The last season of the 1960s on this Pac-12 Friday miniseries has us looking at the infamous year of how the Ohio State Buckeyes lost their shot at a second consecutive mythical national championship. But it’s also the beginning of some serious Best Coast domination of the Rose Bowl, as it would be a long time before the Conference of Champions coughed up its grip in Pasadena. Oh, and the revised MNC still stayed in house, too!
With all that pretext, here we go with another year of doling out virtual trophies …
1969 Pac-8 MVP: Clarence Davis, USC
USC won its fourth-straight league title with a perfect 6-0 league mark, while UCLA and Stanford tied for second with 5-1-1 conference records. With the Trojans beating both the Bruins and the Indians, though, it was clear which team was the best. But what about the MVP?
We have a candidate from each team above, really: USC running back Clarence Davis (led conference in rushing yards and scrimmage yards), UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit (led league in passing efficiency), and Stanford QB Jim Plunkett (led everyone in passing yards and passing touchdowns). The key to us is that Davis led the Pac-8 in rushing yards by a whopping 596 yards, however, and scrimmage yards by a comparably stunning 420 yards.
Throw in 9 TDs from scrimmage, and Davis was the dominant player, while Dummit and Plunkett merely were good players splitting a lot of honors at the same position. Toss in the fact that USC beat both UCLA and Stanford, and we’re good with another Trojans RB getting this award.
1969 B1G MVP: Mike Phipps, Purdue
Michigan and Ohio State tied at the top of the conference with 6-1 league marks, although the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes head-to-head to claim the tiebreak and the trip to Pasadena. Purdue came in third with a 5-2 record, having lost to both the co-champs. But only one player dominated the statistical leaderboards in the B1G.
Boilermakers QB Mike Phipps was that player: He topped the conference in all 9 major categories for passing, including yards (2,527), TDs (23), and efficiency rating (131.2). That’s the Triple Crown for QBs, right there. The next-best QB tossed 11 TDs, for example. He was the best player in the conference—and the most valuable.
Buckeyes RB Jim Otis gets runners-up honors for his 1,027 rushing yards (second in conference, by 190 yards to Indiana RB John Isenbarger) and 16 TDs from scrimmage (tops in the conference). But he didn’t come close to dominating his position, or the league, like Phipps did.
1970 Rose Bowl MVP: Bob Chandler, USC (original); Jimmy Jones, USC (revised)
The Trojans won the Rose Bowl by a 10-3 score over the Wolverines, with the lone TD coming on a 33-yard pass in the third quarter from USC QB Jimmy Jones to wide receiver Bob Chandler. This broke a 3-3 tie and propelled the Trojans to the victory.
Chandler (3 receptions for 78 yards) was named the MVP by the media at the time, but we look more to Jones and his overall effort on the day. The Trojans ran for 195 yards, but no single RB was dominant, including Davis (15 carries for 77 yards). Meanwhile, Jones led the attack without committing a single turnover, getting the ball to his stable of ball carriers and Chandler throughout the day with just enough success to grind out a victory.
The USC defense played a huge role in this game, but in the absence of stats there, we’re going with Jones: He only threw for 128 yards, but he completed 55.6 percent of his passing attempts without an interceptions and did what he needed to do to get everyone in the offense involved, keeping the stellar Michigan defense off balance as the Trojans piled up 323 total yards.