Bush bounced about, pounding the backs of his happy troops and telling them how magnificent they were. In recent years he has changed from quiet conservative to mild moderate, turning in his regulation slacks and loafers for flares and boots, and he has allowed his crew cut to grow. He may think George Mc-Govern is a shade heavy, but he has been known to flash the peace sign. None of this has been lost on his team. He lets his people make many of the rules, a lot of the decisions. He won't even recruit an athlete unless the team approves. It makes for a tight, happy group. And, like USC, it makes UCLA a place the super high school athletes look to first.
In fact, the two schools get so many blue-chippers that any country—other than the U.S. and Russia—would profit by giving its Olympic team and a year's foreign aid to get the collective bunch under its own flag at Munich.
"Put those two teams together and, except for the U.S., I think they would beat any country in a dual meet," said Bush. "Yes, Russia too, if you throw out the distance races. We're both hurting there."
"Hurting?" said Milan Tiff, UCLA's brilliant triple jumper. "We're both lousy. But we're better than USC. For lousy, we're pretty good."
Bush listed his people that he thought had a good chance at making the U.S. Olympic team: Smith, naturally; Charles Rich, who has a personal best of 13.5 in the hurdles; Tiff (53'6"), James Butts (53'5�") and Harry Freeman (53'1") in the triple jump; James McAlister, ineligible this year, in the long jump; Warren Edmonson (9.3) in the 100 and, as a long shot, Benny Brown (45.8) in the quarter. There were also the Norwegian long jumper, Finn Bendixen, and Frenchmen Fran�ois Tracanelli, a pole vaulter, and intermediate hurdler Jean Pierre Corval, all three of whom should make their national teams.
USC's Wolfe is either more the realist or less the optimist than Bush. He said he had only three possible Olympic people: Garrison, sprinter Willie Deckard and Donald Quarrie of Jamaica in the 200. Then he forgot about the Olympics and harked back to thinking about UCLA. "I may look controlled but I'm as tight as I've ever been for an athletic contest," he said. "It's kind of silly. A little dual meet and I get so damned excited. I've got much more control at bigger meets. UCLA makes me edgy. I wake up at night, running this race in my head, then running another one." Wolfe looked at a piece of paper in his hand and threw it away. It was blank. He had tried to figure the meet but had given up before making a pencil mark. "There is so much talent on each side, how can you figure it? In this meet everybody wants to do his best ever, nobody wants to make a mistake and anything can happen. It's a war out there. Any other time and they're all friends. But Saturday we declare war, our one-day war."
The war began with UCLA's Bendixen, the first man up in the first event, long-jumping 26 feet even, a personal best, a Norwegian national mark and the winning distance. After that the lead went back and forth. For UCLA, there was Peter Jones, who was not supposed to compete because of a back injury, finishing third in the javelin; Rich winning the 120-yard hurdles (13.7); Corval the intermediates (52.0); the expected 1-2 in the triple jump, James Butts winning with a 53'3/4"; and Jeff Sakala taking the pole vault (16'6") in a jump-off that Bush didn't want. With three men tied for first and two of them from UCLA, Bush said, "Let's split the points."
"No," said Wolfe. "The NCAA rules say that a tie should be broken by a jump-off. Let's follow the rules." After Sakala had won, Wolfe said, "Let's split."
For USC, there was a sweep by Quarrie (20.6), Deckard and Leon Brown in the 220; a win by its world-record-holding sprint relay team; a last-second surge to finish 1-2 in the javelin and a 1-2 in the two-mile run.
And when 16 of 17 events were in, it was UCLA 71, USC 69 and the simple truth that Ron Gaddis, Warren Edmonson, Benny Brown and Smith were better than any four USC could muster in the mile relay. Plus that awful hand-off.