The 1979 NCAA Division I-A football season saw the Alabama Crimson Tide bring home a national title with a perfect 12-0 season. The title was Alabama's 11th claimed, and their 6th Associated Press awarded title.
This was an extremely dominant Alabama team, only giving up 67 points the entire season and shutting out five opponents. The team won a tight game against LSU 3-0 and beat Auburn by a touchdown before beating Arkansas 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl.
There was very little movement at the top of the rankings throughout the season, as only three different teams held the top spot in the AP poll and only two in the UPI poll. USC was the pre-season top-ranked team, and held the number one ranking until a 21–21 tie with Stanford, a game USC led at halftime 21–0. A fumbled hold on the snap from center cost the Trojans a chance at a last-second field goal. Stanford was led by quarterback Turk Schonert, while freshman John Elway served as his backup. USC ended up finishing second in the country, but running back Charles White brought home the Heisman Trophy.
Number 2 Alabama then took over the top spot and never relinquished that position in the UPI poll. In the AP poll, however, Ohio State took over the top spot in the last regular season poll of the season. Ohio State had defeated #13 Michigan in Ann Arbor by a score of 18–15 to earn the Big 10 title. Two weeks later, Alabama defeated #14 Auburn 25-18 in Birmingham, but the AP voters saw fit to jump Ohio State ahead of them.
Thus, Ohio State came within one point of a national title under first-year coach Earle Bruce, who replaced coach Woody Hayes, falling to USC 17–16 in the Rose Bowl after an undefeated season.
Blocking below the waist is prohibited on fumble recoveries (before they touch the ground), interceptions of forward and backward passes, on wide receivers beyond five yards past the line of scrimmage, on kickers until they are five yards past the line of scrimmage, and by backs beyond three yards past the line of scrimmage.
Adding an automatic first down to defensive penalties for spearing, blows to the head or helmet, or kicking an opponent.
Fouls committed by the receiving team during punts and kickoffs after the ball crosses the line of scrimmage result in enforcement from the spot of the foul, not from the previous spot and a re-kick as was previously the case.
Eliminating offsetting penalties when a dead-ball foul is involved.