1. USC (50)
2. CALIFORNIA (4-1)
3. STANFORD (3-1-1)
For a while it looked like the weekly USC game plan—"Give the ball to O. J."—was not going to work against Washington. Simpson carried the ball his usual million times and scored once from the one-yard line, but he also dropped the ball a million times, too, or so it seemed to the 60,000 rooters at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. One of his two bobbles gave the Huskies, who had tied the score at 7-7 in the third quarter, a chance to go ahead in the last period against the country's No. 1 team. But USC stopped them on the one-yard line, and then the real O. J. stood up, slashing off tackle, racing wide and carrying six times for 48 yards. In just 10 plays USC had gone 90 yards to the Washington nine. On the next play O. J. swept left, cut inside and sprinted over for the touchdown that won for the Trojans 14-7. Simpson ran 33 times for 172 yards and now has 980 yards and 14 touchdowns in five games. Reminded that USC is idle next Saturday, O. J. said, "A week off. Oh, that's beautiful." USC Coach John McKay must have agreed, for nothing is coming easy for his Trojans this year.
In Berkeley a team that might cause USC some grief, California, made up for five years of frustration against UCLA. Normally, when UCLA gets ahead 15-7, that's it. But this is a bleak autumn for Bruin Coach Tommy Prothro and a rare one for Cal. A big and tough California defense, led by Guard Ed White and Linebacker Dennis Pitta, simply overwhelmed UCLA, and Quarterback Randy Humphries took it from there. He threw touchdown passes to Split End Wayne Stewart and Halfback Paul Williams as Cal won handily 39-15. It was UCLA's third straight loss. "The way we're playing," complained Prothro, "we won't win another game." But don't bet on that.
Oregon State Coach Dee Andros has not been much happier lately than Prothro. His team has lost twice, each time by a single point. But the Great Pumpkin brightened a bit after his Beavers, wallowing happily in the mud at Portland's Civic Stadium, battered Arizona State 28-9. While an alert OSU defense picked off seven Arizona State passes, Quarterback Steve Preece ran Andros' roll-out offense perfectly. Preece scored once himself and passed and pitched out to Halfback Billy Main for two touchdowns.
Stanford, emotionally mute after giving its all against USC last week, settled gratefully for a tie with Washington State. Struggling all day, the Indians scored on Quarterback Jim Plunkett's six-yard pass to Flanker Gene Washington with 6:18 to go, cutting WSU's lead to 21-20. Coach John Ralston hardly hesitated before sending Steve Horowitz in for the extra-point kick that made it 21-21.
While everyone in the Western Athletic Conference had eyes for Wyoming, a 20-9 winner over Utah, and Arizona State, Arizona has sneaked in as a bona fide challenger. The Wildcats, still unbeaten and off to their best start in 23 years, turned two Brigham Young fumbles and a pass interception into scores and won their fourth straight, 19-3. Arizona and Wyoming are undefeated in the conference and tied for first place.
1. GEORGIA (4-0-1)
2. TENNESSEE (4-0-1)
3. MIAMI (4-1)
Watching the rain fall the night before the Alabama-Tennessee contest, one Southeastern Conference official tried to encourage a fretful fan, saying, "Don't worry. Bear Bryant will stop the rain." Although the game was played in sunshine, there were indications that The Bear may be running out of wizardry. After Donnie Sutton of Alabama caught a touchdown pass with 1:12 left to culminate a fine scoring drive and bring the score to 10-9 Tennessee, Bryant went for a two-point conversion on a quarterback option play. It failed. But Alabama recovered an onside kick and, with five seconds to go, tried a field goal from the 26-yard line. It was blocked, and that was the ball game. Speaking about the two-point try, Bryant said, "It was my fault. I should have gone for the tie and then tried the on-side kick. It was stupid. "As to the blocked field goal, it was one of those plays that make coaches wonder who needs them. The man who blocked the ball was Tennessee's Jim Weatherford, normally a defensive halfback. During practice, though, he had once switched positions with Monsterman Nick Showalter. "I asked Nick why not switch on the field-goal try, "Weatherford said later. They switched, Weatherford got his hand on the ball and Tennessee had its victory. Earlier, another bit of minuscule strategy paid off. The Volunteers, noticing a fairly strong wind, forsook a punt and let Karl Kremser try a 54-yard field goal. "I looked at an Alabama linebacker as I got ready to kick, and he smiled," Kremser said, "and I sort of chuckled at the idea myself. "But only Tennessee laughed when Kremser made the field goal, the longest in SEC history.