Georgia Bulldogs snap 40-season football national championship drought: Here’s what was happening the last time UGA won it all
The Georgia Bulldogs have won the College Football Playoff national championship, defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 on Monday night in Indianapolis. The win snaps a 40-season drought between title-winning seasons for the Dawgs.
The 40 seasons mark the end of the fifth-longest gap between championship seasons in football, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only Auburn (52 seasons, 1958 to 2009), Michigan (48 seasons, 1949 to 1996), Tennessee (46 seasons, 1952 to 1997) and LSU (44 seasons, 1959 to 2002) had longer droughts.
The 1980 college football season had its differences as compared to the current campaign. There was not a College Football Playoff — or even a BCS. Instead of 10 teams, the Big 12 had eight and was known as the Big Eight. Notable future powerhouses Miami, Florida State and Penn State were independents, joining Notre Dame. Pittsburgh, four years removed from the 1976 national title, was also an independent and finished No. 2 in the final poll. However, the top two teams did not meet at the end of the season for a title.
On the other hand, the SEC was still a force. Alabama had been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for six weeks during the season. A freshman — Herschel Walker — became a national name and the key player on Georgia’s title team, coached by Vince Dooley.
And there was chaos. Five different teams claimed the top spot in the polls, and the final eight weeks of the season each saw at least one top-four team lose or tie.
The year 1980 was a long time ago. Here’s a glimpse of what happened and what life was like in the year 1980.
Olympics history and controversy
The 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, will forever be known for the United States men’s hockey team’s upset of the Soviet Union, which hadn’t lost an Olympic game since 1968, and the Americans’ subsequent gold medal.
The 1980 Summer Games were held in Moscow and were boycotted by 66 countries, including the United States, because of the ongoing Soviet-Afghan War.
We learned who Luke’s father was
The highest-grossing movie of the year was “The Empire Strikes Back,” the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Spoiler alert: At the end of the film, it was revealed that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father.
In sports movies, Robert De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his iconic portrayal of Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull.”
It takes a lot of quarters
The arcade game Pac-Man debuted, first in Japan then the United States later in the year. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the game was, at one time, recognizable to 94% of Americans.
“Pac-Man changed the psychological profile of the average person,” Walter Day, of Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game world records, told CNN in 2005. “Suddenly old and young, male and female, doctors, dentists, lawyers and housewives found it acceptable to be playing a video game. And Pac Man opened that door for them. Despite the fact that it was technologically advanced, it was as simple as playing a card game for them.”
Long before you typed to-dos or grocery lists into your phone, there was the Post-It Note. According to 3M, the manufacturer of Post-It Notes, a company scientist began developing the technology for the sticky part of the ubiquitous yellow notes in 1968.
After trying different versions of the pad, the official Post-It Note made its nationwide debut in April 1980.
Where was Nick Saban?
Long before his seven football national titles, Saban was at Ohio State in 1980. Saban, eight years removed from his playing career at Kent State, was coaching defensive backs. Like many other times in his later career, the team he was coaching started the season No. 1 in the polls. However, the Buckeyes would lose three games that season.
Bear Bryant was coaching Alabama, and Kirby Smart was 5 years old in 1980.
Who missed it?
Georgia won that title on Jan. 1, 1981, by beating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Not yet around to see the game were modern icons Beyonce, Serena Williams and Britney Spears; Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson, Rami Malek and Natalie Portman; sports champions Roger Federer, Eli Manning and Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Captain America (Chris Evans), Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) or Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). All of them were born in 1981.