Notre Dame signed a six-year, $30 million deal with NBC, granting the network the exclusive rights to broadcast Notre Dame football.
Two big names retired from the coaching ranks, Michigan's Bo Schembechler and Oklahoma's Barry Switzer, while a soon-to-be legendary coach Steve Spurrier was hired by Florida away from Duke in an effort to clean up after a decade of NCAA sanctions.
1980 George Rogers
1981 Marcus Allen
1982 Herschel Walker
1983 Mike Rozier
1984 Doug Flutie
1985 Bo Jackson
1986 Vinny Testaverde
1987 Tim Brown
1988 Barry Sanders
1989 Andre Ware
1980's Heisman Trophy Winners
College football in the 1980s decade was filled with much excitement. Miami dominated the 80’s winning 3 national championships. University of Georgia won its first national championship since World War II thanks to Herschel Walkers strong performance against Tennessee in 1980. Then in 1981, Clemson Tigers was the team that took home the national championship title thanks to its perfect season record. This was also the first year of the California Bowl, played in Fresno, California; this game fancied itself as a "junior" version of the Rose Bowl as it pitted the Big West champion vs. the MAC champion.
Florida State played a brutal series of games known as "Octoberfest", playing traditional powers Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and LSU all on the road and going 3-2 in that stretch.
Clemson's match-up with North Carolina proved to be the landmark game of the season and a huge turning point for the ACC. This game which Clemson won 10-8 marked the first time two ACC teams met while ranked in the top 10.
The 1982 football season saw Paul “Bear” Bryant retire as head coach at Alabama with 323 career victories in 38 seasons. The Penn State Nittany Lions won their first consensus National Championship, defeating Georgia and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker in the Sugar Bowl 27-23. It was Joe Paterno's first national championship, after three undefeated non-championship seasons. It is also the year of “The Play”, a near impossible finish to the annual rivalry game between Cal and Stanford.
The 1986 college football season ended with Penn State winning the National Championship. Coached by Joe Paterno, they defeated Miami 14-10 in the Fiesta Bowl. This Fiesta Bowl was the first in the game's history to decide the national championship, launching it into the top tier of bowls.
Miami came into the game #1 and Penn State #2. In a move that would come to symbolize the game for years to come, Miami arrived wearing combat fatigues while Penn State arrived wearing suits and ties.
The 1987 college football season ended with Miami winning its second National Championship during the 80's in an Orange Bowl match-up featuring a rare #1 vs. #2 matchup between the top ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Hurricanes.
The 1989 college football season ended with Miami winning its third National Championship during the 80s, cementing its claim as the decade's top team, winning more titles than any other program.