About That 1975 USC Season

After I wrote about the 1975 Liberty Bowl yesterday, I received a call from a member of that USC team.

USC was ranked No. 3 and undefeated but went into a tailspin and lost 4 straight games after John McKay announced he was going to Tampa Bay.

“McKay announced the Friday before we got on the bus to leave for Cal that he was leaving to go to Tampa. That’s all anybody talked about even in the locker room before the game.

“The coaches were more worried about their jobs and they coached like it.

“After (McKay) made that announcement he checked out.”

USC lost to Cal, 28-14, which had star QB Joe Roth and tailback Chuck Muncie. The Trojans then lost three games by a total of seven points to Stanford, Washington and UCLA.

“We had a bowl practice and McKay wasn’t there and the ball boys said he was asleep in his office,” the player said. “We said (forget) it and didn’t listen to him after that. Even when he was at practice, he wasn’t there.  We played for ourselves.”

USC defeated Texas A&M, 20-0, in the Liberty Bowl.

14 thoughts on “About That 1975 USC Season

  1. Man the reference to ‘Chuck Muncie’ and his ‘bubble glasses’. Remember his claim of his taxi’s tire gettin flat? Whichj was why he didn’t make that plane for the SD Chargers?

    Frankly, you can’t blame the team esp. if (as stated) McKay chose to even bail on the practice. He should have tried to reveal his move until as late as possible. In fairness ‘maybe’ he did and he was at the mercy of Hugh Culverhouse to keep his yap shut. Nonetheless it killed that team

    Liked by 3 people

    1. McKay paid his penance at Tampa Bay.
      Started out 0-26, right?

      When asked about his teams “execution,” McKay retorted.
      “I’m all for it!”

      Like

  2. It kind of puts a different spin on the whole McKay legacy. I had heard his pro team wasn’t easy to direct either. I don’t think the things that USC players loved about him, were endearing to the pro players. He knew he had made a mistake when he made it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No….the NFL ‘did not’ provide new franchises with what they do today. All they got were high draft picks and slots from the rosters not ‘protected’. Today the financing they provide is legion compared to 1975. Not saying McKay didn’t have to ‘learn’ a new game plan – he did and he did and he did….and by 1979 he got rh Bics to the NFC CG against the ‘lambs’ and lost on field goals.

      He did not do what Jimmy Johnson…Barry Switzer nor Pete Carroll ( a Super Bowl win) nor did his later years provide him with glory. He did what few were willing to do -0 a new franchise…save for the Las Vegas Knights (2017) few there be that excel that 1st year.

      I do concede he probably reallized the grass isn’t ‘always greener on the other side’ and sensed he should of stayed with USC.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Alv —One BIG thing that everybody is forgetting is that John wanted to build his offense around Ricky Bell and it tuned out that Bell was slowly dying. When McKay took Bell instead of Tony Dorsett it seemed like the smart thing to do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ricky B–the hardest working man in FB.
        Bought a pair of combat boots his Soph or Jr year and went down to the beach every day and ran wind sprints in the heavy sand “to get into shape.” God rest his noble soul.

        Every time I hear the song, “Tighten up” by Archie Bell and the Drells, I think of RB.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The highlights of that SC-CAL game are on youtube. National ABC game of the week. #3SC vs #7CAL. Packed stadium in the fall. The way it used to be. Probably never again.
    Muncie passed out on our upstairs fraternity hallway. We’d toss a blanket over him & put a pillow under his head.
    3/4 backfield starters in that game are gone. Damn am I gettin old.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. McKay leaving for NFL money is understandable, however, emotionally bailing on that undefeated SC team at the halfway mark was cruel and selfish. But not surprising as I recall the only comment McKay ever made to me was, “If you drop another pass, you may as well get off this field!” That too is a part of his history or legacy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As a Former Trojan player, I really feel for the 75 team players. Coach McKay should have waited until the season end, then make the decision to not coach the Bowl game.
    The only good thing about McKay leaving was
    That he took my awful inept LB coach
    Phil Kruger.. He was the worst coach on SC’s
    Staff, and I got stuck with this twit.
    He became the GM at Tampa Bay..
    He was not a good on the field Coach!
    We still won despite him!!
    1969 10-0-1
    1970 Rose Bowl Champs
    Bob Jensen #51 LB
    1969 Team CoCaptain

    Like

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