For more than pride …
More often than not, something big and real is on the line when the Buckeyes and Wolverines meet -- used to be, that was a spot in the Rose Bowl. More recently, it's been a battle for a BCS spot.
Often, it's bye-bye to one team's undefeated season. In 1969, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 and unbeaten. Then they met Michigan. And lost. Bo Schembechler's Wolverines were beaten by Ohio State -- and only Ohio State -- a bunch of times in the early 1970s. In the 1990s, Michigan sullied a flawless Buckeyes season three times.
I don't want the ball, you take it! No, you take it!
In 1950, playing in a snowstorm, the teams combined for 45 punts, often booting on first down. Michigan won, 9-3. The game was dubbed "The Snow Bowl."
The Classic Game
1973: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Michigan. Each team is undefeated. Big Ten title and Rose Bowl trip on the line. The teams play to a 10-10 tie, and share the title. Who goes to Pasadena? Big Ten ADs voted on it, and the Wolverines stayed home.
It's too good not to be true …
Here's the story: Ohio State coach Woody Hayes hated Michigan so much that he refused to spend a dime in the state … even when his car ran out of gas, a few miles away from the Ohio border. Hayes, legend has it, pushed his car into Buckeye territory to prevent a Michigan gas station from profiting from his misfortune.
Wouldn't he have just poisoned the food?
In the 1970s, when Archie Griffin starred for the Buckeyes, distrust between Hayes and Schembechler ran deep. Griffin recalled, for example, that Hayes once accused Schembechler of hiring very pretty waitresses to serve the Buckeyes breakfast the morning of the big game.
Obviously, that distraction could cost Ohio State the game. Hayes sent the waitresses packing. "They were all nice-looking ladies," Griffin said. "That's for sure."
In 1967, USC upset No. 1-ranked UCLA, 21-20. The Bruins' Gary Beban passed for 301 yards. O.J. Simpson ran for 177 yards, including a 64-yard run for the winning TD that remains one of the most famous in college football history.
Two unlikely heroes
John Barnes, a senior walk-on fifth-stringer, started the game at QB for UCLA in 1992, and in a most improbable performance, led the Bruins to a 38-37 win. Including his 90-yard game-winning TD pass with 2:04 remaining, Barnes threw for 384 yards. It was only his third start. He never played another football game in the U.S., though he played in Italy for a year.
Barnes also played an Alabama QB in "Forrest Gump," executing a handoff to Tom Hanks.
In 2000, USC's third-string kicker, David Bell, 0-for-3 all season, was pressed into service. With nine seconds to go and the score tied at 35, he booted a 36-yarder that just cleared the goalpost for a Trojans victory.
Poor Tommy Trojan
Standing tall and proud at the center of the USC campus, Tommy, a bronze warrior with sword and shield, is often the target of UCLA pranksters. In 1942, Bruins fans painted him blue and gold. They've also chopped off his arm, sword still in hand, and welded it to his back, so that the sword was sticking … well, use your imagination. Then there was the time Tommy was buried in 500 pounds of manure dropped from a helicopter. And so on.
Animal House, circa 1953
A group of UCLA fans managed to smuggle their own float into USC's 1953 homecoming parade, and re-routed the procession down a dead-end street.
In 1958, USC managed to replace UCLA's school newspaper, the Bruin, with a bogus version. One article in that issue quoted a UCLA football player: "I'd feel a lot better about our chances against those terrific Trojans if we have a couple of players who understood the game." UCLA coach George Dickerson added, "I can't see any hope for our team."