1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

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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
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Alabama $ 6 0 0     11 1 0
No. 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: Rolltide.com: 1978 Alabama football schedule[1]

Sugar Bowl[edit]

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.



  • "1977 Season Recaps" (PDF). RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  • "2012 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Record Book" (PDF). Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2015.


  1. ^ "1978 Alabama football schedule". RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Archived from the original on December 2, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Greatest Bowl Games
  3. ^ Penn State Daily Collegian, 3 January 1979
  4. ^ "Sugar Bowl Memories", Tuscaloosa News