|1979 NCAA Division I-A season|
|Number of teams||139|
|Preseason AP No. 1||USC|
|Heisman Trophy||Charles White (running back, USC)|
|Division I-A football seasons|
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 No. 13 Michigan in Ann Arbor by a score of 18–15 to earn the Big Ten title. Two weeks later, Alabama defeated No. 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.
|School||1978 Conference||1979 Conference|
|East Tennessee State Buccaneers||Ohio Valley (I-AA)||Southern (I-A)|
|Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors||Independent||WAC|
While Georgia Tech joined the ACC in non-football sports, the Yellow Jackets would not join ACC football until 1983.
|WEEKS||No. 1||No. 2||Event|
|PRE-5||USC||Alabama||Stanford 21, USC 21 (Oct 13)|
|6||Alabama||Texas||Arkansas 17, Texas 14 (Oct 20)|
|7-9||Alabama||Nebraska||Ohio State 34, Iowa 7 (Nov 10)|
|10-11||Alabama||Ohio State||USC 49, UCLA 14 (Nov 24)|
|13||Ohio State||Alabama||USC 17, Ohio State 16|
|Rose Bowl||No. 3 USC||17||No. 1 Ohio State||16|
|Sugar Bowl||No. 2 Alabama||24||No. 6 Arkansas||9|
|Orange Bowl||No. 5 Oklahoma||24||No. 4 Florida State||7|
|Cotton Bowl||No. 8 Houston||17||No. 7 Nebraska||14|
|Bluebonnet Bowl||No. 12 Purdue||27||Tennessee||22|
|Peach Bowl||No. 19 Baylor||24||No. 18 Clemson||18|
|Hall of Fame Classic||Missouri||24||No. 16 South Carolina||14|
|Gator Bowl||North Carolina||17||No. 14 Michigan||15|
|Fiesta Bowl||No. 10 Pittsburgh||16||Arizona||10|
|Sun Bowl||No. 13 Washington||14||No. 11 Texas||7|
|Liberty Bowl||Penn State||9||No. 15 Tulane||6|
|Tangerine Bowl||LSU||34||Wake Forest||10|
|Holiday Bowl||Indiana||38||No. 9 Brigham Young||37|
|Garden State Bowl||No. 20 Temple||28||California||17|
|Independence Bowl||Syracuse||31||McNeese State||7|
|4.||Ohio State||Ohio State|
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