Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rose Bowl Pre-Game: Auld Lang Syne

What does “auld lang syne” actually mean? I have no idea … something about not forgetting old stuff.

It’s one of those things for which everyone has an explanation and each one seems to make sense, especially when you’ve had a few to drink. In the end, it doesn’t matter much once the New Year comes … we’re singing (or mumbling) any “auld” version of the song.

Of course, what does matter is USC Football, and when 2007 comes, the Trojan Family will know the words and what they mean … Fight On!

No doubt, tomorrow is an important day in the history of USC Football. It’s another Rose Bowl, another BCS bowl game, another classic match up with Michigan, our brethren of college football tradition and national status.

There have been lots of “consolation bowl” psycho-babble and X’s and O’s analysis over the last week (since the 13-9 tragedy, really), but one piece by Bruce Feldman at ESPN.com gets to the heart of the matter:
Make no mistake, there are some internal concerns about whether the USC program is on the brink of a downward spiral.

The loss to UCLA not only ruined the Trojans' bid to win their third national title in four seasons, but it also marked the end of an amazing NCAA-record streak of 63 games in which they had scored 20 or more points. It was the low point of a very inconsistent season for a team that was supposed to be carried by its defense. However, the defense just didn't make a lot of big plays. […]

The offense was nowhere near as dangerous as 2005. Of course, that had to be expected, right? [...] Still, no one expected the Trojans to lose to two unranked teams, Oregon State and UCLA. USC lost games it had been finding ways to win.

No wonder the Trojans' matchup with Michigan in the Rose Bowl presented by Citi is so vital to USC. There is also plenty of talk that this game is a battle for No. 1 … in 2007. […]

The Trojans figure to return seven starters on offense and 10 on defense to play a road-heavy schedule. Plus, we keep hearing about all of these great No. 1 ranked recruiting classes USC has stockpiled. And yes, the Trojans appear to be on their way to another ballyhooed recruiting class again this February.

It all sounds fantastic, but it would become a very long offseason if the Trojans can't stand up to Michigan. This is a crossroads game for USC. The Trojans must finish this season off on a strong beat. They have to snuff out any lingering doubt that grew from the UCLA debacle, which was indicative of a very un-Trojan-like season. […]

Of course, maybe it was just inevitable. USC had won 34 consecutive games and back-to-back national titles before its loss to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl. […]

Some former Miami coaches [who also had a 34-game winning streak from 2000-03] say it is virtually impossible to sustain that level. Great players jump to the NFL early. Assistant coaches move on. Younger players don't know what it took to get to that level. Worse still, they say, it takes a whole lot of great breaks to win 34 straight and eventually the breaks start going the other way. It is all such a delicate mix.
USC Football is indeed at a crossroads, and perhaps 2007 will define the Pete Carroll Era more than any other year. Forget about the first six years, it’s the next one (and however many following) that will tell us if this beautiful run is truly historic.

As we’ve said, the future is bright, and if a 10-win season with a Rose Bowl berth during a re-building year is the worst that Pete Carroll will give us, I’ll take it.

We’ll just have to see what 2007 shows us. It all starts tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sun Bowl: Riley's Guts? USC Knows Better

A few places around the blogosphere are lauding Mike Riley for his “game-winning” decision to go for two, rather than settle for an over-time-ensuring extra-point in the Sun Bowl yesterday. Guts they call it. But USC fans know better.

Never mind that Riley wouldn’t look so “smart” or “gutsy” if the Beavers had failed to convert two points ... or that OSU running back Yvenson Bernard barely made it into the end zone. USC fans experienced Riley’s “smarts” and “guts” when he was calling plays for the Trojans, and we know it’s just dumb luck.

We saw Riley's "guts" for nearly an entire season in 1995 when he was the offensive coordinator for the Trojans. Anyone who thinks Lane Kiffin’s performance this season is something to complain about doesn’t remember (or wasn’t around) for Riley’s debauchery 11 years ago …

Coming off a demolition of undersized Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl (in which USC passed for 435 yards) to end the 1994 season, the Trojans were supposed to bring USC Football back to glory in ‘95. SI’s college football preview issue featured Keyshawn Johnson on the cover and ranked USC No. 1. Johnson was a leading Heisman candidate, and L.A. was abuzz with anticipation for the season.

Adding to the hype, 1995 was the third season of John Robinson’s second tenure as USC head coach, and the “experts” were drawing parallels to Robinson’s first stint at SC in which the Trojans won the national championship in 1978. All the pieces were in place, supposedly.

As we know now, Robinson Part Deux was a bad retread, and Riley as OC was a big part of the problem. First, USC decided to go with a two-headed quarterback – Brad Otten and Kyle Wachholtz. Then, Riley decided to use Johnson as a decoy (in a literal attempt to turn USC back into “Tailback U”) rather than throw to the proven prototype 6’ 4” receiver that nobody could cover.

The results, given the hype and expectations, were not good. USC lost to Notre Dame 38-10 and listlessly tied Washington the following week. Sure the Trojans locked up a Pac-10 title, but then USC lost 24-20 to ugla at the Coliseum.

In what may be the worst example of clock management in the history of USC Football, the Trojan offense, needing two scores late in the game, took its sweet time, repeatedly running the ball to score a single touchdown … which left no time for another score. Pathetic and useless.

It wasn’t until the Rose Bowl that Riley got some brains (or guts) … he stayed with Otten for the entire game and got Keyshawn the “damn ball.” As a result, USC came back to beat No. 3 Northwestern … No. 3 Northwestern41-32.

It was a great bowl win, but USC fans were left wondering what might have been if Riley had displayed more guts (or brains) throughout the ’95 season. Instead he waited until the last quarter of the Rose Bowl to find his “cajones.” (And, of course, it was all down hill from there, until lightning struck and Mike Garrett won the Pete Carroll Lotto.)

No doubt the Sun Bowl was a nice win for Oregon State. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday Bowl: Tedford Knows How to Win

What a difference a day makes.

Wednesday night we witnessed a Pac-10 coach who doesn’t know how to win … last night we saw a coach that does.

Sure, Cal’s Jeff Tedford represented the conference well, notching the Pac-10’s first win after three bowl-season losses, with an emphatic 45-10 beat down of those weirdos … I mean, Aggies … of Texas A&M. Tedford proved once again that he is indeed the Pac-10’s second best coach.

But perhaps more importantly Tedford showed an ESPN audience how to win with class. When the Bears scored their last touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game, Tedford could be seen on the sideline visibly upset because his back-up quarterback Steve Levy called a running play for back-up running back Bryan Shutte, instead of taking a knee as he was instructed.

Tedford was yelling, “What are you doing? What are you doing?,” while the rest of the Cal sideline celebrated, and as Levy came off the field, Tedford grabbed Levy’s facemask and let him have it. Afterward he presumably apologized to Aggie coach Dennis Franchione, then explained his animated conversation with Levy to Erin Andrews.* Excellent.

Of course, no one can say Karl Dorrell doesn’t have enough class to pull off a move like Tedford’s … but we’ll never really know, because he lacks the coaching prowess to build a 35-point bowl game lead in the first place.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!

* A gratuitous mention of Erin Andrews as a bonus, since we missed our typical Thursday fare yesterday …

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Emerald Bowl: End of the Aberration

Florida State 44, ugla 27. Not sure if this should make us feel better or worse about 13-9. At this point, probably neither.

Still, it was enjoyable to see ugla in a sorry “bowl game” played in a baseball stadium with empty seats all over … and both teams on the same sideline … with what looked like a set of 20-row bleachers behind them … and ESPN’s “C” team doing the telecast.

A perfect setting for a second-class football program.

The self-described “nation” is bound to tell itself that the embarrassing loss in a crappy bowl game makes 13-9 worthless. We know that’s not quite the case, but it’s nice to see the doubt back in ugla's eyes … and surely in the minds of top high school football players throughout Southern California.

Congrats to Lorenzo Booker.

The Rose Bowl, Baby!

Beat the Wolverines!
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

CSTV: USC vs Michigan "Battle of the Blogs"

CSTV asked this Displaced Trojan, along with several other USC blogs, to go head-to-head with our Michigan counterparts this week in a “Battle of the Blogs.”

Kyle from TrojanWire led off the festivities yesterday, taking on Michigan Against the World. The question: What makes your school’s fan base so special? Of course, in true TW style Kyle delivered a lesson in fun and sarcasm – while also dropping some knowledge – that couldn’t be matched.

The DT is up second for USC versus the Wolverines’ UMTailgate. Luckily for us, the question is loaded: What makes your school’s bowl tradition so special?

Admittedly, our style here is a little less "funny smartass" than the guys at TrojanWire, but no need for that here anyway. This one is no contest. Here’s an excerpt for the link-challenged …
When it comes to tradition in bowl games, very few schools compare to USC Football … and Michigan doesn't even come close.

The Trojans have appeared in 44 bowl games and are second only to Alabama in total bowl victories with 28 (the Crimson Tide have 30). USC's nine consecutive bowl wins (1923, '30, '32, '33, '39, '40, '44, '45 Rose Bowls, and the 1924 Christmas Festival) is second only to Florida State's streak of 11.

But when it comes to the "Granddaddy of Them All," USC is second to none. The Trojans have 30 total appearances and 21 victories in the Rose Bowl, by far more than any other school. Yes, Michigan has played in its share of Rose Bowls, but the Wolverines' record is a losing one (8-11), and the Trojans enjoy a 6-2 edge in Pasadena versus the maize and blue.
Check out CSTV for the whole Displaced take, as well as the UMTailgate side of the coin. We don’t know who’s up third, but good luck to both sides nonetheless.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bowl Season: Rooting Only for USC

A friend of mine who happens to be a fellow Pac-10 alum told me recently that he roots for all Pac-10 teams during bowl games. My reaction: Why the hell would you do that?

Why would any fan of any college football team root for other teams in their conference during bowl season?

I can understand pulling for conference mates against non-conference opponents during the regular season, when the perception of conference strength plays into the human polls and computer rankings. But there really isn’t any reason to do so in bowl games. Seriously.

Do you think Oregon’s crude and vulgar fans will be throwing up the “V” for USC on New Year’s Day? No. Is anyone from ugla planning to hand over their parking pass for us Trojans in Pasadena? Not a chance. Can you honestly tell me that any one of Cal’s fans want USC to win any game, let alone the Rose Bowl? No way.

Even if the feelings weren’t mutual, I would still root against every Pac-10 school during bowl season. It isn’t enough to simply win five consecutive Pac-10 championships. If USC wants to continue its conference dominance and enjoy its position as the national power of this new millennium, the Trojans must win the recruiting war in California. The bowl game results play an important part in doing so.

What do you think sounds worse to an ugla recruit: Karl Dorrell after a win versus perennial power FSU, or Karl Dorrell after a loss in a crappy bowl game in a half-filled baseball stadium? Of course, we’re talking about Karl Dorrell, and only a few ugla recruits are on Pete Carroll’s list, so perhaps that’s a bad example … but you know what I mean.

I’m glad that BYU embarrassed the Oregon Ducks in Las Vegas, even though Mike Bellotti should have already been ashamed for letting his kids wear those garish uniforms.

I’m happy Hawaii’s Colt Brennan spanked ASU in Dirk Koetter’s last game.

I hate ugla, and ugla hates us. So what if it’s just the Emerald Bowl. Go, Florida State!

Cal in the Holiday Bowl versus Texas A&M? Forget it. I don’t hear DeSean Jackson talking this week, but I’d love to see him get shut up and shut down again.

Oregon State against Missouri in the lowly Sun Bowl is exactly right. The Beavers should get something for beating USC, but they don’t deserve another reason to celebrate on national TV.

It’s pretty simple really. USC Football is a nationally recognized program. Every team in the Pac-10 wants what we have, and a bowl game victory could get them that much closer to the Trojans. Why in the world would any USC fan root for that?

We Are SC!

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Friday, December 22, 2006

Scott Wolf "Maybe" or "May Be" a Bad Reporter

A few college football reporters, including USC troublemaker … I mean, beat writer … Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News, told us that Norm Chow (right) made a disparaging comment about Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, the two “young guns” who together hold what used to be Chow’s job as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at USC.

Wrote Wolf in his “blog”:
Former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow was interviewed on 570-AM today.
Here's a couple quotes: […]

On offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and assistant coach Steve Sarkisian:

"I know (UCLA defensve coordinator) DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys.''
USC fans who don’t know any better might consider this an outstanding piece of reporting by Wolf. The problem is there are those of us who do know better … like anyone who heard the interview with their own ears.

Listen* to Chow’s statement, and it is very clear that Chow is actually attempting to articulate only that he knows Walker better than Kiffin and Sarkisian, not that he thinks Walker is better than USC’s “dynamic duo.”

At least one reader of Wolf’s “blog” accurately interpreted the meaning of Chow’s statement:
"I [personally] know DeWayne Walker MAYBE better than [either] of those guys [know DeWayne] (as Chow coached a year w/ him), and DeWayne's one heck of a football coach, and that's why it wasn't too surprising when Dewayne did what he did with UCLA".
Perhaps, Wolf could learn something from his ugla counterpart, Brian Dohn, who also writes a blog for the Daily News. Unlike Wolf, Dohn occasionally responds to his readers' comments. And apparently, unlike Wolf, Dohn checks multiple sources before writing a post.
All I can do is speak for myself and my philosophy. I treat my blog like an extension of a newspaper story. I do not run items without multiple sources confirming the story. I never did, and never will, deal with rumor in a newspaper story I write, or a blog entry I make. I will get beaten on a story before I will write something I did not confirm to be accurate. That is my approach. It always has been, and always will be.
Of course, in the case of Chow’s radio interview, the only sources Wolf had to check were his two ears and perhaps his brain. Not very reliable, apparently.

Anyway, all this points to a possible reason why Division I athletic directors continue to pass on Chow for open head coaching spots. Perhaps he doesn’t speak definitively enough … that is, with enough authority and clarity. Chow’s careless use of an ambiguous word “maybe” doesn’t sound like someone willing to make tough, program-altering decisions.

Take out the “maybe” and Chow’s words can’t be misconstrued, even by a beat writer with an agenda:

"I know DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys.''

Sure, this is nitpicking, but sometimes the little details make all the difference. Certainly, good reporters understand this. It’s too bad Wolf isn’t one of them.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!

* Download the interview.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

USC Football: Reading Wonders

We heard from the L.A. Times yesterday that Pete Carroll used his Magic Tennis Book again to improve the spirits (and presumably the play) of another Trojan who was down in the dumps.

This time it was Kyle Williams, who was apparently so distraught and depressed following his three-false-start performance during the 13-9 tragedy that he couldn’t bring himself to practice on Monday. Quoted the Times:
"That week after the game was pretty hard," said Williams, who was called for three false starts. "You try to forget about it but it seems like everywhere you've turned you're just getting reminded of it.

"I just had to get my head on straight."

Williams, a fifth-year senior, said Carroll on Monday gave him a copy of "The Inner Game of Tennis," a book that shaped Carroll's coaching philosophy. Earlier this season, Carroll gave the book to defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson when the fourth-year junior was putting too much pressure on himself.

"I wish I had known about it sooner," Williams said. "I'm about halfway done and it's really helped me be not so critical and just relax."
Now, I’m no magician, and I’m certainly no “genius” like our man Carroll, but I can’t help the feeling that this Magic Tennis Book could be doing more for USC Football. Am I missing something here … ?

Why does Carroll wait until after his players screw up before he gives them the magic book to read? Why didn’t Williams hear about the book sooner, if not from Carroll then from Jackson, the latest beneficiary of its magic?

Why doesn’t Carroll give every Trojan player a copy of the book? Couldn’t all his players benefit from its powers … or is it just one special dog-eared copy that is blessed with game-improving mojo?

And even if it is just one particular magic copy, couldn’t Carroll have his players gather around a table in groups of four or five so they can read the thing together? According to Williams, you only need to read half the book for it to start working, anyway!

I don’t get it. But then again, I’m not a “genius.”

Happy Holidays!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stanford Football: Not Even Trying

As we mentioned, ASU’s hiring of Dennis Erickson last week tells us that Sun Devil A.D. Lisa Love is all about winning, never mind the quality of the student-athletes Erickson will bring to Tempe.

This week we see the other side of the coin, as Jim Harbaugh was officially introduced yesterday as head coach of the Stanford Indians … uh, Cardinals … I mean, Cardinal.

In case you weren’t paying attention, this tells us that Stanford A.D. Bob Bowlsby (above) is not about winning, never mind the quality of the student-athletes (especially the athlete part) Harbaugh will not bring to Palo Alto.

By all accounts, Harbaugh (right, with his dad) is a great guy. He did go DUI last year, but we’ve read “violin” stories about his love of coaching, which grew when he tagged along during his father’s coaching career, like Harbaugh’s young son is doing now. And, he knows Stanford, having graduated from Palo Alto High around the time his dad was an assistant coach for the Cardinals in the early ‘80s.

It’s all touching, and it warms your heart. The problem is it don’t mean jack when it comes to resuscitating an occasionally proud program at the bottom of what could be the strongest conference in college football next year.

So, we have to ask …

Does Bowlsby seriously think Harbaugh has a chance to compete on the field or on the recruiting trail with the likes of Jeff Tedford, Mike Bellotti, Ty Willingham, and even Karl Dorrell?

Is Bowlsby seriously not aware that Pete Carroll, Charlie Weis, Bob Stoops, and Lloyd Carr are chuckling right now … if not scratching their heads?

If Bowlsby is serious, then he is an idiot. If he’s not serious, then he’s … an idiot.

Simply put, this hire is embarrassing for the Pac-10, and an insult to the many D-1 and NFL coaches and assistants who are significantly more qualified than Harbaugh (like Lane Kiffin.)

Josh Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News* breaks down the facts:
For the past three seasons, Harbaugh has been the head coach at the University of San Diego, a I-AA school that does not offer scholarships. He has never coached at Stanford, never been a I-A assistant, never recruited I-A players, couldn’t get the Tulane job [which went to former UCLA head coash Bob Toledo] and a year ago was nailed for DUI. […]

The reasons for Stanford fans to be nervous are many:
  • Here are the teams [San Diego] beat this season: Azusa Pacific, Dixie State, Yale, Davidson, Butler, Valpo, Drake, Morehead State, Jacksonville, Dayton and Monmouth — mighty Monmouth! The only loss was to the best team on the schedule, UC-Davis.
  • Harbaugh was 29-6 at USD, but he repeatedly refused to schedule the best I-AA teams in California. He did not play Poly, he did not play Sacramento State, and his only tango with Davis was a loss. Instead, he feasted on the lowest of the low in I-AA.
  • Harbaugh, according to sources in the coaching industry, has tried to get a handful of jobs in the past two years and failed each time. Forget what you might have read about him turning down the Tulane job — he didn’t get offered. Good thing for him that Stanford took the bait.
  • There’s also the not-insignificant matter of Harbaugh’s DUI arrest in Nov. ‘05. What kind of message does that send to the players? What kind of example does that set?
Who knows? Maybe Harbaugh will shock the world in a few years. Maybe Bowlsby will win Stanford’s version of the Mike Garrett Lotto … which for the Cardinal would mean a trip to the Emerald Bowl in three years.

Then again, who are we to complain? Harbaugh seems like a good guy, and an extra bye week on our schedule is always nice.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!

* Hat tip: The Wizard of Odds
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

USC: Future is Bright, No Hype Needed

It may have been raining in L.A. this past weekend, but the outlook was bright for USC Football.

According to the buzz-makers over at wearesc.com, USC enjoyed a "huge recruiting weekend," fresh off the buzz of a verbal commitment from Kristofer O’Dowd, who is listed as the nation’s No. 1-ranked center at Scouts.com and a few other “expert” sites.

Still, it was on the field where the Trojans’ future shown brightest Saturday night in the CIF high school “bowl” games at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. According to the Los Angeles Times:
In separate games Saturday, the best high school football team in the state and the best high school football quarterback in the nation supposedly were on the field […], but those focusing on Concord De La Salle and Westlake Village Oaks Christian's Jimmy Clausen might have been watching the wrong games.

Orange Lutheran and quarterback Aaron Corp [above] turned the Division II CIF State Championship Bowl Game against Palo Alto into a showcase event, resulting in a 42-28 victory.

Corp, headed for USC, repeatedly burned Palo Alto's defense. He rushed 11 times for 136 yards, including touchdowns of 31 and 52 yards, and passed for four touchdowns […]
Meanwhile, Clausen had his worst performance of the season, throwing three interceptions in a 27-20 sub-par victory over Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman in the Division III game.

Ever since Clausen fanned the flames his own over-hyped existence to announce (at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, no less) his commitment to Charlie Weis (and by “commitment” we mean … well, we can’t be sure what that means), several “experts” have said that perhaps USC got the better player.

Apparently, Clausen’s own teammates are thinking the same thing. Oaks Christian running back Mark Tyler, who took over Clausen’s spot as the No. 1 prospect in the nation earlier this season, and safety Marshall Jones, a top-10 recruit in his own right, who took over at running back after Tyler was hurt a few weeks ago, are both heading to USC.

As for Corp, it turns out his Orange Lutheran team could have dominated its game even more if fellow USC-bound teammate Michael Reardon, a “four-star” defensive end (with a 3.9 GPA and a 1510 SAT) hadn’t been injured the previous week.

We know that none of this stuff is a science, and there are no guarantees for USC Football three or four years down the line. But something tells us that the Trojans will be in good hands when the likes of Corp, Tyler, Jones, et al., get their chance to compete on Howard Jones Field.

No doubt, the future looks bright, even in the rain.
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Monday, December 18, 2006

USC Vote: Let's Try This Again

So, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to assume (i.e., ass u me) that Nebraska fans had anything better to do than vote for their three teams in ESPN’s "All-Time Greatest College Football Playoff."

Apparently, we weren’t alone in thinking that perhaps the voting smelled like rotten corn, as Kirk Herbstreit made abundantly clear while the College GameDay crew revealed the results. “This is ridiculous,” he said.

Herbstreit’s take was that the final should have matched USC 2004 versus Miami 2001, and he wasn’t alone. Todd Blackledge tapped the ’04 Trojans for the final, as well as the Lispy One, who said: “The [2004] Southern Cal team […] I thought was maybe the best team of all time.” No kidding ... Holtz actually said that.

But it was Herbstreit who was most adamant:
Rece Davis: So, you’re calling into question the entire process.

Herbsreit: I am. … My goal is for next year to try to make sure that South Florida somehow gets ESPN Classic, and that Southern California gets ESPN Classic … because the ’04 ‘SC team and the ’01 Miami team are the two best teams in this.
So, now we know better, and maybe ESPN’s College GameDay crew does, as well.

Still, this doesn’t mean we should give up on other pre-bowl-season, dead-zone-filling voting things. Sure, we know now that these greatest team or playoff scenario brackets are “ridiculous.” But perhaps we can stack the deck in another type of contest … maybe in a category in which even an east coast biased idiot like Beano Cook could lend his support.

As luck would have it, we found just the ticket over at CBS Sportsline, which is in the midst of its Cheerleader of the Week Playoffs. As we join the fray, our beloved USC Song Girls (don’t call them cheerleaders) have already survived a first-round match-up as the No. 9 seed versus Michigan’s eighth-ranked cheering squad.

How our lovely Song Girls could possibly be ranked ninth, let alone one spot behind Michigan, I’m not sure. But, one look at the top seeds tells us that the bracket has the look of southern inferiority complex all over it. Our No. 9 seeding means we’re up against No. 1 LSU this week.

No matter, though … at the time of this writing, our pristine Song Girls lead those sweaty Bayou babes by six percentage points with 10,491 votes counted.

For sure, there is a long way to go (voting is open until Friday), but clearly, we can do this! So, let’s stuff some ballot boxes, and spread the word throughout the Trojan Family, again.

This time we may get some help from non-Trojans, too. Even though it’s not Thursday, we know Beano is good for at least 500 votes.

Fight On! Beat the Tigers!
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

USC 'Denial': One Scott Got It Right

Scott Olin Schmidt, aka the original Boi From Troy, was the first to point out the “surreal denial” of USC Football at its annual awards dinner Thursday night. Not only did the team not present the Marv Goux Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the ugla game, but the rest of the festivities, according to Schmidt, included no mention of 13-9 whatsoever.
The complete denial that USC even played UCLA in 2006 -- let alone the outcome -- was apparent when guests sat at their tables and thumbed through the evening's program. […] As dessert was served, fans and football players were treated to video-highlights of the season -- well most of it. After featuring the first nine games of the season, the highlight reel showed the best plays from the November 25 USC-Notre Dame rivalry game, set to U2's "Saints Are Coming," followed by the greatest hits from the November 18 "Pac Ten Championship" game against California ... then it ended.
Schmidt also tells us that Pete Carroll presented plaques to the service team and special team captains only for the Trojans’ first 11 games. He points out too that “denial over a big loss is nothing new at Heritage Hall. USC has yet to update its banner of Rose Bowl appearances to include their 2006 loss to Texas in last year's BCS Title Game.”

A nice bit of insight from the Boi From Troy.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News, the USC alum and beat reporter who seems to take pleasure in provoking over-reactions from Trojan fans who read his “blog.”

Ironically, Wolf was caught cleaning up some “sloppy seconds” Friday after phoning in a post that merely listed the awards given out on Thursday night, without mention of the “missing” Goux Award or the feeling of denial at the dinner. Attempting to make up lost ground, Wolf followed with a post the next afternoon, asking a leading question in typical fashion:
Did you notice last night's football banquet did not give out an award for the UCLA game, even though it's been a tradition to honor players for the UCLA and Notre Dame games.
Of course, Wolf’s answer to his own query is “no.” (Never mind that he didn’t actually end his question with a question mark.) We note here that Wolf posted this on his “blog” at 2:36 pm PST, hours after Schmidt posted his AOL Fanhouse piece at 12:13 pm EST. Hmmm … does Wolf owe the Boi From Troy and "hat tip"?

The original version of Wolf’s “daily notes” for the online version of the Daily News made no mention of the “missing award” (although the article was later updated, after Wolf's "blog" entry.) And in a move that smacks of guilty over-compensation, Wolf attempted to add some insight to the matter at 10:56 pm PST with a follow up post listing players who were given the Goux Award during years in which USC lost to ugla.

Sometimes it’s funny when (through the beauty of time stamping) we get to see the tail waging the dog. Actually, that might be the wrong analogy ... but either way, it’s even funnier to see the dog licking up his own mess. But, I digress …

Schmidt’s take on the “missing” awards includes an interesting question: “I find the denial at Heritage Hall over that game troubling, since if we cannot acknowledge our failures, how can we hope to avoid them in the future?”

I tend to agree, except that presenting awards for individual performance during a losing cause seems at least somewhat counter-intuitive to the team concept, and it might be flat out wrong when that loss is unquestionably the most devastating defeat of the Pete Carroll era.

As we’ve stated here before, our man Carroll has proven that he learns from his mistakes. Perhaps we should trust that he and his staff have learned from 13-9, and a decision was made that this “denial” is just part of the healing process. I say denial is okay, if there is a method to the madness.

Either way, we’ll find out starting January 1.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Friday, December 15, 2006

Charlie Loves Brady

Sometimes a picture is indeed worth a thousand words ... and given Charlie Weis's penchant for over analysis, maybe more.


Hat tip: jbox at A Choad's Guide to USC Football.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rose Bowl: Nerds, Freaks and USC Song Girls

As we’ve pointed out before, the Force is strong in the Trojan Family. I am not embarrassed to say so … no, I’m proud to say it, damn it … because I am an admitted USC Star Wars nerd.

Still, that’s not to admit that I’m a Star Wars freak. There is a difference, which will be abundantly clear on January 1.

I’ve been to USC’s last six Rose Bowls, but I’ve never been to a Rose Parade. And even though one of my heroes, Star Wars creator and USC alum George Lucas, is the Grand Marshal of the 2007 parade, I refuse to waste good tailgating time to go see it.

The same can’t be said for 200 Star Wars freaks … I mean, “superfans” … who will dress up and march as Stormtroopers (or “clones” depending on your pre- or post-Empire perspective) along with Lucas in the parade. I would never do that.

Sure, I’m nerd enough to want to catch the two Star Wars-themed floats on someone’s TV after parking on the Riverside Golf Course. But I’m not freak enough to want to be in the parade … unless I could grab a spot next to the Song Girls, who will also be marching.

I know I’m not alone. There are other college-football-loving Star Wars nerds in the blogosphere, including Brian Cook, who runs the outstanding Michigan blog mgoblog and whose double-duty post on AOL’s Fanhouse brought this matter to our attention. (Props, or “hat tip” as it were, to him.) I don’t know Cook personally, but only a fellow Star Wars nerd could write this:
Let's say you're a big Michigan fan from Alderaan with earmuff hair, kind of a pouty thing going on, some droids, and a destroyed home world. You're probably in a bad mood. Things have not gone well of late, what with everyone you know and love evaporating as you watched from the Empire's ultimate weapon of terror, not to mention Florida going to the national championship game.

So what's the last thing you probably want to see when you roll into Pasedena for the Rose Parade? Hundreds of Stormtroopers. So let this be a public service announcement for anyone who finds themselves in this situation: skip the parade and go tailgate, because George Lucas is the Grand Marshall and wherever he goes he brings a phalanx of laser-toting bodyguards for protection from uppity Jedi Knights.* Just FYI.

*Probably something of an exagerration.
Obviously, Cook knows that Lucas is a USC alum, because he presumes that Lucas will be on the dark side on New Year's Day. Light side … dark side … it doesn’t matter to me, as long as our Song Girls behave themselves and give USC Football a chance to win the game.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

USC Football: A Vote for MNC

Just as we posted a request for votes on ESPN.com, up popped another, perhaps more urgent need for the Trojan Family to stuff the ballot box.

This time it’s over at SI.com, which this afternoon put up The Ultimate Playoff to promote the proposed playoff format for college football that SI published in last week’s print edition.*

Here’s how it works:
Teams were seeded according to their final BCS ranking, with the six conference champions and the next two highest-ranked teams receiving bids. A maximum of two teams per conference were allowed. Your vote determines the winner of each round. Check back each day and vote. The champion will be revealed on Friday.
So, given the “final” BCS rankings, No. 5 USC is set against No. 4 LSU. Here’s SI.com’s take on the match up:
No. 4 LSU vs. No. 5 USC: The most explosive athletes in the West meet their Southern counterparts. USC has struggled to consistently run the ball all season, and it doesn't seem like the Trojans will fare any better against LSU, the nation's No. 2 overall defense. USC will rely on John David Booty, a Shreveport, La. native whose two older brothers played for LSU. The Tigers will also need a solid performance from their signal-caller, junior JaMarcus Russell. Naturally talented, Russell must stay away from the mental mistakes that have plagued him his entire career. The Trojans can be beat through the air, but USC safeties Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison must be respected. In an evenly matched game featuring a number of freakish burners, watch for the smallest guy on the field -- LSU's Trindon Holliday, who is 5-foot-5, 159 pounds of pure speed -- to make an impact returning kicks.
Perpetuators of the southern inferiority complex, like that obsessed freak at LSUoverUSC must be drooling … and he must be voting every five seconds, because as of this writing, LSU leads USC by 20% of the vote.

Come on, Trojans! We can still win the a national championship!

Fight On … and VOTE!

*You'll need an SI print subscription to see this link.
east coast bias
UPDATE: The Trojan Family is coming through. As of 9:24 eastern time, USC is only 4 percentage points down
with 82,112 votes in. "LSUoverUSC" must be freaking out! LOL.

UPDATE: The first round results are out now (12/13/06), and all four top-seeds advanced, meaning that "LSUoverUSC" can enjoy a mythical win over the Trojans in his mind, while we retain claim to our 2003 national title and No. 1 ranking in both pertinent polls after the '03 regular season. LSU received 66,228 votes (54%) to USC's 56,890. So, obviously, SI's idea for a playoff sucks!

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USC Football: Four Chances to Win

I’ve never been a drug addict (thank goodness), so I don’t really know what it’s like to go through serious withdrawals. Actually, I did take myself off caffeine a while ago. That experience included a few weeks of dull pain in my head, which I suppose is somewhat similar to true college football fans watching meaningless basketball games while waiting for the “bowl season” to start.

Luckily, ESPN.com understands withdrawals. To give us college gridiron junkies a fix, ESPN’s “experts” put together the All-Time Greatest College Football Playoff, a chance for us to vote for the “greatest team ever” in a 32-team bracket format. Here’s the hype:
How would John McKay’s 1972 USC Trojans fare against Herschel Walker’s 1980 Georgia Bulldogs? What about the national champion Texas Longhorns of 2005 against the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners? Which team would win head-to-head?
This is cool, but the really great news for USC Football fans is that we have four chances to win: USC teams from 1932, ’62, ’72, and ’04 made the “tournament.” Oklahoma has the most with five. As for USC’s rivals, ND has three, and alas, ugla has none.

Anyway, let’s spread the word throughout the Trojan Family and get the vote out. Apparently, we can only vote once per computer or IP address, so don’t bother to vote repeatedly, but do cast votes from every computer to which you have (presumably legal) access … seriously. The first-round winners will be announced tomorrow night, so let’s get cracking!

Certainly, I’ll vote for all four of our teams as long as they survive, but the favorite is clearly USC’s 1972 Trojans. Four years ago, ESPN’s Page 2 ranked the ‘72 team as the second best college football team of all-time, just behind Nebraska’s 1971 Cornhuskers. Said the “world wide leader”:
USC, coached by John McKay, finished the season 12-0 after blowing out Ohio State 42-17 in the Rose Bowl. In the process, the Trojans became the first team to be named No. 1 on every ballot of both the coaches and media polls. Keith Jackson, who's forgotten more about college football than we'll ever know, said the '72 Trojans were the best ever. He might be right, but we're giving Nebraska just a slight edge.
Of course, this was written before USC's "Leave No Doubt Tour" of 2004, but we know Keith Jackson is right! Not only were the ’72 Trojans the unanimous No. 1 in both polls, but USC’s strength of schedule and the dominance it displayed in plowing through its opponents was astounding, if not unprecedented.

The ‘72 Trojans beat their 12 opponents by an average of almost 28 points per game. Their schedule included six ranked teams -- No. 4 Nebraska, No. 15 Stanford, No. 18 Washington, No. 14 UCLA, No. 10 Notre Dame, and No. 3 Ohio State -- which USC beat by an average of 20.2 points per game. And, as ESPN pointed out, the ’72 Trojans capped the season with a 25-point victory over the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl.

In terms of pure talent, ’72 USC also had five first-team All-Americans: linebacker Richard Wood, fullback Sam "Bam" Cunningham, offensive tackle Pete Adams, defensive tackle John Grant, and consensus pick at tight end Charlie Young. In addition, 10 seniors were taken in the 1973 NFL draft, including three first-round selections: Young, Cunningham, and Adams.

But that’s just the seniors. The ’72 underclassmen included future All-American (not to mention NFL Hall-of-Famer) Lynn Swann, who was a junior that year, as well two standout sophomores: USC legend and “Irish” killer Anthony Davis and Wood, the Trojans’ first three-time, first-team All-American.

No doubt about it. Keith Jackson knows what he’s talking about. Then again, there's 2004 ...
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Monday, December 11, 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood

Virtually every college football head coach deserves some respect. Dennis Erickson isn’t one of them. Scott Wolf mentioned on his Inside USC “blog” that “every Pac-10 coach just got a lot more worried about the Sun Devils than they were when Dirk Koetter coached the team.”

I say Wolf is right, if he means that we should all be worried about the general safety of our communities when Arizona State comes to town. Erickson has a history in the college game of jumping ship, while leaving a lovely “legacy” where ever he goes, and his reputation precedes him.

Ask ND and Bob Davie. They’ll tell you about the 41-9 beating the “Irish” took at the hands of the J.C.-transfer thugs Erickson assembled at Oregon State for the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. While it’s possible that the Domer Hype Machine may have helped to promote Oregon State’s negative image as “Boys Town Northwest,” it was Erickson who allowed the image to stick. Of course, he was gone to the League two years later.

At Miami, Erickson did his “finest” work, riding Jimmie Johnson’s momentum to two national championships before ultimately steering the Canes to the brink of death-penalty sanctions. Under his watch, “the U” had 57 football players falsify Pell Grant applications to steal more than $200,000 from 1989 to 1994 (the entire length of Erickson’s tenure). This, along with several other controversies led SI to conclude that Miami should shut down its football program in 1995.

Of course, Erickson left for the League before he had to admit any responsibility for his actions (or blind eye), leaving Butch Davis to clean up his mess and re-build Miami’s program, without a full compliment of scholarships and less-than-standard talent.

As for Erickson’s two-year stint at Wazzu in the late ‘80s, I can’t remember much about the ethical quality of his Cougars, but we do know that the ugla “nation” must not have fond memories of him. It was Erickson’s spread offense that confounded Terry Donahue in 1988, when the Cougars beat the Troy Aikman-led bruins 34-30, ending ugla's two-week run at No. 1. As the bruin “nation” would like us to believe, any team that beats ugla in any sport must be made up of thugs and academic underachievers … but in this case, they’re probably right.

Anyway, all this makes you wonder about Lisa Love’s decision-making process. Not only did she choose a proven job-hopping mercenary as ASU's coach, she was deciding from among two others who aren’t much better: Mike Price, formerly of “Stripper Gate” and responsible for idiots like Ryan Leaf, and current “Boys Town” coach Mike Riley, whose own fans are now calling him a “donkey.”

As for Pac-10 coaches being worried about Erickson’s spread offense, I doubt our man Pete Carroll is shaking in his shoes much. And, I’m sure good coaches like Jeff Tedford and DeWayne Walker will be fine, as well.

It’s our women and children I’m worried about.
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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Maxwell Award ... No, Thanks

The Axis of East Coast Bias continues to rear its ugly grey head inside a golden dome …

The New York Times ran a story by Bill Pennington on the front page of the sports section yesterday, attempting to replace general ignorance with some knowledge about the origins of the Heisman Trophy.

Of course, in its typical pseudo-aware, east coast biased way, the Grey Lady assumes there is ignorance to be replaced … and even worse, it illustrates the supposed ignorance by calling out a former Heisman winner from USC. In an obviously biased pull-quote, right next to a photo of the trophy, it reads:

‘The award is wonderful, but who’s Heisman?’
MIKE GARRETT, after being handed the trophy in 1965

Who’s to say that Garrett, now USC’s A.D., actually said this? And, even if he did, the guess here is that Pennington chose to use Garrett’s words because, as the first Heisman winner from California, Garrett was the one least likely to know anything about John Heisman. Then again, maybe Garrett’s quote was simply more articulate than those from other ignorant Heisman winners on their special night:

Eric Crouch (Nebraska) in 2001:
“The award is wonderful … Now I’m off to play QB in the NFL!”

Chris Weinke (Florida State) in 2000:
“The award is wonderful … It’s the coolest thing I’ve won in my life, all 38 years of it.”

Ricky Williams (Texas) in 1998:
“The award is wonderful … I can hide my stash in the base.”

Paul Hornung (Notre Dame) in 1956:
“The award is wonderful … I knew throwing ... er, I mean losing all those games would pay off.”

Nonetheless, Pennington does provide some decent information, describing John Heisman as the “conscience” of the game. According to the article, Heisman is responsible for legalizing the forward pass, as well as inventing the center snap, the “fumblerooski” hidden ball trick, and the scoreboard.

We all know the New York Times ran this piece as part of the Heisman hype before Ohio State’s Troy Smith picks up the trophy tonight. But if the paper was really doing its duty to replace ignorance with knowledge, Pennington would have written a piece telling us about Robert Maxwell, for whom the Maxwell Award is named.

I’d like to know more about the Maxwell Award, because like the Grey Lady, there is some explaining to do here. I’d like to know how in the world two awards can honor “college football’s most outstanding player” and choose different players so many times.

I’d also like to know how it is that USC has won seven Heisman Trophies (tied for most with ND, soon to be joined by the Ohio State tonight) but only three Maxwell Awards (Marcus Allen, Charles White, O.J. Simpson).

According to its surprisingly amateurish Maxwell Football Club web site, Robert “Tiny” Maxwell made his own “legendary” contributions to the game of football:
While playing guard for Swarthmore College, that Maxwell made a major impact on the game of football as we know it today. At the end of a savage contest with Penn, in which he turned in his customary stellar performance, Maxwell's nose broken, his eyes swollen nearly shut, and his face closely resembled steak tartare. According to gridiron historians, a newspaper photo of his face so shocked President Theodore Roosevelt, that two days later, in a meeting with major college representatives, the President demanded that they "clean up football," or he'd ban the game outright. Three months later, rules were changed to double the yardage required for a first down from five to ten, reduce playing time from seventy minutes to sixty minutes, add restrictions against roughing, establish a neutral zone on the line of scrimmage the length of the football, and to legalize the forward pass.
So, while Heisman was taking credit for inventing the forward pass, Maxwell was sacrificing his face for it. Nice story.

Still, it doesn’t explain why USC has only three Maxwell Award winners and ND has six, including this year’s winner Brady Quinn … Brady Quinn. Sure, he showed some profane toughness at the Coliseum last month, but Brad Otten could have won the Maxwell Award if USC played the three service academies and this season’s version of Stanford and North Carolina.

Who votes for the Maxwell Award? Like any biased voting process identities are semi-cloaked, apparently. According to last year’s press release:
Voters for all the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA Head College Football Coaches and SIDs, members of the Maxwell Football Club & sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country.
Right. I’d like to know how many of these voters are west of the Mississippi, let alone in a state without an Atlantic coastline. How could anyone watching college football this year vote for Quinn over Smith unless they were perpetrators of the east coast bias, which again is a close relative of the Domer Hype Machine?

Whatever. As the 1977 Maxwell Award winner Ross Browner of ND put it: “The award is wonderful … but I’ve never heard of it, and who really gives a damn, anyway?”

The again, who’s to say he actually said that.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Twirl: Seriously

When something stupid happens, most of the time we can laugh it off … chalk it up to experience … don’t cry over spilled milk … move on. But when a stupid thing happens twice, little sayings and over-used clichés don’t cut it. It’s time to get serious, if for no other reason than to make sure the stupid thing doesn’t happen a third time.

After last Saturday’s tragic loss, we know now that there is a small segment of the Trojan Family who could stand to learn a thing or two about college football. No, no, no … I’m not talking about our offensive coordinator. And, no … I’m not talking about the few USC bandwagon fans who bought baby blue No. 7 jerseys on Sunday, not realizing that “Southpaw Jesus” didn’t actually play in the game.

I’m talking about our national treasure (according to Beano Cook): The USC Song Girls.

While we were drowning in our sorrow after Saturday’s loss, our 2007 Rose Bowl opponent was fast at work pointing out some stupid stuff for which we have to account. No … not the toss sweep to the short side of the field on fourth down last Saturday.

I’m talking about the “indisputable video evidence” captured and produced (and done very eloquently, I must admit) by the Michigan blog, MZone.



I know this has been on the internets for a few days, and you may have already seen it. But I post it here in hopes of investigating the matter further. To get to the bottom of this … I’m serious.

When you consider that the two most devastating losses during the Pete Carroll era happened at the Rose Bowl, and that during each of those two losses one of our lovely Song Girls made a funny, we have to consider the correlation here. Think about it …

What’s to prevent another pompom feux pau from causing another loss at the Rose Bowl against Michigan on New Year’s Day? I’m serious.

So, we look at the film. I say “film” because as I observe the moving image (repeatedly zooming in on the Song Girl in question), I find myself mumbling, “up and shake … up and shake … up and shake” … like Kevin Costner in the movie JFK … “back and to the left.”

If the photo of last season’s incident was like a Zelig sighting, this video is like the Zapruder film. “Up and shake.” I’m serious.

The problem is, we can’t accurately tell from the video which one of our adorable Song Girls did the deed, so to speak. But, after searching high and low, conducting a few mock interviews, and sifting through hundreds of online photos (as we tend to do on Thursdays) … we find more “conclusive evidence.”

It turns out that Saturday’s mistake was due to an inexperienced coach. No … I’m not talking about calling another quick slant to the left resulting in another tipped pass to effectively end the game.

I’m talking about USC alumnus Will Ferrell, who unbeknownst to us (and anyone else) took over as coach of the Song Girls squad prior to Saturday’s game.

Trust me, he’s there, just out of the camera’s view. In fact, if ABC weren’t running that annoying ticker at the bottom of the shot, we would see him coaching our poor Song Girl to raise her arms: “Good!”

I love Will Ferrell. He’s funny as hell. But, making our beloved Song Girls look stupid on national television, just so he can have one of them do that double pompom over the head waving thing we all like … well, that is funny.

But if he does it again, and causes one of our darling Song Girls to cause the Trojans to lose on January 1st … then, I’ll be really pissed.

I’m serious.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Nation ... In Quotation Marks

It’s so funny to see a fool make a fool of himself. It’s also sad. These days it’s exponentially funny and sad, because we’re watching a self-proclaimed “nation” of fools make fools of themselves.

You know what I’m talking about. All the f-words and other profanities spewing out from the bruin “nation” like a busted sewer line releasing seven years of raw frustration and inferiority complex.

We know the profanity is just a cover for their inability and unwillingness to compose a defensible point of view or engage in worthwhile debate. But it’s the lack of respect for their alma mater, let alone our rivalry, that is so foolish.

The latest case in point comes from a “nation” blogger named “Tydides” who attempted yesterday to take Erik McKinney of WeAreSC.com to task “for his whiny little rant about how the Big Bad Bruin fans bruised his ego on Saturday.”

We’ll let McKinney defend himself in full, if he cares to dignify “Tydides” with a response, but we only need a few paragraphs to illustrate the point here. Wrote “Tydides” (if you can call it writing):
I can see taking this stand if you were a guy who doesn't like the trash talking, and doesn't participate in it. Who attends the games to merely support his own team. But what do you say to a guy who cries about not only getting beaten and taking his lumps after what his own fanbase had been doing for the past 7 years, but then readily admits to this:
Now, I'm a huge supporter of taunting at athletic events. I hate Duke basketball with a passion, but I appreciate every single clever chant the Cameron Crazies come up with. The guy who got to Phil Jackson by reading aloud, during a game, from Jackson's basketball memoir, "Maverick," is one of my personal heroes. I even love the "Hey batter, batter" chant in Little League.
You heard it yourselves. This "humanitarian", and I don't mean that in the Pom Pom way, is a staunch advocate of taunting. And not just adults like Phil Jackson, but taunting Little Leaguers too apparently. 12 year olds. Yes, we should all take a lot of stock in what this asshole defines as being a "classy fan".
Unlike my buddy UCLA Jay, this “Tydides” character apparently knows a little something about purposely taking a statement out of context. Or perhaps, just like UCLA Jay, “Tydides” simply failed to understand the point McKinney was trying to make. Reading a better portion of McKinney’s piece provides that understanding:
I could honestly not imagine a fan base behaving worse than the Bruins on Saturday. I know that every team has its loonies and people who go a little too over the top. And I understand that this is a rivalry game, and a recently lopsided one at that. But seriously? Is this what the USC-UCLA game is going to turn into?

Now, I’m a huge supporter of taunting at athletic events. I hate Duke basketball with a passion, but I appreciate every single clever chant the Cameron Crazies come up with. The guy who got to Phil Jackson by reading aloud, during a game, from Jackson’s basketball memoir, “Maverick,” is one of my personal heroes. I even love the “Hey batter, batter” chant in Little League.

But for UCLA fans, apparently clever taunting is a foreign concept. It’s not like they were hurting for options. At the time, Reggie Bush was faring considerably worse in the NFL than Maurice Drew and he still has the whole housing thing hanging over USC. Matt Leinart wasn’t exactly lighting things up in Arizona. O.J. Simpson overdosed on crazy pills and wrote about it. The Trojan quarterback has an obviously anatomical last name. And they handily defeated the team who beat the Trojans. They could have gone after any and all of those.

Heck, they could have even gone after the question of back-to-back championships, explored the basketball angle or taken the academic superiority stance.

But they didn’t do that. Instead, they decided to learn all the various uses of the “F” word and how to raise only the middle finger on both hands.
Again, what kind of fans make up this “nation”? McKinney gives this “Tydides” person all the anti-USC material any bruin worth his salt could throw in our faces. And yet, “Tydides” chooses to end his post (without a single link or empirical reference to support his argument) like this:
You reap what you sow.
Fuck you, Erik.
Fuck southern cal.

GO BRUINS.
It’s a shame really that one of UCLA’s greatest moments of triumph should be dragged through the knee-deep crap continually dumped by a “nation” of idiots.

Make no mistake … we’re not talking about a group of renegade bruins on a bandwagon. This is a “nation” of UCLA graduates … so they claim. These aren’t gap-toothed [put any SEC school here] fans with 8th grade educations, who couldn’t spell “yooniversity” let alone get on the internets and start a blog.

These aren’t drunken or adrenaline-pumped fans getting carried away at a game or post-game party. The people of this “nation” are lucid and typing at their computers with a top-notch U.C. system education at their disposal … supposedly.

Just ask our friend UCLA Jay. He’ll tell you all about … or maybe not.

Turns out UCLA Jay is “UCLA” Jay, if you know what I mean. Turns out his real name is UNLV Jay … or maybe something different altogether. This he admitted when he thought no one was looking:
Few Things....

Joe Francis the "Girls Gone Wild" guy went to UNLV not UCLA. As a UNLV alum, I remember a frat there that everyone wanted to be in because of Joe Francis, problem is, they're all dorks. But from what I hear, he donates big time to the frat. And before everyone starts talking shit about UNLV, all the rumors are true. You have never seen paid athletes until you have been on campus at UNLV, and yes, anyone can get accepted, as I am living proof. Also, since a certain un-named SUCk website is calling me out as to when I became a UCLA fan, I was born and raised in LA, have had season tix for football since I was 10 years old and yes even as a student at UNLV I made the drive home for the games. […]

by UCLA Jay on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 09:35:51 PM EST
Oh, no. Say it ain’t so, Jay! Did you really just tell us that you’re living proof of your own low standards. Did you really just brag to us that you have first-hand knowledge of cheating athletes at your true alma mater? Did you actually know Joe Francis, or are you one of those dorks?

We already know the answer to one of these questions, because we know that Joe Francis didn’t attend UCLA, and we know that he didn’t go to UNLV, either. He’s actually a USC alum. Not that we’re necessarily proud of this fact, but it is a fact … which is more than can be said for anything coming from UNLV Jay, apparently.

And, yes, I did question UNLV Jay’s fandom … thanks for the answer. LOL.

So, now we have to ask: What other lies, imposters and other idiots make up this bogus “nation"?

Keep in mind that this “nation” represents an institution that produced such dignified and respected sports figures as Arthur Ashe, Rafer Johnson, Karem Abdul-Jabbar, and perhaps the greatest athletic hero of the socially conscious 20th century, Jackie Robinson.

Keep in mind that this is a “nation” of fans who supposedly revel in the rich history of an unmatched basketball heritage, while properly honoring at every home game the living legend who created it.

And so, we have to ask this presumed bruin “nation”: What would John Wooden think if he read your “trash talk” in absence of thoughtful argument? What would Robinson or Ashe think of your simpleton profanities?

Do you really believe they would be proud to read the crap oozing out of your “nation” … or would they smack you upside the head?

You know the answer. It’s not funny, actually. It’s just sad.

Again, I ask … is there any dignity left?

WE ARE SC! Fight On!
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who is Sean Smith?

Apparently, Pete Carroll was wasting his time Saturday night when he went directly to his office from the Rose Bowl to figure out why the Trojans lost 13-9. Instead of reviewing game tape, he should have picked up the phone and called Sean Smith, according to Sean Smith.

Who the hell is Sean Smith? I don’t know. But he knows how to fix our man Carroll’s “blunder.” Just ask Sean Smith. He’ll tell you … and if you don’t ask, he’ll issue a press release:

USC Trojans' Head Coach Pete Carroll Programmed His Football Team to Lose, According to Sean Smith

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 4, 2006 -- The USC Trojan football team's national title hopes were squashed all week long by an unlikely suspect - their head coach Pete Carroll, who attracted defeat for his own players, says Sean Smith, a local speaker and recognized Goal-Getting Guru who teaches people how to Attract Results Now.

"As soon as Coach Carroll told the media early in the week that UCLA was going to be their toughest opponent of the year," says Smith, "he made the game much more difficult for his players. The Trojans had all week long to focus on how good the Bruins are and how hard the game would be. So as Saturday's kickoff neared, the team had been sufficiently programmed for defeat."
Who the hell is Sean Smith? I don’t know. But he says he’s a “Certified Master Results Coach” specializing in “neuro-linguistic programming.” We should listen to him, according to him:
"What I wish more people understood is that whatever you choose to focus on in any arena, whether it's success or failure, your unconscious mind takes it as a command, as if that's what you're looking for. […]," says Smith.

That blunder was one of the major contributing factors in the second-ranked team in the country being upset by their cross-town rivals for the first time in seven years. Carroll's comments set an expectation in the Trojan players' minds that the game would be tough, and at the same time bolstered UCLA's confidence.
Who the hell is Sean Smith? I don’t know. But according to Sean Smith, Sean Smith “teaches people how to erase all their inner obstacles and start attracting outrageous results immediately.”

Had we listened to Sean Smith (and presumably paid him money to impart his "recognized" goal-setting guruness), USC certainly would have won last Saturday, according to Sean Smith.

Never mind DeWayne Walker’s excellent defensive game planning. Never mind John David Booty tracking Steve Smith with his head and eyes before throwing the tipped interception with 1:10 left. Never mind nine momentum-killing penalties for 56 yards, caused by clever rushing schemes that USC’s O-line apparently never saw on film and to which it couldn’t adjust.

Surely, Sean Smith could have prevented all that, just ask him.

Who the hell is Sean Smith? Ask anyone but Sean Smith and they’ll tell you …

Sean Smith is an idiot.
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Monday, December 04, 2006

Rose Bowl: I'll Take It

Less than 48 hours later, and the shock and disappointment are wearing off … I think. All is not lost … I suppose.

After all, if playing Michigan in the Rose Bowl following a 10-win regular season is the worst we can do -- during what was supposed to be a “rebuilding” year -- I’ll take it. (Props to my wife and kids for pulling me out of my post-game stupor yesterday.)

Many “experts” have told us it’s unrealistic to expect more. Even the Lispy One cut USC a break on ESPN, saying there is no way any team could maintain an emotional peak for four straight games, especially when USC destroyed ugla 66-19 the previous year. I tend to agree. Apparently, this “rivalry month,” as Dallas Sartz called it last week, caught up to us. Our supposed “lucky” schedule did us in.

Another “expert” (again, we use quotes to denote sarcasm) tells us that a lost relationship is to blame for our lost opportunity. If Scott Wolf of the Daily News is to be believed, Carroll’s presumably close friendship with DeWayne Walker, the bruin defensive coordinator who took Lane Kiffin to school (and put him in the corner with a dunce cap), is anything but.

Wolf says Walker, who was Carroll’s first outside hire when he became head coach at USC, was miffed after Carroll hired Nick Holt as the Trojans’ DC. Karl Dorrell, employing some “if you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em” strategy, subsequently made the most incredibly intelligent (or idiot savant) decision he’s probably ever made in his life and hired Walker.

If this jilted protégé stuff is true, the chip on Walker’s shoulder sounds like this:
I knew we would have to play the best game we've played to win, but their offense was predictable in some aspects, especially in the passing game. They're very talented but in some respects it's not too complicated. ... As far as I was concerned, it was me against Booty. If I could get into his head, we could win. It wasn't me against Pete Carroll, Steve Sarkisian or Lane Kiffin. It was me against Booty.
Of course, nothing could sound more grating than the indecent, sophomoric, not-ready-for-prime-time behavior coming from the bruin “nation.” I won’t call it “classless” because we’re tired of making that point, because they make the point for us, and because their reaction goes way beyond a lack of class. Here’s a sample:
FU*K Southern Cal
By Nestor Section: Diaries
Posted on Sat Dec 02, 2006 at 09:33:55 PM EST

CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY TO BRUINS NATION.

Ding Dong Pom Pom, the "Humanitarian" is Dead. The Poodle is dead baby.

America's Team (at least for tonight) wins:
Fu*k Southern Cal.
Fu*k the Humanitarian er ... Pom Pom ... we mean the Poodle.
Fu*k Your Stupid Band.
Fu*k Your Stupid Song.
Fu*k Your Puke Colors.
Fu*k Your Bandwagon fans.
We fu*king own Los Angeles.

So just Go Fu*k yourselves and Go Jump Off the Fu*king Southern California piers from New Port Beach to Santa Monica.

Fu*k every single one of you motherf*cking TrOJans.

GO BRUINS.
Nice. Let’s just file this away for posting on the locker room bulletin board next year, and for years to come. Keep in mind this was up without asterisks, until someone (surprisingly) thought the better of it. If that’s how their “true” fans behave, you have to wonder what their bandwagon fans would do … if they were worthy of bandwagon fans.

Yes, we must admit that the rivalry is back on the football field. But the dignity … not really.

So, this is what we get for all of the unprecedented success that is USC Football. A biased, anti-USC Lou Holtz telling us we’re human, Carroll’s apprentice coming back with a chip on his shoulder, a “nation” of idiots drooling f-words all over themselves … and the Rose Bowl as a consolation.

This is what we get for expecting more, for believing that we can “do this better than it’s ever been done before” as our man Carroll has said many times.

If this is as bad as it will ever get … I’ll take it.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!
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