ROSE ( PASADENA)
UCLA VS. OHIO STATE
JAN. 1, 1976 4:45 P.M. EST NBC
On paper, there is no way Ohio State can lose the Rose Bowl to UCLA or the national championship to anybody. The Buckeyes lead the nation in points scored and rank second in points allowed. Archie Heisman gained 1,357 yards, Pete Johnson scored 25 touchdowns, Cornelius Greene completed 59% of his passes, Craig Cassady intercepted eight passes, Tom Skladany averaged 47 yards a punt, the line blocked as well as ever and the overall defense was the best in years. When the Buckeyes played the Bruins on Oct. 4 they won 41-20. Coach Dick Vermeil insists, "We're a better team now," but so what?
Oh, something shocking could happen. The Buckeyes have proved allergic to roses in the past. Even Woody Hayes was impressed by the running and passing of UCLA's All-America John Sciarra, who engineered more points against the Buckeyes than anyone else this year. And Wendell Tyler is the Bruins' alltime single-season leading rusher with 1,216 yards. And Nose Guard Cliff Frazier can come up with the big play....
In the Bruins' last Rose Bowl appearance 10 years ago, a UCLA team with two losses and a tie played another unbeaten No. 1 team that had defeated it earlier ( Michigan State), and pulled a 14-12 upset. Incidentally, the No. 2 team also lost its bowl that year and the national championship fell to Alabama, which had lost only its first game. Everybody in Tuscaloosa remembers.
OKLAHOMA VS. MICHIGAN
JAN. 1, 1976 7:45 P.M. EST NBC
Now that Michigan has won its freedom from the Big Ten's Rose Bowl-only policy and Oklahoma is off NCAA probation, both are fit for introduction to postseason society. Each team has lost only three regular-season games in the last five years, guaranteeing a proper climax to the holiday schedule.
Despite their different offenses—Michigan uses the power I, Oklahoma the wishbone—the teams share several characteristics. Neither passes very often or very well; both prefer to run. The Wolverines offer 1,000-yard-rushers Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle, while the Sooners feature the balance of Quarterback Steve Davis and Halfback Joe Washington, among others. Both teams punt poorly, but their field-goal kickers, Bob Wood of the Wolverines and Tony DiRienzo of the Sooners, are outstanding.
The defenses yield ground grudgingly, especially against the run. Their secondaries are vulnerable to the pass, but Quarterbacks Davis and Rick Leach may be unable to exploit it. The other defenders are among the best anywhere, especially Leroy and Dewey Selmon of Oklahoma. Michigan's top stopper is Rover Don Dufek.
Oklahoma has a better record (10-1 to 8-1-2) against a tougher schedule (five bowl teams to one). As former Michigan star Gerald Ford said, "It looks like my Wolverines are going to have their hands full."
FIESTA ( TEMPE)
ARIZONA STATE VS. NEBRASKA
DEC. 26, 1975 3 P.M. EST CBS