But the clock ran out with USC on the four. "Perfect!" Peggy screamed. Seconds later the phone rang and a caller blurted out, ' "Bama's No. 1 and Charlie White's No. 2." Steadman Shealy laughed. Two days earlier he had told a circle of reporters, "If it pleases God for us to be No. 1, that's great. But if the Lord has a better plan for us, we'll just pick up the pieces and go home." But now he craved it. "We'll see," he said.
With classes out at Tuscaloosa and no urge to linger in New Orleans for a last round of parties, Shealy elected "to spend time with my girl friend and the Lord." They drove to his grandmother's house in Madison, Miss. There, the next night, Shealy got the good word: Alabama No. 1 in both polls, with USC second, Orange Bowl victor Oklahoma third and Ohio State fourth. "It's joyous," he said. "Praise the Lord!" And Ogilvie and Jackson and a defense that impressed even the pollsters.