Let’s talk numbers for a minute, with this ill-advised social media entry.
Who the hell came up with this selection of numbers?
No. 55 is obviously the crown jewel. But where is No. 42 (Pat Cannamela, C.R. Roberts, Ricky Bell, Ronnie Lott)? For better or worse, where is No. 32 (Jim Sears, O.J. Simpson)? What about No. 33 (Marcus Allen)?
I doubt the person who posted those numbers even knows who some of the guys I mentioned are? But they saw Carson Palmer and Mike Williams and Reggie Bush.
- Back in February I wrote that former USC assistant coach Tony Bland was volunteering at a local high school (St. Bernard). But a Southern California high school had a different view: “On paper, he’s the assistant coach, but he’s really the head coach.”
- And now for some history:
Here’s one of the wildest weekends in the Crosstown Rivalry.
In 1966, No. 8-ranked UCLA defeated No. 7-ranked USC, 14-7. Back then, the Rose Bowl representative was selected by the conference, which was the AAUW. The conference members were not obligated to select the conference champion.
USC had a 4-1 conference record while UCLA was 3-1. The conference members met in San Francisco on Monday morning after the Bruins’ victory and voted USC into the Rose Bowl.
“The conference championship was the big factor in the decision,” John McKay said. “We’re just tickled to death we got the vote.”
When the announcement was made at noon, UCLA students were attending a rally in Pauley Pavilion. USC students immediately gathered at Tommy Trojan to celebrate as classes were canceled for the rest of the day.
After the rally, USC students drove over to UCLA and started a huge egg fight that involved 200 students and required eight LAPD units and UCLA campus security to break it up.
UCLA students then shut down the 405 freeway. They were reportedly looking for the USC students.
The selection of USC in 1966 was a reversal for the Trojans. USC lost out to Washington in a 1963 vote and to Oregon State in controversial 1964 vote after the Trojans defeated Notre Dame, 20-17, in a game they trailed 17-0.
Unfortunately for USC, getting into the Rose Bowl was the last bit of good news for the season. USC lost to No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, 51-0, the following week and then lost to No. 7-ranked Purdue, 14-13, in the Rose Bowl.
- John McKay did not like Stanford coach John Ralston and once called him a “horse’s ass” in 1976 after the Denver Broncos defeated Tampa Bay, 48-13.
But the feud went back to the early 1960’s. After McKay improved to 3-0 vs. Ralston in 1965, he said, ““I shouldn’t say this. But I’m going to. When you win the game, the other team ought to shut up. You should always be gracious in victory or defeat.
“In three years against Stanford we’ve given them two touchdowns, but all we have read, heard and been told is that we’ve been fortunate to win.”
- Maybe the worst day of the year for USC students was when registration was held in the P.E. Building with long lines in the hot gyms.
As the picture below from 1962 shows, health exams were required of new students and might require a shot.
- Phil Woolpert was the basketball coach at the University of San Francisco when it won NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956 with Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. At the time, he was the youngest coach to win an NCAA title and had a 60-game winning streak at USF.
In 1955, Woolpert’s Dons defeated USC, 58-42, as Russell had 24 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in only 25 minutes of action.
Why do I mention Woolpert? Because he went to Manual Arts High School, which is practically across the street from USC. Do you think USC’s basketball legacy would be different if Woolpert were its coach instead of Forrest Twogood? Do you think Woolpert would have wanted the USC job?
Of course, the 1955-56 USF team had four African-American players. USC didn’t have any until 1959. So Woolpert probably would have turned USC down.
Just another example of the tortured history of USC basketball.
- Last week, I wrote about Pat Mills, the QB who started the 1965 season-opener but wasn’t even in school in 1966. Mills did not letter at USC but attended Santa Monica High School. That might make it easier for some to remember.
- A 1966 USC-UCLA baseball game was televised by Channel 11 (KTTV) with Tom Kelly announcing. Sounds like it was available to a few more homes than the Pac-12 Network.
- Concert time: Frank Zappa performed at Bovard Auditorium in 1970.
Remember later today I will have the USC column supplement in the newsletter.