|1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football|
AP Poll national champion
Sugar Bowl champion
|1978 record||11–1 (6–0 SEC)|
|Home stadium||Bryant–Denny Stadium|
|1978 Southeastern Conference football standings|
|No. 1 Alabama $||6||–||0||–||0||11||–||1||–||0|
|No. 16 Georgia||5||–||0||–||1||9||–||2||–||1|
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 2||No. 10 Nebraska*||No. 1||ABC||W 20–3||77,023|
|September 16||at No. 11 Missouri*||No. 1||W 38–20||73,655|
|September 23||No. 7 USC*||No. 1||ABC||L 14–24||77,313|
|September 30||Vanderbilt||No. 7||W 51–28||56,910|
|October 7||at Washington*||No. 8||W 20–17||60,975|
|October 14||Florida||No. 7||W 23–12||60,210|
|October 21||at Tennessee||No. 4||W 30–17||85,436|
|October 28||Virginia Tech*||No. 3||W 35–0||60,210|
|November 4||Mississippi State||No. 3||W 35–14||74,217|
|November 11||No. 10 LSU||No. 3||ABC||W 31–10||76,831|
|December 2||vs. Auburn||No. 2||W 34–16||79,218|
|January 1, 1979||vs. No. 1 Penn State*||No. 2||ABC||W 14–7||76,824|
Before the season
Alabama ended the 1977 season with the disappointment of a #2 finish, an 11-point voting margin behind national champion Notre Dame.
On April 13, 1978, Paul Bryant was one of several coaches quoted in an AP interview that focused on efforts to rid college football of cheating. Bryant advocated a rule requiring coaches notify the NCAA of suspected infractions immediately and getting it over with rather than complaining after losing a game.
On April 20, nearly a dozen players with injuries were held out of the annual A-Day game that ended in a colorless 7-7 tie. The biggest concern was a knee injury to second-string QB Steadman Shealy. Bryant, in the post A-Day game press conference, declared his 1978 team would have "a questionable offense, an average kicking game, and a good defense" in the post-A-Day game press conference.
The 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State would go down as a classic. 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. 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. 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." 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.
|1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team roster|
- "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.
- "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.
- Greatest Bowl Games
- "Penn State Daily Collegian, 3 January 1979". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
- "Sugar Bowl Memories", Tuscaloosa News