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."
A mini Mardi Gras
Bayou Classic Weekend is a huge party in New Orleans, usually attracting about 200,000 for the matchup of the Lousiaina rivals. Southern AD Marino Casem called it "the biggest event in blackdom."
Even the Dome isn't big enough …
Grambling and Southern decided to move their game to the Superdome because -- well, because their stadiums couldn't handle the crowds. At Grambling in 1971, for example, an estimated 35,000 stood to watch the game.
The Battle of the Bands
Is probably as big as the battle of the football teams. It's the Grambling Marching Band -- so good they go on world tours and have played in three Super Bowls -- against the Southern band, the "Human Jukebox," ranked the best band in the country by USA Today. The night before the game, the bands compete in the Superdome, before tens of thousands of fans who've paid to see the event (and the Greek Show).
The Super Bowl's OK, but it's no Bayou Classic
Doug Williams, who played in the first Classic for Grambling, was named Super Bowl MVP for the Redskins, and returned to coach Grambling: "The Super Bowl is a great game. But it's really a business thing. The Classic is a family affair. You can see your brothers, your cousins, your friends at the Bayou Classic. Everybody's having fun, and everybody's a football fan."
A legend retires
Eddie Robinson was head coach of Grambling for 57 years. In 1995, he wrote about the rivalry for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"To appreciate the rivalry, you have to realize Grambling and Southern fans are close --friends as well as relatives.
"In fact, in the early years, when Southern people came to Grambling for the game they would stay at my house, because there were no hotels for blacks. They were for Southern, but it didn't make a difference."