In honor of college football’s 150th anniversary and lasting throughout the season, ESPN takes a look at the greatest teams, players, coaches, plays and games over the past 150 years.
This week, during ESPN’s “The Greatest Series,” College football writers, broadcasters and ESPN personalities talked about some of the biggest upsets in college football history.
Among the games and teams they talked about, was BYU’s national championship run in 1984 in which the Cougars finished the season undefeated (13-0) and ranked No. 1 in the country. BYU defeated Michigan 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl to finish as the nation’s lone undefeated team and pushed the football program’s winning streak to 24 games.
“What elevated BYU in that season was their opening game of the year,” said ESPN reporter Holly Rowe. “They went into Pittsburgh and smacked Pittsburgh in the mouth and that set the tone for what was a great BYU season.”
“There’s only been one big non-conference team ever to win the national championship, and that was BYU in 1984,” added former CBS and ESPN sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein.
The BYU-Pittsburgh game was ESPN’s first-ever live regular-season broadcast as the Cougars knocked off the third-ranked Panthers on the road. After following it up with a big home win over Baylor, the Cougars escaped with close wins over Hawaii, Air Force and Wyoming before closing out the regular season with big wins over San Diego State, Utah and Utah State.
In BYU’s 18-13 victory over Hawaii, BYU safety Kyle Morrell made an unbelievable game-saving tackle on the goal line to preserve the Cougar’s unbeaten season.
BYU is the last team from outside a major conference, to win a national title in college football. LaVell Edwards was named the NCAA National Coach of the Year and 15 players from the 1984 team were selected in the NFL draft.