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Thread: OT: Recalling the "Game of the Century"

  1. #1

    OT: Recalling the "Game of the Century"

    This Saturday No.1 plays No.2. LSU vs. Alabama.

    It is very rare for 1 vs. 2 to occur in the regular season.

    In the past, such games drew abundant national attention and were often dubbed the Game of the Century.

    The first for me was in 1966 (I was 13). There was wall-to-wall hype by all media outlets of the time. Notre Dame vs. Michigan State.

    My recollection is that I listened to game on the radio. For whatever reason, I didn't watch it on TV. Maybe it was not shown in San Francisco.

    The game became infamous for Notre Dame which rallied back from a 10-0 deficit to tie the game. Late in the game, ND had possssion of the ball and sat on it. Just ran out the clock instead of trying to advance the ball into field goal range.

    Despite the tie, ND won the national championship by crushing USC the following week.

    Of note was the talent on the Michigan State team. 4 players picked in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Not sure if that has happened ever before or after. Most famous was Bubba Smith. Others were George Webster, Gene Washington (Vikings not 49ers) and Clint Jones.

  2. #2
    What is even more odd is that neither team went to a bowl game. ND didn't do bowls and I believe State was prevented by a rule that prevented back to back appearances. Both teams had players at the East West shrine game and I remember going to practice just to have an opportunity to see Bubba, Webster, Nick Eddy and the others

  3. #3
    I attended a game between #1 and #2...the season opener in 1989 between ND and Michigan. Rocket Ismail returned a kickoff for a TD in the first half. Michigan kicked off to start the second half, and did they kick away from the Rocket? No....Bo was too stubborn to do something as unmanly as that. He returned that kick for a TD, leading the Irish to a 24-19 win.

  4. #4
    Weren't Ohio State and Michigan 1 and 2 when they played a few years ago? Both subsequently lost bowls.

  5. #5
    I went to the USC-ND game in 1988 when they were 1-2. I recall USC outgained ND by a lot, but ND capitalized on their opportunities and USC mistakes for a 27-10 victory.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GB54 View Post
    Weren't Ohio State and Michigan 1 and 2 when they played a few years ago? Both subsequently lost bowls.
    Yes...that was in 2006, a few days after Bo Schembechler died.

  7. #7

    according to ESPN

    it's happened 46 times since the advent of the polls (not counting bowl games).

  8. #8

    Notre Dame-Michigan State

    Quote Originally Posted by Calbach View Post
    This Saturday No.1 plays No.2. LSU vs. Alabama.

    It is very rare for 1 vs. 2 to occur in the regular season.

    In the past, such games drew abundant national attention and were often dubbed the Game of the Century.

    The first for me was in 1966 (I was 13). There was wall-to-wall hype by all media outlets of the time. Notre Dame vs. Michigan State.

    My recollection is that I listened to game on the radio. For whatever reason, I didn't watch it on TV. Maybe it was not shown in San Francisco.

    The game became infamous for Notre Dame which rallied back from a 10-0 deficit to tie the game. Late in the game, ND had possssion of the ball and sat on it. Just ran out the clock instead of trying to advance the ball into field goal range.

    Despite the tie, ND won the national championship by crushing USC the following week.

    Of note was the talent on the Michigan State team. 4 players picked in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Not sure if that has happened ever before or after. Most famous was Bubba Smith. Others were George Webster, Gene Washington (Vikings not 49ers) and Clint Jones.
    I believe your recollection is correct. I was then a fifteen-year old kid in Orlando, Florida. I remember two things: first, for some reason, the game wasn't carried live in Orlando. So the Orlando Sentinel was careful to warn people not to make bets on gameday, for conceivably the other side might already know what happened. Second, I distinctly recollect that, after the game, Notre Dame's decision to settle for a tie was compared to America's supposed "no-win" policy in Vietnam. Yes, it was weird being in Orlando then.

  9. #9
    Ara parseghian said of that game, "If you're ranked #1 and don't lose, you have to stay #1."--ergo, to his ever lasting shame he played for the tie.

    I was in Hawaii that summer and met MSU's great fullback, Jeff Kinny thought it was one of the great CS moves of all time. Apparently the MSU D linemen were giving the ND offensive lineman a lot of pizazz over the cowardly decision during that last 1:31.

  10. #10

    Doubt That Many

    One of the reasons for the hype of the 1966 game was that it was the first time in 20 years that 1 vs. 2 played in the regular season.

    Other 1 vs.2 games from that era that I can recall were Texas vs. Arkansas in 1969 (game day was moved so President Nixon could attend) and a Nebraska-Oklahoma shootout on Thanksgiving weekend in 1971.

    Most 1 vs. 2 games occur in bowl games. Others occur early in the season when rankings are suspect.

    Very few 1 vs. 2 mid or late season games occur.

  11. #11
    In thinking about this more it is striking how everything has changed. Number 1 played Number 2 (but this was strictly by polls, no computers.) The game ended in a tie, no overtime. Neither team (1 or 2) goes to a bowl because #1) Notre Dame thinks bowls interfere with academics and because #2 had gone to the Rose Bowl the year before and couldn't go again so somebody else could have a chance. Meanwhile there were no other bowls as all the bowls had conference tie ins. So the players from ND and MSU troop off to California to play in a charity game at Kezar. Contrast that with today-none of it would happen.

  12. #12
    I was at that 1971 OU-Nebraska game, and it lived up to the hype. 35-31, back when that was a huge score.

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