Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 10:55 pm | Fair 62º

Time Out

Paul Yarbrough: Counting Down to Kickoff of College Football

UCLA season tickets during the 1990s coincided with the Bruins' domination of USC; now, can anyone spoil the Trojans' national title hopes?

» As the calendar flips to August, it’s time to start looking forward to one of my favorite times of the year: fall and college football ...

Paul Yarbrough
Paul Yarbrough

» I now live within 40 miles of two Pac-10 schools — the University of Oregon and Oregon State University — and have the opportunity nearly every Saturday to attend a game or two ...

» I love to make a day of it, and start tailgating about four hours before kickoff. Especially when the weather is nice, which it usually is in September and most of October. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it’s as if someone flips a switch on Oct. 15 and winter begins ...

» When I lived in Santa Barbara, I shared UCLA season tickets with Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen. We had a blast, dragging the kids to the Rose Bowl (with the obligatory stop for lunch en route at the Camarillo In-N-Out) for a day of fun. I started taking my youngest daughter, Melissa, to games at the Rose Bowl when she was 18 months old. To this day, she loves college football, just like her dad ...

» Most often, we would get to the Rose Bowl area early, spread out a blanket on the surrounding golf course and tailgate with the UCLA Alumni Band. The cheerleaders and regular band would stop by, making for a festive pre-game ...

» Those years coincided with UCLA’s domination of USC, with the Bruins beating their crosstown rival Trojans eight straight times beginning in 1991 ...

» The 1992 game remains one of my favorites, with UCLA upsetting the heavily favored Trojans, 38-37, at the Rose Bowl, under the direction of unheralded quarterback John Barnes. Just a year earlier, he had been the quarterback for UCSB during its football resurrection. But when the school dropped the sport (again), he was able to transfer and was eligible to play immediately. From Harder Stadium one year to beating USC at the Rose Bowl the next ... pretty heady stuff, I imagine. So happy to say I was in the Rose Bowl that November afternoon ...

» Unfortunately, the rivalry has shifted toward the Trojans in recent years, with USC winning nine of the past 10 meetings. The lone UCLA win was that memorable 13-9 game in 2006 — and Macfadyen was there and called me amid the thunderous roar from the Bruin faithful. ...

» The sports writers and broadcasters attending this year’s Pac-10 Media Day picked USC to win the conference again this year. Here are their picks (with total poll points in parentheses): 1) USC (316); 2) Cal (277); 3) Oregon (250); 4) Oregon State (216); 5) Arizona State (155); 6) Stanford (150); 7) UCLA (145); 8) Arizona (142); 9) Washington (74); and 10) Washington State (35) ...

» I was in attendance last September when Oregon State upset the No. 1 Trojans in Corvallis, spoiling their national title hopes. Will anyone be able to do it again this season? One date to circle on your calendars: Halloween, when USC visits Oregon for a 5 p.m. ABC telecast ...

» Oregon (in 2001) is the only other Pac-10 school to win an outright conference title during the decade of Trojan dominance ...

» Dan Shiells, prep sports editor extraordinaire at the Santa Barbara News-Press for many, many years — including my years as sports editor — shares a hilarious experience with a late-night caller to the sports desk. “My favorite call was on a Christmas Eve, working alone, when some lady called to say she had seen someone with a rifle crossing a fence that bordered the Reagan Ranch,” he writes. “I tried to explain that this was the sports desk and not the police or even the news desk, which was gone for the night. I asked her if she wanted those numbers, or any scores, but she said no, that this was too important and that something needed to be done ‘right now, before it’s too late.’ ‘What if they kill the president?’ she asked. ‘What if they kill the president? Well, ‘that’s why they have a vice president,’ I said. She hung up. (President Ronald) Reagan, by the way, was not in town that week.”

Noozhawk columnist Paul Yarbrough can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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