Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Granddaddy of Them All

When it comes to college bowl games, I'm a traditionalist. Absent a true playoff, which I support, I'd rather be living under the "old" bowl system than the crazy BCS universe that we find ourselves in today.

When I was growing up, our household was definitely a Rose Bowl family. Sure, I would watch some (sometimes all) of what was then known as the "Big 4" - the Cotton, Sugar, Rose, and Orange Bowls. But New Year's Day was always organized around the Rose Bowl. And of course, we would always root for the Pac-10 (Pac-8 until 1976) team against their Big 10 foe.

From my perspective, 1969-1976 was the "Golden Age" of Rose Bowls. The games were always entertaining, always significant, and always offered a stark contrast between the modern offenses of the coast and the "three yards and a cloud of dust" running attacks of the Big 10 schools (in this period, that meant Ohio State or Michigan).

Finding this clip and thinking about it, I realized that this is the first college football game that I have a clear, conscious memory of watching. My dad and I went across the street to my aunts' house to watch it, because at the time they were the ones with the color TV.

I remember this run. And watching it now, it truly is a remarkable run. Setting aside the O.J. saga, he really was an incredible football player. There aren't many (any?) running backs who could make that mid-field cut that he makes here to leave the Buckeye defenders in the dust.

The commentary, by the way, is by Curt Gowdy (who sounds great here - this was before he began to lose it) and Kyle Rote. Rote's comment on the replay - "watch that block by the fullback" - is amusing, because the fullback totally misses his block. It's all Simpson.

This gave the Trojans a 10-0 lead, but it was all Ohio State after that. The Buckeyes won 27-16, and sealed the national championship.

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