The 1983 College Football Season & The Road To The Major Bowls

The 1983 college football season was a seminal year in the history of the sport. Miami’s stunning upset of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship marked the start of a dynasty and dramatic shift in the balance of power to the state of Florida in general. 1983 was also a year that looked like “chalk” much of the way, with the top-ranked teams holding serve until the bitter end. This blog compilation tells the story of the 10 teams who made the five major bowl games.

You’ll read the season-long narrative of the following…

*Miami’s quiet rise from a bad season-opening loss to an amazing national championship. See the growth of future NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar in his freshman year.

*Nebraska, as they demolished opponent after opponent behind Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mike Rozier. But they also showed the deficiencies that ultimately cost them a title.

*Texas and their great defense as they went undefeated and kept hoping for the one Cornhusker loss that would open the door for the national championship…and then coughed it up when the moment finally arrived.

*Auburn becoming a rising force in the SEC, with a great running back in Bo Jackson and going through a great schedule that should have been given more weight in the final voting.

*The Big Ten race as Illinois joined traditional powers Michigan and Ohio State in an exciting race for the conference title. The Illini got the Rose Bowl bid, while the Wolverines and Buckeyes were still ticketed for major bowls.

*Georgia and Pitt lost big stars in Herschel Walker and Dan Marino respectively. But showed the strength of their programs in returning to the major bowl stage. It was the Bulldogs pulling a big upset of their own that paved the way for the Hurricane legend.

*UCLA suffered through a rough non-conference schedule, and even their play in the Pac-10 wasn’t dominant. But they somehow fought their way through a balanced league and back to the Rose Bowl.

This compilation pulls together five different articles, one on each bowl game that tells about the season-long paths of its participants—their key players and season defining moments. The articles are edited for this compilation and together they tell the story of the 1983 college football season through the eyes of its best teams.