After early season losses to #9 Missouri and unranked Michigan State, Michigan won 4 straight games before their showdown with heavily favored top ranked Ohio State for the Rose Bowl berth. Michigan shocked the college football world by upsetting the #1 ranked Buckeyes, 24-12. The week before the Rose Bowl, Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler suffered a mild heart attack and had to miss the game.
Aided by a pass interference penalty and a controversial last minute touchdown, USC earned the Rose Bowl berth with a 14-12 win over rival UCLA in the season's final game. The only blemish on their record was a 14-14 tie at South Bend against Notre Dame. The Trojans were making their fourth consecutive Rose Bowl Game appearance.
USC finished the year undefeated with one tie, earning a #3 ranking behind undefeated and untied #1 Texas and #2 Penn State. Bob Chandler went on to play for the NFL for 11 years with the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. Michigan finished 8-3 and was ranked 9th in the AP poll and 11th in the UPI poll.