The 1988 college football season is one of the most storied in the long history of the sport, primarily because of the epic quality of one game—Notre Dame vs. Miami in South Bend on October 15.
That was the game that settled the national championship and indeed, it was one for the ages. But there were other stories that made ’88 a compelling year for college football fans…
*West Virginia had the best year in program history. Led by a dynamic quarterback named Major Harris, the Mountaineers went undefeated in the regular season and got a crack at Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl for the national title.
*USC and UCLA eyed each other up across town all season long. Their historic rivalry had national championship implications and included future NFL greats.
*Michigan came oh-so-close to Bo Schembechler’s first national title, their only losses coming to Notre Dame and Miami—by a combined three points.
And that brings us full circle to the Irish and the Hurricanes. This was the third year in South Bend for Lou Holtz. Like Dan Devine and Ara Parseghian before him, Holtz won it all in Year 3. And 1988 was the final year in college for Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson. His team recovered from the one-point loss at Notre Dame to roll on through everyone else and finish #2 in the nation, before Johnson left for the NFL.
The articles below take you through each team’s seasonal narrative, their high points, their key players and the moments that mattered most.