Are you going to brave the heat at the Coliseum on Saturday?
The high is supposed to be 98 degrees.
USC is allowing fans to bring clear water bottles up to 20 oz. into the Coliseum on Saturday. Refillable bottles are also allowed but must be empty. Free water cups will be available at all concession stands and bags of ice will be available.
Of course, all these measures were announced after UCLA said it would permit fans to bring factory-sealed water bottles (32 oz. or less) & empty beverage containers (32 oz. or less; no glass).
•So where will this game rank among hottest USC games ever at the Coliseum?
Most recently, there was the 2017 USC-Central Michigan game, which was 99 degrees.
The game that really sticks in my mind is the 1998 season-opener when USC faced Purdue. Temperatures on the field were 110-plus degrees. Some USC band members, a cheerleader and a number of fans fainted from the heat.
More people remember the heat than the fact Drew Brees made his first college start for Purdue.
Maybe the players should wear pith helmets like Notre Dame did in 1953 vs. USC. It was 84 degrees on Nov. 29, 1953.
•Former USC offensive lineman Maximus Gibbs has transferred to Jackson State.
RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
The Mini Gourmet, 1210 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia
It’s known for breakfast and being a former haunt of Tommy Lasorda. But a word of warning: It closes at 1:30 p.m.
•And now for some history:
•The passing of Ernie Zampese reminded me of the San Diego Chargers coaching staff in 1980. Head coach Don Coryell was a former USC assistant. Offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs was a former USC assistant. Offensive line coach Dave Levy was a long-time USC assistant coach. Zampese was the wide receivers coach and a former USC player.
“(Zampese) used to overrule Joe Gibbs (on play calls) and he was always right,” Levy told me this week. “If Joe waited at all to call a play, Ernie would step in and call one.
“Ernie had a good sense of humor and he was smart.”
•Levy is 89 years old and every time I speak to him it’s a joy. When he was freshman football coach at UCLA in 1955, his locker was between John Wooden and Red Sanders. He was John McKay’s right-hand man from 1960-75.
Coryell lasted only one season with John McKay at USC (1960). He left because he used to get frustrated with McKay’s constant changing of the game plan during the week.
“Coryell was misunderstood,” Levy said. “On TV, he always looked upset and had a scowl on his face but in the seven-and-a-half years I worked for him I never heard him say a harsh word to be assistant.”
If you want to know the many accomplishments of this group, I wrote it here.
•I told Levy I recently drove past the former Sheraton-Town House Hotel, where USC used to stay in the 1960’s the night before games.
After USC lost to Notre Dame, 51-0, in 1966 at the Coliseum, John McKay had little desire to go to the Town House on Wilshire Blvd., where he would go after home games to talk to boosters.
McKay stayed in the locker room for so long after the game that stadium staff informed him they were turning out the lights. When McKay and Levy walked up the tunnel, there were no fans around. Or even wives, who had cars.
Instead of trying to get a taxi or going back to USC, McKay and Levy walked to the Town House via Vermont Ave. That’s about 4.5 miles. By the time the pair got to the hotel, there were about 15 boosters left to hear McKay speak.
•In 1956, Danny Thomas was the Master of Cermonies at the Trojan Club Banquet at the Biltmore Hotel, which drew a crowd of 600. This was back when USC wanted Trojan Clubs.
“My daughter Margie insists that I say I’m here through the courtesy of Kappa Alpha Theta (sorority),” Thomas said. “She’s been named Miss Charge Account of 1956. Does SC really have a prom every other week?”
Margie, of course, became better known as Marlo Thomas and landed “That Girl” in 1966.
•Linebacker Marcus Cotton was an imposing presence from 1984-87. He wasn’t an All-American but that’s a travesty compared to some of the fake Internet All-American teams that USC players have made the past 10 years and therefore earned All-American status.
•In the 1940’s, USC and UCLA basketball staged doubleheaders at the Olympic Auditorium. The first game would start at 8 p.m. The second game? Around 10 p.m. if you were lucky. See the billboard for the Los Angeles Daily News and Hollywood Citizen News on the upper left?
•USC has been so bad at card stunts the past 40 years it’s almost embarrassing to point out that the Trojans are the first school to perform card stunts as this picture shows from 1922.
After last week’s tribute to George Tirebiter, here’s one more photo of the king.
A couple weeks ago, I ran a photo of the 1986 USC song girls. A reader asked for another photo from the Golden Age, so here are the 1982-83 song girls.