The time has come: a total solar eclipse has made it’s way to THE continental United States of America. The last time this happened, it was in The Year of our Lord 1979. Wild times those were—I wasn’t alive back then, but it was the 70s, and those seemed like wild times. I mean, 1979 featured Queen releasing a hit in “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Margaret Thatcher becoming the first women Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, ESPN getting launched, and McDonald’s coming out with the Happy Meal.
But, we haven’t touched on one of the most important topics of 1979: the college football season. Was it as crazy as 2007? Nah, not really. But, the end product was sorta the same. Just like in the 2007 edition of CFB, the 1979 season featured the Ohio State Buckeyes running the table en route to a Rose Bowl appearance—basically, a de facto national championship game. The Buckeyes ran through a tough non-conference foe in UCLA that season, had an early conference matchup on the road against Minnesota, and they had to travel to Ann Arbor to take down a Michigan team on the outside of the Top-10.
On this undefeated journey—one that started after OSU lost to Clemson in the infamous Citrus Bowl, which then propelled Earle Bruce to assemble the group of Buckeyes out for revenge on the college football landscape—quarterback Art Schlichter threw for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns, and finished fourth on the Heisman voting. Also on the offense, guard Ken Fritz earned a spot on the All-American team. Collectively, those ‘79 Buckeyes forced 31 turnovers, and held teams to under 10 points per game, according to the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia.
This Bruce-coached squad began the season outside of the AP Top 25, but then racked up the wins. Below is the reign of destruction the ‘79 Buckeyes left.
OSU’s 1979 Schedule Full of Wins
|9/15/79||at Minnesota||W, 21-17|
|9/22/79||Washington State||W, 45-29|
|9/29/79||at (No. 17) UCLA||W, 17-13|
|10/27/79||Michigan State||W, 42-0|
|11/3/79||at Illinois||W, 44-7|
|11/17/79||at (No. 13) Michigan||W, 18-15|
The Buckeyes tore through their slate of games. That’s the good news. However, there is some bad news. If history repeats itself, which, judging by the preseason predictions, might happen, USC and Alabama will be in the title picture this season—just as they were in 1979. The Rose Bowl for the 1979 season was a showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 3 USC.
If the Buckeyes would’ve defeated USC, they would’ve been in serious conversation for a share, if not all, of the national title. However, there’s a reason would’ve is used instead of did. The Trojans beat the Buckeyes in that Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1980, 17-16.
Adding insult to injury, No. 2 Alabama played No. 6 Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, and the Crimson Tide thumped the Razorbacks, 24-9. And just like that, Alabama claimed their 11th national title. The final standings to the 1979 season: Alabama (1), USC (2), Oklahoma (3), and Ohio State (4).
So, this now brings us to 2017: the year were the total eclipse makes its return to the U.S. Is it a coincidence that the storylines from 1979 run similar to 2017? Probably. But, putting on the tinfoil hat and finding ways for this correlation to equal causation is a fun occupation.
Once again, Alabama, USC and Ohio State are all back on the race for the national championship, and OSU’s journey to the top of the mountain comes on the heels of a loss to Clemson in a bowl game; additionally, the Buckeyes have a stellar QB at the helm in J.T. Barrett to guide them through the twist and turns of the season.
If the 2017 season ends up being 1979 version 2.0, then it might be a downer for Buckeye nation. But, things tend to not break the same way the second time around.
What do you think will happen in the 2017 season with the Buckeyes? Will it be like 1979? More like 2014? Let us know below.