Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 9 Jan 2015 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

20th anniversity of 1984 national championship

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Reprinted from the Sept. 4, 2004 Cougar Illustrated


On September 3, 2004 the members of the 1984 National Championship Football Team were inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Each summer as college football camps across the nation open, each team takes the practice field with a dream—a dream to win a championship.

The team that shocked these football superpowers to live this impossible dream was the 1984 Brigham Young University Cougars.

“I think some of us dreamed about [winning the championship] and thought it could happen from the first day we started working out,” BYU tight end David Mills told the San Diego Union. “There are a lot of ifs and buts that have to come true before it happens. And all those things that had to come true came true for us this year.”

But the Cougars’ dream had a lot of detractors. The college football world seemed unconvinced a school from a second-rate conference was really worthy of a No. 1 ranking and a national championship.

“As long as we were third, fourth or fifth nothing was said,” BYU coach LaVell Edwards said. “Everyone felt comfortable with that. But as soon as we were ranked No. 1, a lot of people became uncomfortable. We were always having to defend our ranking.”

The dream began to take shape in early September at No. 3 Pittsburgh. The Cougars fell behind early, but rallied behind quarterback Robbie Bosco to defeat the Panthers 20-14. This early season upset caught the attention of the college football world and the Cougars debuted at No. 13 in the first AP poll of the season.

Eleven weeks and 11 victories later, the Cougars found themselves ranked No. 1, the only undefeated team in the nation. But still, the critics raised the question as to whether or not the Cougars were really deserving of the No. 1 ranking, after all they said, “who had the Cougars played?”

But those who played the Cougars knew the validity of this team from the Western Athletic Conference.

Hawai`i learned BYU was for real when All-American safety Kyle Morrell recorded perhaps the best defensive play in school history that year. Morrell’s fourth-and-goal somersault flip over the Hawai`i center, catapulted himself into stopping UH quarterback Rafael Cherry and thus preserved BYU's perfect season.

Baylor played both BYU and Oklahoma, which was highly ranked for most of the season and was given consideration for the No. 1 ranking. Baylor Coach Grant Teaff said the Cougars were the better team.

“We felt we had a chance against Oklahoma, but against BYU all I wanted to do was get the game over with and get out of there,” Teaff told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Southern Methodist University Coach Ron Meyer also defended the Cougars.

“They do a tremendous job and they’re a legitimate No. 1—that’s all,” Meyer said in an AP story. “They’re sound—and they’re a class, class operation. They’ve done it, and I don’t care who it’s been against.”

Some, like national morning TV host Bryant Gumbel, challenged the Cougars as playing a schedule made up of schools like Bo Diddley Tech. National media began including BYU on their circuit of stops along with covering Mississippi Valley State’s receiving phenom Jerry Rice.

The Cougars began to verbally defend themselves. Defensive End Jim Herrmann told the Atlanta Constitution he was tired of all the skeptics of the Cougars’ championship run.

“I don’t understand the way people are reacting to us,” he said. “Why not us? We’re 12-0. We’ve won 23 straight games. That’s nothing to laugh at, no matter who you’re playing.”

Ultimately the pollsters agreed with Herrmann and the Cougars finished the season No. 1 in both the AP and UPI polls. The voting wasn’t unanimous, but it was enough for the Cougars to live the impossible dream, to do something no other team has done in the last 50 years.

BYU’s 1984 team is one of 34 teams to go undefeated since that time, but only 13 of these teams were voted by Associated Press as No. 1.

By winning the 1984 NCAA football championship, this Cougar team became the “Hoosiers” of the football world, a small school from a small community, that most thought had no business playing for the championship. BYU won the championship anyway, giving hope to all those other teams that “have no chance,” that they too, can live the dream.

Where the two-deep players are from the 1984 National Championship team

Player, Position Occupation Residence 
Larry Hamilton, DT OC Tanner Executive Alpine, UT
Shawn Knight, DT Medical Sales Park City, UT
Brad Smith, NG Plumbing Contractor Orange Park, FL
Ken Smith, NG Owner Firestone Service Center Mt. Pleasant, SC
Jim Herrmann, DT Exec. Icon Health & Fitness Draper, UT
Leon White, SLB Retired NFL, Coach San Diego HS LaMesa, CA
Alema Fitisemanu,LB Manager Troubled Juvenile School Western Samoa
Kurt Gouveia, WLB Retired NFL, Grad. Asst. Hawai`I Honolulu, HI
Ladd Akeo, WLB Grade School Counselor Maui, HI
Marv Allen, MLB Cardiologist Mapleton, UT
Jay McDonald, MLB Behavior Analyst, Office of Education Yuba City, CA
Cary Whittingham,LB Detective Provo, UT
David Neff, LLB Spinal Medical Sales Oakley, UT
Jeff Sprowls, LC — Glendale, CA
Rodney Thomas, LC — Ontario, CA
Steve Haymond, SS CPA & Business Owner Salt Lake City, UT
Marc Sherman, SS Teacher & HS Coach Las Vegas, NV
Kyle Morrell, WS Sales Rep. THB Farmington, UT
Korey Rasmussen,WS Attorney Salt Lake City, UT
Mark Allen, RC Retired Yorba Linda, CA
Shane Shumway, RC Contracter/Rancher Blanding, UT

Player, Position Occupation Residence 
Adam Haysbert, SE Business Owner, Gospel Minister Philadelphia, PA
Richard Orr, SE Branch Manager Salt Lake City, UT
Glen Kozlowski, WR Broadcaster, Insurance Rep., Coach Wildwood, IL
Mark Bellini, WR Environmental Consultant Provo, UT
David Mills, TE HS Teacher & Coach Island Lake, IL
Lance Lindley, TE Asst. Principal, Skyline HS Iona, ID
Louis Wong, OT HS Teacher, Coach Highland, UT
Sam Oramas, OT Attorney Carson, CA
Robert Anae, OG Off. Line Coach, Texas Tech Lubbock, TX
John Borgia, OG Heavy Equipment Appraiser Mokena, IL
Trevor Matich, C Owns Company, Broadcaster Sacramento, CA
Keith McCullough, C Attorney Newport Beach, CA
Craig Garrick, OG Deceased, Sept. 3, 2001 Sandy, UT
David King, OG Manager for Dynix American Fork, UT
Dave Wright, OT Retired Deputy Sheriff Petaluma, CA
Scott Robinson, OT Real Estate San Martin, CA
Robbie Bosco, QB Cougar Club Fundraiser Provo, UT
Blaine Fowler, QB Pharmaceutical Manager Kaysville, UT
Lakaei Heimuli, FB Direct Sales, Delta Airlines Bountiful, UT
Thor Salanoa, FB — Honolulu, HI
Kelly Smith, HB Teacher, Coach at Dixie State St. George, UT
Robert Parker, HB — —
Lee Johnson, P/K Stock Trader Alpine, UT
Vai Sikahema, PR/KR NBC Sports Anchor Mt. Laurel, NJ

1984 Final AP Poll
Rank Team Record Points 
1. BYU 13-0-0 (38)* 1,160 
2. Washington 11-1-0 (16)* 1,140 
3. Florida 9-1-1 (6)* 1,092
4. Nebraska 10-2-0 1,017
5. Boston College 10-2-0 932
6. Oklahoma 9-2-1 883
7. Oklahoma State 10-2-0 864
8. SMU 10-2-0 761
9. UCLA 9-3-0 613
10. Southern Cal 9-3-0 596
11. South Carolina 10-2-0 557
12. Maryland 9-3-0 552
13. Ohio State 9-3-0 497
14. Auburn 9-4-0 432
15. LSU 8-3-1 314
16. Iowa 8-4-1 228
17. Florida State 7-3-2 207
18. Miami (Fla.) 8-5-0 166
19. Kentucky 9-3-0 152
20. Virginia 8-2-2 119
*First place votes

1984 Final UPI Poll
Rank Team Record Points 
1. BYU 13-0-0 579 (28)*
2. Washington 11-1-0 561 (11)* 
3. Nebraska 10-2-0 508 
4. Boston College 10-2-0 429 
5. Oklahoma State 10-2-0 376 
6. Oklahoma 9-2-1 345
7. Florida 9-1-1 328 (1)*
8. SMU 10-2-0 310
9. Southern Cal 9-3-0 245
10. UCLA 9-3-0 229 
11. Maryland 9-3-0 175 
12. Ohio State 9-3-0 166 
13. South Carolina 10-2-0 143 
14. Auburn 9-4-0 118
15. Iowa 8-4-1 73 
16. LSU 8-3-1 48
17. Virginia 8-2-2 45 
18. West Virginia 8-4-0 34 
19T. Kentucky 9-3-0 28 
19T. Florida State 7-3-2 28 
*First place votes

For more information on the 1984 national championship, please visit the following links on our site:


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