Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
Inspired by the recent saga of Manti Te'o and Lennay Kekua, what are some of the strangest happenings in the history of Pac-12 football?
In celebration of Manti Te'o and one of the strangest and most engrossing stories in the history of college football, I thought it would be a good time to dig into the Pac-12 football vault of memory to unearth the strangest stories and happenings in the history of Pac-12 football. While none can really get into the stratosphere of Lennay Kekua, they certainly grabbed the attention of college football fans for how out of the ordinary they were. And just think, if Te'o had just signed with USC out of high school like everyone expected, maybe all of this could have taken place in the Pac-12.
Also, keeping in mind that I am a fairly young Pac-12 fan, I fully understand that I am probably skipping over a ton of strange happenings that took place before the age of the Internet and am probably even missing some from the golden age of over-information too. If you have any moments that you think should be on the list, definitely add them in a comment.
USC player shot by stray bullet at practice
USC is commonly mocked as standing for "University of Spoiled Children," but for those that know the geography of Los Angeles, it is also commonly mocked as "University of South Central," in relation to the fact that the campus is in a rather undesirable part of LA. Confirming the latter of the nicknames, USC freshman linebacker Jon McGee was actually hit by a stray bullet while at practice for the Trojans. A story that I'm sure a few rival coaches have used against the Trojans.
Jerramy Stevens crashes truck into nursing home
You could write a book about the strange and inappropriate behavior of Stevens and the 2000 Washington Huskies... oh wait, someone did that. Of all of Stevens' lengthy list of indiscretions, none is probably more bizarre than when he drove his truck literally through a nursing home in the middle of the night while drunk going into his junior season, tearing into the room of a retiree before using his school books to help get traction to drive out of the elderly man's room.
He has probably been removed from the conference too long now to be considered for his recent rocky engagement to soccer star and fellow Washington alum Hope Solo, but it is definitely strange, with the strangest of the many bizarre tidbits being that Stevens claimed that he was sleeping when he was found underneath a bed by police who were investigating a dispute in his home. Because, you know, doesn't everyone sleep underneath beds?
Marshawn Lynch ghost rides injury cart after win
Okay, so this one isn't particularly life-changing or controversial, but it is definitely one of my favorite "You gotta see this" moments in Pac-12 football history as Lynch took an injury cart for a spin after a win over Washington. It is definitely something that I had never seen before and imagine I will probably never see again.
Not strange in this clip though, Tyrone Willingham looking baffled but also indifferent after a defeat and Steve Physioc misidentifying a player.
Mike Price "Cougs" it with strippers and booze
Granted, Price was technically no longer in the Pac-12 at this point, but since he had yet to even coach one game at Alabama, I'm still considering him a Cougar. To "Coug" is a derogatory term that is frequently used by Washington fans to describe blowing a big lead or perfect situation that supposedly was coined by a Spokesman-Review writer, but basically is described as snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and boy did Price ever Coug it at Alabama.
Given the reins to one of the best programs in college football, Price w went out and got drunk at a strip club and had inappropriate contact with a stripper who bore an unpleasant resemblance to Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame, before having sex with two women, one of whom apparently tried to order one of everything on the room service menu to go with Price's University of Alabama credit card. Price ended up migrating to UTEP to hide out while clearly Alabama has never recovered.
You probably haven't seen this before.
Someone may have sent Bobby Wade anthrax
This is one of the more obscure stories, but I remember it being featured on a reality show that documented the first season of the John Mackovic era (A strange story and hiring in itself) right after 9/11 when the country was scared and someone was really sending anthrax in the mail. Apparently Wade, who was an underrated receiver for the Wildcats received a letter that may have contained anthrax in the mail.
Stanford upsets USC
There have been a lot of huge upsets in the history of the Pac-12, but none more strange than when the horribly moribund at the time Cardinal upset the Trojans in the midst of the Pete Carroll era in LA. The Cardinal had lost 19 out of their last 22 games and had been destroyed in their first three Pac-12 games of the season while the Trojans had won 63 out of their last 68 and were the runaway favorites to win the conference yet again.
However, it what was the first really good sign of Jim Harbaugh's prowess in big time football, the Cardinal pulled off the upset in LA with a miraculous last second touchdown.
LeGarrette Blount goes berserk
Judging just by how his first night as head coach went, no one would have predicted the wild success that Chip Kelly would have at Oregon. Capping off a game in which they got dominated by Boise State, LeGarrette Blount, who had just rushed for minus five yards on eight carries, punched Boise State's Byron Hout who had taunted him by slapping him on the shoulders with fake congratulations in response to Blount's pre-game quip that the Ducks owed Boise State an a** whooping.
Most remember the punch, but what got lost over time was that Blount was also in shoving matches with his own teammates on the field and then got in an altercation with Boise State fans which resulted in him at least pretending that he was trying to go attack fans. While it wasn't necessary a story, the melee was without a doubt one of the strangest things to ever take place on the field at a Pac-12 game.