Picture Of The Day

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Here’s a color photo of the 1963 Rose Bowl that shows Ron Butcher catching a 13-yard TD pass on a tackle-eligible play to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead over Wisconsin.

Another Alumni Game Update

ALUMNI.GAME.1961Even more information on that USC v. USC Alumni spring game on May 6, 1961 is now available. The alumni won the game, 31-6. That surprises me because one would expect the college players to be in superior shape during the spring. Then again, here is Denver Broncos running back Al Carmichael in an L.A. Examiner photo, on a run for the alumni team. The roster also included Lindon Crow, Leon Clark, Monte Clark, in addition to Marlin McKeever and Mike Henry. Quarterback Frank Hall threw a touchdown pass and run another. The USC team got its only points when quarterback Bill Nelsen intercepted a pass on defense and scored on a 1-yard run.

Player Spotlight: Ron Drake

DRAKEUSC wide receiver Ron Drake was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1965 but turned them down to play for the Trojans. He set a USC single-season record for receptions with 52 in 1966 and won national titles with USC in football (1967) and baseball (1968). He was also an All-CIF split end at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera and won a junior-college national title at Long Beach City College. Drake later became the baseball coach at Mission Viejo High School.

Armond Armstead Retires

The New England Patriots announced former USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead has retired. Armstead did not play last season after surgery following an undisclosed infection.

“He’s had a lot of adversity personally that he’s had to deal with – unusual compared to most other players – but he’s always had a great attitude, worked hard and really did everything we asked him to do,” Patriots coach Bill Bellichick said in a statement.

Armstead’s lawsuit against USC is currently going through the court system. He alleges team doctors gave him pain killers that caused a heart attack.

USC Needed Alabama Game

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USC’s decision to play Alabama in 2016 was sorely needed for the Trojans’ future schedule. Even the school’s press release notes a “ tradition of playing challenging non-conference opponents in the regular season.” As an example it cited games with BYU in 2019, 2021 and 2023. Thrilling.

USC does play Texas in 2017-18. But recent schedules lacked the Pete Carroll era matchups of Ohio State, Nebraska, Arkansas, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Kansas State. Texas and Tennessee are about the only marquee matchup in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, UCLA will play Michigan, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Texas A&M and Texas.

USC To Play Alabama In 2016

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The much-discussed USC-Alabama is now official and will take place Sept. 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. USC moved its home game against New Mexico on that date to Sept. 19, 2020, at the Coliseum.

“At USC, we have always tried to schedule as many outstanding non-conference opponents as possible because we believe that should be part of the experience our players get when they come here,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. “The Trojans versus the Crimson Tide in Arlington will certainly be such a game.”

USC Morning Buzz: Alumni Game Update

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Photo/L.A. Examiner

I never knew until a few days ago that USC’s 1961 spring scrimmage was actually a game that pitted USC against USC alumni football players. I wondered if this was a regular occurrence and discovered the USC v. USC Alumni was just a one-time meeting at the Coliseum in 1961.

Two USC star players I’ve highlighted recently — Marlin McKeever and Mike Henry — actually played in the game. I’m told two other USC stars and established NFL players, Jim Sears and Al Carmichael, also played. Pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

Wide receiver Hal Bedsole, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame, played for the actual USC team and was sent in for one play at quarterback. He ended up getting crunched between the helmets of McKeever and Henry.

“About two weeks later, I was hunched over like an old man,” Bedsole said. “I went to see a doctor and they did an X-ray. There were three holes in my stomach and they did surgery that night. It was a pretty good lick.

 “There were quite a few injuries on both sides.”

After that game, USC coach John McKay decided there would be no more alumni contests.