I asked a prominent former USC player Thursday who still visits Heritage Hall what he thought would happen with Clay Helton?
“If he beats UCLA, he is safe,” the player said.
Imagine only needing to beat a 4-6 team to keep your job? Not bad work if you can get it.
I’m repeating this story just to show there are some who believe Helton can save is job. I told the ex-player if this happens, athletic director Mike Bohn and president Carol Folt will really see what fan unrest looks like.
- Bohn will also get to check out what fan apathy looks like Saturday. Will USC need to add 10,000 to the attendance figure? Yes.
- The USC-UCLA game outcome has impacted past coaches’ futures. Don Clark started 8-0 in 1959 and USC ascended to No. 4 in the national rankings. But the Trojans lost, 10-3, to unranked UCLA to spoil their perfect season and lost the following week to Notre Dame. Clark resigned and joined his family’s industrial laundry company.
“Poor Don Clark was attacked by everyone,” legendary USC coach John McKay said in his biography. McKay was a USC assistant that season and considered quitting following the negative reaction.
He told his wife, “This is a horse—- town. The man won eight games and lost two. Now everybody’s complaining. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
McKay stayed and replaced Clark on a one-year contract. The Trojans struggled in 1960 with a 3-5 record when USC upset No. 11 UCLA, 17-6.
“It saved my job,” McKay said.
- After No. 1-ranked USC defeated UCLA in 1962, John McKay saw his mother-in-law.
“Whew, I’m glad that’s over,” she said after the game. “I couldn’t sleep all week worrying about UCLA.”
“But why,” McKay said. “I didn’t plan to use you.”
- Mike Scarpace, an all-Pac-8 offensive lineman who played at USC from 1965-67, died Nov. 11. He was 74.
Scarpace started at right guard for the 1967 national championship team, where he blocked for Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson.
McKay used to say fumbles went to the “more alert team.” As an example, McKay cited the 1967 USC-UCLA game when split end Earl McCullough broke a long run but fumbled when he was tackled. The ball was recovered by Scarpace who followed McCullough downfield.
“Sixty yards downfield Scarpace recovered,” McKay said. “Here’s a guy who ran the 40 in about 5.2, but he was always down there. That’s the difference.”
You can watch the play below at the 1:47 mark.
- Former USC All-American pitcher Vic Lapiner died this week. He was 85. Lapiner led the Trojans to the 1955 College World Series. Lapiner was was 7-0 with a 2.99 ERA in 1955. For years, Lapiner and Pete Rose were close friends.
- The Pac-12 Network is supposed to cover the Blood Bowl on Friday at UCLA, which is the annual flag football game between the Daily Trojan and Daily Bruin.
- For the first time, the Daily Trojan and Daily Bruin joined forces to produce a combined football issue that was distributed at both schools Friday.
This is a far cry from when each staff used to print a “bogus” edition of the other paper on the Friday before the USC-UCLA game. I remember driving to Westwood around 6 a.m. with other Daily Trojan staff members and scooping up all the copies of the Daily Bruin and replacing them with the fake paper (example below).
And finally . . . did you know Boston College coach Steve Addazio has beaten just one team ranked by the Associated Press in seven years? That one victory would be a 37-31 upset of No. 9-ranked USC in 2014. Thanks, Sarkisian!