat visiting #14 Texas Tech 26–0, and #2 Alabama beat Mississippi State 37–7 in Jackson. #3 Ohio State beat Wisconsin 42–0, #4 Oklahoma won 42–7 at Kansas State, and #5 Notre Dame beat Navy 43–10. Other than the Sooners' trade with the Buckeyes, the poll was stable: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame

November[edit]

November 5 #1 Texas won 35–21 at Houston, and #2 Alabama embarrassed #18 LSU 24–3 in Baton Rouge. #3 Oklahoma won 61–28 at Oklahoma State, #4 Ohio State won 35–0 at Illinois, and #5 Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech 69–14. For the first time since the season began, the top five remained unchanged (in fact, the top nine were the same): 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Notre Dame

November 12 #1 Texas beat TCU 44–14 and #2 Alabama beat the visiting Miami Hurricanes, 36–0. #3 Oklahoma routed Colorado 52–14, #4 Ohio State beat Indiana 35–7, and #5 Notre Dame won at #15 Clemson, 21–17. #6 Michigan won 40–7 at Purdue and returned to the top five: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Ohio State 5.Michigan

November 19 #1 Texas beat Baylor 29–7, while #2 Alabama and #3 Oklahoma were idle. Once again, the Big Ten title came down to a meeting between #4 Ohio State and #5 Michigan, 7–0 and 6–1 in conference play, respectively. Michigan won 14–6 at home and gained the trip to the Rose Bowl. #6 Notre Dame beat Air Force 49–0. The poll: 1.Texas 2.Alabama 3.Oklahoma 4.Michigan 5.Notre Dame

November 25–26 On Thanksgiving weekend, USC defeated UCLA 29–27 on a last-second field goal on Friday night to knock the Bruins out of the Rose Bowl and put Washington in. Earlier in the day, #3 Oklahoma beat #11 Nebraska 38–7 to go to 10–1. On Saturday, #1 Texas won 57–28 at #12 Texas A&M for an 11–0 record, the SWC title, and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. #2 Alabama closed its season in Birmingham, beating Auburn 48–21. The Crimson Tide was unbeaten (7–0) in SEC conference play, as was Kentucky (6–0, 10–1 overall), but ineligible for bowls because of NCAA probation. #4 Michigan (10–1) had completed its regular season, and #5 Notre Dame was idle until December 3, a 48–10 win at Miami. The final regular season poll had been released on November 28: 1.Texas 2.Oklahoma 3.Alabama 4.Michigan 5.Notre Dame

Rule changes[edit]

  • Offensive linemen will be allowed to charge downfield ahead of a screen pass, provided the pass is caught at or behind the line of scrimmage. Previously, this resulted in a five-yard ineligible receiver downfield penalty.

Map of participating teams[edit]

1977 NCAA Division I football season is located in the US
Air Force
Air Force
Alabama
Alabama
Arizona
Arizona
Arizona State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Arkansas
Army
Army
Auburn
Auburn
Ball St
Ball St
Baylor
Baylor
Boston College
Boston College
Bowling Green
Bowling Green
BYU
BYU
California
California
Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton
Central Michigan
Central Michigan
Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Clemson
Clemson
Colorado
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State
Duke
Duke
East Carolina
East Carolina
E. Michigan
E. Michigan
Florida
Florida
Florida State
Florida State
FresnoState
Fresno
State
Georgia

Georgia
Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech
⇙ Hawaii
⇙ Hawaii
Houston
Houston
Illinois
Illinois
Indiana
Indiana
Iowa
Iowa
Iowa State
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas
Kansas State
Kansas State
Kent State
Kent State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Long Beach State
Long Beach State
SWLA
SW
LA
Louisville
Louisville
LSU
LSU
Maryland
Maryland
Memphis State
Memphis State
Miami
Miami
Miami
Miami
Michigan
Michigan
Mich. State
Mich. State
Minnesota
Minnesota
Mississippi State
Mississippi State
Missouri
Missouri
Navy
Navy
NCState
NC
State
Nebraska
Nebraska
New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico State
New Mexico State
North Carolina
North Carolina
North Texas State
North Texas State
Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois
Northwestern
Northwestern
NotreDame
Notre
Dame
Ohio
Ohio
OhioState
Ohio
State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State
Ole Miss
Ole Miss
Oregon
Oregon
OregonState
Oregon
State
Pacific
Pacific
Penn State
Penn State
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
Purdue
Purdue
Rice
Rice
Rutgers
Rutgers
San Diego State
San Diego State
San Jose State
San Jose State
SMU
SMU
South Carolina
South Carolina
Southern Miss
Southern Miss
Stanford
Stanford
Syracuse
Syracuse
TCU
TCU
Temple
Temple
Tennessee
Tennessee
Texas
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Texas Tech
Toledo
Toledo
Tulane
Tulane
Tulsa
Tulsa
UCLA
UCLA
USC
USC
Utah
Utah
UtahState
Utah
State
UTEP
UTEP
Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
Wake Forest
Washington
Washington
Washington State
Washington State
West Virginia
West Virginia
W. Mich.
W. Mich.
Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wichita State
Wichita State
Wyoming
Wyoming
Drake
Drake
Illinois State
Illinois State
Southern Illinois
Southern Illinois
Indiana State
Indiana State
West Texas State
West Texas State
William & Mary
William & Mary
Richmond
Richmond
NE LA
NE LA
Harvard
Harvard
Yale
Yale
Dartmouth
Dartmouth
Columbia
Columbia
Cornell
Cornell
Penn
Penn
Brown
Brown
Princeton
Princeton
HolyCross
Holy
Cross
Colgate
Colgate
Lamar
Lamar
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech
Arkansas State
Arkansas State
McNeese State
McNeese State
Texas–Arlington
Texas–Arlington
Furman
Furman
VMI
VMI
Chattanooga
Chattanooga
The Citadel
The Citadel
W.Carolina
W.Carolina
App. St.
App. St.
Marshall
Marshall
Villanova
Villanova
NW State
NW State
Grambling
Grambling
Jackson State
Jackson State
Texas Southern
Texas Southern
MVSU
MVSU
Alcorn
Alcorn
Southern
Southern
PVAM
PVAM
Tennessee State
Tennessee State
Yellow ffff00 pog.svgACC, Green 008000 pog.svgBig 8, DeepPink pog.svgBig Ten, SpringGreen pog.svgIvy League, Online dot.pngMAC, Turquoise pog.svgMVC, Red pog.svgPac-8, White pog.svgPCAA, Blue 000080 pog.svgSEC, Gold pog.svgSouthern, Black pog.svgSouthland, Orange ff8040 pog.svgSouthwest, Yellow ffff80 pog.svgSWAC, Purple 8000ff pog.svgWAC, Location dot black.svg – Independents


Conference standings[edit]

1977 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#17 North Carolina $ 5 0 1     8 3 1
#19 Clemson 4 1 1     8 3 1
NC State 4 2 0     8 4 0
Maryland 4 2 0     8 4 0
Duke 2 4 0     5 6 0
Virginia 1 5 0     1 9 1
Wake Forest 0 6 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 Oklahoma $ 7 0 0     10 2 0
Iowa State 5 2 0     8 4 0
#12 Nebraska 5 2 0     9 3 0
Colorado 3 3 1     7 3 1
Missouri 3 4 0     4 7 0
Kansas 2 4 1     4 6 1
Oklahoma State 2 5 0     4 7 0
Kansas State 0 7 0     2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#9 Michigan + 7 1 0     10 2 0
#11 Ohio State + 7 1 0     9 3 0
Michigan State 6 1 1     7 3 1
Indiana 4 3 1     5 5 1
Minnesota 4 4 0     7 5 0
Purdue 3 5 0     5 6 0
Iowa 3 5 0     4 7 0
Wisconsin 3 6 0     5 6 0
Illinois 2 6 0     3 8 0
Northwestern 1 8 0     1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Ivy League football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Yale $   6 1         7 2  
Brown   5 2         7 2  
Harvard   4 3         4 5  
Penn   4 3         5 4  
Dartmouth   4 3         6 3  
Princeton   3 4         3 6  
Cornell   1 6         1 8  
Columbia   1 6         2 7  
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Miami (OH) $ 5 0 0     10 1 0
Ball State 5 1 0     9 2 0
Central Michigan 7 1 0     10 1 0
Bowling Green 4 3 0     5 7 0
Eastern Michigan 4 3 0     8 3 0
Kent State 5 4 0     6 5 0
Western Michigan 3 5 0     4 7 0
Northern Illinois 2 5 0     3 8 0
Toledo 2 7 0     2 9 0
Ohio 0 8 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
West Texas A&M $ 4 1 0     6 4 1
Wichita State 3 1 0     5 6 0
New Mexico State 3 2 0     4 7 0
Tulsa 2 2 0     3 8 0
Drake 1 4 0     2 9 0
Southern Illinois 0 3 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Pacific Coast Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Fresno State $ 4 0 0     9 2 0
Pacific (CA) 3 1 0     6 5 0
San Jose State 2 2 0     4 7 0
Long Beach State 1 3 0     4 6 0
Cal State Fullerton 0 4 0     4 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Pacific-8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#10 Washington $   6 1         8 4  
#15 Stanford   5 2         9 3  
#13 USC   5 2         8 4  
California   3 4         7 4  
Washington State   3 4         6 5  
Oregon   1 6         2 9  
Oregon State   0 7         2 9  
UCLA   0 7         0 11  
  • $ – Conference champion
  • † – UCLA forfeited 7 wins (5 conference wins) due to ineligible players.
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 Alabama $ 7 0 0     11 1 0
#6 Kentucky 6 0 0     10 1 0
LSU 4 2 0     8 4 0
Auburn 4 2 0     5 6 0
Florida 3 3 0     6 4 1
Georgia 2 4 0     5 6 0
Mississippi State 2 4 0     5 6 0
Ole Miss 2 5 0     5 6 0
Tennessee 1 5 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 0 6 0     2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Kentucky ineligible for SEC championship due to NCAA probation. Mississippi State later forfeited all 1977 wins due to NCAA violations.
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Southern Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Chattanooga + 4 1 0     9 1 1
VMI + 4 1 0     7 4 0
The Citadel 3 2 0     5 6 0
Furman 3 2 1     4 5 2
Western Carolina 2 2 1     6 4 1
Appalachian State 1 4 0     2 9 0
Marshall 0 5 0     2 9 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
1977 Southland Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Louisiana Tech $ 4 0 1     9 1 2
Southwestern Louisiana 2 1 2     6 4 2
Texas–Arlington 3 2 0     5 6 0
Arkansas State 2 3 0     7 4 0
McNeese State 1 3 1     5 5 1
Lamar 1 4 0     2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 NCAA Division I Independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Notre Dame           11 1 0
#5 Penn State           11 1 0
Colgate           10 1 0
#16 San Diego State           10 1 0
Tennessee State           8 1 1
#14 Florida State           10 2 0
North Texas State           10 1 0*
#8 Pittsburgh           9 2 1
East Carolina           8 3 0
Rutgers           8 3 0
Army           7 4 0
Louisville           7 4 1
Boston College           6 5 0
Cincinnati           5 4 2
Georgia Tech           6 5 0
Memphis           6 5 0
Northwestern State           6 5 0
Syracuse           6 5 0
William & Mary           6 5 0
Southern Miss           6 5 0
Temple           5 5 1
Hawaii           5 6 0
Navy           5 6 0
West Virginia           5 6 0
South Carolina           5 7 0
Utah State           4 7 0
Villanova           4 7 0
Illinois State           3 7 1
Virginia Tech           3 7 1
Indiana State           3 7 0
Miami (FL)           3 8 0
Richmond           3 8 0
Tulane           3 8 0
Air Force           2 8 1
Holy Cross           2 8 0
Northeast Louisiana           2 9 0
  • North Texas State (originally 9–2–0) awarded a forfeit win after UCLA was found to be using an ineligible player.[6]
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 SWAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Grambling State $ 6 0 0     10 1 0
Jackson State 5 1 0     8 3 0
Texas Southern 3 2 1     6 4 1
Mississippi Valley State 2 4 0     5 5 0
Alcorn State 2 4 0     3 8 0
Southern 1 4 1     3 7 1
Prairie View A&M 1 5 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#4 Texas $ 8 0 0     11 1 0
#3 Arkansas 7 1 0     11 1 0
Texas A&M 6 2 0     8 4 0
Houston 4 4 0     6 5 0
Texas Tech 4 4 0     7 5 0
Baylor 3 5 0     5 6 0
SMU 3 5 0     4 7 0
TCU 1 7 0     2 9 0
Rice 0 8 0     1 10 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1977 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#20 BYU + 6 1 0     9 2 0
#18 Arizona State + 6 1 0     9 3 0
Colorado State 5 2 0     9 2 1
Wyoming 4 3 0     4 6 1
Arizona 3 4 0     5 7 0
New Mexico 2 5 0     5 7 0
Utah 2 5 0     3 8 0
UTEP 0 7 0     1 10 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

#1 and #2 progress[edit]

WEEKS #1 #2 Event
PRE Oklahoma Michigan Michigan 37, Illinois 9 (Sept 10)
1-2 Michigan USC Oklahoma 29, Ohio State 28 (Sept 24)
3 Oklahoma USC
4 USC Oklahoma Alabama 21, USC 20 (Oct 8)
5-6 Michigan Texas Minnesota 16, Michigan 0 (Oct 22)
7-11 Texas Alabama Oklahoma 38, Nebraska 7 (Nov 25)
12-Bowls Texas Oklahoma Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 (Jan 2)
Final Notre Dame Alabama Notre Dame 38, Texas 10 (Jan 2)

Polls[edit]

Bowl games[edit]

Major bowls[edit]

Monday, January 2, 1978

BOWL
COTTON #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 38 #1 Texas Longhorns 10
SUGAR #3 Alabama Crimson Tide 35 #9 Ohio State Buckeyes 6
ROSE #13 Washington Huskies 27 #4 Michigan Wolverines 20
ORANGE #6 Arkansas Razorbacks 31 #2 Oklahoma Sooners 6

Two former NFL head coaching failures became college football successes, upsetting the #1 and #2 teams. Dan Devine had been unspectacular at Green Bay before succeeding Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame in 1975, while Lou Holtz had coached the New York Jets to a 3–11 finish in 1976 before taking over at Arkansas.

The Sugar Bowl was a matchup of coaching legends Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes; Bryant's #3 Alabama squad easily handled #8 Ohio State, 35–6.

The largest crowd in Cotton Bowl history (76,701) turned out in Dallas to watch the unbeaten #1 Texas Longhorns to attempt to finalize a national championship. Notre Dame's defense forced five turnovers, which set up five scores. Running back Vagas Ferguson scored three touchdowns, including one on a pass from Joe Montana in a 38–10 win. For Texas, both Earl Campbell and Johnny Lam Jones were injured. Devine changed his mind about resigning his Irish coaching job.[7]

Following Texas' loss in the Cotton Bowl, #4 Michigan hoped an impressive win over the Washington might vault them to a possible national championship. However the Huskies, led by Rose Bowl MVP Warren Moon, raced to a 24–0 lead in the third quarter and held on for a 27–20 upset.

With #1 Texas and #4 Michigan out of the way, #2 Oklahoma was in a position to claim the championship with a win over #6 Arkansas in the nightcap in Miami. The Razorbacks had finished behind Texas in SWC play and had settled for the Orange Bowl. The week of the game, Holtz suspended the Hogs' top rusher, Ben Cowins, and the top receiver, Donny Bobo for violating team rules. The Sooners were 18-point favorites but Cowins' backup Roland Sales rushed for two touchdowns and over 200 yards as the Razorbacks shut down the Sooners' ground game en route to a 24–0 lead after three quarters and a massive 31–6 upset.[8]

The national championship was disputed as there were six teams with one loss: Alabama, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Texas, Penn State, and Kentucky (prohibited from playing in a bowl due to NCAA probation). Notre Dame had lost to Mississippi, who lost to Alabama, who lost to Nebraska, who lost to Oklahoma, who lost to Arkansas, who lost to Texas who lost to Notre Dame. Penn State lost to Kentucky and Kentucky lost to Baylor who had lost to Texas, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Amidst this confusion, there were several good choices for a champion; giant killers Notre Dame and Arkansas, and third-ranked Alabama, and Texas. Notre Dame, on the strength of its lopsided win over #1 Texas, vaulted over Texas, Oklahoma (who lost in the Orange Bowl), Alabama (who won in the Sugar Bowl), and Michigan (who lost in the Rose Bowl). Alabama fans cried foul as they assumed, as the #3 team before the bowls, that if #1Texas and #2 Oklahoma lost (which they did), they would rise to #1 with a win over Ohio State. Some believe Alabama was granted a share of the national title in 1978 despite its loss to the team it shared it with (USC) to make up for 1977.

In the final polls, the electors for AP and UPI were expectedly divided, but a majority in each picked Notre Dame.[3][4] With one AP writer naming all three schools as number one, the writers poll was 37⅓ for Notre Dame, 19⅓ for Alabama and 5⅓ for Arkansas.[9] UPI had 23 for Notre Dame, 13 for Alabama and 2 for Arkansas.[10] Devine, who had followed in the footsteps of both Vince Lombardi and Parseghian, reversed his earlier plans and continued as head coach in 1978.[7]

Other bowls[edit]

BOWL City State Date Winner Score Runner-up
FIESTA Tempe Arizona December 25 #8 Penn State 42–30 #15 Arizona State
SUN El Paso Texas December 31 Stanford 24–14 LSU
GATOR Jacksonville Florida December 30 #10 Pittsburgh 34–3 #11 Clemson
TANGERINE Orlando Florida December 23 #19 Florida State 40–17 Texas Tech
ASTRO-BLUEBONNET Houston Texas December 31 #20 USC 47–28 #17 Texas A&M
LIBERTY Memphis Tennessee December 19 #12 Nebraska 21–17 #14 North Carolina
PEACH Atlanta Georgia December 31 NC State 24–14 Iowa State
INDEPENDENCE Shreveport Louisiana December 17 Louisiana Tech 24–14 Louisville
HALL OF FAME Birmingham Alabama December 22 Maryland 17–7 Minnesota

Heisman Trophy[edit]

  1. Earl Campbell, RB - Texas, 1,547 points
  2. Terry Miller, RB - Oklahoma State, 812
  3. Ken MacAfee, TE - Notre Dame, 343
  4. Doug Williams, QB - Grambling State, 266
  5. Ross Browner, DE - Notre Dame, 213
  6. Guy Benjamin, QB - Stanford, 111
  7. Matt Cavanaugh, QB - Pittsburgh, 86
  8. Rick Leach, QB - Michigan, 59
  9. Charles Alexander, RB - LSU, 54
  10. Wes Chandler, WR - Florida, 50

Source:[11][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.jhowell.net/cf/cf1977.htm
  2. ^ http://www.appollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?appollid=466
  3. ^ a b "AP, UPI agree – it's Notre Dame". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). AP, UPI. January 4, 1978. p. 1C. 
  4. ^ a b "It might not add up, but Irish are clearly No. 1". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). AP, UPI. January 4, 1978. p. 3C. 
  5. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/1977-standings.html
  6. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/1977-standings.html
  7. ^ a b "Notre Dame corrals Longhorns by 38-10," Daily Herald (Chicago), Jan. 3, 1978, p4-1
  8. ^ "Holtz' hot Hogs make Sales pitch," Syracuse Herald Journal, Jan 3, 1978, p39
  9. ^ [appollarchive.com]
  10. ^ Galveston County News, Jan 4, 1978, p27
  11. ^ "Earl Campbell". Heisman Trophy. 1977. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Heisman to Texas back". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 9, 1977. p. 34.