Stab the Field and Support Sark

Arrogant Nation, I know I have only posted two or three times this year. I know I’ve been basically limiting myself to Twitter during games and it’s been fun. But the truth is, I only want to write about what matters. That’s what got me to start Arrogant Nation to begin with.

I noticed our fanbase was down about sanctions, a lot of new kids being downright UNTROJAN about football and I tried, with a lot of success, to flip that script. It took writing weekly comedic posts just for us to act like idiots, be fundamentalist football fans and not care too much about what happened.


The thing was, not only did that work, we played better than we should have. In fact, better than anyone who got levied sanctions near ours. Frankly, a lot of people don’t realize that USC has been behind only Stanford and Oregon in wins during the time we have barely fielded 50 scholarship athletes or had no postseason bowl as incentive. Hell, we even won the Pac 12 South once. We hung the worst loss ever on UCLA.

Now, I only feel like writing when I have something to say. Or… When I think there’s something you need to hear. Like now.

Steve Mason already dropped an open letter to the Trojan community and it didn’t go over well. He dropped plenty of facts about the pros and the cons of Sark’s first year, with far more pros than cons. Read it, it’s worth it.

I know this post is going to make people angry, but everyone was angry when I said Coach O was full of it, that he should have just stayed to be the highest paid assistant in the country, but his pride or his desire to be a head coach lead him away. For the record, as I usually am when it comes to “not totally overreacting”, I was right. No one wanted Coach O to be a head coach at a big time school. He was too emotional. And now, he’s trying to open the door to come back. As an assistant. Like he should have stayed to be. When Sark (of #firesark fame) asked him to.

Even flawed Lane Kiffin, who wasn’t as bad as we thought he was, is enjoying his time as OC for the top team in the nation. That doesn’t mean he was who I liked repping our program, not by a long shot. It doesn’t mean I understood his bubble screens (or Norm Chow’s for that matter), but again, our offense was better with Kiffin than it was before him. It’s largely been better with Sark too. We have lots of moments we actually look like the team we want to be. We have moments we do not either.

Of course, we had those moments with Uncle Pete too. A lot of the time here in Oregon. Corvallis. The forest. You remember. Or at Stanford with Harbaugh doing whatever he felt like to our dead, rotting corpse.

Let me get to the point, Arrogant Nation… Too much whining is coming from our fan base.

I think I said it perfectly after Sark led our team to one of the biggest beatings of Notre Dame in our rivalry’s history:

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It’s pretty true. I can’t miss the parallels between my freshman year at USC when Uncle Pete found new ways to lose really close games culminating in a Christmas Day snore-worthy loss to pre-good-pre-bad-again Utah in the all-mighty Insert Sponser Las Vegas Bowl.

Things I remember about that season, our worst in well over a decade including all these so-called awful years under Kiffin and now Sark, was that we showed so many glimpses of explosiveness. Suddenly, I started knowing players names. Wow, that WR is going to be great if he’s ever consistent. Man, why is America not recognizing how good Carson Palmer is. If they were a little older, they’d be great. This system has signs of life.

Like I said, if Twitter existed in 2001 (or Facebook even), we’d have seen deluges of morons calling for Pete Carroll to be fired because we didn’t get it now, now, now.

The reason you liked this blog, the reason I hosted two effing pep rallies, the reason you bought thousands of shirts was because you were buying into one concept.


If we keep being us, eventually, we’ll win. The big wins. The wins that drive everyone crazy. The stay on top forever thing.

Sure, some different coaching decisions (and some of you are going to go to the comments and get into incredible detail I already have heard a billion times and still don’t care about) could have gotten us two wins. Two losses were beat downs. Yeah, 10-2 would feel better than 8-4. The UCLA loss would suck either way. Blah, blah, blah.

Look at how our freshmen played. Look at our quarterback. Look at our recruiting class. Look at what we looked like when we looked good. It looked right.


I want a bowl win. I want a 9 win year heading into next year where depth gets a little better and we’re a year older. And guess what, I am ready to wait for it.

Sark’s team in his first year, outmanned and very young, was almost a 10 win team, but even at 8, he did some things we desperately needed. He ended the Stanford losing streak. Oh man, he cleaned up after Pete Carroll on that one. Who cares how it happened. It happened. Stanford lost to us last year and it might even hurt their recruiting and keep them trending down. You need to win those games to win these wars.

He beat Notre Dame. He beat them bad. In fact, they were as short handed as we were and you saw how bad we beat a winded team. Did that not teach you anything? Wow, did we compete. Tired as hell all year, we won 8 games with like 8 dudes. They did this a week after a horrible loss that killed a ton of incentives. They got up for a game that bad teams can’t get up for. Hell, UCLA couldn’t get up for a home game against Stanford to win the South.

Look at the player development. You worried about Algohlor leaving? Me neither. I mean, I want him to stay, but for the first time in a long time, we developed the hell out of young players.

More proof, who had a better year than Kessler at QB? Next year, with a better O-Line, more seasoned supporting cast members and defenses having to game plan (and maybe more than 2 scholarship RBs), wins may come easier.


Or maybe they won’t.

But #FireSark? Please. I’m #StillSark. I’m willing to go the distance and see it through. I know I don’t want to be fired for a possible 9 win season in my first year with my predecessor’s players. Why should he?

It’s not about this year. It’s about getting ourselves ready for the long run. If we want to be Arrogant Nation, we need to stop whining and start just enjoying the wins and ignoring the rest.

I want to talk about one more thing. Something I was fuming about. Something that made me want to smash my phone against the wall.

If you don’t think the team showed up for UCLA, if you think Sark didn’t show up, let me point out, neither did we.

We didn’t stab the field. We let some deflated Thor looking punk walk-on (WALK ON) stand on their cheeseball logo and protect it from our drum major, who wasn’t going to stab it anyway because [insert excuse].

I’ve heard Haden said we couldn’t. I’ve heard the future of the band depended on it. I’ve heard that some streak of a billion games performed at in a row matters. It doesn’t. What matters is we never, ever take orders from UCLA ever, not even at work even if your boss went there.

I love our band. I felt amazing at the pep rally when I was talking and they’d strike up. They gave me a shirt and despite the fact I’ve sold thousands of t-shirts I designed myself, I wear the band shirt every week. I effing teared up as a high school senior hearing them play and wanting to go to USC so bad I would have torched Westwood to the ground. I still tear up.

I say that because COME ON GUYS. We put streaks, Haden’s thoughts, etc. ahead of the one thing we COULD control: Telling UCLA to eff off.


They deserved to win. They were dictating the game before we even left the tunnel. They told our band what to do, then they pushed us around all day. For some reason, for one day we were all “me, me, me” instead of “FUFUFU”…

This isn’t on our drum major who I love because he is in the band. This isn’t on the band who do more for us than anyone. This is on every single person who reads this or has ever read this for not sending reams of paper to every administrator at USC demanding we fight back. If we can’t have our tradition, UCLA can’t bring their band to the Coliseum either (not that anyone would notice) and then stab the field anyway.

What was so sacred? How on EARTH did we let a team that spray painted ASU’s field dictate anything to us. A team that planted their flag in our 50 yard line the year before.

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Give me a break.

I don’t care we lost. We’re going to beat them more than we lose to them forever. John McKay said it best in that “there is nothing worse than losing to UCLA and nothing better than beating Notre Dame” – he said that because UCLA sucks, even when they are good. They are the kind of people who choke away big games, ACTUALLY desecrate fields and print billboards proclaiming superiority before taking huge dumps in big games. Always.

Who are we? We’re the team that has tradition and we will uphold it no matter what. When Traveller was going away, we found money. He must ride each Saturday.

Look at how we are when there’s threat of a new alternate uniform. We flip out.


Had we stabbed the field, only good things would have happened. Maybe our streak would have ended and UCLA would have tried to stop us from playing, but then ESPN would be covering that. I fail to get how no one understands that UCLA banning our band due to poking grass with a sword would be the single greatest recruiting tool we ever had.

Could YOU play for a school that sanctioned a band? Every outlet on earth would have made fun of UCLA. They would have brought up the fact UCLA desecrated ASU’s field. They would have made so many points we didn’t have to, except in national publications.

The great joy of this blog at its height was that I gonzo’d myself into a story I wouldn’t normally be a part of. A film student turned ad man hosting pep rallies and getting millions of reads.

This issue is YOUR CHANCE to hurt UCLA in a way only they would even expose themselves to. Only UCLA could be this myopic to leave their most vulnerable weakness so exposed: the are they kind of tools that sanction marching bands.

Please, let us not be the kinds of tools that allow them to.

I let you down not leading the charge. Pledge your support in the comments. It’s up to Sark to win the games, but it’s up to you to win the rivalry.

This is where I stand on the issue. Until we start acting like Trojans, I’m not blaming the players, the coaches or anyone else for not playing like Trojans. If we’re stabbing the field and two years later, Sark is losing games left and right, if we truly gave him a shot and it fails, I’ll be the first to say it’s time.

But we gave Kiffin some time. Let’s give Sark some. In the meantime, let’s get our own house in order Arrogant Nation.

Cheers to the bowl game and hoping it’s a swift, violent two years until we make this right.






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17 Responses to Stab the Field and Support Sark

  1. KO

    man you are awesome. #STILLSARK and #STABTHEFIELD

  2. S

    I would have loved to see our drum major call that walk-on’s bluff and march toward him slowly and confidently, pretending like he’d actually stab the field and then not do it. Or perhaps perform the sword swinging routine and then stop halfway through the stab. Something, anything. The USC student section was chanting “Stab the field! Stab the field” the whole time the walk-on was standing at mid-field.

  3. FTFO

    FIGHT ON! #stabthefield

  4. Thekatman

    There was a lot of UCLA chest thumping on Saturday before the game even started. I wasn’t at the game, but heard of these unsportsmanlike incidents:
    1. UCLA defense wouldn’t let the USC Defense take the center of the field to do their “in the circle” prayer, hype talk.. whatever it is they do there.
    2. Bartner having to get stadium security to escort that punk kid off the field. Perhaps Bartner should’ve stabbed the field with the kid.
    3. The UCLgay flag boys running up the SC sideline. I thought that was taboo, like the USC Drum Major’s stabbing of the field is taboo. An agreement between Haden and Guerrero.

    If we are to call for anyone’s firing it would be Haden’s, though that isn’t going to happen; however, he may be stepping down shortly. Doesn’t he have health problems? Haden is a Title IX proponent at USC and is nore interested in pushing women’s sports like soccer and LAX, than pushing for kicking the doors down at NCAA HQ like the AD at Miami, Auburn, tOSU, for example.

    Well, sports fans, we’ll be anxious to hear which bowl game we’ll play in and if it’s the Holiday Bowl, I’ll be there. But then there’s recruiting, so hopefully Sark and team have their recruiting spies out there.

    Can CEO come back? I hope so, as The Assistant Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. Perhaps he could also do Special Teams, if Sark doesn’t take it, since he will have to give the OC duties to Helton or someone else.

    IS USC a run first team? No. They should be a “we’re gonna jam this ball down your throat either by passing or running depending on how we feel that day” team. I would never broadcast my play calling intentions as much as I wold never tell the enemy that I’m pulling my troops out by such and such a date. Sheesh! Carl von Clausewitz must be rolling in his grave, next to Patton, Mac Arthur and Monty. OK nuf bout politics.

    Do you think we’ll see a pre-Christmas announcement by some of the redshirt seniors that they’re going to stay another year and play with Kessler and “da boyz”? Sure hope so.

    So, as we say in Hawaii “Hang loose, brah”!
    Fight On.

  5. Sanders

    I agree that it is inconceivable that there is any threat that would convince the USC administration to prevent the drum major form stabbing the sword 3 inches into the dirt. Fuck UCLA. I say that someone needs to break into the Rose Bowl and leave a sword stabbed into the middle of the empty field during next years game at the Coli. This whole situation is un-fucking-believeable and totally pathetic. As Zack said: COME ON GUYS.

  6. Elizabeth Werhel

    The thing is, stabbing the field signifies that the Trojans have arrived and are ready for battle. The Bruins are so intimated by this that they feel like losers the moment the Trojans show up, so they ask us not to stab the field. I don’t mind that we don’t stab the field, but It should be publicly acknowledged that we refrain from our traditional symbol of our arrival to do battle at UCLA because they can’t handle it even though every other one of our opponents gets it and doesn’t let it bother them. Then we need to kick some Bruin ass on the football field, in the classroom and in life. Fight On, Trojans!

  7. Brianne Archer

    We actually broke the streak against Stanford last year, right? Stormed the field?

  8. Bearfighter, I’m doing my part. I married a Bruin so I make it a point to stab my own version of their field every other year. And I’ve already got a response cued up to any double entendre quip…

    -Adrian (’92)

  9. Sandi Fitch Hutton

    As usual, well said, Zack. I am appalled that USC would so easily defer to ucla on this field stabbing business especially given the bRuins egregious behavior at Asu and on our own Coliseum floor. I support Ocho-Sark because he deserves the opportunity to lead the program. Are changes needed? Yes. Sark needs to relinquish OC duties permanently to Clay Helton. He needs to replace Justin Wilcox. And while Dr. Bartner would prefer to die on the ladder, I believe his focus on his personal legacy (consecutive appearances) outweighs the right thing to do. Stab the Field!

  10. Bill Delmer

    I’ve never understood why we let their insecurity tell us what to do.

  11. SFutzmaurice

    I’m in.

  12. SheriffTroy

    Fact is you can’t reason with imbeciles. ucla is replete with imbeciles. The guy protecting their squeamish logo was obviously an imbecile. A possible remedy here is to have SC’s AD discuss the situation with the ucla AD, and resolve the issue (i.e., you may have your flag boys run around, we’ll stab the field).
    Or, perhaps the next time the occasion presents itself, simply have one of our linebackers or safeties ‘escort’ the drum major onto the field. And if the flag boys come anywhere near the the SC sideline again, I’m sure any one of the SC song girls is more than capable of going Ray Rice on their asses.

  13. Dang, Zack! NAILED this one but good…REAL good, For me this is the season of what could have been. Can’t wait to have full scholarships and play some apples to apples ball. It was tough watching our guys running around without enough backups to give them a breather…by the fourth quarter it was like watching Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” sucking and gasping for oxygen. Apples to apples, baby…and #stabthatfield!

  14. Greg Bert

    I am going to write Pat and tell him to let us stab their field in 2 years. We can all pitch in for the drum major who goes against Pat and stabs the field after he is kicked off the band.

  15. Greg Bert

    Maybe the Bear Fighter can come up with a “Stab the Field” shirt for us to buy???

  16. thekatman

    I don’t know for sure, but I think the drum major is attending usc on a schollie and it would be pulled if he went against Haden’s instructions. So, it’s more than being kicked out of the band.

    We should get some engineering and comp Sci kids to hack their video board and show a past video clip of the drum major stabbing the field.

    Heck if Cal Poly kids could hack into the old scoreboard, back in the day at the Rose Bowl Game, our Comp Sci kids should be able to do something with the new video board. Fight On forever.

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