Thursday, July 17, 2014

History and Tradition: Alabama-USC

On Wednesday it became official. Alabama and Southern California will meet on the gridiron to begin the 2016 football season. This is huge. They are two of the most storied traditions in college football, and they have not played in almost 30 years. And when they have

One of my favorite football-related childhood memories was listening to the 1971 Bama-USC game on the radio. Alabama was coming off a 6-5-1 season and the Trojans were ranked #1 in the nation. Nobody gave the Tide a chance in Los Angeles that night, but Coach Paul Bryant unveiled the wishbone attack, and pulled one of the greatest upsets ever:

The Tide went on to play for the national championship that season, and it all began on a shocking night in California.

Another of my favorite Bama memories came in my late teens, when the Tide once again traveled to LA to play Southern Cal. This one was televised nationally with the legend Keith Jackson calling the game.  Once again, Alabama was coming off a disappointing year (8-3) and USC was ranked at the top of the polls. With another improbably road victory, the Tide launched itself into the national picture and laid the foundation to win two national titles in the next three years.

Here is the entire 4th quarter, with the drama of USC nearly coming back from a 21-6 deficit to win. I paced the floor the entire time. Watch the whole thing if you can, but if not, go to the 37:00 mark and see the Trojans' TD drawing the game to 21-20, and the dramatic two-point conversion attempt. What a game!

Two great programs. A total of 26 national championships between them. One of the best venues in the country, Cowboys Stadium. By 2015, Steve Sarkisian should have USC back in the national championship picture.

I can't wait. Roll Tide!

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