As the 1964 college football season neared an end, bowl committees from Pasadena to Miami scrambled to till their cards. The lineup: Rose—Michigan (8-1) vs. Oregon State (8-2) or USC (6-3); Orange—Alabama (9-0) vs. Texas (8-1); Cotton—Arkansas (10-0) vs. Nebraska (9-1); Sugar—LSU (7-1-1) vs. Syracuse (7-3); Gator, with Florida State (8-1-1), and Liberty, with West Virginia (7-3), each had half a bowl. Blue-bonnet—Mississippi (5-3-1) vs. Tulsa (7-2).
THE TOP THREE:
1. OREGON STATE (8-2)
2. USC (6-3)
3. OREGON (7-2-1)
The season was over, but the West Coast still did not have a team to send against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Happily, however, the number of candidates was down to two, co-champions USC and Oregon State. The AAWU will choose one after USC plays Notre Dame this Saturday.
USC Coach Johnny McKay's game plan for UCLA was hardly novel. Other teams had beaten the Bruins by running up the middle, and McKay figured his Trojans could do it, too. So he turned loose Halfback Mike Garrett, and the UCLA line sagged like wet tissue. Quarterback Craig Fertig passed for three touchdowns, Rod Sherman ran 38 yards for another and USC romped 34-13.
Oregon State, meanwhile, started off against Oregon like a team eager to go nowhere. State fumbled the ball away three times and dropped easy passes. The Beavers were behind 6-0 with 5:43 to play when they got the idea. They moved 41 yards in 11 plays, Booker Washington smashing over from the three-inch line. Steve Clark's kick gave State the victory, 7-6.
Washington, which needed a minor miracle to earn a trip to Pasadena, had to settle for a 14-0 victory over Washington State when USC and Oregon State won their games. The Huskies rarely looked better, as Linebacker Rick Redman crashed into the Cougar backfield, and Fullback Jeff Jordan and Halfback Charlie Browning scored.
While the contenders were busy bashing each other, STANFORD and California went at it before 76,780 at Berkeley. Cal's Craig Morton did just what was expected of him. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 247 yards. But Stanford's Dave Lewis, a rangy Chukchansis Indian sophomore quarterback, did more. He ran 11 yards for a touchdown, passed 10 to Tackle-eligible Fergus Flanagan for a second and averaged 47.4 yards punting as Stanford took the game 21-3.
Colorado and Air Force traded fists and touchdowns freely at Boulder, but the Buffs got in the most telling blow—a 91-yard kickoff return by Bill Symons—to upset the cadets 28-23. UTAH, with an ear attuned to any bowl bid, beat Utah State 14-6. NEW MEXICO and ARIZONA STATE also kept their postseason hopes alive, the Lobos with a 20-0 win over Hawaii, Arizona State with a 14-0 victory over Idaho. WYOMING thrashed Brigham Young 31-11, while NEW MEXICO STATE edged Texas Western 13-7, and ARIZONA was held to a 0-0 tie by IOWA STATE.