With Alabama preparing for a game in New Orleans, here's a quick look back at some happy moments in the Super Dome, all from the late 1970s.
First, a battle between two great head coaches: Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes.
"I don't think it's a matter of, whether Woody's the best coach, or I'm the best coach -- Woody's a great coach and has been for a long time. ... But I ain't too bad, either."
(Incidentally, this was one of those great moments in college football when the polls managed to come up with a goofy answer on the season's final weekend. Third-ranked 'Bama destroyed 9th-ranked Ohio St. that day on the same day that the first, second and fourth-ranked teams all lost ... only fifth-ranked Notre Dame jumped from 5th to 1st in the final AP poll after beating top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Goes the story, Bryant refused to run it up on Ohio St. in the fourth quarter, when he had a chance to impress pollsters. It happens.)
The very next season, 'Bama went back to New Orleans, this time ranked second and facing top-ranked and undefeated Penn St.
The ending to this one may look a tad familiar.
Gut-checks, baby. Nothing but gut-checks.
The 1980 Sugar Bowl is a largely-forgotten game in the minds of casual 'Bama fans, which isn't entirely fair, since the '79 'Bama team was arguably the best of the Bryant era (the only team of that era to capture an undisputed national championship).
(Note: the coach of Arkansas in 1979? You guessed it: a young, infinitely less crazy Lou Holtz. Fantastic.)
From a personal standpoint, my parents attended this game as part of their honeymoon -- my mother, who had never watched an Alabama game for any reason other than Auburn might've been playing in it, saw Alabama capture a national championship within a week of being married to my dad.
That was Jan. 1, 1980. My birth date, incidentally, is Feb. 5, 1981. Coincidence? Probably, but don't spoil my fun here.