1. USC (9-0-1)
2. UCLA (8-1-1)
3. STANFORD (7-2-1)
For spectators who enjoy trapeze acts, flagpole sitters and rocket launchings—anything up there in the sky—it was a dream game. San Diego State, the nation's No. 1 passing team with Dennis Shaw, facing North Texas State, No. 2 with Steve Ramsey. When Shaw threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in the first half, Coach Don Coryell began reaching for aspirin. The Aztecs trailed 24-14, but in the second half they picked off four of Ramsey's passes, recovered a fumble and even got the ball once on an onside kick to win 42-24. Each quarterback attempted 46 passes, but Shaw completed 28 for 387 yards and three touchdowns to Ramsey's 15 for 254 and one touchdown. The winner: Shaw.
It's not a good idea to play a team that has just been bypassed for a bowl bid. If you don't believe it, just ask Colorado State. Arizona State was upset when the Sun Bowl ignored them in favor of Nebraska and Georgia, upset enough to beat the poor Rams 79-7 in Tempe, Ariz. So diversified was ASU's ground attack that Fullback Art Malone, the Sun Devils' All-America candidate, was the team's sixth best rusher with only 38 yards. Nine players scored ASU's 11 touchdowns. "I was sorry to see the score go that high," said the winning coach, Frank Kush, "but it's hard to put a third string kid in there when he's hungry for some action and tell him not to do his best." If the Sun Devils defeat Arizona this week, they win the Western Athletic Conference title. If Arizona wins, the crown goes to Utah, which concluded its season with a 5-1 conference record after a 16-6 victory against Brigham Young.
While the Pacific Eight title was being won by USC's defense, there was jostling for lower positions. Oregon State had a field-goal attempt blocked with the score tied 7-7 and just 56 seconds left. The ball bounced off an Oregon player and Jeff Kolberg recovered it for the Beavers on the four. Kicker Mike Nehl's second attempt gave State the victory.
Washington won its first game of the year, defeating Washington State 30-21 in Seattle. Both teams concluded their seasons with 1-9 records.
Stanford shared second place with UCLA by beating Cal 29-28. The Indians blew a 17-0 first-quarter lead and found themselves behind 28-23 late in the fourth quarter. But they marched 80 yards on the ground and completed the scoring with a Howie Williams plunge from the four.
1. PENN STATE (9-0)
2. WEST VIRGINIA (9-1)
3. DARTMOUTH (8-1)
There were some who felt that Dartmouth was the greatest Ivy League team since those long-ago days of bowl bids. The unbeaten Indians had routed eight foes by 26 points a game. Princeton, their final obstacle, had seen its own hopes for an undisputed league championship dashed by Yale just the week before. Ah, but not for nothing had Princeton Coach Jake McCandless done graduate study in psychology. All week long he kept replaying films of the Columbia-Dartmouth game, undoubtedly one of the Indians' lesser showings. Just when Dartmouth began to look human, he took the squad aside and told them to throw conservatism out the window—attack, attack. Finally, before the Tigers took the field, he stood before them and uttered only two words: "I'm proud."
Princeton roared out of the locker room (remembering to open the door) and, using outside sweeps and tough defense, stunned the Indians 35-7. It was never even close as 175-pound Halfback John Bjorklund, starting only his second game, scored three touchdowns. "Beating Dartmouth had become an odyssey," noted Defensive End Jim Nixon, "but we figured, what have we got to lose? Let's go out and attack, and if we blow it, we really blow it." The victory created a three-way tie for the Ivy crown among Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale.
Yale, which had been knocked out of the honor of sole titleholder in the final 42 seconds against Harvard last season, seemed to be awaiting another final-second crush. Alas, the only interest at the end came from the Yale supporters who counted off the remaining 42 seconds as the El is crawled away with a 7-0 victory. Their defensive team held the Crimson to a mere 27 yards rushing, forced four fumbles and let the passing get no farther than their 11. The Elis' score came on a third-quarter two-yard plunge by Fullback Bill Primps after an 80-yard drive inspired by Quarterback Joe Massey, a junior who once quit the freshman team due to a preference for singing in the Glee Club. Yale wasn't the only Ivy team to enjoy the day's outcome. Columbia upset Brown 18-3, closing the season at 1-8 for the Lions.
Penn State remained undefeated, as did Quarterback Chuck Burkhart, who hasn't lost since he was in junior high school. Strangely enough, the guy who beat him then is now Pittsburgh Quarterback Jim Friedl, whose Panthers fell to the Lions 27-7, leaving State with one game left en route to a second straight undefeated season. West Virginia squirmed by Syracuse (favored despite a 5-3 record to West Virginia's 8-1) 13-10 after being down 10-0. Said Coach Jim Carlen of his Peach Bowl-bound team whose record this year is the best since an undefeated season in 1922, "We're 9-1, but we're not getting any national attention."
1. OHIO STATE (8-1)
2. MISSOURI (9-1)
3. MICHIGAN (8-2)
As soon as the news broke, on the Monday before the Air Force game, that Notre Dame would play in the Cotton Bowl, the press speculated on the reason for the change in policy. Notre Dame's share of the Cotton Bowl purse will be about $350,000, but the athletic department will get none of it. The money will go to the central operating fund to be used for minority-study programs, a subject that is dear to Father Hesburgh's heart. He is the chairman of the National Civil Rights Commission.
That is the way Notre Dame players want it. The first question senior Co-Captain Bob Olson asked about the bowl trip was "How will it help the university?" Parseghian and his staff shielded players from questions about the Cotton Bowl because the Air Force Academy still remained on the schedule. At first, it looked like Air Force would suffer an embarrassment from the Irish similar to the ones experienced by Navy and Army. Notre Dame scored in the opening two minutes on a 39-yard run by Denny Allen. But then the game settled down into an old-fashioned defensive battle. Four field goals later that first touchdown proved to be the difference, 13-6.
Purdue survived a hideous start against Indiana. Trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, Mike Phipps threw a 71-yard scoring pass to Stan Brown and then continued to pick the Indiana defense apart with his passing. The 44-21 win gave Jack Mollenkopf his fifth consecutive 8-2 season, and the 64-year-old coach had a few words concerning speculation that he'd retire. "I'm not going to. No, sir. I think an 8-2 season will be good enough to rehire me."
As is his style, Missouri's Dan Devine expressed concern on the eve of the Kansas game. He posted signs in red and blue Kansas colors which reminded the Tigers of their '67 and '68 defeats. "Kansas," said Devine of a team that ranked last in the Big Eight in rushing defense, "has better defensive personnel than Michigan." Kansas' Pepper Rodgers tried manfully to preserve his reputation as a humorist. "We are not taking Missouri lightly," he cracked. "About all we had to laugh at this week is the build-up the Missouri staff has been giving us." Whether Rodgers was still chuckling after the Jayhawks' 69-21 defeat was doubtful. Terry McMillan threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more. The Tigers—tied with Nebraska for the Big Eight title—happily bussed to Kansas City for 28-oz. steaks at the restaurant of Peter J. Carter, Missouri's No. 1 fan.
Nebraska had an easy time, 44-14, against Steve Owens and the Oklahoma Sooners. The Cornhuskers allowed the famous tailback just 70 yards in 21 carries and ended his streak of 17 straight 100-yard games. The defense also managed to intercept three passes and recover two fumbles. About all Nebraska needed offensively was sophomore Tailback Jeff Kinney, who rushed for two touchdowns, caught a pass for another and passed for a fourth.
The tempo for a wild passing show in Boulder was established when Kansas State and Colorado each had touchdown passes in the opening 28 seconds. State's Lynn Dickey set conference records with 61 attempts and 439 yards gained through the air. Colorado's Jimmy Bratten threw for just 251 yards, but his arm was responsible for five touchdowns. Colorado's 45-32 win sends the Buffaloes into the Liberty Bowl against Alabama.
The state of Ohio can still claim two undefeated, untied teams, Toledo and little Wittenberg University. Toledo scored 21 points in the third quarter and went on to beat Xavier 35-0 for its 10th victory. The Mid-American champions are expected to defeat Davidson in the Tangerine Bowl. Wittenberg concluded a 9-0 year with a 56-0 victory over Wagner and a bowl trip of its own. The trip consists of a short walk across campus. The Tigers will face William Jewell College in Springfield's 7,000-seat Wittenberg Stadium. The teams will play in the first annual Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
1. TEXAS (8-0)
2. ARKANSAS (8-0)
3. HOUSTON (7-2)
When the news of Ohio State's death was announced to the crowds in stadiums around the country, the response was overwhelming, it came to Baylor Stadium in Waco, Texas at halftime of the Baylor-SMU game. Darrell Royal, coach of the second-ranked Texas Longhorns, was in the press box (Texas was idle), listening to the bands, when he was handed a ticker-tape report of the Ohio State-Michigan final score. One writer described his reaction as "a smile wider than the goalposts" and the coach, in fitting response to good fortune, then kissed the tape. "I'm as pleased as I could be about it," Royal said. "Now we have a shot at finishing No. 1 in the country. I will be surprised if we're not No. 1 in the polls this week." There were only 20,000 assembled to witness the Bears' ninth loss, 12-6, but when the word came in from Ann Arbor they made a tremendous roar that thrilled Royal. "It's nice to know that not everybody in this part of the country is against us," Royal said.
In Houston, fans have a team of their own to be proud of. After his Cougars suffered early-season losses to Florida and Oklahoma State, Coach Bill Yeoman found that a third-stringer named Gary Mullins could fling the ball far enough downfield to reach Split End Elmo Wright. The result has been seven straight wins and a trip to the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Elmo caught four touchdown passes from Mullins against Wyoming Saturday night, and the former high school saxophone player now holds every Houston receiving record except one—longest pass play, a 99-yarder from Bo Burns to Warren McVea against Washington State three years ago. After Wright dismantled the Cowboys 41-14, he displayed his gold front tooth in the locker room. "The only difference between tonight and our other games," he grinned, "was that no one tackled me after I got the ball."
There was speculation the week before the game that Houston black athletes might protest in sympathy with the 14 players ousted from the Wyoming squad last month by Coach Lloyd Eaton. One black approached Cornerback Charles Ford and asked what the chances were. Ford replied, "Two, slim and none."
1. LSU (9-1)
2. TENNESSEE (8-1)
3. AUBURN (7-2)
LSU football fans, uncharacteristically perhaps, did not storm Miami, Dallas and New Orleans when they learned that bowl bids went instead to Missouri, Notre Dame and Ole Miss. But, surely, they had to do something. After all, hadn't the Tigers gone 8-1, and didn't they lead the nation in rushing defense? So before the kickoff against Tulane, students paraded before the crowd in Baton Rouge with signs reading WELCOME TO THE BENGAL BOWL and NOTRE DAMN...COTTON WHAT? The game went as expected, considering the loss of incentive, an easy but unimpressive 27-0 victory. "If it had been played on Monday when we heard about the bowl invitations, the score might have been different," said Quarterback Mike Hillman. "Then we really wanted to fight somebody." After the game, Coach Charlie McClendon was presented with a 1969 Oldsmobile, paid for by more than 500 fans throughout Louisiana. After the ceremony one spectator said, forcing a smile, "Now Charlie can drive to the bowl of his choice."
The citizens of Memphis had some signs of their own. GO TO HELL LIBERTY BOWL banners were displayed all over Memphis Memorial Stadium. Memphis State had expected that the victory over Florida Stale would produce a Liberty Bowl invitation, but the hometown selection committee passed over the Missouri Valley champions in favor of Alabama. Practices were lethargic until a squad meeting on Thursday when, according to Coach Billy (Spook) Murphy, "We got everything together." The Tigers put on their greatest offensive show in 20 years, beating Louisville 69-19. Although Murphy denied running up the score on the Cardinals for the benefit of the bowl committee, he couldn't resist saying, "We got after 'em pretty good."
Frank Howard's 1967 Clemson team wore orange shoes when it defeated North Carolina State for the Atlantic Coast Conference title. This year's team hoped a change of color might cause an upset of South Carolina, the ACC champions. "That's why we wore white today," Coach Howard said after the Tigers' 27-13 defeat. "But white shoes don't do it. They never have and they never will. Those orange shoes didn't win the game two years ago. What was in them won that game." South Carolina became only the sixth team to survive the conference race without a loss, and the Gamecocks will oppose West Virginia in the Peach Bowl. North Carolina's four-game winning streak, longest in years, came to a halt when Duke upset the Tarheels 17-13.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Barry Pierson, a senior defensive halfback from St. Ignace, Mich., intercepted three passes and ran back a punt 60 yards to set up the Wolverines' third touchdown in their surprising win over Ohio State.
THE LINEMEN: USC's Wild Bunch, its defensive unit, rushed, flipped and forced UCLA's Dennis Dummit into five interceptions and 17 incompletions. They also threw him for 75 yards in losses in the Trojans' 14-12 victory.