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THE GREAT ONE CONFRONTS O.J.
Dan Jenkins
November 20, 1967
A national championship, a bowl bid, a conference title, a Heisman Trophy and the sanity of a city are all part of the stakes as archenemies USC and UCLA prepare for their backyard showdown
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November 20, 1967

The Great One Confronts O.j.

A national championship, a bowl bid, a conference title, a Heisman Trophy and the sanity of a city are all part of the stakes as archenemies USC and UCLA prepare for their backyard showdown

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As far as emotion goes, UCLA's players are most likely to look as if they have reached the higher, more frenzied peak, but that is how the Bruins usually look, and how Prothro encourages them to look. The Bruins will hop around like thieves trapped in a corridor. USC will be just as high for the day, but the Trojans will look a lot calmer about things, a lot more workmanlike. They have a way of going about their business almost like pros.

Finally, among other intangibles, there is a belief held by the casual, uninvolved fan in L.A. that Prothro "has McKay's number." You can hear it said almost any time the subject comes up. The theory is supported by the record, in part. They have met four times, and Prothro has won three. But there is also the somewhat conflicting contention that McKay should not have lost either of his last two games to UCLA; that he had far better material, only to have the fates torture him out of victory. This time his material is better yet, it is argued, and surely something good will happen for McKay at last.

So who will win? One day recently, a man who should be able to judge the situation well, John McKay himself, went to a blackboard and evaluated the two teams, player by player. He has a point grading system for this, and when he was through adding point by point, he totaled the figures for each team. Just like in the Hollywood script, they came out exactly equal. When that happened, McKay stepped back from the blackboard and made the least newsworthy comment of the most exciting football season Los Angeles has ever known:

"It's going to be a helluva game," he said.

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