BYU’s 1984 Title Recognized Among College Football’s Greatest Upsets
PROVO, Utah – BYU football’s 1984 national championship and undefeated season was recognized as one of the greatest upsets in college football history.
The Cougars’ title was among the best upsets shown during ESPN’s The Greatest on Thursday, November 7. The television show is part of a series running throughout the season that showcases the past 150 years of college football.
“There’s only been one big non-conference team ever to win the national championship. BYU in 1984,” said Bonnie Bernstein who worked at ESPN from 2006-13.
“What elevated BYU in that season was their opening game of the year. They went into Pittsburgh and smacked Pittsburgh in the mouth and that set the tone for what was the BYU season,” said ESPN’s Holly Rowe. Rowe attended BYU during the mid-1980s.
The Cougars defeated the No. 3 Pitt Panthers 20-14 on September 1 before beating Baylor and Tulsa in back-to-back home games.
BYU jumped to No. 13 in the country in the second week of the season. The Cougs ran the table and finished their regular season schedule with wins over Utah and Utah State.
The 1984 bowl game for BYU was the Holiday Bowl against a 6-6 Michigan. The Cougars beat the Wolverines 24-17 to finish the season 13-0 and the only undefeated team in college football that year.
“I don’t think the voters in 1984 paid quite as close attention to strength of schedule that certainly the college football playoff committee does today,” said The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel.
The Cougars are the last non-Power 5 program to win a national title in college football.