On Nov. 17, 1957, locals in Norman, Okla., who managed to crawl out of bed and buy the Daily Oklahoman were greeted with this from sportswriter John Conley: "Russia's two sputniks collided in mid-air. The sun set in the east. Hitler was discovered alive in Washington, D.C. And almost equally incredible, Oklahoma University lost a football game." The story described Notre Dame's stunning 7-0 defeat of Oklahoma, which ended the Sooners' 47-game win streak, a record that still stands.
If you are one who analyzes games by rosters and records, you believe Southern California will demolish California today en route to a third straight national title. If you are one who subscribes to the theory of historical symmetry, you believe USC's 31-game win streak will undoubtedly die today. The similarities between 1957 and 2005 are striking, almost eerie.
For example, the last school that had beaten Oklahoma, in 1953, was the same team that ended its streak: Notre Dame. The last team to beat USC -- 34-31 in triple overtime in 2003 -- was the same Cal team the Trojans face today.
There's more: Notre Dame beat Oklahoma during the fourth week of September 1953. Cal beat USC during the fourth week of September 2003. The Fighting Irish ended the Sooners' streak in mid-November 1957. Look outside: leaves, wind -- it's mid-November 2005.
Entering the 1957 game, Notre Dame was coming off a bad road loss. Entering today, Cal is coming off a disappointing road loss to a team without its starting quarterback.
If history repeats itself each century, newspaper readers may be greeted with this: "Text messaging was found to cause baldness. The sun set in the east. Osama Bin Laden was discovered alive in Washington, D.C. And almost equally incredible, Southern California lost a football game."
-- Eric Prisbell