Saturday, September 30, 2006

USC Game Day: Trojan Rules

A post this week on the AOL Fanhouse makes a connection between the east coast bias and the NCAA’s new rule 3-2-5-e, which is designed to shorten games by running the clock during kickoffs and between possession changes.

This guy Scott Olin Schmidt writes that Pete Carroll has claimed the new rule has reduced USC's offensive plays by five to six per half. The point Schmidt tries to make is interesting:

The most harmful effect of Rule 3-2-5-e, however, may be to exacerbate the perceived East Coast Bias in the human polls used to select teams for BCS Bowl games.

Traditionally, the Pac Ten conference is viewed as having a more pass-happy, shootout style where lots of points are scored by each offense. In contrast, the SEC (or at least the top 4-5 teams) are said to be "defensive powerhouses" which battle it out in low-scoring games.

For example, six plays a half for the USC offense can mean 10-14 fewer points on the scoreboard, so a 64-14 win over Arkansas is only 50-14 or 42-10 win over, say, Nebraska, becomes 28-10...and people think USC's offense is struggling compared to last year. By contrast, LSU and Auburn's defenses look spectacular in a 7-3 game the same weekend.

The 3-2-5-e rule makes defensive-minded teams and conferences look better and offensive-minded ones look worse...and I highly doubt USA Today, AP and Harris Poll voters are taking the new rule into account when filing their ballots. In a system where one voter can cost a school millions, that could be a problem.
This is perhaps decent insight, except that USC's offense is, in fact, less potent than last year, in terms of experienced players, if not talent. The Trojans simply haven't been as explosive through three games, and how could they be with Reggie Bush gone? Common sense tells us that five or six plays a half simply don’t translate to two scores, when we don’t have a game breaker on the field this year … yet.

The second thing to point out is that Nebraska's cowardly game plan was to run the ball and the clock in order to keep the ball away from USC. Sure the new rule may have helped the Huskers play keep away, but it can be easily argued that Callahan’s “strategy” and our own skewed expectations were more to blame for the “low” Trojan scoring than the new rule.

Third, while the Pac-10 may have a "pass-happy" reputation, the Trojans (with the exception of last year's injury riddled unit) have always put defense first under Pete Carroll. His goal when he took over the program was to re-establish a national-class program by bringing dominating defense to the Pac-10. The result is that USC plays defense with anybody, including the SEC, and Carroll’s teams have proven this:

2002: Southern Cal 24, Auburn 17
2003: Southern Cal 23, Auburn 0
2005: Southern Cal 70, Arkansas 17
2006: Southern Cal 50, Arkansas 14

Despite any perceived weakness of the West, USC maintains its status as a national powerhouse. This makes the Trojans somewhat immune to conventional wisdom, as evidenced by our current position in both polls.

If we take an honest look at everything heading into this season’s first BCS ranking, Rule 3-2-5-e has no effect on the Trojans national championship hopes for at least three other reasons:

1) USC is already in position to earn a spot in the Championship Game. BCS computer analyst Jerry Palm said that if the BCS rankings were released this week, USC would be No. 2.
USC is in pretty good shape. They are second in both human polls and have a good non-conference schedule. That will be good enough to keep them ahead in the computers. Of course, they're only a 17-16 win over Stanford from dropping in the (Top 25) polls.
2) Speaking of close calls, Auburn didn’t look ready to run the SEC table during its Thursday night scare versus the weak Gamecocks. The ole' ball coach was one dropped ball away from tying and possibly beating the Tigers. “War eagle” looked a little wobbly in the air, don’t you think?

3) Most importantly, per my previous point, the USC defense is becoming dominant, with truly special players like Rey Maualuga emerging as stars. The Trojans have given up an average of nine points per game this season.

Yes, there is an east coast bias, and Rule 3-2-5-e may play into it. But the bottom line is that USC Football controls its own destiny at this point in the season. If we win, we’re in. The Trojans can’t ask for anything more than that … and we don’t.

Fight On! Beat the Cougars!

Friday, September 29, 2006

USC Pre-Game: Wassup Wazzu?

USC is heading up to the Pac-10 version of the middle of nowhere this weekend to play a game with another team whose apparent strategy is not to lose by too much.

Wazzu, knowing in their hearts that the outcome of the game is already determined, has a head coach who is spending the week rationalizing a-hope-for-the-best-expect-the-worst form of preparation. Apparently, Bill Doba thinks a similar strategy worked pretty well for Bill Callahan … sort of.

Phrases like “measure of progress” and “not the end of the season” and “we’ll see where we’re at” sound pretty familiar coming from the other sideline. According to an AP piece this week, Doba says:
I think [the game vs. USC] will tell us, really, where we are. … Whether we win, lose, or draw, I don't think it's the end of the season, by any means. I don't think it validates us for the rest of the year. I think we can continue to improve, but I think it tells us how far along we are now. … You know, everything to gain and nothing to lose, really. No one expects them to win, obviously.
What the hell is this? Since when does any team play a game to see how good they think they are? Shouldn’t a coach know how good his team is? Perhaps that is the issue: Doba does know, and thus he knows his team cannot win.

Still, these people should listen to Herm Edwards: "You play to win the game!"

To his credit, Doba at least has enough sense to keep his players mouths shut, unlike Cornhusker Callahan. Whatever.

Fight On!
east coast bias

Thursday, September 28, 2006

'The Force' is Strong at USC

Besides my family, the two best things in my world are USC (Trojan Football, in particular) and Star Wars. Sounds totally nerdy, but it’s true. As luck would have it, both are closely related. And after last week, the ties are even tighter.

George Lucas, USC ’66, creator of the Star Wars films, announced that his LucasFilm Foundation is giving $175 million to USC. The huge gift, which tops Walter Annenberg’s 1993 donation of $120 million as the largest in school history, will be used to build and endow a new state-of-the-art home for USC’s famed School of Cinematic Arts.

What’s more, Lucas is a USC Football fan, having been a sideline guest at a few games over the years.

Not to be outdone, Steven Spielberg, perhaps one of the most famous non-USC alums with connections to the school, made some Trojan news of his own last week. At the request of the King of Jordan, Spielberg is leading a partnership between the School of Cinematic Arts and the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) to create a new, world-class film school program that will serve every country in the Middle East.

Spielberg, a member of USC’s Board of Trustees, was rejected by USC’s cinema school three times in the 1960s before he settled on Long Beach State, which didn’t even have a film school at the time. Ironically, he was awarded an honorary degree from USC in 1994, before earning an actual bachelor’s degree from Long Beach in 2002.

May The Force be with you. Now, back to football …
east coast bias

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Forde is a Friend ... This Week

Every once in a while, we come across a writer we like. This week it’s Pat Forde at, who’s Forde-yard Dash column takes a few shots at our enemy, while illustrating USC’s dominance (and thus, the perceived weakness) of the rest of the Pac-10. The “Dashette” photos Forde includes in his columns aren’t bad either.
Dear Domers: It Ain't Happening
Notre Dame's spectacular comeback in East Lansing – combined with a Michigan State collapse that could be the beginning of the end for John L. Smith … – will be talked about for years. It will not, however, be remembered as the game that sparked a backdoor national championship run.

The Dash looked it up: since the AP poll cranked up in 1936, no national champion has ever lost by as many as 26 points, as the Fighting Irish did against Michigan Sept. 16. The closest was Miami's first national title team, in 1983, which lost its opener 28-3 to Florida and then ran the table -- capped by that epic Orange Bowl upset of juggernaut Nebraska. (Note, too, that Miami's loss to Florida was on the road. Notre Dame's maize-and-blue beating came at home.)
Not only that, but no team with a 26-point loss has ever finished in the top two in the final regular-season AP poll -- and finishing in the top two is what it's all about these days if you want a shot at the title in the BCS championship game.

So it will take something surpassingly strange for the Irish to play anything other than spoiler to a USC title drive in November. Something like 1990, when Colorado somehow won a share of the national championship with a loss, a tie and the fifth-down bank heist of Missouri all on its permanent record.

Charlie Weis has a better chance of smooching Dashette Alana De La Garza than he has of smooching the crystal football this season.
Also, Forde’s fake script for 30-second ad campaign for USC is excellent:
(Open with ground-up video of Pete Carroll standing tall in L.A. Coliseum.) "The other leagues tried to tell you that USC would take a step back in 2006, and the Pac-10 would backslide with it." (Roll tape of John David Booty throwing a touchdown pass to Dwayne Jarrett.) "They said the Trojans would never be the same after losing Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush." (Roll tape of the USC defense suffocating Arkansas, Nebraska and Arizona.) "They said it was time for someone else to assume the role of the preeminent program in the country." (Roll tape of Traveler, the USC song girls, the USC marching band. Cue stand-up of Will Ferrell.) "This is Will Ferrell, inviting you to check the rankings and see how far USC football has fallen. Fight on."
Fight On, indeed!
east coast bias

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Freak, Geek or Sicko

There is the other side of the fence, which we’ve seen can be weird and creepy … and then there’s a completely different dimension.

Found this “farewell” post, by way of DeadSpin, from a blogger called LSUoverUSC. At first I thought this guy was pretty funny … then I became nauseous.

As a USC Trojan, it’s funny and amusing to see that a crazy LSU fan refuses to split the 2003 MNC and that he remains so obsessed with the issue nearly three years later. But then, the more you read the less funny it becomes.

The thought that Fraser Babineaux is a hoax makes sense. But, why would anyone go through all this trouble? Is this guy a freak, a geek or just some kind of sicko?
Hello. My name is LSUoverUSC on the internet. I have for three years thrown away my life to promote the cause of LSU being the legitimate 2003 national champion. After years of posting and campaigning I have reached the end of my line. And this will be my last post ever.

In real life I go by the name of Fraser Babineaux. Some people have asked me how I have so much time to devote to the LSUoverUSC cause. Well truth be told, I am unemployed, ever since Hurricane Katrina closed the catering service I once ran. But even before that, my work was severely hampered by my obsession, which has been professinally diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder. Feeding this disorder has caused me to spiral into a deep depression. My therapist says that the only way I can recover is through putting an end to writing messages on forums and on this blog. In fact, I will be shutting down this site in the very near future.

May the lessons of a life wasted be learned by all of you who read this. The world is a big and marvelous place. Get out there and enjoy it. Don't let life pass you by.
What’s most disturbing are the profane and senseless comments on this LSUoverUSC post. And perhaps just as troubling are the suckers with the supportive words of encouragement, perhaps hoping to build some positive karma for themselves. Either way, it’s all kind of sick.

The sad thing – or maybe it’s a good thing – is how the blogosphere has forced us to be skeptical about virtually any information we read online. For example, when I first saw the Terrell Owens news this morning, my first thought was that someone must have hacked for April Fool’s in September. But I digress …

Where’s Hugh Johnson when you need him?
east coast bias

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bitter Bruins

One thing about the blogosphere – and all the information on the Web for that matter – is that we tend to read what we want to read. If blogging is supposed to be a social endeavor, we tend to hang with our own like we would at any gathering.

But after a somewhat lackluster win, which perhaps concerns us just a little because we didn't score 50 points, it’s always good to take a look at the other side of the fence. As we’ve said before, we must know thy enemy. But, more than anything, a quick peak at ugla shows us how much we have to appreciate Pete Carroll and his staff.

Simply put, I’m grateful that, at least as far as we know, USC Football is a long way from losing to the conference doormat. And even more to the point, we’re even farther from using words like “total implosion,” “disgraceful,” “dishonorable,” “disgusting,” “horrible,” “woeful,” and “shameful” to describe Trojan players and coaches.

To wit, let’s let bruins nation talk for itself:
The game in Seattle pretty much epitomized what so many of us here on the Bruins Nation have been arguing for a while - Karl Dorrell is really nothing short of a mediocre "leader." And I am using the term "leader" generously here considering I am still not sure exactly what he does on Saturdays. He doesn't call either the offensive or defensive plays. Doesn't really do much on the sidelines and never appears to be saying much into his head phone. Anyways, I still have yet to see any evidence on the football field, which shows Dorrell is actually the "leader" for this football program. Yet again he looked like a spineless and clueless head coach, the way he did when he got annihilated by Arizona and by Southern Cal last season.
And this from
We have to mention the now continuing disgraceful and dishonorable trend of UCLA coaches blaming individual players for losses, or as in the case of Rice, poor play. After the disappointing Rice game, KD called out BO several times on a radio interview for being responsible for UCLA not scoring in the red zone and being confused by the blitzes Rice coaches threw at him. OC Jim Svoboda called out BO as well. Later, KD admitted that he never practiced BO against the blitz - odd for the obvious reason that opposing coaches are expected to test a “rookie” QB by blitzing him.

Now add erstwhile respected DC DeWayne Walker to the list of UCLA coaches singling out individual players as scapegoats. He called out Rodney Van for the missed tackle late in the first half when Washington had 3rd and long deep in their territory as being the reason for the loss. That is just unacceptable.
Finally, back to bruins nation:
If the coaches don't watch it and get this team together this week we may be looking at a total implosion within the Bruin football program.

Coaches blaming the players in public for a loss is of course disgusting. It doesn't motivate players to work harder. If anything these kinds of blame game may only demoralize the players even more. And it looks some players may already be losing confidence in their coaches.

Folks this is not good. We have coaches openly blaming players for a loss. Senior leaders calling out coaches horrible and woeful play calling. This is not a healthy football program.
For me the best part is a much smaller thing. Notice how ugla faithful have done a 180 on the nickname “Southpaw Jesus” in reference to Ben Olson. The 36-year-old red-shirt sophomore QB is now simply referred to as “BO.” Man, that stinks!

I love the blogosphere.
east coast bias

Sunday, September 24, 2006

USC Post-Game: A Good Read

Checking out the Gray Lady this morning, and as usual, there are no surprises. Typical east coast bias coverage of the domers … a bunch of b.s. about the comeback versus Michigan State and purposeful, overt mention of how Brady Quinn held on to his Heisman hopes and how nd is still in the national title chase. What about how Michigan State simply choked?

As we all know, the USC Trojans played and won, but most people didn’t see it. We were on ABC’s regional coverage only, while the rest of the country got to see the domers on the same network in the same time slot.

In short, USC extended its streak of scoring 20 points or more to 55 games, its Pac-10 record winning streak to 24 games, its streak of road wins to 17 straight, and its streak of consecutive Pac-10 road games to 12. Much more importantly, the Trojan defense never allowed Arizona beyond the USC 20-yard line, limiting the Wildcats to 44 offensive plays. Next … Wazzu.

So, with the usual "journalism" out of the way, we see the New York Times actually published a worthwhile story, albeit not actually written by its staff … hmmm, that sounds familiar. In any case, it’s an excerpt from Michael Lewis’s new book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, which takes a Money Ball kind of look at the NFL and how the importance of the offensive left tackle became such an important and lucrative position for the physical freaks groomed to excel at that spot.

The piece tells a great story about a huge kid who ends up at Ole Miss, which is okay here because of our connection to Ed Orgeron, current head coach of Mississippi and former USC defensive line coach, assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

It’s all good.
east coast bias

Saturday, September 23, 2006

USC Game Day: Carroll in Control

On of the best quotes I read all week came from Gene Upshaw, former Oakland Raider All-Pro offensive lineman and head of the NFL Players Association. He told Sam Farmer and David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times that Pete Carroll asked him for help in dealing with over-zealous agents swarming his program last year.
Upshaw said the union has been working on a solution since he was contacted last year by USC Coach Pete Carroll, even before allegations were made against Bush.

"He was the first coach to bring this to my attention and how bad the problem has become," Upshaw said of Carroll. "He said he was in charge but had no control. He was reaching out for help."

Upshaw said his work on the topic has nothing to do with Bush, the former USC running back whose connections to prospective marketing representatives and agents while playing for the Trojans are being investigated by the Pacific-10 Conference and the NCAA.

"Pete has a great program with lots of success, and he is being overrun by agents, marketing people and financial advisors," Upshaw said.

"He cannot control what goes on in the dorm or anyplace else. He is reaching out for help. He is powerless on this issue.

"Pete is also a former NFL coach that understands the NFLPA is the only gatekeeper."
I’m not sure if this helps or hurts in showing that the program was aware of alleged improprieties by Reggie Bush and/or his family. But, Upshaw does make a very important point about what our program experienced last year and whether it was ever possible for Pete Carroll to exact institutional control under such circumstances.

No program had ever experienced the level of attention our Trojans did last year. Maybe a few have rivaled our success on the field over the years, but nothing compares to the present-day hype machine – which is now fed by more regional and national sports outlets than ever before; Internet newsletters, Web sites and blogs that didn’t exist just five years ago; and the consumer entertainment and gossip rags.

Along with all this was the apparently unprecendented volume and voracity of sports agents and “runners” descending upon the Trojans, as well.

Of course, we can’t have any faith that the suits investigating BushGate will take these factors into account. We can only hope Reggie knows what he’s talking about.
east coast bias

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who's Cheating Who?

It was such a pleasant weekend. The Big Red showed up yellow at the Coliseum. Charlie Crewcut got dropped a rung or two. And USC’s lagging Pac-10 brethren actually showed some life*. Indeed the winds seemed to be shifting Westward …

Then, come Monday it all got blown up by some fat old white guys in suits. No, I’m not talking about the NCAA or the BCS. Not this time, at least. The suits this week aren’t pinstriped … just striped.

Apparently, Bob Stoops and some Big12 good ole boy with a friend in Walnut Creek cried and whined enough to get the poor Pac-10 officials suspended for a week after the Sooners' loss to the Ducks in Eugene. Of course, the poor guys did blow a very crucial call. But now Stoops is pouting about the prospect of playing Washington … Washington!? … in 2008 if the Pac-10 uses its own officials. Said Stoops:
We can't sit here and say OK. It's unacceptable and inexcusable, to [the players] and to us, because we can't get it back, and they earned it. That's the hard truth of it, and now our situation is severely altered.
As if he thought the Sooners expected to win the national title or something … but I digress. Stoops continued:
I've said all this in this way because I feel the right to stand up for my football players. I'm not sitting up here, me babyin’ or whinin’ about it.
Hmmmm. I think we beg to differ. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, to his credit, was quoted in a much less hypocritical manner, I think. The idiot who had the nerve, or lack of ambition, to turn down the USC coaching job, said:
I feel very fortunate for us to have won that football game, not for the officials' errors, but for how our team played. We were lucky, we made plays and we never gave up. It's unfortunate that any team had to lose, or the efforts of my players are questioned, because of officials' errors.
Regardless, if Stoops spent more time keeping his QBs on the field, he wouldn’t have to worry so much about close games affected by officiating. I guess this is what happens when the Boomer Sooner takes three recent slaps to the face from Pac-10 schools … from the Ducks 34-33 last Saturday … ugla 41-24 last year … and, as we all know, USC 55-19 in the National Championship 2005 Orange Bowl.

Of course, that’s not all that spoiled the promising weekend. Reading sports headlines this morning, we saw this: “USC furious with ABC's Musburger.”

Nevermind the sensationalism of the headline. But, apparently our favorite SID spent Monday afternoon proving once again that his sphincter is so tight he could move diamonds. Turns out his latest gem came in the form of an official complaint to ESPN demanding that Brent Musburger be reprimanded for giving away USC’s secrets. Said Tim Tessalone:
We're supposed to be partners in this, but this is certainly going to make us think twice about trying to help them have as good a broadcast as possible. What he did was unconscionable. In my 28 years, I've never seen such an egregious breach of trust. Brent is not a rookie at this, and he should know better.
From a pure media relations standpoint, Tessalone has a gripe. The information the TV talent obtains from their pre-game meetings with coaches and key players is supposed to be confidential and for background purposes only. But, really … it’s not a big deal if you're thinking with common sense. Luckily, we have someone with common sense running USC's football program.

"I’m sure [the Nebraska coaching staff] weren't watching the broadcast,” said Pete Carroll with a smirk at press conference today. “I'm not worried about it. There's a million signals, a million ways to do it.”

Exactly. No big deal. But alas, the damage is already done. Thanks to the suits and our own PR guy, the east coast bias was given some mo' it doesn't need.

And things were looking so good last weekend …

*You may need an ESPN Insider subsription to see this clip. Basically, it's a ranking of each major conference by Bruce Feldman. With wins by Oregon, Wazzu, U-Dub, Arizona State, and USC on Saturday, the Pac-10 moved from fifth to third.
east coast bias

Sunday, September 17, 2006

USC Post-Game: A Husker Hackett Job

So what was all the hype about?

Big Red ain’t so big.
Turns out Cornhusker fandom could muster only “pockets of Nebraska red” in a crowd “bathed in USC cardinal,” according to the Times.

Popping Huskers were humbled.
Looking short and just a little too slow, Nebraska’s big mouth cornerbacks Cortney Grixby and Andre Jones were beat, beat and beat again by USC receivers. Kirk Herbstreit, on ESPN's College GameDay Final, said Jones’ coverage of Dwayne Jarrett was “like air.”

But the best quote of the night came from none other than former domer head coach Bob Davie: “Andre Jones, you are not at Fresno City Junior College anymore.” He said this on prime-time national television as ABC showed Dwayne beating Jones for a TD to end the first quarter. Perfect.

Callahan can Hackett.
The most significant Husker hype-deflation came from Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan. Besides a beautifully executed fake punt in the first quarter, Nebraska appeared as if their primary strategy was not to lose by too much.

Trailing 14-3 with 2:52 left in the first half, Callahan – the guy who has sold Big Red on euthanizing the obsolete option attack for a "high flying" West Coast Offense – called four running plays to run out the clock. What the hell is that?

Trojan hater T.J. Simers of all people said it best in his column today:
When I asked why [Callahan] had his offense go into a shell, he disagreed, which goes to show you — once a Raider, always a contrarian.

‘We were continuing to run the football,’ Callahan said, and even two out of every three Husker fans could have figured that out. So maybe one out of three.

I came back with the same question only phrased differently so that he might understand, and he said, ‘We were doing what we wanted to do to win the game,’ and he might no longer coach the Raiders, but more and more he's beginning to sound like the other guy who has lost it and still owns them.

‘These are decisions we're going to continue to make,’ Callahan said, which is great news for USC, because the Trojans play at Nebraska next season.
Good news for us, and other major college football programs, indeed.

It’s fascinating how much Big Red appears to have bought into this b.s. from Callahan. It’s hard to believe that a fan base supposedly so knowledgeable and demanding would put up with accepting a 28-10 beat down as showing progress.

If Nebraska wants an accurate "barometer" for measuring the state of its program in Callahan's third year, yesterday's game vs. USC wasn't it. How about comparing apples to apples in terms of time frame? For example, Callahan's third year versus Pete Carroll's third year ... or Carroll's second year for that matter.

Have the Cornhusker fans really led themselves to believe that the way back to respectability comes through extended patience and a thick west coast playbook that takes kids more than three years to master? Do they not recognize the glaring lack of proper game planning and adjustments? How about teaching kids how to win, as opposed to playing not to lose by too much?

I actually feel sympathy for Big Red, because we at USC know better from experience. It all looks like a Hackett job to me.
east coast bias

Saturday, September 16, 2006

USC Football Game Day: Hail to the Victor

Waiting for the Nebraska-USC game to start, and as an observer of the east coast bias, I can't help but enjoy the way things are breaking today.

First, Miami gets pounded by a Michael Bush-less Louisville team. But, not only do they get pounded, they get blown out enough that ABC switched to the West Coast feed to show Oregon beating Oklahoma for the first time in seven tries.

Of course, before that we saw Michigan show the rest of the college football world that perhaps Charlie Crewcut isn't all that, and Brady (three-pick) Quinn ain't a bag of chips ... at least not today.

LSU-Auburn? Florida-Tennessee? Bowden Bowl? ... Who cares?

USC Football is on prime-time national television tonight.

Go Trojans! Beat the Cornhuskers!
east coast bias

USC Football Game Day: Trust in Reggie

It’s interesting how most USC websites and blogs have yet to address Yahoo!’s report on the alleged improprieties of Reggie Bush’s family. I suppose there is something to be said for knowing that Trojan fans don’t want to read the “bad news.” But what about examining the matter as it has been presented thus far and providing a take from a USC perspective?

At the very least, we should have something of a retort with all the misguided ugla fans on the attack. There are a few Trojans who gave it a shot yesterday.

The According to USC Trojan blog asked a few interesting questions:
It is important to note that pretty much every other sports news outlet had a 'brief mention' of it only. Does that tell you something? …

What interest does Yahoo Sports have in doing this investigation when Pac-10 and USC are also doing it? Is there an investigation team bake-off? And how can Yahoo come up with their findings before the rest, and be bold enough to create a stir?
The answer is pretty simple. Yahoo! Sports is trying to make a name for itself. It sees this “story” as its Woodward and Bernstein moment.

TrojanWire had its usual wise-ass take, if that’s what you’re looking for:
And just for the record, even if it meant USC getting another trophy in its case, you'll never catch us calling for Texas to forfeit a title; even if Vince received a million bucks in agent money or they did something crazy like start a drug dealer in the National Championship game.
But most solace comes from a non-Trojan, Will Leitch at Deadspin:
Even if Reggie Bush received money and they take away hardware and fictional titles, it still all happened, and you still all enjoyed it. Honest.

The problem with the angles from TrojanWire and Deadspin is that they inadvertently give too much credit to the Yahoo! reporting. As Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso just said on College GameDay outside the Coliseum this morning: “IF … IF … IF.”

One of the reasons why none of the established, reputable news outlets are investigating this story is that many of the sources involved are scheming sleaze balls, several of whom have already been convicted of white collar crimes.

The other aspect of the story is that all the parties involved are in some form of litigation against each other, which brings into question whatever statements they make. Never mind what that says about the judgment of Reggie and his family in picking their associates, but no real news outlet is going to push this story … unless it is seeking to make a name for itself.

So, where does that leave us? We can over-think this thing and convince ourselves that it doesn’t matter. Or, we can circle the wagons and trust in Reggie:
I'm not worried about any of these allegations or anything like that, because I know what the truth is, like I said from day one. Once the smoke clears, everybody's going to see we did nothing wrong.

Obviously it does affect you just because it is out there. But at the same time I know there's nothing to worry about. It makes you want to go out there right away and tell your side of the story. Show everybody the facts, the truth. But you can't do that. That wouldn't be the right way to do it

I told [USC] the same thing, don't worry about anything. If there was something to worry about, then I would tell you. But there's nothing to worry about.

Okay, Reggie. We’ll trust you. Just like we did at South Bend last year. Just like we did versus Fresno State in the Coliseum. Just like we did when you pitched a lateral to no one in the Rose Bowl … ?

We’ll trust you, Reggie. We’ll trust you …
east coast bias

Thursday, September 14, 2006

USC Pre-Game: Cornhusker Popping

Why is it always the no-name guy who can’t keep his trap shut? It’s annoying enough to read about the Huskers pining for a return to national prominence or the “Red Sea" supposedly engulfing the Coliseum … but now we’ve got some idiot popping off.

Says Husker cornerback Andre Jones (a JC transfer, no less):
When we beat [USC], we can show the world that we are a great team and we restored the order. … When we beat USC, its going to slingshot our season. … My friends have all been calling me, blowing up my phone, talking big noise and everything – saying how they're going to beat us, saying all these threats they have on their team. We've got the same amount of threats over here. … We're going to come up on top. … [When Jones was recruited last year] it came down between USC and Nebraska. When I went there [USC], I just didn't sense that love that I felt when I came here.
To his credit, Callahan is doing his best to say all the right things this week, while attempting to infuse his team, and perhaps more importantly Husker fans, with confidence. But, he is after all the same guy who was run out of Raider Nation while calling Oakland “the dumbest team in America.”

The Huskers could learn from the masters at work:
Nebraska has been a traditional hard–nosed football team … They are really balanced offensively this year with a great passing attack and their running game is still as forceful as ever.
USC linebacker Oscar Lua

It is always going to be exciting with any team we play, but definitely Nebraska because they are ranked, they had a couple of good wins, you know so it is definitely going to be a great game to play Saturday.
USC tight end Fred Davis

They have put together two great weeks of work and they are only going to feel good about themselves, they had been playing football and they have learned a lot about their players, a lot of guys play so they have benefited tremendously from those 2 games.
Pete Carroll
As for Jones, is there any doubt the Trojans will give him some “love” come Saturday? Just ask the Sooners’ Larry Birdine.

Please … disrespect USC. We want you to.
east coast bias

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Correction: No. 3 equals No. 2 ... and No. 4

You think we would have seen this coming. Following an idle Saturday, USC moved up and down in each of the two polls that “matter” prior to the BCS rankings: the Associate Press and the USA Today Coaches. Now, if you’ve been paying attention here, you don’t need to ask which ranking* has USC at No. 4.

In the latest example of the east coast media bias, the 65 AP voters penalized USC for taking Saturday off, while the domers – darlings of the Grey (east coast bias) Lady – moved to No. 2 following a win against a not-quite-ready Penn State in South Bend.

The coaches did the right thing and moved us up to No. 2.

Again, none of this really matters if USC takes care of business through the season. But, then again, we thought No. 3 equals No. 2 before this week. As we’ve been lamenting, and as Chris Dufresne pointed out in the Times yesterday, the building/sinking perception/reality that the Pac-10 is weak may become a factor for the Trojans.

Either way, we’ll see it coming next time.

*Click “Week 3” if you’re reading this after Week 4 rankings are posted.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11: What's most important

Sometimes we are reminded that there are a few things more important than Saturday afternoons on the gridiron, like family and the freedom that allows us to enjoy and share in the beauty and greatness of USC Football. Certainly, today's date reminds us of these things, perhaps even more so here in New York City. Let's not ever forget.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

USC Post-Bye: Know thy enemy

It’s always a good thing to know thy enemy. It’s also a good thing to develop hatred for thy enemy. For USC Trojans, that means detesting ugla and loathing the domers … with class and all due respect, of course.

The problem is it can sometimes be tough to maintain a proper level of hate, let alone a healthy respect, for two programs that USC has beaten and downright embarrassed consistently during the Pete Carroll era.

This is why I like to spend empty bye weeks looking for affirmations for our loathing. As is typical of the different kind of dislike USC Trojans feel for our two primary football enemies, ugla this week did most of the work for us. “Southpaw Jesus” and Hugh Johnson were so messed up, ugla’s own were demanding retractions and explanations. In other words, ugla is a regional rival that is less sophisticated, less threatening, and less worthy of respect.

On the other hand, there’s Charlie Weis. You have to respect him, if for no other reason than he’s got the South Benders believing they are worthy of their entitled national status. After we humiliated Tyrone’s domers by 31 points three years straight, the Irish stumbled all over themselves to get Weis, and they made a good choice. The guy is an undeniably intelligent offensive coach, and he is dangerous. In other words, the threat to USC is more sophisticated and worthy of respect.

This is why things like “Southpaw Jesus” and Hugh Jackson don’t happen in South Bend. It’s all more insidious. A case in point is an accounting of Weis’s ever growing ego, which was documented in a piece I picked up from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Jensen, by way of The Wiz. Jensen writes that there are more than a few fellow college coaches who consider Weis a cocky SOB:
We're talking about guys who wouldn't mind at all if Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis gets knocked down a rung or two … even right out of the national-title race.

No Division I head coach is going to come out publicly and say so, but I talked to a couple of longtime football men who know plenty of coaches. They don't argue at all with that general assessment. …

And it's not like Weis has come into college football sounding humble. ...

Local writer Michael Bradley, always on the college football beat, added this tidbit in his CBS SportsLine column recently: "Reports from the off-season clinic circuit painted Weis as aloof and arrogant. And those were the nice descriptions. ...
You think Pete Carroll would like to knock Weis "down a rung or two”?

They are ND. We Are SC!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

USC Bye Day: Weird and 'CREEPY'

Man, there is some really funky stuff going on in bruin nation. If you have a minute to waste, check out this video from an apparently enthusiastic ugla fan calling himself Hugh Johnson.

Once more, we let the baby blue speak for itself. (BTW, what’s with the Jesus reference again, and lowercase, no less?) To be honest, we couldn’t say this any better:
I know people are all excited about football season and all but jesus - this is embarrassing... Guess the dude was trying to be funny. But I don't get the humor. Wow. What a complete tool and kind of CREEPY. Jesus.
Still, I do like this from AOL Sports:
More Shame for Sons of Westwood
As if not having their own fight song, not receiving a single AP vote in the 2006 Preseason Poll and losing to their cross-town rival USC 66-19 last year were not enough, the UCLA Bruins now have to live with this video hanging over their heads.

Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that this guy's website kinda sounds like an STD? Maybe they should try holding off on the condom jokes for awhile eh?
Really, this is more weird than it is funny. But then it gets weirder ... and funnier ...

As if the suspicion about the authenticity of Lonelygirl15 weren’t enough, the ugla nation began this week to accuse USC fans of creating the “tool” as a joke. As if. Nonetheless, whoever this “CREEPY” guy is, he took it upon himself to answer the controversy that is, according to his video post, literally swirling around him.

Thank goodness we are what we are. So fortunate and grateful to be Trojans.

Once again ... We Are SC!

USC Bye Day: We got Booty

Evidently, ugla has been forced to say goodbye to “Southpaw Jesus” … the nickname, not the over-hyped player.

According to bruins nation, the baby blue blog was asked by the family of ugla QB Ben Olson to refrain from using the nickname, an apparent reference to Olson’s two-year hiatus on a Mormon mission in Canada. ugla followers made “Southpaw Jesus” all the rage in comments on ugla blogs following the 33-year-old redshirt sophomore’s debut last Saturday. Here’s what ugla had to say yesterday:
So uh we had lot of spirited discussion over a nickname this week ... And after one big game - boom - it blows up all over online. For now though until we hear anything otherwise we are going to respect the wishes of the Olsons ... We have changed the "SPJ" section to simply "Ben Olson.

Again, it’s nice to be sitting here at the upper most echelon of college football, where USC fans don’t need an inappropriate nick name to get everybody fired up about our prospects. Besides, we've got a guy with a ready-made surname.

We Are SC!

Friday, September 08, 2006

East Coast Bias Blues

Have you ever watched a Boise State home game? How about the MPC Computers Bowl, which some suits in the wacked WAC cooked up so that Boise could play a home game and call it a bowl? I watched Boise State on its blue field last night, and it sucked.

Sure, my first instinctive reaction, like most people, was that something was wrong with the color settings on my TV. Then I realized that I could not look at the game for more than five minutes without developing a headache and nausea. But that’s not why the blue field sucks.

The problem with Boise State’s turf is that real college football fans – east coast traditionalists and west coast nationalists alike – know that real football is played outdoors on real grass. It’s tough to take a program seriously when it plays games on a Smurf-colored field. But still, that’s only part of why I was sickened last night.

What was really messed up about the game on blue carpet was that the WAC “powerhouse” was playing Oregon State. Actually, Boise State didn’t just host Oregon State on blue carpet, the Broncos beat up and shamed the Beavers 42-14, , a Pac-10 school with a history that includes one Heisman Trophy winner and a 41-9 spanking of domer in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.

Even USC fans who, knowing that our nationally recognized program is beyond mere regionalism, had to feel the sting of embarrassment to see a Pac-10 team eat blue.

It’s one thing for Cal to lay down at Rocky Top or Wazzu to lose at Auburn – two SEC schools who play on real grass and wear black shoes. It’s entirely different when Oregon State receives a pummeling at the hands of a WAC school on frickin’ blue turf. And, on national prime time TV, no less.

Just more fuel for the east coast bias. Nice job, Riley.

More No. 1 fun for USC

As we’ve established before, it's more fun when USC is No. 1.

Although our football team’s run as No. 1 ended when Frostee Rucker decided repeatedly to take an inside rush toward Vince Young, rather than contain him (watch the tape and you’ll see what I mean), we’re popping up as the top choice all over the place ...

The Trojans remain No. 1 according to the computer geek Jeff Sagarin*, who’s algorithm accounts for one of six computer rankings used by the Bowl Championship Series, which could be more accurately known as white guys in suits who’ll do anything to preserve the status quo.

USC is also No. 1 according to the current All-Sports rankings, which calculate the combined national rankings of all fall sports in Division I, with a little more weight given to football, of course. Incidentally and interestingly, the domers and ugla are ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Just something to keep us occupied heading into a bye this weekend. Fight On!

* Sagarin doesn’t archive his lists each week, so this link may have changed depending on when you read this.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

USC: When No. 3 equals No. 2, not that it matters

Wow. That was fast. Win one game and suddenly “USC is back.”

The Trojans, with an untested QB replacing a Heisman Trophy winner and a bunch of true freshmen at running back, whip a “good” SEC team in the season opener at a hostile southern stadium. Just like 2003, as several writers and Pete Carroll have pointed out.

The next thing you know, USC is No. 3 in both polls. For those of you counting at home, that’s the same ranking we took into Berkeley three years ago. Only this time, we have no where to go but up.

USC almost certainly will move to No. 2 after this weekend, since current No. 2 Ohio State visits No. 1 Texas on Saturday. Even if it’s a close, well-played game, one of them has to lose and drop, leaving USC to move up without taking a snap. Not bad. We climb four spots in two weeks after one game. Granted that game was a 50-14 thrashing of a team from the SEC, which is, if you ask anyone with a twang, the best conference in the land, ya’ll!

Is this George and Weezy act evidence that USC is immune to the east coast bias? Maybe. But the point here is that rankings after week one really do not matter from the lofty perspective of a national powerhouse program like USC. If the Trojans win out, we go to the national championship game, regardless of where we start, or where we’re ranked after one game. It’s as simple as that.

So, who’s next? Nebraska. The crazy Cornhuskers of Christian and Crouch, and the imitation NFL reject turned college “genius” who recently taught the simple Ns how to throw a football. Supposedly, Nebraska fans will attempt to invade the Los Angeles Coliseum en masse, like they did when Pasadena turned red, and I mean almost completely red, for a game against ugla in 1993. I’ve been told the USC Ticket Office held off a surge of Husker ticket buyers to prevent that from happening, so perhaps we’ll end up with 90,000 Husker fans tailgating in the parking lot during the game, like Bevo at the Rose Bowl.

As for the Cornhusker football team, they’ve been pointing to this game for a while as something that could get the Husker program back among the elite, much like the domers last year. We’re already hearing stuff from Callahan believers, who think he’s got something for us. We’ll see …

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Trojan's tears has Tyrone snoopin' ... ?

It’s a well established “fact” that there is no crying in baseball … unless you’re Wade Boggs. In football, there is Hines Ward, Dick Vermeil and any real man who watches Brian’s Song. At USC, we’ve got Manuel Wright and Larry Smith, who cried into his wife’s arms when we canned him after the 1992 Freedom Bowl tragedy.

Apparently there is a new USC Trojan who shed a few tears in Fayetteville, during our 50-14 route of the Razorbacks. Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News wrote in his beat report today:
As USC concluded its blowout victory over Arkansas, freshman tailback Stafon Johnson was crying on the sideline, but they were not quite tears of joy.

Johnson's emotional display came from the fact he was the only tailback who did not play for the Trojans in the season-opener.

"I feel as if I didn't contribute or anything," Johnson said. "Everyone wants to compete and get out there and show what they can do."

Johnson was placed on the scout team heading into the Arkansas game, so it's not completely surprising he did not play, despite the lopsided nature of the contest.
As I’ve commented recently it’s obvious that Wolf makes an effort to provide information that other outlets don’t, which goes to show that he learned something as a journalism student at USC. But then he did a curious thing in today’s report, quoting Tyrone Willingham of all people for insight into conjecture about whether Johnson will move to defense.
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham doesn't think it's an experiment for Johnson to play defense after unsuccessfully recruiting him last season.

"I love Stafon Johnson. I thought he could play on either side of the ball," Willingham said. "I didn't see any high school player on the West Coast hit as hard as him last season."
Anyone who has seen Johnson's highlight reel knows he was a man among boys on both sides of the ball in high school. But who cares what Tyrone thinks? Unless, that is, you want to lay the seeds for a transfer controversy. Johnson took one of his three official recruiting visits to U-Dub before signing with USC, and Tyrone recruited him hard last year. Perhaps, seeing an opportunity, Tyrone hasn’t given up.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems at least a little odd that Willingham would agree to have himself quoted directly, rather than insisting that Wolf take the coach-from-a-Pac-10-team-said approach.

Whatever. If Pete Carroll and his staff can keep Whitney Lewis around for three years, I’m sure Johnson will be fine, tears and all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

USC immune to East Coast Bias?

There is a case to be made that because USC is a de facto national football powerhouse the Trojans don’t suffer from the east coast bias. We’ll explore this notion in the coming weeks, but evidence supporting the argument showed up in the New York Times today in a piece about first impressions of this 2006 season. USC was listed first among five teams with a positive showing over the weekend:
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – A U.S.C. official joked last week that because the Trojans gave up a touchdown in the waning seconds of the national title game, the world had forgotten about them.

Welcome back, world. The Trojans’ 50-14 evisceration of Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday night included an offensive outburst that gave U.S.C. a point more than it averaged last season. In his first career start, John David Booty looked every bit the top quarterback recruit in the country he was billed as four years ago. ...

But the hallmark of this team may be its defense, as the Trojans showcased their speed in a new formation that used three defensive linemen and four linebackers. Carroll has called this perhaps the fastest team he has ever been around, and it showed, as U.S.C. stymied Arkansas and forced five turnovers.
Nice. ("Evisceration" is a word you won't see much in sports coverage outside the pomposity of the NY Times.) But then the article states other obvious impressions from Saturday, putting the Pac-10 on a list of teams/conferences “pelted with spitballs”:
PAC-10 - Sure, U.S.C. and Oregon rolled. But the middle tier of the conference (aside from U.C.L.A.) looked pitiful.

Cal had a chance to launch itself into the national-title picture and was instead hammered at Tennessee. Washington State was crushed, 40-14, at Auburn. Those blowouts will perpetuate the stereotype of the “soft” Pac-10. Arizona State also struggled mightily Thursday against Division I-AA Northern Arizona. The score was tied, 14-14, entering the fourth quarter, but Arizona State scored the final 21 points.
So, USC Football is grand on a national level, but our Pac-10 Conference sucks. It’s the same old story. Looking at the Pac-10 as a whole after one game, can we argue?

Way to go, Tedford.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

USC Football Post-Game: Houston Nutt is a nut

One more SEC post before we move on to the Big 12 …

In case we ever forget how much we must appreciate Pete Carroll, I just picked up the news that Houston Nutt announced officially today that Mitch Mustain is now the starter at quarterback for Arkansas following the USC Trojans' 50-14 victory in Fayettefille last night.

Mustain will replace Robert Johnson, who will be moved to wide receiver. (I don’t want to accuse anybody of anything, but what’s with these hick schools moving African-American QBs to wide receiver ... then moving them back when something happens to the white guy?) Here’s what the Nutt had to say for himself:
Mitch (Mustain) has done some good things all through camp. He’s been very accurate. He has shown some very good things under pressure. And then he gets in the game and can execute and take us down the field.
So, why the hell didn’t the Nutt name Mustain the starter in the first place? The true freshman did look good throwing a nice pass and scoring on a QB draw after entering the game with 9:40 remaining. But the Nutt is only telling half the story, because Mustain looked like a child a few minutes later, staring down his receiver and throwing into double coverage for a pick.

To be fair, the first thing the Nutt apparently said about the matter at his Sunday press conference was that Johnson handled the situation with a lot of class. But in the same breath, he says:
I really hope he’ll have a true role at receiver and I think he can help us. It’s not all his fault. It’s not one person’s fault, it’s a team game. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions. … You worry about something like that because he works so hard. He cares, he’s a team player. He has done everything we have asked him to do and especially when it isn’t his fault.
Of course, it isn’t his fault! It’s the Nutt’s fault. Why put Johnson through spring and summer camp as a QB, then move him out? What makes Mustain more ready now after two series in the fourth quarter of a blowout? Is it because Johnson was at a distinct disadvantage at the start, since the new Arkansas offensive coordinator was Mustain’s high school coach last year? Who is actually coaching the Razorbacks ... the Nutt or the hick fans who booed Johnson before Mustain came in?

The other thing is that the Nutt apparently isn’t being completely truthful about the "team" aspect of his QB situation. The report from the sidelines during last night’s game was that Johnson didn’t speak to Mustain when the kid came off the field. The Nutt is a nut. What a mess!

Thank goodness we have our man Pete Carroll.

USC Football Post-Game: (South) East Coast Blahs

Shortly after our 50-14 beat down of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team last night – so much for revenge factors – I heard what should be the last from the SEC fan with the misguided take on the east coast bias. Following a few exchanges and a worthless comment from an ugla fan (something about the gutty little bruins “doing well” this season) the semi-intelligent argument ended with a cheap and sudden thud:
We hear the Trojan point of view every week at church. It sounds like this. blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Has anyone else noticed you can't spell sucks without U S C.
So ... with any intelligent parts of that discussion thread apparently done, I turned to today’s post-game coverage. For people out east, that means the New York Times, which of course covered last night’s “not so golden” domer win as if South Bend were in the Meadowlands. But, we can’t complain really, because USC is recognized as a national powerhouse by the Times, which means they had to have a staffer in Fayetteville to cover the Trojans.

Coverage in the Times – that is, the Los Angeles Times – was par for the course. Bill Plaschke’s column was unabashed, as usual. But, what I’ve really enjoyed reading lately is Scott Wolf’s blog for the Los Angeles Daily News. Sometimes a few of his posts are identical to some of his daily reports for the paper, but you can tell he looks for an angle on things that is different than the Times …
A First Thought
… here’s what I think is one of the most important things I heard after the game.
USC coach Pete Carroll told his offensive assistants to open up the offense at halftime, which explained why quarterback John David Booty started throwing to wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith in the second half.

"I was encouraging the (assistant coaches), saying `let's go.’ We were playing safe early on,'' Carroll said.
Wolf’s reputation as the “scourge of the Internet message boards” is interesting, too.

Well, USC Football 2006 is off to a relatively standard start – meaning we beat a supposedly good team from a major conference at their house by 36 points. How spoiled are we? It’s good to be a USC Trojan.

We Are SC! We are 1-0. Here come those crazy Huskers. Can’t wait to see what Callahan thinks he can pull on us.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

USC Football Game Day: (South) East Coast Bias

Waiting around for the USC-Arkansas game - which of course starts late at 8:45 pm EDT - I came across a blog post titled "East Coast Bias" from an SEC fan. Of course, he doesn't get it.
The media is often accused by you West Coast natives of being biased towards East Coast Schools. (insert whining California USC fan voice) "SI only writes about East Coast schools" "The West Coast can't ever get its due" "Why I am I always picked last for the dodgeball game". The media is not biased against the West Coast. They just don't have a choice on who they write about. They must write about schools that actually have a chance at making a showing in the top 20. They need people to read their magazine and watch their show. Name me 3 West Coast schools who have a legitimate shot at a title this year. You can't. I can name 4 just in the SEC, not to mention the Big 12, ACC or Big East conferences. So as soon as the Pac 10 starts actually making a showing as a conference, and actually play a conference game, then you are going to hear about West Coast schools. Let's face it who really wants to read about Arizona beating Stanford.
I can agree with this last sentence. I don't care much about Arizona vs. Stanford, since USC is a national program. The rest is bunk. Then he goes overboard:
On another side note, if you want to talk about biased how about the AP's psuedo title given to USC in 2003 so they wouldn't get their feelings hurt. Who actually took home the BCS crystal trophy? Hint: it wasn't USC.
Of course, I respect any fan who loves his team and his conference, but this guy needs some schooling. The following is what I wrote as a comment on his post:

Note: My use of "Southern Cal" is to avoid the cheap Carolina retort most southerners like to use. And besides, I'm not Tim Tessalone.

Wow! How soon people forget about what actually happens on the field of play and other facts of the matter. Here are a few reminders for you:

2002: Southern Cal 24, Auburn 17
2003: Southern Cal 23, Auburn 0
2005: Southern Cal 70, Arkansas 17.

Not to mention Southern Cal's dismantling of Oklahoma (Big 12) in the 2005 Orange Bowl: 55-19. The funniest thing that night was Tuberville trying to make the case before the game that the Tigers could beat USC … then after the game changing his tune to say he just wished Auburn had a chance to play us.

Even funnier? How about Tubberville claiming that Auburn had the greatest back field in the history of college football … when in fact he didn’t even have the best backfield in the history of the season! Please tell me I don’t have to remind you who won the Heisman in ’04 and ’05.

As for the 2003 season, you should remember that Southern Cal was No. 1 in both the coaches poll and the AP heading into the bowl games, but the coaches were contractually obligated to “vote” LSU No. 1 after the Sugar Bowl. So we split. It was only the BCS suits and the “stupid” computers - as your brethren who also commented on this post called them - that got LSU its trophy.

And get this … Southern Cal offered to play LSU in the BCA Classic to start the next season (2004), but alas, the Tigers declined. Make no mistake, the USC Trojans will play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

You SEC dudes think it’s easy to beat Southern Cal? History says otherwise. Southern Cal is 16-10-1 vs. the SEC.

Plus, USC is 10-6 vs. the ACC, 9-4 vs. the Big East, 27-9-2 vs. the Big 12, and for good measure, 63-37-2 vs. the Big 10.

Ain’t nobody whining from Southern Cal. In fact, we’re laughing at the stuff ya’ll are sayin’. Check the scoreboard, son!

Fight On!

USC Football Game Day: Arkansas

With the 2006 season upon us, I woke this morning to check out all the newspaper coverage. Disappointingly, it’s basically more of the same stories we’ve seen for the last several weeks: John David Booty “finally” getting his shot, USC reloading to replace Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, Arkansas remembering the sting of last year’s 70-17 blowout by the Trojans, etc.

So, I turned on ESPN Radio to listen to the College GameDay “Tailgate” show, which is on before the start of the TV version of GameDay at 10:00 am EDT. Again, it was mostly the same stuff we’ve been reading and hearing. I guess there’s only so much that can be said until the games are actually played.

But then Beano Cook came on the show to talk about himself, as he usually does, in order to justify his biased and messed up predictions. He described how he knows so much about college football because he “lives for this stuff” and talks year around to journalists all over the country. For example, he said he talked to a writer in Milwaukee to learn about Wisconsin’s running backs. Wow, what a concept!

Then, the old fart unleashed a gem (i.e. another example of his Trojan hating status): He predicts notre dame (surprise!) versus Auburn in the national championship game. And, his sleeper pick? … Arkansas.

Right. And Ron Powlus was supposed to win two Heisman Trophies. What an idiot.

USC … Beat the Razorbacks!

Friday, September 01, 2006

East Coast Bias grows as it sleeps

Back to Bill Plaschke’s take on west coast "intelligence" ...

Putting aside pre-disposed opinions based on regionalism – which is the crux of the east coast bias – one of the most significant elements influencing east coast media is a simple lack of knowledge. As some journalists in the eastern time zone readily admit, they don’t actually see west coast teams because … they fall asleep! Tony Kornheiser, for example, has for years admitted to dozing off before the end of late night games.

Honestly, having lived on the east coast now for several football seasons, it can be pretty tough for adults with real lives to stay awake, let alone fully observant, for any game that starts at 10:00 pm and ends after 1:00 am. No where is this issue more evident than in the Sunday sports sections of east coast newspapers, which often list the “late” start times of west coast games, rather than the final scores.

The result is a reliance on "conventional wisdom" (another form of the east coast bias) which allows east coast journalists and the fans who follow them to fall back on what they know … and even worse, what they think they know.

For instance, not too many people saw Reggie Bush gain 513 yards vs. Fresno State last season because the game started at 10:15 pm EST. Sure they may have been blown away by Reggie’s stats and SportCenter highlights the next morning … but the fact is he already won his Heisman on the tall grass in the minds of voters.

I can’t quite say, as Plaschke does, that West Coast fans are smarter and more sophisticated. But, he is right in that it’s all about reality versus perception.

It’s difficult to perceive the reality of college football – regardless of how smart or sophisticated you might be – when you’re asleep.

Why should USC play a game?

A new version of the USA Today pre-season coaches poll, "reconfigured" by our friend Jeff Sagarin to include "strength of schedule," has us rated No. 1. Now we know why this MIT nerd had us top-ranked in his pre-season rankings, as well.

Okay … Call me crazy … Say I’m not too smart … Tell me I’m looking a gift-horse in the mouth … but this simply makes no sense to me.

How can anyone, including a supposed “genius” MIT nerd, accurately determine the strength of any schedule before any school actually plays a single game?

I'm sure Sagarin devoted a lot of time and brain cells to creating the algorithm that placed us No. 1 – and I can only enjoy seeing us at the top of anything – but this proves how utterly ridiculous it is to leave the fate of the college football national championship to nerds and suits.

There is a reason why football games are played. Thank goodness the real season is upon us. Fight On!