Point, Counter-Point: The 1983 National Championship

Point, Counter-Point: The 1983 National Championship

Dan E. Dangerously
Dan E. Dangerously
It has come to our attention that the college football team located in Alabama, that ISN'T called Alabama, is now claiming to be the national champions of college football for the 1983 season. They cite retroactive computer polls, strength of schedule, having a "better loss" than Miami, Bo Jackson's nonexistent hip, and basically ***** envy. National titles are earned, not claimed, so any retroactive claim to past national titles merits a response. This is our rebuttal.


Auburn you ignorant ****! We're not so much as mad as we are disappointed in you. You see, claiming national titles that aren't yours is not very becoming of you. In fact it's *****-made. It’s one thing for message board denizens to rail on and on about being screwed by the system, but to officially claim that you were the champions (when you weren't) is pretty lame. Basically you're doing the same crap Alabama has done for decades by pretending to be national champions for the years they didn't win a championship. I don't understand how anyone would want to copy the lame behavior of your most bitter rival anyway. You don't see us wearing jorts, stealing crab legs, or killing people on scissor lifts now do you? C'mon Auburn, you're better than that. At least we thought you were.

How do they rationalize it? For the following reasons:

  • Alabama's been doing this **** for years.
  • The New York Times said so.
  • Auburn had Bo Jackson.
  • Auburn went 11-1 against a very tough schedule.
  • Auburn was ranked 3rd entering the bowl season and both teams ranked ahead of them lost.
  • Auburn's loss to #5 Texas is "better" than Miami's loss to #6 Florida.
  • Auburn beat Florida (who beat Miami) and Georgia (who beat Texas).
  • Auburn beat #8 Michigan in a tough, defensive fight 9-7 on a neutral field.
  • Miami was lucky in their home stadium against #1 Nebraska because they went for 2.
  • Miami and Nebraska weren't very good at football anyways because reasons.

Official response to all of this in gif form:


The funniest of all those claims is probably the New York Times one. It's probably the first and only time anyone in the state of Alabama has cited the New York Times for anything, let alone making their case for something in an argument. Their transitive property theory is good for a laugh as well. I wonder how fast their heads would explode if you asked them how they rationalize being ranked ahead Texas, who dominated them in their own stadium. What's even worse is they are actually claiming another title in 1993 as well. They were the only team to go undefeated that year. Problem is they were banned from TV and post season play because their cheating asses got caught cheating. You'd think they would try to claim 2004, the one where USC's title got vacated, but I guess with all the ludicrous non-title claims they were making they didn't want to come off as...ludicrous.

The fact is, Auburn, you WERE screwed by the system. Just like countless other schools before you and after. It sucks. It's why the Bowl Alliance/BCS was created in the first place. Look at us in 1990 or 2000. ****, look at Washington in 2000. Penn State in 1994. Even further, Penn State went undefeated in 1968, 1969, and 1973 but didn't win a national title in any of those years. They didn't get any respect because they were an independent, and for a general lack of respect given to east coast football programs. They also kept getting screwed over by the bowl tie-ins. You don't see them claiming to be national champs in those years, they just decided to rape small children instead.


To those too young to know or remember, back in those days (prior to the BCS and its predecessor the Bowl Alliance) the champions of each major conference were locked into a particular bowl game. The Big 10 and Pac 10 champs were locked into the Rose Bowl. The South Eastern Conference champ went to the Sugar Bowl. The Big 8 (now Big 12) champ went to the Orange Bowl. And finally, the now defunct South Western Conference champ went to the Cotton Bowl. Every other bowl slot was open to independent schools and/or at large teams. Why is all of this relevant? Because this is how the AP and Coaches poll looked after the regular season was over and done with:


As you can see above, the top 3 are identical. The only difference is Miami and Illinois are flipped between 4 and 5. So next time someone says to you, "Derpy hurr derp, Miami was ranked 5th", tell them to STFU because Miami was 4th in the coaches poll. All those teams in the top 5 were from different conferences. Meaning they'd be playing in different games against different opponents. The only reason Miami got to play Nebraska was because Miami was independent and Nebraska was locked into the Orange Bowl. If Nebraska were in the Big Ten back then, Miami never would have been able to play them for the national title.

In the ESPN 30 for 30: The U, both Alonzo Highsmith and Howard Schnellenberger made mention of things surrounding that season being such a success. The words "luck", "an act of God", and "the stars lining up" were used to describe Miami being in the position they were in to be able to play for the national championship in 1983. However, it stops short of doing justice to how crazily it all unfolded. So how did Miami get that opportunity? Because everyone else in the top 5, other than Auburn, lost on New Year's Day. Here's how that day unfolded, and how Miami benefited over Auburn.

The Cotton Bowl


(#7) Georgia 10 vs. (#2) Texas 9

The chaos began early that afternoon when Georgia and Texas faced off. Texas had soundly beaten Auburn 20-7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium the opening week and was ranked #2 the rest of the season. The defense Texas had that year was unreal, giving up just 9.5 points and just 195 yards per game the whole season. Several players on that side of the ball went on to the NFL, including 2 time Pro-Bowl selection Steve McMichael. Georgia had a top 10 defense that year too, so the game was a sloppy, low scoring, slug fest. Texas was leading 9-3 and had just forced Georgia to punt with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Then this happened:


Bevo thought they had a chance to melt time off the clock. Instead, Texas had just committed their 4th and most devastating turnover of the game. Georgia took over at the Texas 23 and scored a few plays later when QB John Lastinger called his own number with a 17 yard option run on the right side. It was the only touchdown of the game, and gave the Bulldogs a 10-9 victory over Texas in their back yard. Georgia fans like to troll Texas by asking what time it is in Texas. The answer is "10 to 9. It's always 10 to 9 in Texas."

The Rose Bowl


UCLA 45 vs. (#4 AP #5 UPI) Illinois 9

Next was the Rose Bowl, and this game is probably the most hilarious bowl game of all time. Partly because students from Cal Tech fooled around with the scoreboard late in the game. That Illinois team was the first and only team in Big Ten history to ever go 9-0 in regular season conference play. But as the bowl season drew near, Illinois saw themselves on the outside looking in. So during the week before the game they were politicking for sympathy since Nebraska, Texas, Auburn, and Miami all had match-ups with top 10 teams. Illinois didn't, and wouldn't be able to make their resumes look as good to voters. Poor Illinois had a crappy UCLA team that went 6-4-1, yet somehow managed to win the Pac-10...and they knew they would surely blow them out. Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell laughed.


It was a beat-down of epic proportions. NeuWeasel shook off a bout of food poisoning and ended up tying a Rose Bowl record with 4 touchdown passes, 2 of which went to Karl Dorrell. It ended up being the biggest accomplishments in their lives since they are mostly known now as being failures as head coaches.

So now that 2 of the top 5 teams lost, there were just 2 big games left. Auburn vs. Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, and Miami vs. Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. They were both going to be played at the same time. Right or wrong...it meant that if Nebraska lost to Miami, the national champion would be decided by who "looked" better between Miami and Auburn.

The Sugar Bowl


(#8) Michigan 7 vs. (#3) Auburn 9

That Auburn team had Bo Jackson and a bunch of people who didn't play for Alabama. They also had a kicker from Miami named Al Del Greco. He scored all of the Tigers points that night with 3 field goals. The Michigan team they were playing finished in a 3-way tie for 2nd place in the Big Ten that year with Iowa and Ohio State. Michigan got the invite to the Sugar Bowl though because they have cooler helmets. So while they were a top ten team, they were hardly world beaters. Auburn needed to impress the media on a crazy day like this but they couldn't. In fact, Michigan led for the entire game after QB Steve Smith hit paydirt on a 4 yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter. It wasn't until Del Greco hit his 3rd and final field goal with just 23 seconds remaining in the game that Auburn got its first lead of the night.

No one cared then. No one cares now.

The Orange Bowl


(#5 AP #4 UPI) Miami 31 vs (#1) Nebraska 30

Miami entered the game as 10.5 point underdogs. They knew it would be tough, but they still felt they could win. UM was smart, and before the game even started they began telling all the media that if they won, they should be national champions based on how the day unfolded. After all, Nebraska was billed as "The Team of the Century", with Heisman winner Mike Rozier, QB Turner Gill, and WR Irving Fryar. It made the Orange Bowl more important to watch instead of the Sugar Bowl, and the ratings showed it.

some SEC shill said:
But in 1983 it was a very unusual thing when, before the game, Miami started making the claim that if the Hurricanes beat No. 1 they should BE No. 1. Even NBC, which broadcast the Orange Bowl, was billing it as the game for the national championship. It was unprecedented and it worked. It didn't help Auburn's case that the television ratings for the Orange Bowl (23.5) dwarfed those of the Sugar Bowl (8.9). And it didn't help that Auburn that its only points were Del Greco's three field goals while Miami and Nebraska were combining for 61 points.

While Auburn was being their usual, boring, and unimpressive selves, Miami was taking it to the team billed as the greatest ever. Miami jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and then took a 31-17 lead in the second half. Nebraska fought back though. Then this happened:



Kenny Calhoun tipped Turner Gill’s pass and the rest is history. The early campaigning by Miami paid off. The only major outlet that didn't name Miami number 1 was the New York Times computer poll. They named Auburn the national champions.


Congrats on that, Auburn. When the polls that actually matter came out the next morning the top 5 looked like this:


LOL at the fact people still voted Nebraska or Auburn #1. Anyone with eyes knew Miami was better. They also couldn't drop Nebraska past the #2 spot because they were still a really good team that had a terrific season. That's why the Tigers finished 3rd. Them's the breaks, Auburn. The Tigers' head coach Pat Dye was really butt-hurt over the whole affair. He challenged newly hired coach Jimmy Johnson to play his pre-season #1 Auburn team in the Kickoff Classic to open the 1984 season. Jimmy obliged him, and #10 Miami won 20-18. To make it even better was the fact that Alonzo Highsmith completely outclassed Bo Jackson in the game. The hip-less wonder was held below 100 yards rushing that night. Bo Jackson sucks.

There's really nothing else to say. We hope Auburn reconsiders this mistake on their part. And to that we say goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Apparently Auburn doesn't "officially" claim these years as titles. The school officially claims the 2 titles they won in 1957 and 2010. They added something to their website that states that the NCAA recognizes them as having 5.

That's even more limp-wristed than we thought. Someone should tell them that the NCAA doesn't recognize college football national titles since there wasn't an NCAA playoff to decide them. You know who does? The AP and Coaches poll.

Comments (41)

Nothing else to add....U nailed it
Evisceration. Complete Evisceration.

Key STFU points:

Auburn actually finished #3, lol.

We pounded the final nail in the coffin in the KOC.

Pathetic, Auburn. Pathetic.
NE had Heisman winner, Outland winner, AAs everywhere, and numerous first round draft picks and was scoring like 70 points a game. Not to mention one of the two dominate powers from the conference that was the sec of that day. Most important, I made thousands of $$$ taking THE U even with odds from Cornhusker fans -- none of whom thought any tiger was number one after what they admitted was about the greatest game ever.
LOL Auburn


Great post. Nothing more needs to be said.
Danny D is one of the best to ever lace em up

That said, solid work sir, Ima go share this with the country bumpkin Auburn fans down here
Never forget that game. The team of the century. I never let Nebraska fans forget it.
Ether complete. Dan is one of the best doing it.