1979 Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Alabama (10-1) 14, No. 1 Penn State (11-0) 7
Whoa, Nellie! Keith Jackson, who's forgotten far more about college football than we'll ever know, says it's one of the greatest games he's seen. Bear Bryant vs. Joe Paterno and a crowd of 76,824 at the Superdome. It was a defensive battle. The Tide led 7-0 at the half, and 14-7 with under five minutes left in the game. But Penn State then forced a fumble, recovering on Alabama's 19. The Nittany Lions move quickly to the eight. Then came "The Goal Line Stand." Penn State ran three times from inside the 1-yard line and was stuffed inches from the end zone each time.
Jackson's call: "Fourth down and a foot separating top-ranked Penn State from a possible national championship. Fusina hands to Guman. He didn't make it! He didn't make it! What an unbelievable goal-line stand by Alabama!" There were still four minutes remaining, and Penn State got another chance, but Alabama held on. The Crimson Tide had the national title and Paterno was left searching for his first.
1969 Rose Bowl: No. 1 Ohio State (9-0) 27, No. 2 USC (9-0-1) 16
A Rose Bowl packed with 102,063 fans -- including President Nixon, who shifted from the Ohio State to the USC side at halftime -- watched the hometown Trojans blow a 10-0 second-quarter lead in their 27-16 loss. O.J. Simpson was spectacular, particularly during the first half of his final game at USC, which included an 80-yard TD run. Simpson would finish with 256 total yards -- 171 rushing and 85 receiving -- but his two second-half fumbles spurred Ohio State's comeback. Woody Hayes was also spectacular, in his way, running onto the gridiron to contest a call, with just 45 ticks remaining, that went the way of USC QB Steve Sogge and receiver Sam Dickerson. It closed the gap to a still-comfortable 27-17, but Woody couldn't help himself.