UGA’s 1980 title carries gravitas because of Herschel Walker’s rise to stardom
The lore surrounding the 1980 team could lose its luster in the coming years, but growing up in Georgia, you heard nothing but great stories about Vince Dooley’s finest team Between the Hedges. Yes, Dooley and defensive back Scott Woerner were also College Football Hall of Famers, and Erk Russell should be too, but 1980 is synonymous with the meteoric rise of Herschel Walker.
Dooley won a ton of games in his iconic career, but he never had another player like Walker. Four things from this season standout, most having to do with Walker himself. He ran over a Tennessee linebacker before out-dueling Heisman winner George Rogers’ South Carolina squad. Of course, quarterback Buck Belue found Lindsay Scott to end Florida in Jacksonville to Larry Munson’s liking.
That was all great, but one big game remained. It took a herculean effort out of a super-banged-up Walker to pretty much single-handedly beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to go undefeated and win the national championship. Georgia was fantastic the next two years, but this was peak Walker. Had it not been for the last two seasons, or Walker’s political career, this would be No. 1.
I don’t know if this was the best team Georgia ever, but few fired on all cylinders like this one did.