1939 Pre-Season : Charting Pacific Coast Conference

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Prior to the start of the 1939 NCAA collegiate football season, well-known contemporary commentator MAXWELL STILES from Los Angeles released an article on the Pacific Coast Conference entitled “Charting Detail Team Strength” in the “Sports Weekly”, a new tabloid publication which was staffed with prominent sports writers from all across the country.

Personnel …………………. USC – 100 …………… Washington State – 30
Backfield ………………….. UCLA – 100 ………… Washington State – 30
Line ………………………….. USC – 100 …………… Washington State – 20
Reserves …………………… USC – 100 …………… Washington State – 20
Morale ……………………… California – 100 …… Washington – 20
Favorable Schedule …… California – 100 …… Oregon – 20
Strategy ……………………. California – 100 …… UCLA – 60
Alertness …………………… Stanford – 100 …….. Washington – 60
Opportunists ……………… California – 100 …… Washington – 60
Deception ………………….. Stanford – 100 …….. UCLA – 50
Speed ………………………… UCLA – 100 …………. Washington State – 40
Power ……………………….. USC – 100 ……………. Washington State – 20
Blocking ……………………. USC – 100 ……………. UCLA – 60
Passing ………………………. UCLA – 100 …………. Washington State – 30
Kicking ………………………. Stanford – 100 …….. Ore St, Wash St – 50
Pass Defense ………………. USC – 100 ……………. Oregon – 40

STILES’ FINAL SCORE
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1. USC Trojans (9-2-0) ………………………….. 1300 pts
2. California Bears (10-1-0) ……………………. 1240 pts
3. Oregon State Beavers (5-3-1) ……………… 1110 pts
4. UCLA Bruins (6-4-1) ………………………….. 1090 pts
5. Washington Huskies (3-5-1) ……………….. 1070 pts
6. Stanford Indians (3-6-0) …………………….. 1070 pts
7. Oregon Ducks (4-5-0) …………………………… 930 pts
8. Washington State Cougars (2-8-0) …………. 680 pts

(1938 NCAA overall record in parenthesis)

Source material : Eugene Register-Guard, Wednesday, September 27, 1939

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California Golden Bears defenders are powerless to prevent USC Trojans quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL (# 78) from leaping head first into the end zone during the third quarter of the pivotal Pacific Coast Conference clash that was viewed by a record-setting crowd of 95,000 spectators at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 5, 1938 … On the strength of this six-yard scoring run by Lansdell and subsequent fourth quarter touchdown plunge by fullback Jack Banta, the ambitious Trojans upended the visiting Golden Bears 13-7 and halted mighty California’s unbeaten streak at eighteen consecutive NCAA contests … Ironically enough, USC actually lost to Washington in Seattle the very next week but later walloped intra-city rival UCLA in their final conference game of the season and were formally selected to play in the annual Rose Bowl Game shortly thereafter.
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1938 PACIFIC COAST CONFERENCE standings
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won 6 … lost 1 … tied 0 …….. USC Trojans
won 6 … lost 1 … tied 0 …….. California Golden Bears
won 4 … lost 2 … tied 1 …….. Oregon State Beavers
won 3 … lost 3 … tied 1 …….. UCLA Bruins
won 3 … lost 4 … tied 0 …….. Oregon Ducks
won 3 … lost 4 … tied 0 …….. Washington Huskies
won 2 … lost 5 … tied 0 …….. Stanford Indians
won 0 … lost 7 … tied 0 …….. Washington State Cougars

(Note — standings only reflect the results of conference games played between the eight members schools eligible to be selected for the Rose Bowl contest)

Although powerful California and resurgent USC finished with identical records of six wins against one loss versus Pacific Coast Conference competition, it was the Trojans who received the prestigious invitation to appear in the always lucrative Rose Bowl Game played annually on New Year’s Day.

In 1938, the procedure for selecting the Rose Bowl participant from the West called for a vote of the ten academic institutions that comprised the Pacific Coast Conference. As matters stood at this point in time, neither the University of Idaho nor the University of Montana were actually eligible to play in the Rose Bowl Game, itself. Nevertheless, both member schools still proudly exercised their right to participate in the electoral process.

During the 1938 NCAA season, the Idaho Vandals defeated Oregon State (13-0), tied Washington (12-12) and lost to UCLA (0-33), Oregon (6-19) as well as Washington State (0-12) while the Montana Grizzlies did not play any Pacific Coast Conference schools that year with the notable exception of Idaho, to whom Montana lost (6-19).

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