In my last blog “When There Were Ties” I wrote about the epic 10-10 tie that #1 Notre Dame and #2 Michigan State played to in 1966. I watched that game and 45 years later I watched #1 LSU play #2 Alabama. To my amazement I watched another tie. This one was 6-6 at the end of 60 minutes. The difference between 1966 and 2011 is that we now have overtime. And in that overtime LSU’s defense stopped Alabama cold and forced them into a 52 yard field goal attempt. It wasn’t even close. LSU took the ball inside the 10 and kicked the game winner for a 9-6 win over the Crimson Tide.
This game featured the best college defense by two teams I’ve ever seen. Both teams had a ferocious defense and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was well played and not sloppy. Any turnovers were caused by great defense and not by poor offensive execution. Man oh man, these guys hit and neither team blinked. So, I’m wondering how so many people found the game boring. Not enough scoring! Are you kidding me? This was great football. They hammered, hit, scrapped, clawed, and made each other EARN every inch of turf. That’s football. Although I enjoy high scoring games I don’t need them to appreciate football. Sometimes I get bored watching teams score TOO much in this day of high powered offenses. Guess I’m showing my age.
On a side note, do you remember the rest of the story in 1966 when ND and MSU finished 9-0-1 and shared the national championship? Neither team went to a bowl game that year. That’s right, no bowl game for either team. Prior to the 70’s Notre Dame did not accept bowl invitations. Why, you ask? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them. The Big Ten only participated in one bowl-the Rose Bowl. And that was reserved for the Big Ten champ. No other teams were allowed to play in a bowl. Michigan St. was not allowed to go to the Rose Bowl because the Big Ten had a rule that a team could not go to the Rose Bowl two years in a row, and MSU played UCLA the year before in the Rose Bowl. The 2nd place team went instead. Hard to believe, but that’s how it was. Not like now when everyone and his brother goes to a bowl game. Just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at the ’66 bowl games. There were only ten of them.
Dec. 10 Liberty Bowl Miami FL 14 – Virginia Tech 7
Dec. 10 Tangerine Bowl Morgan St. 14 – West Chester 6
Dec. 10 Camellia Bowl San Diego St. 28 – Montana St. 7
Dec. 17 Bluebonnet Bowl Texas 19 – Mississippi 0
Dec. 24 Sun Bowl Wyoming 28 – Florida St. 20
Dec. 31 Cotton Bowl Georgia 24 – SMU 9
Dec. 31 Gator Bowl Tennessee 18 – Syracuse 12
Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl Alabama 34 – Nebraska 7
Jan. 2 Orange Bowl Florida 27 – Georgia Tech 12
Jan. 2 Rose Bowl Purdue 14 – Southern Cal 13
That’s it. Bowls were very special and some good teams were left out. Keep checking in on www.chiefpigskin for all your football needs and I’ll be back with more stories soon.