As I work on a reboot of the book The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist, it’s been fun to look back at some of the moments I’ve been able to witness and chronicle in my career. While working on the West Coast for a decade and a half, starting with a great stint as a reporter for CNN Sports and including fun runs at Orange County Newschannel and Fox Sports West, I had some amazing stories to cover. There was the World Cup soccer final, won by Brazil, and the work leading up to the championship. Later, I was on the field when Brandi Chastain did her P-K magic as the US women topped China in the World Cup in 1999. There were “everyday” games and stories that were not as memorable. Part of that is the crowded nature of my old noggin.
And then there were the college football Rose Bowls we were able to cover. Some times, when you are a field reporter for a large organization, you do the leg work, pre-game interviews, etc., but you don’t actually get to cover the game itself. Certainly that was the case a few times with CNN, but who could complain? One season I didn’t get to cover the game, for example, but I did get to cover the media event at the Playboy Mansion. Tough assignment.
There were two great games, in particular, I recall. Penn State played for a “mythical national championship” to close out a perfect 1994 season on New Year’s Day 1995 with a 38-20 win over Oregon in front of more than 102,000. They didn’t top the polls that year, but those were the days before the BCS and the playoffs.
A couple of years later I had the chance to watch one of the most enjoyable games I’ve seen – as Arizona State and Ohio State battled down to the wire to close out the 1996 season. The Buckeyes spoiled ASU’s run at a perfect season, winning on a last minute TD 20-17.
Here are some of these stories, including the pre-game materials and some post. I don’t have all that coverage in my personal archives, and since this all pre-dated the explosion of the Internet, well… Yes, I am old.
Glad to see in 2015 the beauty and majesty of the Rose Bowl game hasn’t been diminished by this year’s Oregon-FSU inaugural NCAA DI semi-final. The magic was already alive in the roses.