Page 8-Wednesday, September 14, 1977-The Michigan Daily
CONFERENCE IS A BIG 2 AND 8:
By KEN PARSIGIAN
In the last ten years, the winner of the Big Ten football title has packed its
years of pride and tradition into its' suitcases and headed for Pasadena con
fident of a resounding victory - they have been disappointed eight times.
AND IN THE PROCESS they have disappointed millions of Midwest foot-
ball fans who still fantasize Big Ten football as the best in the land. But these
bewildered fans will remain dedicated so long as someone gives them a sim-
ple, catch-all explanation for why Big Ten teams always lose in the Rose Bowl.
And so, after each Big Ten loss, everyone from sportscasters to coaches to
athletic directors has a simple reason for the defeat.
The argument that Pac-Eight teams are passing teams may be true if we look
at Stanford's two Rose Bowl teams in 1971 and '72, but it is certainly not the case
with any of the USC teams of the past eight years. Ricky Bell carried the ball many
more times per game than any back in the Big Ten, and the same was true of O,J.
Simpson and Anthony Davis.
AND THERE IS LITTLE VALIDITY to the presumption that a good passing
team will always beat a good running team. The Wolverines derdflished Ohio State
INTRODUCTORY LECTU RE
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22-0 last year, and when was the last time you saw a passing
In fact, when was the last time a real passing team won the na
last five national clamps were Pitt, Oklahoma twice, Notre Dam
if you can even remember the quarterback's name on more th
teams you'll be doing well.
The remaining excuses. - better recruiting and'bigger player
easily discounted. But neither can they be considered sufficient ex
ineptitude of the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.
NO, FOR A COMPLETE EXPLANATION we must examin
dividually to show that there is no all-encompassing reason
Let us begin with the 1972 Michigan-Stanford game. 1
Michigan was undefeated, ranked fourth in the nation, clea
against a 7-3 Stanford team that had even lost to lowly San Jose
pointed out that Stanford placekicker Rod Garcia, who kicked tr
beat Michigan had missed one from the 11-yard line in the San
MICHIGAN HAD EVERYTHING TO LOSE in that game
defeated, while Stanford had absolutely nothing to lose. Stanfordv
12, with quarterback Don Bunce having his best game of the y
every Wolverine playing his worst game of the season.
You can make any excuses you choose about this game, bu
Michigan simply played horribly while Stanford was fired up an(
No one would doubt that Michigan was the superior team
weren't the best that day.
NEXT, USC VERVUS OHIO STATE, with USC winning 42-17.'
little explanation. USC was the only undefeated team in the nation
considered this one of the finest teams of all time. The Buckeyes
not strong that year. They had lost to MSU 19-12, and many felt ti
have gone to the Bowl in the first place. But they beat a superior M
11 with the help of two goal line stands, thus earning the bowl berth
WHAT THE WOLVERINES would have done against the
no one will never know, but there are no excuses to make for OSU
ply a fantastic teai, and OSU wasn't the best of the Big Ten.
In 1974, it was USC versus OSU again, and this was the y4
eye. They trounced an inferior Trojan team 42-21, returning
the Big Ten. USC was a superior passing team with Rhodes sc]
at the helm, but OSU just ran them into the ground with the hell
fin and quarterback Cornelius Greene. Michigan was probably
USC, having tied OSU 10-10 that ye r.
1975 WAS ANOTHER CASE of not having the best team repr
Ten. Ohio State had lost to MSU, but beat Michigan 12-10 on fourf
easy to explain
team do that?
ational title? The of them over 40 yards) by an unknown named Tom Klaban.
e and USC - and OSU never moved the ball against the formidable Blue defense, but Coach Bo
ian one of those shut down the Wolverine offense, which had ten points in the first half and lost the
s - cannot be so STILL, OSU NEARLY WON the Rose Bowl. USC trailed almost the entire
planation for the game, but a last-minute touchdown followed by a two-point conversion gave the
Trojans the win 18-17. It must be admitted that USC had a superior passing game
e each game in- that year, but that isn't the reason they won. Passing or no passing, the Wolver-
to justify these ines would have made mincemeat out of the Trojans.
In 1976, UCLA clearly had a better passing game than OSU, but the signif-
icance of that is difficult to determine. UCLA was down 10-0 at the end of the first
arly the favorite half, but it played inspired ball in the last half to win 23-10. However, the superior
St. (It might be passing of John Sciarra didn't help the Bruins earlier in the year when OSU played
wo field goals to them in Califdrnia and annihilated them 41-20.
Jose St. game.) AND FINALLY, WE HAVE THE 1977 GAME pitting Michigan against USC.
since it was un- Excuses abound for the Wolverines' loss in this game. The most common one is
won the game 13- that we couldn't pass. Another is that they were much bigger.
'ear, and almost Neither of these tells the whole story. Although it is true that Rick Leach
had a horrendous game that day, his yearly stats were very comparable to those of
t the fact is that the USC quarterback Vince Evans.
d played over its EVANS HAD HIS FINEST DAY of the year completing 16 of 27 passes against
a weak Michigan secondary.
n that year, but As to the size difference, Michigan had been outweighed by most of its op-
ponents that year, yet still won 10 of 11 regular season games, so weight could not
This game needs have been that important a factor.
i, and the pundits The point is that each of these games were different - there were differet
s, however, were reasons for each Big Ten loss. No one excuse can explain away the Big Ten's Rose
hey should never Bowl woes, and perhaps the only answer to the question of why the Big Ten always
fichigan team 14- loses in the Rose Bowl is the obvious one - because we don't win.
- USC was sim-
ear of the Buck-
some honor to "
hour Pat Haden fd eve aurels
n f Arli rF
p or Arhira Gi-
also superior to
resenting the Big
field goals (three
CHICAGO - Linebacker Steve
Stewart of Minnesota has been
named the Big Ten Defensive Player
of the Week by The Associated Press
for his brilliant performance in an
unexpectedly tough 10-7 victory over
Western Michigan last Saturday.
Stewart was credited with eight
tackles and twice dropped Jerome
Persell, Western Michigan's leading
rusher, for losses. He also nailed
Persell for a one-yard loss on
Western's only completed pass of the
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With the score tied 7-7 and only 1:33
to play, Stewart blocked a Western
Michigan punt and safety Keith
Brown returned the ball to the
11-yard line to set up Paul Rogind's
winning field goal with three seconds
Also nominated for the award was
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by Miami tight end Charlie Claud on
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the Ohio State 14-yard dine to
preserve a 10-0 victory over the
visitors from Florida.
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