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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