If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

It’s tempting to say the rivalry is at a low point this week.

But is it any worse than any of the recent games?

How many people really cared in 2016, 2017 or 2018? Both programs have provided plenty of reasons to ignore them and this year is no different.

The disappointment for some fans is that even after Clay Helton got fired, the coaches couldn’t change the course of direction with this team. That might be a blow to the egos of Donte Williams and Graham Harrell, but it squares with what they have produced as coaches at USC.

  • Now that Carol Folt has completed the renaming of VKC to the Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow Center for International and Public Affairs, when is she going to work on renaming Cromwell Field?
  • The annual “Blood Bowl” between the Daily Trojan and Daily Bruin student newspapers takes place today at 5 p.m. The USC IM-Rec dept. has refused to let the game take place on campus in 2019 and this year, so I’m told the game will take place on a grass field at the USC Village, across the street from campus.

Why can’t Cromwell Field be used? Just another thing where USC is becoming unbearable.

  • And now for a lot of history:

This is the Crosstown Rivalry in 1977 and it will take quite a game Saturday for 2021 to top this one.

The Trojans trailed 10-0 but scored 26 straight points to take a 26-10 lead in the third quarter. UCLA QB Rick Bashore, playing with a broken rib and collapsed lung, then led three scoring drives to give UCLA a 27-26 lead with 2:51 to play.

Trojans quarterback Rob Hertel drove the Trojans to the UCLA 21-yard line and Frank Jordan kicked a 38-yard field goal with two seconds left, which prevented the Bruins, who had won five straight, from going to the Rose Bowl.

Less remembered than the field goal is a controversial pass interference penalty that kept the winning drive alive. On third-and-10 at midfield with a minute left, Hertel threw a pass to WR Kevin Williams.

UCLA safety Johnny Lynn touched the ball but head linesman F.E. Conley ruled Lynn interfered with Williams.

“I was coming across the field and a guy was holding the back of the pads,” Williams said. “I didn’t think the referee saw it but fortunately he did. It was definitely pass interference.”

Lynn disagreed: “I didn’t think I touched him. I drove out in front of the ball and my right hand hit it. Then I hit the ground.”

UCLA QB Rick Bashore throws pass as USC’s Playboy All-American, Walt Underwood (95) attempt to deflect it in 1977 game at Coliseum.

USC coach Jeff Cravath talks to star QB Jim Hardy during the 1944 USC-UCLA game. Hardy was an amazing Trojan.  He lead to two shutout Rose Bowl victories, with three touchdown passes against Washington in a 29-0 victory in the 1944 Rose Bowl and then passed for two TDs and ran for a third to earn MVP honors in a 25-0 win over Tennessee in the 1945 Rose Bowl. 

Hardy led the Trojans in passing, total offense and punting both of those seasons. He was the No. 8 pick in the first round of the 1945 NFL Draft. Up until age 94, he would drive himself from his home in La Quinta to USC football practice once a week. His eyesight was good enough that he didn’t need to wear glasses even in his 90’s.

Hardy was the general manager of the Coliseum from 1973-86. He died in 2019 at age 96.

  • USC kicker David Bell celebrates with teammates after kicking a field goal to give the Trojans a 38-35 victory in 2000. You know what is amazing? That game drew 80,227 to the Rose Bowl even though USC was 4-6 and UCLA was 6-4. Almost the same records as 2021 but it won’t be even close to the same crowd this year.

In 2018, the announced crowd at the Rose Bowl was 57,116. In 2019, USC claimed there were 64,156. This year could be worse. Give credit to the fans in 2000.

  • In 1957, UCLA beat USC, 20-9. It was the last game at UCLA for coach Red Sanders, who famously said: “Beating SC is not a matter of life or death, it’s more important than that.”

USC wore gold helmets this season so both teams had gold helmets for the game.

The Trojan Squires pulled a memorable prank at the 1957 USC-UCLA game. During each Bruins card stunt, a cardinal and gold “SC” appeared in the upper left, as seen above.
  • USC coach Jess Hill resented Sanders because he was good with the press and popular with the fans.

A former UCLA assistant coach told me that back in the 1950’s, newspaper reporters would meet Sanders at Scandia, a landmark restaurant on Sunset Blvd. On some of those days, Sanders would skip practice presumably because he had a bit too much to drink. It was no big deal to the coaching staff, which knew he might not make it back for practice.

And look at this lavish birthday party for Sanders circa 1956-57.

It was held at Frank Sennes’ Moulin Rouge in Hollywood, which at the time was the biggest nightclub, restaurant and showroom in America. Sanders received a Cadillac as a birthday present. More than 1,000 people attended the party.

Since it will come up in the comments section, you can read about the scandalous circumstances of his death in 1958 here.

  • It seems like there were more things going on during the Crosstown Rivalry in 1981.

You had the arm wrestling finals between USC and UCLA. You could watch game highlights at Taper Hall. There was a bonfire rally. I think the “bonfire” no longer exists. A post-rally dance at VKC. Plus a “Halt Tuition Increase” Rally at Tommy Trojan and Ray Bradbury at Bovard Auditorium.

  • I ran this picture once before but it’s worth another viewing. USC football players Hoby Brenner, James Hunter, Ronnie Lott, Keith Van Horne, Dennis Smith and Speedy Hart at the UCLA game bonfire rally in 1980.

How does this compare?


76 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. One of your best columns. You need to write that book. Looking at these photos and reading the stories reminds us of just how much has changed at USC, and not for the better.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. IF only the game lives up to this column!
      I don’t know about you guys but the more I read about Red Sanders the more I like him. He represents the UCLA “zest” much better than Wooden.
      And the more I read about Jim Hardy the more I wish he were STILL in charge of the coliseum —at age 100…

      Liked by 5 people

      1. P. S.
        Ya gotta admit, Red took the whole notion of zest being “more important than life or death” about as far as a guy can take it, yes?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Shortly before the 1958 season, Sanders died suddenly of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hotel room on August 14. His companion was a convicted prostitute, Ernestine Drake, described as a “blonde woman.” The room was registered in the name of his friend, W.T. “Pop” Grimes, who had a record of arrests for pandering and had served prison time at San Quentin. Sanders had complained of the heat, and asked Grimes to fetch some soft drinks. He then began gasping for breath and clutching his chest. He died on the floor. His last words to Drake were, “Football is a great game. You should come out this fall and see a few games.” Los Angeles coroner Theodore Curphey said Sanders’ heart weighed 500 grams, whereas the normal size for an inactive male is 300–400 grams, meaning that Sanders suffered from an enlarged heart.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I liked it when Mike Tyson told promoter Don King that happiness would be calling Don and “having the coroner answer the phone.”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Jim Hardy, f**king two-bit draft dodger. He could play FB, but didn’t have the balls to carry a rifle in the service of his country like the Japanese students that were expelled from Clown U after Pearl Harbor.

        Hardy’s big RB wins were against teams depleted of players serving their country in WWII.

        Hardy was fired for his culpability regarding Crumbling Mausoleum fiscal irregularities. Hardy is St Pat’s patron saint.

        Claiming Jim Hardy is great Toejam is definitely “polishing a turd.”


      5. Calling Hardy a “turd” owns? Really? I’m thinking you got your diapers tangled into a bunch.

        And as far as the Memorial Coli goes, he wanted to take it private and do a major rehab on it, Carrol Rosenbloom was willing to do the finance, but the Coli Commission would have none of that. Hardy argued that if they rehabbed the Coli then ucla would stay there and also the Raiders would stay. He was way ahead of his time.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. I like the name of Cromwell Field,I love SC’s track and field heritage as much as football.loved going to meets in the 50’s -60’s coached by Jess Mortensen.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. must have ben hard playin the fotbal back then when every thing was black and white,i think one of the most importint invenshuns was colur as well as water so we dont get thursty no more,but problem with invending colur is that we can know all see what colur each other is so that makes it easier to hate each other

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank goodness for technological advancements!

      #Why is it that every family goes into politics and enriches themselves?
      -Eric Trump


      1. arandaormediocrity –do you realize how much bullshit 22 must swallow everyday of his life to feel justified saying the stuff he says? Remember the whole idea of “reparations”? Now, the dems are saying it’s not possible cuz the money needs to be spent on noncitizens….

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Wow, that’s the last time I’ll awkwardly bring up the name of an outstandingly successful self made man and turn this into a political debate.
        Lesson learned!


      1. MG, I don’t hate Jim Hardy, but facts are facts. Hey, everybody in Russia loved Uncle J. Stalin. So beloved Stalin never received a negative vote or bad press. Many people were so happy to call him a friend. Yet, MG, we know Uncle Joe had a weird side.

        Jim Hardy may have been a cool guy to know personally, but it doesn’t mean my J.H. accusations aren’t true. Jim Hardy was posted to Japan in 1946, long after the hard work by heroic soldiers was completed.

        But hey, Jimmy Hardy was a wartime bozo FB hero. A stinking insult to those WWII soldiers that “…gave the last full measure of devotion…”


  4. Somewhere between B&W and 8k high def full prism color there was the bronze-ish era where coaches didn’t pander, they pummeled. Faith, family, and rum… err, uh I meant bread

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Win or lose, I’m watching the whole game. I’ve order my pizza for the approx. the 3th quarter start. I’ll be on the blog after the game, win or lose – Major bozo schadenfreude or no excuses, as it were.

    #UCLA wins by 10 or more points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your best quality – you man up, win or lose…a lot don’t…think you’re right about the score as well…bounce or two the other way and you could be fighting for a 10-2 season…your QB deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back from last year and from bad games this year…Chip is on the verge of turning the corner…for the sake of us, at least until our own house somehow collapses into order as has been the rule, I hope he doesn’t quite get there (like Mora, Jr.)…but one thing I’ve learned from being around SEC fans…if your team has a bad year, pull for your neighbors (even your rival)…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right about Owns, James — he shows up! He’s shown up after some last minute heartbreakers for the bruins (some of them occurring just last year) and after some big wins over the Trojans (well, not by his team —but by someone). Win or lose he’ll be here tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s SUCC’ed and so did the whole f**king Falcon team; what’s your point? Of course Rosen isn’t making dbl. digit million$ like the off-injured, loser Piglet.


  6. Come on, Wolfie. your take that the SC-sucla rivalry is anything other than breath-taking shows you are full of hot air and are not a real wolf, that you don’t have sufficient breath to even blow down a straw house.

    I recall the 1965 Gary Beban comeback game that denied SC and Mike Garrett a trip to the Rose Bowl, which may have been fortuitous because sucla out-foxed No. 1 Michigan State in the closing minutes of that game.

    Or the 1967 SC win that deflated the sucla team until at least 2021. (Note: John McKay, having lost 2 in a row to sucla’s Tommy Prothro, did not wish to lose 3 in a row, so he pulled out a rabbit from his hat (aka OJ)
    and beat Prothro that day (barely)).

    If I were an SC footballer tonight I know I would not sleep well because I would be too jacked-up worrying about messing up in the sucla game tomorrow. I would care less that even the SC fans are apathetic, which in a way is pathetic, and instead my head would be dancing like Mick Jagger in his prime, with my heart beating irregularly, knowing that it is a privilege for a young guy to play in an SC-sucla game. And I also know one other thing– if we win, with this kid quarterback, it will be a game remembered and treasured for lifetimes.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s even peskier that certain cable channels are slyly trying to create more news to cover. “Entrapment” is defined as what happens when law enforcement gets involved in the creative facts of a crime to ensure that crime occurs. Certain lowly rate news shows are getting involved in the creative facts of an uprising to ensure that one occurs.


      2. Agree and I always wondered how much interference Orlando et al had from the nitwit. Like most dumb people above their heads in a job like folt, he micromanaged. I learned early, the better I hired, the better I looked.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Finally, and I will then get off this silly subject, but to my pals John Weld and Golden Trojan on the other blog, a hearty farewell, and no, I did not write anything to justify being banned, but this is what did me in:

    Wallace: “I am so lucky and so happy I live in Laguna Beach.

    Lawyer John: “There is living in Laguna Beach,
    and there is living on Laguna Beach.
    Accept nothing but the best.”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, pal. By the way, your recalling that joke of ‘Happiness for some would be calling up someone they did not like, and having the coronor answer the phone’ was not the fools gold ol’ Ed often lays on us, but it was pure gold when Ed described why it is so easy for people to hate each other.

        And then there is JustOwns, hurling each one-liner at SC as if it were a dart, or is that Dart.

        –Haven’t had this much fun on a blog since the Helton crucifixion

        Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s two things to like about the other blog, the other Trojans and the edit feature. Otherwise it’s pretty much a free space for the Times and SCNG beat writers to post. Their stuff. Oops where’s the edit feature?
      It would be nice to see Wolf join in and post but it opens him up to trolls who get banned on other sites if he does. He has answered direct emails so it’s not being aloof it’s being smart with whom you argue.


  8. If everything else fails, I would take a serious look at Kalen DeBoers from Fresno State. This guy is headed for great things in the future. He won’t be at FSU next year. Although he has had a pretty good exprience as an assistance, his only exprience as a HC was at Sioux Falls in the NAIA. He was the HC there for 5 years where his record was 67-3 with 3 NAIA national championships and 2 where they went to the final round. This year they will win 9 games(maybe 10 if they win the bowl game) at FSU. I go for Fickell and Aranda or maybe Campbell. But if everything falls apart, I would take a good look at this guy. Like I said…..somebody is going to get a great coach here. He won’t be at FSU next year.


  9. PLEASE REMEMBER ———–1 GREAT SEASON DOES NOT JUSTIFY A HEAD FOOTBALL COACH BEING CLASSIFIED AS “Great” especially with some of the salaries being thrown around today. Many universities are falling into the hype that 1 guy with 1 good football team, and 1 good season can turn an entire program around which is very rare, and the schools get burned financially for years when it does not happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now…if only the game itself lives up to all of the sweet memories served up by Mr. Wolf….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay. I’ll bite, Cal75 —what else did the little birdie say? Aranda?
      #Remember –“Chip”IsWhatAllBirdsSay…..

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks, Mr. Wolf, for a great Friday column.
    Brings back a flood of great memories.

    Here’s to a great decade ahead for the real (lifetime) USC fans!
    Gotta be better than the last.

    Liked by 4 people

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