A cold rain fell that New Year’s Day, and as the Duke football team ran onto a soggy field, one of the players joked that they should have worn boots instead of cleats.
The Blue Devils had envisioned something more pleasant when, about a month earlier, they accepted an invitation to the 1942 Rose Bowl.
“We were thinking about warm weather,” says Jim Smith, the last surviving player from that game. “The glamour of Southern California.”
The bombing of Pearl Harbor changed all that.
The U.S. entered World War II, and officials — concerned about a Japanese attack on the West Coast — hastily canceled the parade...