MIAMI -- O.J. Simpson plans to root like crazy at the Orange
"I'll be in the stands cheering as loud as anybody for USC,"
Simpson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.
"I can't wait. I always follow SC -- always have, always will,"
Simpson said he hasn't seen his alma mater play in person for
about 10 years, though he has watched most of the Trojans' games on
television during that time.
But the lure of seeing No. 1 Southern California take on No. 2
Oklahoma for the national title Tuesday night was too great for
Simpson. The former Heisman Trophy winner lives about 30 miles
southwest of Pro Player Stadium.
His attorney, Yale Galanter, monitored the telephone call and
wouldn't allow Simpson to say where he'll be sitting inside the
Simpson played for Southern California in 1967-68, winning the
Heisman his senior season. He then went on to become one of the
best running backs in NFL history, mostly with the Buffalo Bills.
After that, he was an actor, television football commentator and
pitchman for Hertz.
That, more than anything else, made Simpson perhaps the
best-known former USC student, surpassing the likes of actors John
Wayne, Tom Selleck and Ron Howard; Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and
astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Simpson was tried and acquitted of murder following the June
1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend,
Ronald Goldman, in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood.
Simpson was found liable for the deaths in a later civil trial
and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the families of the victims.
His Heisman Trophy was sold to pay a portion of the judgment.
"I'm fine, the kids are happy, that makes me happy," he said.
"They're doing terrific. My daughter's in college now, my son is
in school here."
His daughter, Sydney, is 19; his son, Justin, 16. He said his
son couldn't go to the Orange Bowl because he's playing in a
basketball game Tuesday night.
Simpson did not attend any of the Trojans' practices. Two years
ago, he dropped by a USC workout before the Orange Bowl against
Iowa and was warmly received by players -- but the school later was
criticized for the appropriateness of the visit.
Simpson said he was surprised USC was favored in this game
because the Sooners have more experience. Yet he thought a
freshman, Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, could make a huge
"He's the one player who's probably going to have the greatest
impact on the game," Simpson said. "You can be in the perfect
defense and it doesn't matter, he'll make an adjustment, he'll make
a move and he'll score. He's the type of athlete that you can't
defend. He scares me to death."