CHICAGO DAILY NEWS
An Independent Newspaper
It's getting near time for the annual treatise on the Rose Bowl pact between the Big Ten and Pacific Coast conferences. No team may play at Pasadena two years in a row.
From scores and scouting reports, U.C.L.A. will win the PCC title in a romp. But because it was in the Rose Bowl last Jan. 1 it can't go back. This means that the Big Ten champ will meet one of the runner-ups under a new agreement effective this year.
Nowhere in the Rose Bowl agreement does it mention that this is a clash between championship teams. The contract specifies that each conference will send a "representative team" into the arena, but to the millions who constitute the "live" and television audience, it is essentially a title battle.
Why not make it that way in fact as well as in spirit, as has been the case when California, for instance, played there three straight years?
TO LOSE—AND WIN
The way things stand now some Big Ten squad will be playing Southern California or Stanford next New Year's Day, with the former having the current edge.
Southern Cal plays U.C.L.A. and Notre Dame its last two games and will be favored to lose 'em both...a circumstance hardly in keeping with the Rose Bowl appellation as "representative team." Northwestern should have beaten U.S.C. here earlier in the season. Ohio State already has licked California, and Michigan has beaten Washington. The Illinois coaching staff still can't understand how it got licked by Stanford, 12-2, which Navy walloped 25-0 in another intersectional game.
One of these teams, then, will be the stand-in for U.C.L.A. in the Rose Bowl. When Victor Schmidt, commissioner of the PCC and "Tug" Wilson, czar of the Big Ten, approved the clause of 'no return' in the Rose Bowl pact it was the hope or belief, or both, that those words would stop any school or coach from consistently recruiting powerful teams to maintain its Bowl appearances. Apparently this has not stopped U.C.L.A., which, of course, can sit back at the end of the season in the championship seat and say: "We're the winners...and we could have beaten so-and-so..." filling in the name of the Big Ten opponent.
Nor can anybody gainsay that attitude or quarrel with it. Moreover: since the game is played in California, it is not a question of picking a team which the folks out there haven't seen before.
PENALTY OF VICTORY
From this point of view it seems elementary that when two conferences play a postseason game, their titular teams should be in it. Nobody penalized the Yankees for winning five straight pennants. They played in the World Series every year and the crowds didn't stay home.
A few years ago when Purdue and Wisconsin tied for the Big Ten crown, Wisconsin was picked for the Rose Bowl. It was the judgment of the athletic directors that the Badgers had the better potential for victory. Last fall, when it was a question of Michigan State or Illinois, the former got the nod because, largely, the Illini had been to California in 1947 and 1952.
Michigan State and Illinois were tied in the first vote a year ago. Then Commissioner Wilson called the directors into session and thrashed it out in favor of the Spartans.
At the same time, however, they took action which, in the future, will eliminate the necessity of prolonged argument in case of another tie for the Big Ten title.
A three-point 'solution' has been formulated for such an emergency a) the team which went west most recently stays home b) if neither can be eliminated that way the team which beat the other during the season gets the nod c) if they didn't play one another, a toss of the coin decides who goes. Not that it will make much difference this time, with U.C.L.A. on the sidelines...!
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