Who deserved the 1978 national championship: USC or Bama?

John Robinson of USC should have an opinion, but no one asked him on August 27, 2012 when he spoke to the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

 Wikipedia reports USC’s results that year:

The 1978 USC Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California in the 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season. Following the season, the Trojans were crowned national champions according to the Coaches Poll. While Alabama claimed the title because it had defeated top-ranked Penn State on the field, the Trojans pointed out that they had also only lost once and had beaten Alabama in the regular season.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 9 Texas Tech* #9 Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA W 17–9   50,321
September 16 at Oregon #8 Autzen StadiumEugene, OR W 37–10   31,000
September 23 vs. #1 Alabama* #7 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 24–14   77,313
September 29 Michigan State* #3 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA W 30–9   65,319
October 14 at Arizona State #2 Sun Devil StadiumTempe, AZ L 7–20   70,138
October 21 Oregon Statedagger #7 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA W 38–7   53,734
October 28 California #6 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA W 42–17   56,954
November 4 at Stanford #6 Stanford StadiumPalo Alto, CA W 13–7   84,084
November 11 #19 Washington #5 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA W 28–10   54,071
November 18 at #14 UCLA #5 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA (Battle for the Victory Bell) W 17–10   90,387
November 25 #8 Notre Dame* #3 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA (Notre Dame – USC rivalry) W 27–25   84,256
December 2 at Hawaii* #3 Aloha StadiumHonolulu, HI W 21–5   48,767
January 1 vs. #5 Michigan* #3 Rose BowlPasadena, CA (1979 Rose Bowl) W 17–10   105,629
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Alabama’ results according to Wikipedia:

The only blemish on Alabama’s record in 1978 was a loss to Southern California. Bama turned the ball over six times in that game.[23] The next week’s 51–28 victory over Vanderbilt started what became an all-time school record 28-game winning streak.

The 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State would go down as a classic.[13] 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.[24] 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.[13] Penn State drove to a first and goal at the Alabama eight. On third and goal from the one, Fusina asked Bama linebacker Marty Lyons “What do you think we should do?”, and Lyons answered “You’d better pass.”[25] 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.

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 2 #10 Nebraska* #1 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 20–3   77,023
September 16 at #11 Missouri* #1 Memorial StadiumColumbia, MO W 38–20   73,655
September 23 #7 USC* #1 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL L 14–24   77,313
September 30 Vanderbilt #7 Bryant-Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 51–28   56,910
October 7 at Washington* #8 Husky StadiumSeattle, WA W 20–17   60,975
October 14 Florida #7 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 23–12   60,210
October 21 at Tennessee #4 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 30–17   85,436
October 28 Virginia Tech*dagger #3 Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 35–0   60,210
November 4 Mississippi State #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 35–14   74,217
November 11 #10 LSU #3 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 31–10   76,831
December 2 vs. Auburn #2 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL (Iron Bowl) W 34–16   79,218
January 1, 1979 vs. #1 Penn State* #2 Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) W 14–7   76,824
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Alabama Football-1978 Poll Controversy

Uploaded by on Jun 25, 2011

Alabama Football-1978 Poll Controversy involving Alabama and Southern Cal

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