Category Archives: USC Football

The End of The Sanctions Era

 

We meet again. I don’t know what this post is going to be. But I know I need to post. You all have asked me to weigh in. I expect it’s going to be about the future and about this team. It’s going to be about the school. It’s going to be about the end of the Sanctions Era and my small, but shockingly bigger than I’d have expected role in it.

Let’s just start in the beginning.

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I started this blog so long ago I barely remember the guy who wrote it. I’d write about my weekend. I’d write about not much at all. And eventually I started writing about USC football because I love it. I love my college and their football team. I love that we were named after an army that lost and became famous for how hard they fought in doing so. I’ve played our fight song heading to cancer surgery, to job interviews, on my wedding day and any time marathon training sucked on a cold, rainy day here in Portland.

This blog exploded when USC got handed sanctions by the NCAA because Reggie Bush and his parents took money from an ex-convict hoping to become a sports agent. They said we should have known. Maybe we should have. But the committee was lead by Paul Dee, the AD at Miami, who was paying for abortions for strippers impregnated by players on a booster with on-field privileges’ yacht while doing cocaine. You can’t make that shit up. Playing for Miami under Paul Dee was doper than any party montage in Scarface and in USC’s case, the NCAA let Scarface judge their case.

The penalties were second only to SMU’s death penalty. A two year bowl ban. 30 scholarships. Vacated wins. And other things that came from it, our severed relationship with Reggie (which is thankfully being slowly mended, but damn dude you couldn’t just pay the dude off like the other guy?).

Our Rose Bowl opponent (Penn State), fought the NCAA harder than Pat Haden ever did and they actually shouldn’t have because Penn State is horrible. More on that later.

Uncle Pete had just left. We had very, very limited coaching options and when we hired Lane Kiffin, it seemed like a low point. We all felt it. I saw on social media something I never had before. Trojans not being sure how to feel. Wondering what the Coliseum would be like. Wondering if Rome, who we celebrate with our architecture and with our name (Rome was said to be founded by Aeneas, a Trojan), had fallen. After the Pete years, the fall was steep. It was a long way down.

I didn’t want us to fall. No one did.

As I said, I love my school. I have a screenwriting degree from the best film school on earth. It’s statistically harder to get into than Harvard Law School (at least it was then). I heard Tom Hanks was one of the people who read our 70+ page applications. I am hell with a pen.

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The only thing I could think to do was write. So I wrote this.

I suggested that the Trojan identity, both tongue-in-cheek and in reality, was about a lot more than football games that count. I suggested something we already knew, something we already identified with – our arrogance. I knew that our parents and grandparents who went to USC when it was a “gentleman’s C school” felt the same way about it that the current students feel about a school that’s sitting in that just-out-side-Ivy-League crowd with UCLA, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon. There was never an option to not go to USC.  We’re better than everyone else when there’s data to support it and when there isn’t.

We’re a cult of personality.

And that personality is arrogance with a smile. We’re fundamentalist Trojans and it makes us so, so intolerable for our rivals. It was classic Sun Tzu, Disruption, whatever you want to call it. While the Bruins wait for a good season to emerge and boast, I figured correctly that with the right motivation we didn’t even need to be playing football that “counted” in order to be a better fan base, better school and better story than UCLA. Or anyone for that matter. If someone had to line up against us, we still had the opportunity to violently impart our “culture” on them and the scoreboard.

The NCAA was going to let us play games (because business), so it became obvious. We had to ignore their attempt to throw salt in our game. In fact, we had to celebrate everything that sucked. Nothing demoralizes the enemy more than celebrating when you should be sulking.

Those that follow me on Twitter or Instagram know in Portland I’ve fallen in love with the Timbers. They’d hate to hear it, but what attracted me to them was their fundamentalism. When the rain starts, we get louder. “Let it rain! Let it pour! Let the Portland Timbers score!” and then you dance in circles dumping lager on everyone around you flipping middle fingers.

You can’t lose if you refuse to. You can win if you change what that means. It was already in us. I used a focus group of every Trojan I ever met from the old salty dog talking about the 60s to the fratboys on campus and realized we all needed a kick in the ass and a reminder to just keep being ourselves – because everyone else hates us.

When sanctions hit, people weren’t just rooting for us to lose. They were rooting for us to shut up. Losing, well, not much control there. But shutting up? Not on my watch.

So, the Bearfighter was born.

I made shirts. And thousands of them sold. Enough that I related to the Catholics vs Convicts 30for30, except for the fact that shirt and Notre Dame in general is super racist and South Bend is boring, I don’t care if Rudy was a good movie (and he was offsides and a hobbit).

Lane Kiffin was the only coach who wanted the job and Tennessee fans drew dicks and vandalized his home?

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Got a shirt for that. All hail the mighty visor, his hot wife and everything wrong with this deeply flawed man! Follow the arrogant man into battle!

Bowl ban?

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Eff that shit, anyway. It’s only a party if we show up.

And for the Pac 12 schools who thought we were going to vanish and it was their time?

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This last shirt was easily the biggest seller and the most personal. It really is as Fight On as it gets. It’s been copied, parodied and there are so many more stories I never put on the blog. At one point, I got a cease and desist from USC signed by Kiffin, Haden and company. It was amazing.

But then it took off. You couldn’t go to a game, walk campus or watch on television without seeing signs of the fan base I dubbed Arrogant Nation.

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On my wedding day, I shit you not, I woke up and turned on GameDay who was at the Coli for an Oregon game (we lost, whatever, we won emotionally) and a reader had a “CONGRATS ZACK AND EMILY” sign. Dude. Trojan fam!

The greatest contribution of the blog, in my opinion though, was that as I got to know some players and students, I found out the players were reading it. I loved knowing they knew the fans were behind them no matter what. The games mattered to us. In fact, this is the most special era in the history of our school because in any normal year, we’re favored to win the conference.

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This was an era we were supposed to lose. But we “qualified” for bowls both years. Won the south one of them and it lead to UCLA having to play in the title and get smashed by a Duck team we beat. We totally screwed that year up for Larry Scott. We never had a losing record. We are unkillable.

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After games we lost, I’d spin it that we won because “we don’t live in Tempe” or “Berkeley is a shitty town” – just kidding, we haven’t lost to Berkeley in a decade, lol. Bears.

I started to get a ton of traffic from fans of the other team. Stanford and Oregon especially. They just wanted to see if we’d break. Nope. Not even a little. We actually became friends at times.

The school quietly tolerated me, if not embraced me. It became really clear from my insiders, friends and friends of the program that I was saying a lot of the stuff about the NCAA they couldn’t. So, they gave me the mic.

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The most surreal moment in my life was hosting our pep rally the first time at Galen Center. When I came out and thousands of students cheered instead of treating me like a whack ass MC, it blew my mind. I got to introduce The Spirit of Troy, the band, my biggest advocates. I wear the t-shirt they game me every big game. Band people, if you are reading this, you guys kept me going even when we lost and I didn’t want to spin it. You guys are a gift and you did more than almost anyone to get us through the Sanctions Era.

This was rad. I used to buy drinks there and then they named one after me. I didn’t even have to play football. BRAND RECOGNITION STRONG!

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We had some fun with things like Arrogant Game Predictions, guessing how many times Kiffin would go for 2, how far Kyle Negrete (hey homie) would punt the ball (predator drone launches) and what Kiffin would wear.

We made it fun. We kept it alive. It was no small feat. Building a culture is hard. Maintaining it is hard. Ask UCLA. It’s not like they haven’t won games and bowls. It’s just that their culture sucks. They don’t demand the best. They never fight on. They clap 8 times and ride buses to their stadium that’s nowhere near their campus. They wear powder blue because Cal claimed actual blue because in black and white television broadcasts they needed to stand out. Basically, they know they aren’t more relevant than anyone.

And when they think they are, they try to win like a loser.

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How’d that work out? That’s how it started. Know how it ended?

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Culture breeds confidence. Arrogant Nation was all about maintaining our culture despite being painted unfairly (see pending McNair lawsuit) as cheaters or whatever they made up. I’m sorry we looked good winning and had fun. I’m sorry I think your school is worse than mine. No, you can’t change my mind. And you never will.

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Arrogant Nation wasn’t all roses. There was the time the Daily Trojan tried to take me out. Then all of you jumped to my defense and I had to tell everyone to chill out because the journalist was getting a lot of flack from my readers. His punishment was covering Ohio State for a while. It worked out in the end, he’s covering USC. Fight on!

I didn’t want to hire Coach O for reasons I put on the blog and reasons I couldn’t. We beefed hard on that. I still stand by it. But yeah, I pissed you guys off.

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We also disagreed about Clay Helton. While at 1-2, I was a little shaky. I believe I said it was “getting hard to defend him” – but I also came out strong that when he took over the team started to play like we did under Uncle Pete. More later on this.

Enough about the blog. I want to talk about the talisman of the Sanctions Era. Matt Barkley.

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In some ways, it felt better than Barkley didn’t win the Heisman. He did something so much bigger. He became Mr. Trojan. He’s everything I want our school to stand for. He’s smart and also a fierce competitor on the gridiron. He’s obsessive about technology and reading defenses. When we begged him to stay, he did. When the season didn’t turn out how we’d hope, he still got a legend’s send off. He is the fiercest Trojan I’ve ever written about. In life, you have to put your money where your mouth is. He, and his teammates, certainly did.

I got to know him a bit at events. Now and again, we’d text about shit. I once got a drink with him at the 9-0 with Negrete. No, I didn’t pay. Yes, he was 21 years old. Chill out, NCAA. It’s been a minute, but my wife and I still check out how he’s doing in the NFL and it takes us back to the days when I was WAY younger in my career, spending nights with my business partner Morgan drinking a fifth of whiskey and hand delivering the first batches of t-shirts and making friends with everyone in Arrogant Nation. Everything was scrappy.

BTW, Morgan opened a killer brewery – Indie Brewing Co. – and it’s near USC. Go on gameday home or away and drink beer. Fun fact, I write a lot of the labels. When you buy Indie, you support Arrogant Nation and USC.

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The point is, whatever uniform Matt wears, you should pull for him to win. He’s the good part of what the USC culture is all about.

I’m the other part.

Lastly, let’s talk about the End of the Sanctions Era, which concluded with a last second field goal and our 25th Rose Bowl win.

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The media attempted to make this a “mirror” story. Two sanctioned teams that made improbable runs meeting in a bowl game. We were both back.

First, it’s important to remember why Penn State was “gone” – three decades of systematically covering up and looking the other way from the child abuse going on in their facilities. They were cowards to put football and money ahead of children and I will never support or respect Penn State. I can’t.

Had it been one incident that was immediately dealt with, ok. Bad things happen all the time. But even though it’s new players and new administrators, they didn’t shut the program down and they fought to lessen sanctions. They should have sat out four years. A game. Anything. It’s about money. It’s embarrassing. Like most Americans, when I see their logo, I see the cover up of sexual abuse.

If you ask me the one thing that could make me stop watching USC football, it’d probably be what Penn State did.

But, we do owe Penn State a bit of gratitude. They provided the stone to sharpen our sword. This 25th Rose Bowl win was maybe the most special. It was the end of sanctions. I know the effects are technically still being felt, but USC won the Rose Bowl. The stated goal of Uncle Pete every year. Achievement unlocked.

Here in Oregon, everyone knows we’re back. Recruits know we’re back (not that they ever left, there just were so few of them compared to teams that weren’t abused by the NCAA).

People generally know we were unfairly treated at this point as well, which is incredible. Those that don’t certainly will when McNair wins his case the NCAA has been trying to postpone for years. When they write him an 8 figure apology check for “maliciously” lying about the evidence they never had, that chapter will be over.

More importantly, our chapter of not feeling like USC on the field is over. When USC beat UCLA last season the way it did, by pounding the rock and staying in control, I had a feeling Clay was using Pete’s playbook. They went back to throwing it up for our wide receivers to let them make plays. They controlled games so the other team makes mistakes.

We are passing the eye test. As great as Darnold is, and wow, he’s great, great players often emerge when things click. I’ve never been so fired up about where we’re going. In fact, I’ve been so fired up I’ve largely retreated to just tweeting about SC and enjoying things as a fan.

A lot of you have asked why now that we’re back I don’t write that much. It’s because I hate being the last one to leave the party and in the end, this isn’t about me. I wanted us to get through sanctions. I wanted to brand Arrogant Nation. I wanted SC to be SC again.

Since all that has happened, I’ve been doing what you’re doing: enjoying the ride.

Fight on. Thanks for everything.

And you never know. If a bear jumps out, I’ll won’t be far away.

FTFO.

 

 

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The Bearfighter’s Field Manual to Stanford Cardinal

Good day to you all. It’s a good day for me because today I get to talk about a real opponent. I get to talk about a team we all can’t stand for a million different reasons. I’m talking about a team that isn’t a rival of ours, but a team that we get up for. I’m talking about a team that once had a coach that once had our coach’s number.

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But those coaches are gone to the NFL (and one is back at in college again, the one who didn’t coach at USC) and and what we have is round two of the Sark v Shaw matchup, one we have liked so far. One that randomly had Pat Haden arguing with refs. It took on WWE characteristics.

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The record was set straight last year. Balance was returned to the Force. But now we play again and unlike 2015 LA Times Playoff Champions UCLA Rosens, this is the week where we’re being looked at to prove we’re legit. Josh Rosen was legit when he was conceived in the manger of Tom Brady’s nativity scene made of pure gold and cashmere.

This also marks the first week where the BFM can actually help you with an opposing fan base you may know someone from. Being Trojans, you probably work amazing places and to be fair to Stanford, they are nothing if not smart. So your company probably has some Cardinal (so weird plural) managing the finances or doing the jobs that are depressing to you, Guy With German Sportscar And A Good Excuse To Slip Out Everyday At 4:57. FIGHT ON, YOU TROJAN!

Let’s get you prepped for these clowns who control most of our economy and government.

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Let’s get one thing straight. There’s no way I am covering everything about Leland Stanford Jr. University for Awful Bands. There has never been a school more fascinated with themselves than Stanford. It’s not a coincidence the South Park episode about smug Prius drivers who sniff their own farts from wine glasses took place in the Bay Area.

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So here it is. Stanford was founded by a railroad magnate who was also a senator and a governor and probably a wonderful badminton player and it was founded in the name of his son, who died of typhoid fever before he turned 16.

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stock footage of the incident

Basically they took 5 million dollars (131 of current millions) and were like – let’s make the best school in California at everything but football and frankly they succeeded. Good for you.

It’s hard to really pick on Stanford for their educational prowess, other than for the farm thing. The farm thing feels like it was for a different reason than you think. Like why Jared from Subway liked speaking to middle schools. (too soon?)

One of the founding goals of this admittedly incredible institution that loves the smell of its own farts was “to maintain on the Palo Alto estate a farm for instruction in agriculture in all its branches.”

So they bought a big farm and are referred to as The Farm to this day.

We know why Stanford. Goats are irresistible to you.

You needed goats around as spiritual and sexual partners. They needed to always be there. There needs to be a farm nearby at all times. You ever wonder why goats scream in videos? It’s because goat moms tell them if they are bad and eat too much garbage, they will be sent to The Farm.

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I mean, why else might the best non Ivy League university have such an insistence on what can only be interpreted is a deep-seeded need to always be near goats?

The evidence is everywhere.

The tradition of goat love continued long into the Harbaugh tenure.

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Because beyond being a great quarterback (except last week) and being incredibly well spoken, Andrew Luck went to the NFL and grew his beard out to look like this:

Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) in the first half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) in the first half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

I left that embedded “mandatory credit” in because somehow I doubt Mark L. Baer thought his stirring 21st century rendition of a male goat sex slave would be used to UNCOVER THE TRUTH. He just wanted credit. CREDIT YOU GET, SIR.

Guys. I’m going to skip the rest of this section. Stanford is a wonderful university. They have alumni who invented everything from Google to Yahoo to putting out a high volume of congressmen – wait. Fuck these guys. Nevermind.

Beyond the goat stuff, what the hell do they do to trees there?

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And why do they allow them to sexually abuse cheerleaders?

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And why does their campus look like Taco Bell?

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It’s insane. For a place called the Farm that mandated they exist on a farm, the sure are messed up to goats and trees. I may not be a Farmacist (see what I did there), but I’m pretty sure there’s a chart somewhere explaining to be a good Farm, you probably look out for your trees and your goats.

Goats of Stanford, give us you weak, your abused. We have plenty of garbage in downtown LA for you to eat and our coeds are pretty enough that we can just raise you as pets, not as partners. Also, we’re super into goat cheese salads produced humanely.

Do people at Stanford sleep with goats? I don’t know. Is it too low? Probably.

But to evoke Kevin Kline in the Oscar winning film Wild Wild West, whether they sleep with farm animals or not, it’s just fun to hear them deny it.

And the evidence is more overwhelming than the case for Josh Rosen being named Heisman before week 3.

FOOTBALL TRADITION

The Harbaugh years admittedly were rough on us. Any Farm fan will refer to this period if they have the guts to debate football with you (in between giving the closest goat a hickey). They may try to malign our quarterbacks in the pros because Andrew Luck is a success.

Look. He may be the Greatest Of All Time. He’s the G.O.A.T.

Wait. STFU.

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Goats. All day.

Outside the Harbaugh era, looking at our football history in the nauseating depth Stanford looks at it’s history down to where the benches on their campus are placed and what goats they are named after, paints a picture that is hard to refute.

We’ve won 60 games (counting the “vacated” one that will come back after the McNair deal resolves) to their 29. We won 12 in a row at one point. The reason they harp on Harbaugh and love that 55-21 win in 2009 is because that was their biggest margin of victory over us ever. I can’t be bothered to list how many times we’ve done worse to them, but for the sake of brevity, here’s a definitive beat down in every decade we’ve played them that shook their cultural memory:

  • 13-0, 1919 (they didn’t score)
  • 10-0, 1928 (same deal)
  • 33-0, 1939
  • 14-0, 1947 (we took a few years off to win WWII)
  • 54-7, 1952
  • 30-0, 1967
  • 49-0, 1977 (our biggest beatdown)
  • 30-6, 1985
  • 34-9, 1998
  • 42-0, 2006

So, in other words, if Stanford has an argument, it’s that for the first half of the 10s, we haven’t given them a signature defeat. Maybe Saturday? History would dictate it will happen in the next five meetings.

We’ve won 11 National Titles to their adorable 2, both before 1941. Think about that. Your grandpa thought they were irrelevant for most of his life and your dad has never found them relevant.

They have a losing bowl record. This is pretty much where I’d hang my hat. Leave it there for UCLA and Oregon too.

We’ve put 2x the dudes in the NFL they have. They’ve never spent a week at #1 in the AP poll. Ever. We’ve spent 91 weeks there. That’s enough time to create two human lives. Two champion babies.

A good tip for analyzing our teams is just double the success. Like Josh Rosen does anytime he does anything.

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CURRENT EVENTS

Stanford rides into this game on a goat frustrated by a 1-1 record and constant advances from the faculty. They lost a very, very ugly game to Northwestern in the traditionally not-at-all-hostile grounds of Evanston. That said, they got back off the mat and beat up UCF.

To be clear, I expect this to be a close game. Stanford just moves it slowly, smartly and Mr. Hogan is a veteran QB who can manage a game.

He certainly manages his team better than Stanford’s been managing their #1 in the world Graduate School of Business, which is reeling from a love triangle scandal that would be more interesting if anyone involved was attractive.

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They are all, however, great at business. But not as great as Josh Rosen is at football.

I’m off to Seattle for a wedding. Have a lovely weekend. I know Josh Rosen will.

The Nike Football Training Camp in Los Angeles, CA.

 

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The Bearfighter’s Field Manual to Idaho Vandals

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Admittedly last week was disappointing, knowing Josh Rosen has locked up the Heisman. It seems a forgone conclusion that the Bruins will win the National Championship by October as they did last year. Frankly, I’m not even thinking about Rosen for Heisman. I’m thinking he’s a front runner for the 2016 Presidential Election.

In other news, our own blue chippers dropped PlayStation stats on an awful team and well, Cody Kessler tossed 4 touchdowns in a losing-Heisman-status to Josh Rosen performance that drew comparisons to former Labor Day Heisman Winner Brett Hundley.

This week we play the Idaho Vandals and that’s not the first time. But the gist is the season won’t start until we play Stanford. But hey, for those of you like me who sort of live near Idaho, or just potato lovers in general, this BFM is taking a second week of cupcakes.

LET’S GO!

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SCHOOL

Idaho is the public university in Idaho.

Now that we’ve covered that sentence, let’s get to the first thing that jumps out. Their endowment is something like 250 million dollars, but the land they are on is worth over 800 million dollars. Let’s not mince words. The University of Idaho is worth less than the land it’s on.

That’s true of most schools in places like California, but for the purpose of heckling any random Idaho fans you run into while skiing, looking at nature or enjoying potatoes, feel free to make this point to them. If that fails, let them know you think it’s messed up they are in a town called Moscow. In what’s a fairly Republican (read: super-against-anything-that-sounds-like-communism-even-if-it-isn’t), I want you to know that they put their state school in a town called Moscow.

Locals may claim that this is because there was a cow that died and was covered in moss due to the sands of time thus earning the name Cow of Moss, then Americanized to Moss Cow and shortened for Twitter use to Moscow, but in reality these guys just totally love Stalin.

They don’t call them French Fries in Moscow. They call them Bolshev-sticks. Is that true? I don’t care. Just like this game. We don’t care and neither does Google Chairman of the Board, Josh Rosen.

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They have a beautiful administration building (so they tell me), but it’s not the first. The first burned down and the cause is not known but sources (me) are claiming it was the Mensheviks, obviously as a reaction to the naming of french fries Bolshev-sticks. This is Moscow we’re talking about.

It’s also worth noting Sarah Palin can see the University of Idaho from her home in Alaska.

Moscow is unique in that it is a cartoon city where everything is well labeled, as evidenced by this map, which Art Historian Emeritus at the Met in New York Josh Rosen called, “transcendent, like my stat line against Virginia.”

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There appears to be many hot air balloons and even a chili pepper riding what looks like a loaf of bread with a saddle.

One cool thing happened at U of I. Teddy Roosevelt once gave a speech there and he stood on a platform made out of wheat. I’d buy that for a dollar.

There’s a path on campus called the Hello Walk (which is probably also a brother-sister electronic indie duo from Brooklyn where you aren’t sure which is the brother and which is the sister) that was designed by the same person who designed Central Park. I guess people were required to say hello to each other back in the day, but like the Bolsheviks, this no longer exists.

The school has a steam plant that helps power it. Still. I know I should be stoked because I generally am down with eco-friendly solutions, but I just can’t picture the USC steam plant unless it was a sauna hot girls took instagrams in. HEY MAX NIKIAS. IDEA.

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Youngbloods on campus, don’t say I never threw you one.

The Idaho Greek system has actually led the school in GPA since 2011, which means:

  • They don’t party hard enough
  • The school is too easy
  • The rest of the student body huffs paint thinner

Oh, kept reading. 80% of the school has a 3.0 or better. It’s easy.

Really scraping the bottom here, but I guess they used to use Wisconsin’s fight song as their own before they let a lawyer write their current one, which I don’t expect to hear much anyway.

FOOTBALL TRADITION

For the second straight week, we get a Sun Belt opponent proving that it is in fact a real thing and not an acid flashback from a wild Thursday night on 28th Street.

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This Wikipedia explanation of their school colors is amazing:

The university’s official colors are silver and gold, honoring the state’s mining tradition. Because these metallic colors in tandem are not visually complementary for athletic uniforms, black and gold are the prevalent colors for the athletic teams, with an occasional use of silver, similar to Colorado, whose official colors are also silver and gold. When Idaho moved out of the Big Sky to the Big West in 1996, the yellow “Green Bay” gold was changed to metallic “Vegas” gold.[3] Yellow gold and black were the colors used by most of the varsity teams from 1978 to 1996, initiated by first-year head football coach Jerry Davitch‘s new uniforms for 1978.

There’s so much thought that went into this, yet no thought went into answering the question of if a town called Moscow was a good place to put a school and when they did put a school there, did they really need a football team?

I do love the idea of “Vegas gold” – it sounds like a strain of marijuana your in-fraternity dealer overpriced back when it was illegal and stuff.

Vegas gold, of course, got it’s name from the color of International Hair Model Josh Rosen’s fabulous golden locks, which by ounce is more expensive than Spanish saffron (and equally delicious in paellas).

This school has played in so many conferences it earned the nickname “The Harlot of the Inland Northwest” in 2015 when I just wrote that right now. Honestly, there’s less variety in a brothel than their list of conferences.

They got their nickname “Vandals” after they “vandalized” their opponents. This was around the time Teddy Roosevelt was giving speeches on mounds of hay (as previously mentioned), so it’s hard to know if vandalized meant “they played well” or they “covered opponents tractors in shaving cream” – which would have been the kind with a brush because I’m fairly sure aerosols weren’t a thing back then.

These guys do their Vandalizing in the “Kibbie Dome” – which should have been a silo for storing pet kibble, only it isn’t. It’s a four sport stadium that seats 16,000 fans in case anyone wonders why this wasn’t a home and home.

West End Entryway

They are probably using it for a regional dog show.

It looks as though you might store grain there in the harsh Idaho winters, but sadly, that would compete too much with the product of the field.

In trying to learn something about their rivals, I found maybe the single most depressing paragraph ever regarding their rivalry with Washington State (who lost to Portland State last week and no one here in Portland even knew):

Two of the recent games played in Pullman (1999 and 2001) were designated as Idaho “home games” to help reach existing NCAA minimum attendance requirements. The 2004 game was a designated Idaho home game for revenue purposes.

Oh man, gotta love a rivalry where it is literally possible to designate a home game. We should flop BYU and WSU for that alone. Or just keep Utah, lose WSU and Colorado and go back to the Pac Ten – sounded cooler.

CURRENT EVENTS

Idaho got rolled at home by Ohio in their own grain silo, multi use barn. They gave up 21 points in the first quarter. Like I said last week, if USC loses this game, we at least get to see a Disney movie about it.

The most important thing this week for USC is the impending victor of Todd McNair in his lawsuit against the NCAA, who litigate by shooting themselves in the foot while getting caught pissing on a cop car’s tires and then botching a suicide attempt when questioned.

McNair will get his. Pat Haden, hope you are ready to threaten suit, get us our fake wins and bowl dollars back and make a better point than we’ve been able to make to this point.

8 time Grammy award winner Josh Rosen believes in you.

 

 

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The Bearfighter’s Field Manual to Arkansas State Red Wolves

USC opens its season with the Arkansas State Red Wolves which is interesting only in that I had no idea this was actually a school until I looked at this  year’s schedule. They seem like a wormhole. Like, wherever McConaughey went in Interstellar. Like, as if we had a game against a bad team we had actually heard about, say San Jose State or Idaho (oh wait, that’s next week) dropped off the schedule and we had to create a fictitious entity to play because football.

It’s like, when you see this on a Google search, your first thought is preseason basketball at Galen, right?

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Was Sark drinking because he was ashamed of our first two games? The LA Times reported people sometimes drink because they are ashamed so it’s possible now USC has a drinking virus that is spreading to our schedule makers.

This is a hard school to begin a new feature about not losing football arguments with because there are many potential hurdles that exist at a first cursory glance:

  • Will you ever encounter someone who went to Arkansas State in civilian life?
  • If you did, would they admit it?
  • If they admitted it, would they actually talk shit regarding football?
  • If they actually did, would you have any difficulty defending yourself?
  • If you actually did, how are you at the admittedly low reading level required to be reading this?
  • If you are reading this and have a hard time defending yourself, are you a magical genius MENSA baby?
  • If you are a magical genius MENSA baby, can my wife and I adopt you and skip the whole “birthing” thing?

For my first glance, the only tangible benefit to this game is playing a team with vaguely the same colors and from vaguely the same region as Alabama, our opener next year. It’s probably helpful to hear the kind of backwater trash talk we can expect from a team called the Crimson Tide with an Elephant as a logo that isn’t on their helmet because they have a tradition of making sure their fans have an easy time saying “that number 28 there is fast”.

Forrest Gump got into Bama. Just saying.

Back to business.

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I’m going to break these BFMs into three categories: School, Football Tradition and Current Events.

So, let’s start.

SCHOOL

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Let’s acknowledge the 300 pound elephant in the room. Arkansas State is actually a real school. Wikipedia describes its creation by saying: “A-State was founded as the First District Agricultural School in Jonesboro in 1909 by the Arkansas Legislature as a regional agricultural training school.”

I want to take a minute to ask USC why we’re playing a regional agricultural training school that isn’t Texas A&M, who at least open us up to a plethora of Johnny Manziel jokes, plus the virtual treasure trove of Aggie Jokes our frenemies at Texas have been perfecting for years. A favorite was a prop I saw when I was a kid living in Dallas. My friend’s dad had a brick next to his wet bar (he was pretty rad). The brick just said “Aggie Bowling Ball” – we don’t even have these jokes because I’m sure there’s not even a bowling alley near Arkansas State.

Nevermind. They do.

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Unless Coach Taylor shows up and stops Riggins from drinking and running away and then he runs for twelve touchdowns, this parking lot makes me so depressed in a way I don’t even want to explain. Like the Grapes of Wrath (which wasn’t about wine, that was Sideways).

Making fun of Arkansas State, even for the things it deserves to be made fun of, just makes me feel like an asshole. Perhaps, it’s teaching me sympathy in hopes that one day I may know true empathy. I keep looking at that world and I picture a Disney princess like Arielle or Jasmine leaving Jonesboro and staring at a traffic light asking, “How do they feed the fireflies that make the lights change color?”

OH GOD THE LOATHING. I SHOULD STOP NOW.

But I won’t because screw these guys, their state flag looks like someone was trying to draw the Confederate Flag in MS Paint and gave up because getting the stars straight inside the bars was too hard and “I’m not a scientist, Hank.”

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There are only 70,000 or so alumni for this university, so even if they traveled everyone ever affiliated with this school to the Coliseum, we wouldn’t be able to fill it up. That is more depressing than watching some lonely guy at an Arby’s take out his dentures to gum on a roast beef and cheddar.

I need a prozac to finish this post.

There’s one thing this powerhouse does share with a big time academic school on the west coast. Just like the Stanford Cardinal, they ditched a vaguely racist Native American mascot name to something that makes no sense at all. While Stanford went from Indians (still better than the Redskins) to the Cardinal (which is just a dumb ass name for a team possibly based on the color of a bird and/or religious figure), these Arkansas State folks changed from the Indians to a breed of wolf that according to Wikipedia doesn’t exist in the South, let alone Arkansas. Worse, this school intends to teach you agriculture and general shit-that-happens-outdoorsiology so, seems like pick a local wolf. Like Portland does with cheeses.

Still, the Wolf is better than “Runnin’ Joe” or “Jumpin’ Joe”- their racist mascot from before they picked a non-local wolf to rep them. I mean there are some proud indian mascots out there that look like they came from gorgeous paintings that should hang in museums. Then there’s mascots that look like racists doodles done by racist toddlers based on racists movies from the 50s because that’s all they have at the still-open Hollywood Video in Jonesboro.

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He’s depicted here jumping and holding what I think is a scalp, but I do not claim to be an expert on racist mascots as my teams are named after an Iliad era city state’s denizens, the people who used to dodge trollies in near Ebbets Field, trees, and lakes from a state the team no longer resides in.

Not saying the original Brooklyn Bum was the classiest thing ever, but let’s keep it real. Other than the totally visually kickass black and white on red color palette here, this is the most ridiculous thing to represent something in Arkansas since the Arkansas flag itself:

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At least I thought.

Then I found this penis-shaped mascot (or hot dog) they were using for a while.

6975_arkansas_state_indians-mascot-1997

 

Also made in Microsoft Paint 97 and inexplicably exposing his genitals wearing a bow tie and open tuxedo jacket is Red, who looks like genitals in general and maybe a little bit like Nickelodeon’s Doug. You can make the argument that his left leg proves he’s not naked under that coat, but you can’t make the argument he isn’t a reanimated, smiling penis personified.

If you can, please do so in the comments and tell me what number of the 70,000 proud ASU Indian Penises alumni you are. And then explain to me how I can sleep at night after seeing him in real life. There’s not enough bourbon in Portland (and we have a lot of it).

VSWKUHSGSGOYNOZ.20071211201035

When that didn’t work out, the school “slowly phased out” – (their words, not mine) everything and went and brought in what appears to be a crying Red Wolf (again, not from Arkansas) and dressed him as an Indian because if you are from a state that can’t quite commit to giving up the confederate flag, why not change from a racist indian depiction to a penis in a tuxedo to a wolf dressing like an indian. Or a sniper in a really, really loudly colored gillie suit.

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No wonder he is literally always crying. He’s so, so, so confused.

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And look, I get it. The Red Wolf, or canis rufus (rhymes with penis, explains previous mascot) does look a little like it’s always crying.

Wild-RedWolf-WilliamDoran

But it also doesn’t live in Arkansas. It mainly lives on the east coast and Florida, though technically some have been found as far away from Texas. Thing is, if you pick a wolf, why not a wolf local to you. I mean you aren’t going with something clearly not where you are from. Like Trojans. Or Dragons. I mean, give the Bruins some credit (just this once). California and bears in general are pretty synonymous. I mean, our not confederate state flag as a pretty kick ass one right there on it.

But I figured out why Arkansas State chose them. There are only about 100 of them left in the wild. Like alumni of Arkansas State, barely any of these creatures exist.

Case closed.

FOOTBALL TRADITION

Like all Sun Belt teams, the Red Wolves are a team we only know as week eight opponents of SEC for their convenient locations and status as teams that love getting shamed in public. They are the reality tv stars of the college football world. Don’t care if we look silly, we just care that you know we exist. I’m talking to you Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

coastal-chanticleers-logo_web

And you South Alabama Jaguars (because Southern Alabama Jaguars was just too formal and show-offy):

South_Alabama_Jaguars_logo

 

Seriously, the Sun Belt is like where bad Hollywood writers go to create the fictitious college team names for shows on the WB. Only the most depressing college football fan could quickly spout off who these initials represent and I just gave you three of them.

nDQlRHs

 

These read like STDs.

Look, unless you watch SEC football and remember their week eight opponents (you know, the week we normally are playing the Oregons and Notre Dames of the world), you have only heard of one school in this conference.

That’s Appalachian State, who beat Michigan that one time before millenials were a thing, and the main takeaway from that game is we now know how to pronounce Appalachian as a word and have a cultural Appalachian reference that isn’t from the movie Deliverance.

deliverance-banjo

 

STOP THINKING ABOUT DELIVERANCE, shudder.

Arkansas State, who I still don’t know why we are playing them, have been playing some form of football since 1911 and since then have played at every level of college division from D1 (where they currently are) to whatever the hell the lowest division was before television existed. They have actually been dropped from D1 before and then came back up. They are the Barclay’s Premier League equivalent of Bournemouth. Vaguely familiar and sometimes in the top division but relegated, forgotten, returned.

This explains their Sun Belt time. It’s from Wikipedia and it’s depressing me to even read it:

During the 2005 football season, Arkansas State finished the regular season as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 6–5 record and played in the New Orleans Bowl, which they lost to Southern Mississippi.[7] In 2011, the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 10–2 record and played in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, losing to Northern Illinois. In 2012, the Red Wolves finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the 2nd year in a row with a 9-3 record and played in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against #25 Kent State, winning the game 17-13. In 2013, the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the 3rd straight year with a 7-5 regular season record and again played in the renamed GoDaddy Bowl, defeating Ball State 23–20.

Damnit. If we somehow lost this game, I’m done. Maybe forever. They’d make a Disney movie about it if they didn’t have a racist legacy of penis mascots. Disney would say they were the Tigers. I wish the school would too.

CURRENT EVENTS

NOT VERY MANY. I mean, seems like they have some injury problems. Seems like they are about to decide on a backup QB.

It also seems like they forgot to finish building the rest of their stadium and despite the fact it’s built into a bowl of grass, the field is turf.

Rad.

Arkansas_State_-_Field_View

Well. That’s all. I’m sorry in advance for Idaho next week, but come Stanford, we’re going to bring out the weapons. I just can only shoot fish in a barrel so much before we’re dealing with a bucket of poke. Or chum.

IN OTHER NEWS

If you are in Portland this weekend, please go see The Business of Amateurs. Many of you Kickstarted the film. College football is a sport we all love and for the sake of the game, we need to start caring for these players long term. They give up their bodies for our entertainment and most don’t make a career out of it.

This film is important and made my a former Trojan football player Bob DeMars. It covers all levels of the NCAA’s shameless lack of compassion and captures some of the final days of USC legend Scott Ross (who played next to Junior Seau).

Push you school, especially USC for my readers, to keep honoring the recognition these players bring our schools and the pride they bring our alumni.

If you are in Portland, click here to buy tickets.

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Unrelated Cautionary Bachelor Party Tale Warning Sign For Sarkisian?

Yesterday, I called out the media’s treatment of USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian, especially the LA Times. I accused them of making ludicrous analogies, fanning a smoldering cigarette butt and tossing it in some dry Santa Monica Mountain brush in hopes of finding some fire.

I was making a case for accurate reporting, not click bait. It’s fair to say we had a coach drink and mix meds at a private event and then swear. Not a great thing by any standards, but we’re not forfeiting scholarships over it.

Not only did the LA Times ignore the post (and facts in general), but this morning my readers were tweeting me this gem:

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So, I figured this would be a comparison of all coaches who ever got into trouble with substances. Nope. More citing the same old stuff.

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So, extrapolate this excerpt. Translated, it says “even though people who know more about the subject than the writer feel the Sark incident was minor, let’s compare what happened anyway to one coach who crashed his car drunk on the way to catch a flight with his team to a game and another coach who got so drunk he fought a police officer.”

Dude.

Then this pile of dung wafted some really enlightening knowledge:

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So… Again. Translated “even though this incident has not affected his performance in any way, if at any point he makes a play call fans don’t agree with like every coach ever does, fans will be questioning his coaching ability.” Pete Carroll wasn’t accused of being drunk on the field in the Super Bowl, and guess what, everyone questioned his play calling. BECAUSE FANS AND ANALYSTS QUESTION PLAY CALLING.

Kinda like I’m questioning your journalism, LA Times.

So, to make my point, I’m going to write a post inside this post that I think the LA Times should publish because it’s about as relevant to the actual events that transpired as the last eight articles we were treated to.

Here we go…

Unrelated Cautionary Bachelor Party Tale Warning Sign For Sarkisian?
by Zack Jerome, Incredible Journalist and Alcohol Expert

An undisclosed USC student attended his older brother’s bachelor party in Las Vegas last weekend and despite being of legal drinking age, the results could have massive ramifications for the USC Trojans and embattled, potential-alcoholic head coach Steven Sarkisian.

Actor Nicholas Cage buying a shopping cart full of hard liquor in the film Leaving Los Vegas, potentially the film that inspired Sarkisian's potential alcoholism and also the location for the bachelor party referenced in this article.

Actor Nicolas Cage buying a shopping cart full of hard liquor in the film Leaving Las Vegas, potentially the film that inspired Sarkisian’s potential alcoholism and also the location for the bachelor party referenced in this article.

The student in question attended a “kick-off dinner” perhaps based on destructive cinema like “The Hangover” and “The Hangover Part Two” where drinking in excess is not only tolerated, it’s glorified despite its obvious dangers. Ticket stubs reveal that Steve Sarkisian has seen all three Hangover films, though we can’t be sure if this in anyway contributed to his potential alcoholism or his recent divorce that may or may not be related to his potential drinking and/or the disappointment of how underwhelming The Hangover Three was as a film.

At this “kick-off dinner” the undisclosed student and the other ten attendees racked up a whopping 1,000 dollar bar tab ordering various kinds of alcohols including tequila, whiskey and beer. A witness described the beer as “hoppy, probably an IPA or XPA,” but couldn’t confirm that fact.

IPA, as beer experts claim, is short for “India Pale Ale”– a callback to the spice trading days when sailors worried their spice bounty would go bad and opted to dump them in their beer barrels creating the much-beloved brew. It’s unknown if Steve Sarkisian drinks IPA (or XPA), but if he does, one might question if he plans to adopt the policies of the British East India Company, who were famous for draconian measures to dominate trade and a heavy reliance on controlling maritime operations in the region.

Cartoon depicting the imperialistic ambitions of the British Empire and the East India Company, a potential model for Sarkisian's 2015 USC playbook. Most disagree and feel that focusing solely on Pac 12 South opponents is a better strategy than England's failed attempts to have a global economic empire.

Cartoon depicting the imperialistic ambitions of the British Empire and the East India Company, a potential model for Sarkisian’s 2015 USC playbook. Most disagree and feel that focusing solely on Pac 12 South opponents is a better strategy than England’s failed attempts to have a global economic empire.

If this potential affinity for the policies of the East India Company translates to playcalling, Sarkisian could find himself at odds with USC boosters and fans as most feel the running and passing elements of playcalling are superior to the maritime ones, likely because there is no water element on a football field.

Math shows us that the bar-tab translated to around 5 drinks per person at the bachelor party’s kick off event, a quantity considered medium to low consumption for this type of event, but sources familiar to math in general have pointed out that since we can’t be sure which attendees drank which drinks, it’s possible the USC student drank all the beverages provided, which would put his count well over the 40 drink maximum which Las Vegas zoologist Frank Timmelson states is a “safe guesstimate for the consumption required to give an elephant alcohol poisoning.”

Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas potentially foreshadowing the condition Sarkisian woke up in following the Salute to Troy event that potentially proved he was an alcoholic.

Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas potentially foreshadowing the condition Sarkisian woke up in following the Salute to Troy event that potentially proved he was an alcoholic.

The elephant, of course, is the political mascot for the Republican Party and there’s potential Sarkisian votes GOP, which could alienate some key boosters, but also pander to others. This political leaning could turn into a scandal that could affect not only his concentration, but his potential intensive rehab from his potential drinking problem. The results on the field for USC could be catastrophic, though some experts say they could have no affect at all.

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Actor Nicolas Cage being murdered by a mask filled with angry bees from the film Wicker Man potentially showing the pain Sarkisian feels inside or the turmoil his players feel knowing their coach said the F word at a private event potentially because of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse.

The student declined to comment on the portion of the bachelor party where a strip club was involved, but twerking expert and UCLA Professor Thomas Synderiche warns, “Strip clubs arouse not just your senses, but also your sense of what’s normal sexually. Frequenting strip clubs creates unrealistic expectations of your domestic partner or spouse, often leading to breakdowns in communication and eventually divorce.” Sarkisian filed for divorce this spring.

The student made it back to USC safely and felt, “excited for a new chapter in his brother’s life and, hopefully, some nieces and nephews.” Whether Sarkisian will be able to move forward and start a new chapter at USC remains to be seen.

FACEPALM.

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Go Home LA Media, You’re Drunker Than You Claim Sark Was.

I shouldn’t even write this because it’s contributing another piece of writing to #drunkgate or the Ballad of Cutty Sark or as I’m calling it, the most overblown story in history. The story that’s proof media relations training doesn’t matter, because the media will make mountains of molehills no matter what. And molehills of the sand that’s in your shoes after a day at the beach.

Make no mistake, the kind of sports coverage we get is indicative of the newspaper game’s impending downfall. It was a business created to provide news and commentary in a time when your best source was an environmentally unconscious daily tree murder dropped on your door by dancing broadway kids, one of whom should probably be Future Batman:

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Within a couple days, TMZ became a source for real papers like the LA Times and then other papers that take the Pareto principle leftovers from the LA Times (yikes, hope those folks have been investing in their 401ks).

So let’s be clear what happened. Factually. And then let’s look at how our top newspaper covered #drunkgate (sorry LA Times, you aren’t the only offender, but you are the only nationally known paper in town, so you have to play cadaver here, but no one told you to die, so it’s for #science).

Steve Sarkisian allegedly took a combination of prescription meds and some quantity of alcohol together, or he simply drank too much.

Steve Sarkisian swore, spoke ill of opponents and generally came off intoxicated at a private booster event.

Steve Sarkisian was pulled off the stage by Pat Haden who condemned the display.

Steve Sarkisian apologized and said he’d pursue treatment to find out if he had a drinking problem.

Steve Sarkisian went back to coaching football without further punishment.

So that’s what happened. Check out what the LA Times headlines painted this as:

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OK. That’s accurate sounding. This is typically where the story could end. But no. We have to sell dead trees in a drought.

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There’s Plaschke’s genius piece. I know he’s a columnist so he can say what he wants, but this is like me saying “If Plaschke’s Downtrend From Writer of Feel Good Sports Stories to Writer of Speculative Click Bait Continues, He’ll End Up at Buzzfeed Showing America 25 Animated Gifs of Football Mascots You Have to See to Believe!”

Bill is better than that. 

But what are we saying when we say “if an isolated incident becomes a destructive behavior, that’s bad”?

We’re saying “if this kitchen fire burns uncontrollably and eventually destroys all of California, that’s something to worry about.” 

We’re saying “if forgetting things turns into Alzheimer’s, that could be catastrophic for your memory.”

There’s causal and there’s corollary. Could there be a corollary between being drunk in public and having a problem later? Sure. Is it for sure causal? Nope. Does it sell more papers than a corollary about people who apologize and take full responsibility having a greater chance of bringing a team together? Absolutely.

If you’ve ever driven your car after more than two drinks, ever said something nasty to a friend or lover after one too many, you are Sark. Only the media wouldn’t cover that. Does that come with the territory? Sure it does. Being the USC football coach is a big deal and people care. But they don’t care much as evidenced by this web 1.0 style poll intended to generate clicks that one day will grow up to be loose corollaries to advertisers to sell media.

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At the time of writing this, there were just over 4800 people who participated. That’s on a poll about football from a paper with a circulation of a little over a million on a Sunday (as far as I could tell, but the LA Times is currently being accused of padding their circulation which may or may not be a corollary to their impending demise, but don’t mind me, I’m just acting like an LA Times columnist).

I think if we’re playing corollary (and I love to), you can see the overwhelming favorite in their participation-light poll is “They should fire him.” We could say this is because the LA Times has more Bruin readers. We could say this is because it has older readers who find Sark deplorable because they missed the whole YOLO thing and didn’t care he was totes taking Uber home. Safe, bro.

If I were to guess though, we see 42.57% percent of this poll being negative towards Sark because a traditional media outlet trying to dabble in online publishing is going to follow their analytics. So when the angry masses give you marketable metrics to advertisers like CLICKS, you feed them right? But it comes at a cost. You get coverage that tries every hat on and then sticks with the one that looks the worst because it causes the biggest reaction.

This is why it’s painful to watch someone like the LA Times try to be Vice. They won’t. I’m writing this post (which will surely be read more than their poll was participated in when it’s all said and done) and I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it because I feel like it and I’m giving it away for free. That’s a crap landscape for papers. That’s why we get click bate. Playboy went from being a pretty rockin’ blend of tips on how to be a dude who can make cocktails, anecdotes about politics and culture and also, well, pictures of naked women. Check out their social feed now. Yesterday it was something like 25 animated gifs of Jessica Alba. The worst part isn’t that we can’t say “I read it for the articles” anymore. It’s that we all actually want to click that link of Jessica Alba.

So since there was smoke, the Times had to look for fire.

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I assure you, these weren’t important. I didn’t even read the article. It might not have even been about this current press conference. But hey, it was right next to a link farm of other #drunkgate articles. Like this:

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Ok. And like this.

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Now, if you listened to the pep rally, Sarkisian wasn’t even saying he needed treatment or he had a drinking problem. He may on both counts, but the tenor of his speech was that he was open to having a real evaluation to find out. This headline sounds like he’s going to rehab, this is why he got divorced and THE SEASON IS RUINED.

Only it isn’t as evidenced by this article…

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And what follows is a fairly sane article about Cody Kessler and his leadership ability. About how he seemed pleased when he punished Sark with up/downs. About how the team is fine. I watched the interview. He was half-laughing. Because he’s a college student and he’s used to people being drunk and making mistakes. And then they go to class the next day and live their lives.

So the net of this #drunkgate flurry was:
Coach Sark is a wild drunk spiraling towards dooming a season
But Cody Kessler can lead this team
Even though it was under Sark’s new offense he had his breakout season
And the team isn’t as mad as the media
But the media says the team is somber.

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Sorry for the different photo format. I got hit by the LA Times pay wall because I tried to read five articles in a month. Said no one ever.

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Newsflash. Clear your cache. But they aren’t worth the time to do that or the 99 cents for ten more days. Unlimited access to back and forth froth about USC football? Perfect. I’ll just search #cuttysark on twitter.

But to be fair to the LA Times, like I mentioned earlier, this is EVERYONE. 24 hour media has us searching for smoke and not fire. Check out this Daily News article.

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Yeah. #19 is sitting there thinking, “how can I regain normalcy” – or maybe he’s just trying to read PASS or RUN. The Oregonian relished this as well because anything that slows USC’s obvious return to actual normalcy (Rose Bowls and top ten recruiting classes) is welcomed:

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Of course they are just citing the Seattle Times who is pissed he left despite what they will tell you about 7-win-Sark who won nine with half a team of scholarship players last year (and our fan base was still pissed). I love this article though. A business reimbursed their employees for a staff outing where alcohol was consumed?

GUYS IT’S CALLED HAPPY HOUR. Even UW is saying these were legitimate expenses.

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If you’ve ever been to a bachelor party, a group of 8 dudes can can crush a 1000 dollar bar tab. One of these was with spouses. I love that they make the specificity a big deal, that it was straight tequila. Except, they went to a Mexican restaurant. Should they have had fernet like a bunch of Cal alums in the Marina?

They literally posted the bar tab like it’s a map of cell towers from Serial.

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So, 16 coaches and their wives had 60 drinks? And it cost an athletic department 800 dollars. That’s probably less than half of what two season tickets to UW cost. If this was supposed to tell me they are wild, it didn’t. For all the diagrams and charts, no one did any dividing. At the second event, the 16 coaches consumed 3.5 drinks each. At a team outing. In March. In the offseason.

Pump the brakes, media.

No one condones the behavior at Salute to Troy. But can we at least report the tenor at practice? Can we act like we’re not phoning it in? We deserve better as fans. And you papers need to do better if you want to get us to pay for your content. I’m giving mine away for free.

Either be Buzzfeed and stop calling it journalism in any way, or just be a premium product. Right now you’re a hybrid of the worst parts of both.

Just one man’s opinion. A part-time blogger. Who is drinking bourbon in his header image. And footer. Because who cares already.

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The Ballad of Cutty Sark and #drunkgate

My Twitter started blowing up. “Dude, Sark got drunk and said your line at Salute to Troy!” Whether I invented Fight The Fuck On or the band did, it doesn’t matter, we both celebrated the attitude. Fight On has a very triumphant storming a beach vibe to it, in fact, Conquest I think was from a 40s war film.

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The sentiment of #FTFO has far more in common with a broken bottle, bar fight than it does with storming a beach. That’s for football. FTFO is for the fans, the students, the alumni who go to a school everyone hates and then had to suffer through a witch hunt (complete with Joan of Arc attempted burning at the stake). It’s a total middle finger to people who still think USC somehow “cheated” but are totally down to watch Cam Newton sell us Protein Oikos on Sundays.

Right.

So when Sark gets drunk and says Fight The Fuck On at an event intended to fire up our boosters, do we really need to get all Bill Plaschke here and try to send him to AA? Is it possible he just loves the school and the fans and got caught up? Is it possible he listens to the students or read this blog back in the day, especially when I was bombing on him and comparing Layla Kiffin to his now ex-wife?

Homie pulled a drunk Howard Dean and the world is PRAYING this becomes #drunkgate for no reason at all. For once can someone just get killed with a gate so we can have #gategate? Too much to ask?

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Folks. I get annoyed a lot of times when people take the argument that we’ve become too sensitive as a society when we get pissed about things we should get pissed at, say like the Confederate Flag as an official symbol of a state (I’m not talking about your right to wear it or fly it at home, do what you want and prepare to have your free speech met with others’ free speech back – that’s freedom).

But I definitely think we’ve become “news obsessed” – because really this is so silly. A college football coach got drunk and made an ass of himself. His players are underage. It was in bad taste. He got shamed by his AD. He had to apologize. Shouldn’t that be the end of it?

Am I thrilled Sark was drunk and came off like a freshman who underestimated the strength of some high proof jungle juice? No. I’m not. He should hold his liquor. He should know his limits.

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But you get Plaschke comparing what happened the other night to incidents where coaches have been arrested. Sark did nothing but hurt his public image. He got no DUI. He didn’t cover up a player’s crime. He didn’t get caught being an adulterer. He didn’t hurt anyone.

Why is this such big news?

I know the answer is that it’s more interesting than the constant Jim Mora Twitter deleting, but is it actually much worse?

Plaschke invoking Gary Moeller is pure insanity. Moeller punched a cop. HE PUNCHED A POLICE OFFICER. He had alcohol poisoning. It was a violent, loud and illegal shitshow.

What did Sark do again? Have too heavy a pour of Shiraz and say what we’re all thinking? That everyone else in the Pac 12 sucks and then drop an F bomb? Look like a dumb, lush in front of alumni that will donate anyway?

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I’ve heard some fans, the very traditional ones, say this will hurt us in recruiting. If that’s your concern, we might as well start wearing goofy alternate uniforms (we still may) because recruits supposedly like those too. Truth be told, high school seniors know a lot about drinking too much, talking shit and having to apologize. They relate to that more than Jim Mora being confused by Twitter. Mora probably think Snapchat is a term for Broadway musical choreography.

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Stop twisting it. Recruits and boosters care about one thing: WINNING. With a capital everything.

If they care about other things, it’s playing on TV. It’s playing for a school that puts people in the NFL. It’s good weather and good looking co-eds.

I think we’re fine.

It’s bad Sark made an ass of himself. He set a bad example. And now he has press giving him hell and he got yelled at by his boss. This happens at company parties and happy hours all the time. I get that these are students, but they aren’t angels. They probably laughed. In the end, let’s stop calling them students and let’s stop calling this amateur. This is a pro sport and no one deflated footballs here.

Relax. Newspapers are hurting for business. Don’t let them twist your booster knickers into a knot. When he starts coaching drunk, I’ll worry. Unless we win.

See what I mean?

 

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Bearfighter Returns (A Christopher Nolan Space Jam)

I walked away at the top.

Millions of views. My t-shirts everywhere at the Coliseum. High fives from strangers on campus. People grabbing you to share a shot of bourbon and an instagram. Winning awards, hosting pep rallies. This whole thing got out of control.

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I walked away at the top, but it was more like walking away from an explosion in a movie. Say, this one, where a billionaire genius womanizer built a robot death machine in his Malibu cliff mansion and painted it like a Trojan football uniform:

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I knew Arrogant Nation did it’s job.

I knew we beat the NCAA. It was never about me getting credit, don’t twist it. You all gave me plenty of that. It was ridiculous it got like it got. I live north of the wall in Portland, Oregon and still get stopped in supermarkets on gameday when I have my FTFO gear on.

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Let’s talk about what we did though beyond get literally thousands of t-shirts and stickers and signs out into the college football ethos. We made the point to the point that people took our side. The press now blames the NCAA. Any supposed transgressions USC made, they aren’t taken seriously. The NCAA is getting punked hard left and right and their only hope frankly is that the NFL screws up harder. It’s a race to the dumpster fire covered in high proof whiskey. Bombs away.

I mean honestly. Let’s take a peek.

Paul Dee died of guilt. USC, once the pariah of NCAA sanctions isn’t even in the discussion. Between the Miami cocaine cruise abortion funding by the on-field booster that made an article better than the twelve year old girls that write Ballers could dream up and the systematic rape cover-up at Penn State – what was it we were even accused of again?

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Oh right, a bunch of Ponzi BS the NCAA is still trying to duck even with court docs being unsealed. And a slew of articles that five years ago, the Bearfighter was the only one with the balls to write. That the NCAA was literally out to get us. That they had no case and made one anyway. That they couldn’t do a damn thing right. Botching investigations and oddly punishing everyone from Miami to Penn State to Oregon to North Carolina.

We took them down.

Dude. There’s a playoff now. The media actually roots for us (sometimes). They heard us.

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What have I been up to?

Well, I’ve been living in Portland, Oregon wrapping my body in charcuterie every night and taking my morning vitamin D pills with barrel proof bourbon. I’ve been living amongst Ducks and Beavers and Huskies OH MY.

I’ve been hell with a pen at work. I’ve been rocking a Pete Carroll signed helmet on my desk since I got here. Same as it ever was.

I’ve been running like an Oregonian and finding peace in praising Prefontaine. I’ve found love for our enemies without losing my desire to eat duck a l’orange every chance I get. Really, it’s been Sun Tzu. Love your enemy. I’m better. I’m lean. I’m a soccer fan now.

I’ve found no truer expression of fundamentalist fandom than in Timber’s Army, covered in rain, whiskey with green flares casting smoke thicker than in a cigar room.

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I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what was next for me. For my USC experience. I was a student. I was an unknown writer. I started a movement. And I moved on.

I watch the Dodgers on television every night. I travel the country for work. I study everything. I work with brands that work with football. I spend my time wondering what is next. I admit to feeling a bit of loneliness without the true cloud of sanctions. I miss them almost. We achieved our goal. We’re just a football team with a top recruiting class and a lot to prove and a lot expected.

Hard not to miss the us-vs-the world feeling.

We got through sanctions without a losing season. We’re heading into a football season with a pre-season Heisman favorite at quarterback and a lot of folks predicting we’ll win the conference.

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So… Nothing happened. Wasn’t that the point of Arrogant Nation? Making it seem like we got punched in the face and all that broke was their fist?

Let’s just be clear since I’ve been “away” – let’s be pointed about what I think Arrogant Nation did.

It won.

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There’s a very real feeling up here at a bar when the Ducks lose. It’s this sigh. It’s this feeling of inevitable air being let out. You can tell a lot about a team by how the fan base reacts to a loss. Here, they expected it. Even when they don’t. They knew. A losing bowl record will do that. It’s the groan when DeAnthony Thomas says they are over Rose Bowls despite not really winning many of them.

You see shirts here celebrating participation in bowl games. James Harrison took away his kids participation trophies.

I say USC does that for the rest of the Pac again by not letting them participate in the big games.

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That’s going to be hard because we’re not alone in our greatness anymore. We’re not back to full strength but we might be good enough that we can’t use that as an excuse.

Well. I’ve never had an excuse for USC. It was more fun to be a Kiffin’s Trojans fan than it was for UCLA fans in our recent string of HORRIBLE DEATHS AT THE HANDS OF BEARS.

This year, we have to make it right with UCLA. They know we need to do that too. They must feel weird living in that big house of expectations with no friends. We’ve put things right with Stanford and with Notre Dame. We’ve won a Holiday Bowl that I enjoyed like a Red Bull Push Cart race. We were so tired I enjoyed wondering if the wheels would stay on. They did.

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Arrogant Nation, it occurs to me that we have run out of excuses because everyone will expect us to at least start playing for the Pac 12 title every year. We’re going to have ups and downs. We’re going to take a lot of sh*t again in a way we maybe forgot about. Even Duck fans are nice to me. They need some new reasons to hate us, starting with beating them in hand to hand football combat and pure tailgating prowess.

I can’t control the field and what happens on it, but from the moment I met Kessler at a pep rally, I liked the guy. Get on his back. This dude is doing it with old school Leinart swag. He just throws it up there and watches it explode. He’s Iron Man and they even dress alike.

Look, we can’t control what happens on the field. But I need us to control the crowd a little better. We’ve gotten a little too Snapchat and a lot less Snapcount. We need to be pointing at our banners and trophies, the ones we have and the ones we gave back (that they probably have to give back to us once the dust settles).

So I’m here to say how I plan to help, but really, just enjoy taking some reps going deep on opposing fan bases.

I’m not here to recreate the past. Doc Brown already did that and until I get my hoverboard you all can deal with it. I’m not here to say the AGP or AGR are back. They aren’t. We did that. It was pretty fun. It must have been love but it’s over now. It’s disco. It’s high school.

I’m not going to talk football this year. I’m going to talk fan bases.

No predictions. Just facts.

Every week this season, and only because I think some of our opponents fans have lost the fear, I’m going to drop a post called “The Bearfighter’s Field Manual to [Insert Opponent]“.

The BFM is a quick refresher to your opposing fans to put them in historical context. It’s about who they are as a school, a city, a program and a mindset. It’s going to be about facts. Facts like Oregon has a losing bowl record. Still. Including bowls that you get in for having a football team. Facts like Arkansas State is a team we actually play and they actually exist and their mascot is a red wolf which according to the following map, isn’t even indiginous to Arkansas as a state.

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No result on the football field will change the fact that Jim Mora doesn’t know how to work Twitter.

You see what I’m getting at? I’m done with football. I’m writing historical documents this year to make you impossible (or at least drunk and frustrating) to argue with. I want you to stop getting in circular arguments with lesser fan bases. I am a strategy director by trade. My job is to make sure we’re well positioned to compete. I’m going to make sure you stop letting Bruins (or Ducks for me) engage you in an argument they even think they are winning. We’re going to discuss the ins and outs of hyper-factual trash talk. We’re going to concede some things, like maybe we’ve won so much it’s hard to think we’re coming back and if we did it’s gonna feel like Jurassic Park. Like, the dinosaurs can’t really come back, right?

Only they do. But what likely won’t happen is UCLA’s recent luck with us stretching into the decade and change run they need to go on to make this a competitive rivalry. If our opponent is a blind squirrel, I’m here to make sure you don’t let them find the nut. SAVVY?

I’m hell with a pen. I might as well give ’em hell. And I want you to as well. This is Arrogant Fandom 101, coming at you every Thursday (unless we have some dumb midweek Larry Scott Ponzi game and we’ll sort it).

If I’m out of the country or traveling for work, I might miss one. Whatever. Let’s have some fun.

It’s time Arrogant Nation has some fun again, just for the sake of it.

Spread the word, follow me at the links below, and let’s just have some fun again. No t-shirts to sell. Just some ink in their eyes.

FTFO from the mighty Pacific Northwest,
BEARFIGHTER

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Guest Post: Trojan Coaches x Godfather Characters

My old, good friend Monish Tyagi is done being president of the student body at USC, but he’s not done being clever. He’s been a real favorite of the blog for years now, a part of the original sanctions bearfighting crew.

He sent me this comparison of USC coaches to Godfather characters earlier today and it’s pretty funny regardless of how much or little you agree. We both went to USC film school and I am sure they are thrilled to see what we’ve done with that education…

Follow him on Twitter HERE and direct your thoughts to him.

Again, this is a GUEST POST and a fun one at that.  TAKE IT AWAY, MONISH!

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The Corleone Family (USC Football Coaches) 
By Monish Tyagi
Pete Carroll: Vito Corleone, The Godfather – At the height of his run, Vito, like Pete, was untouchable and arguably the most powerful Don (Coach) of the five families (NCAA). People loved the man as much as they feared his team. He was very close with his three sons (assistant coaches) whom he relied on and groomed to run the family business (football team). He was frequently warned of the threat of Virgil Solozzo (Paul Dee) and drugs (sanctions) but ignored them. Until one day he was visiting a fruit stand and was met with an assassination attempt (sanctioned) forcing him to retire to a long rest (go to the Seahawks) and see which one of his sons would ascend to the throne.
 
Lane Kiffin: Sonny Corleone – Sonny, the boldest of Vito’s three children assumed control of the family when his father (Pete) was no longer Don. Arrogant, brash, and with a violent temper, he often made miscalculated errors when he let his anger/cockiness get the best of him. Whether it was an untimely killing of one of the Tattalgia sons (switching jerseys), ordering a hit on a police officer (deflating footballs) or something as reckless as beating up his brother in law in public (banning reporters from practice, walking out in the middle of an interview, too many bubble screens etc) Sonny (Lane) showed a blatant disregard for the old rules and a tendency to pick battles that led to nothing (7-6, Sun Bowl loss). In the end, his arrogance led to his demise as he was caught off-guard and shot (fired) at a toll booth (airport)
Steve Sarkisian: Michael Corleone – The youngest sibling (last to join Pete’s staff), Michael always seemed to have the confidence of his father to both operate within the family business (run the offense) and one day become Don (succeed Pete as Head Coach as Pete has supposedly confirmed) However, Michael had other ambitions and didn’t think the family business was for him. He was always more calculated than Sonny (better people skills than Lane) and more intelligent than Fredo (better football IQ than Coach O) and although he tried to separate himself and go into hiding in Italy (Washington), eventually Sonny’s death (Kiffin’s firing) brought him back to assume his rightful place as head of the Corleone family (Head coach at USC). This decision wasn’t unanimously popular as many people thought he was too young, too disconnected and too unproven to lead the family during such a difficult time. But Michael had his father’s confidence and orchestrated a miraculous return to glory for the Corleone Family (time will tell for Sark I guess)
 
Ed Orgeron: Fredo Corleone – (While his appearance would suggest more of a Luca Brasi, Fredo is a better fit for our story). Fredo is the older brother who never got a shot. While loved by his father (Pete) and the rest of the family (USC), he was never one who was seen as fit to eventually become Don (permanent head coach). He seemingly lacked both the intelligence and leadership abilities of his brothers Sonny and Michael. He conceded that Sonny (Lane) should get the first shot as Don (Head Coach) and agreed to stay on board under him by running the family’s operations in Las Vegas (becoming Assistant Head Coach/recruiting coordinator). After Sonny’s death, however, Fredo is upset when he is passed over and the Don position is assumed by Michael (Sark). Although encouraged to stay in a high position under him, Fredo’s pride gets the better of him as he tries to make moves to kill Michael (stay as Head Coach). This move backfires, however, and he is denounced by Michael (resigns) for his betrayal (not staying to coach bowl game).
Other Supporting Characters
 
Pat Haden: Tom Hagen – A highly skilled lawyer (JD, Rhodes Scholar), Hagen is the one who earns the trust of the family (USC) to make decisions on its behalf, even if his decisions are largely criticized by others.
Paul Dee: Virgil Solozzo – Tries to encourage the Corleone family to enter the drug business (tries to sanction USC).  Vito (Pete) does not budge. Sonny (Lane) falls prey to his traps and suffers the consequences (has to coach under sanctions). Michael (Sark) comes in, cleans up, and takes care of business (hopefully puts USC back on track). Solozzo (Dee) dies (dies).
Chip Kelly: Phillip Tattaglia – Although Solozzo (Dee) was the one leading the drug charge (NCAA sanctions), Vito Corleone (Pete) always knew there was someone behind it. All signs led to Phillip Tattaglia (Kelly) whose family (Oregon) was generally regarded as inferior for focusing their business on prostitution (new jersey’s all the time; running weird spread offenses) and was looking for a leg up on the dominant Corleone Family (USC). But as Vito Corleone pointed out when identifying the mastermind behind the whole thing “Tattaglia’s a pimp” (Kelly pimped himself to the NFL and went to the Eagles) and “I didn’t know until this day that it was Barzini all along.”
Nick Saban: Don Barzini – Powerful, suave, and never with a smile on his face. It hasn’t been revealed yet because he plays his cards close to the vest, but sooner or letter it emerges that Barzini (Saban) was the one behind the plot to sabotage the Corleone Family (sanction USC Football)
*It may not be perfect and we still have to see how Michael/Sark does with the head job, but hey, that’s what the Godfather Part II is for*

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The Brutal Truth About Coach O

This is getting ridiculous.

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I haven’t felt a need to directly address (a portion of) our fanbase since the sanctions came down and students were literally flooding social media with depressing messages about “there’s always the Lakers” and other related sanctions-depression minutia.

I haven’t felt the need because since we formalized Arrogant Nation, we started embracing a culture of taking hits and laughing at them. Tyler Durden taking a beating in Fight Club and spitting blood on his assailant to make his point. That’s been us since sanctions. That’s why we embraced Kiffin (and we were right to do so). That’s why we punk GameDay whenever it’s in town. That’s why we are at our best when we are defying the odds. It’s this behavior that separates us from all of the Pac 12. The way we go about it is what separates us from the SEC, where old men who couldn’t even get into Auburn (as unbelievable as that sounds) will spend the rest of their lives caring less about their grandchildren being born than that one magical day they won the Iron Bowl on a missed FG and ended up… In the Sugar Bowl? Losing to Missouri the next week? Who cares.

We branded our arrogance in a really, really fun way that is organic to us. Win or lose, beer pong strokes, the best looking cheerleaders in the world, playing in an Olympic stadium. This is a proud tradition. This is a psychosis, but one we’re medicated for. It’s a focused freak out. Ask anyone who spotted me on Trousdale and poured bourbon.

People are starting campaigns on twitter to send Coach O thank you cards. Seriously a hashtag (#cardsforcoachO) that sounds more like a charity event than sending a former coach a card. All the talk of players crying about him leaving. And all of our fans actually retweeting things like this so the whole world can see.

Let’s separate the business from the pleasure here, folks. Every player on this team, every single one since Paul Dee pointed his fat, now-dead finger at us deserves thank you cards. They could have left, they could have phoned it in. Cody Kessler deserves your love, but I remember when he was being turned on in a rotation with turning on Wittek in the beginning of the season.

The players deserve unconditional love because they are playing for the glory of the school. Coaches are a different story and if you don’t get that, I am sorry to tell you it was your parents that put a dollar under your pillow when you lost a tooth.

Who is Coach O?

Coach O is a great line coach, recruiter and motivator. He is an iconic presence at USC for his roles in two periods of USC football history. He speaks like a chubby, drunk James Carville and that is endearing. He is a player’s coach that players love. He is someone I will always remember fondly.

He is also 16-30 as a head coach including this year. Any other human being with that record would be laughed out of the building as a HC candidate at USC. He lost to both of our rivals. He was a 4th and holy-shit-he-caught-it from a 5-3 record and there being zero conversation about his coaching potential at all.

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Coach O left his highly paid assistant role less than a decade ago when a personal business decision lead him to take over at Ole Miss, where he failed. If Kiffin failed, Coach O wasn’t even on the sidelines. Yeah, Coach O has the love, yells “fight on” in interviews and isn’t a total dickhead like Kiffin. But Kiffin has a winning record as a college coach. He was 7-6 in his first year at Tennessee.

So anyone thinking Coach O was a reasonable choice, he wasn’t. Anyone who thinks he learned enough to be a “USC caliber” hire didn’t want the second half against UCLA where Mora kept doing the same thing because we made zero adjustments. The “motivation” factor didn’t matter much in that game, did it? I mean, this is a lot of positive sentiment around a Coach leading a team capable of beating Stanford, but allowing UCLA to flat out beat us up in an anomaly of football history.

And about Stanford. Stanford and USC decided they were going to stand in the middle of the ring and punch each other. There’s no creativity to their offense and I’ll take our horses over theirs any day. That was a great win, I’ll remember Coach O fondly for it, but Stanford does one thing and does it well. The rest of the Pac 12 powers and big teams nationally do more. UCLA did more all over the field at the Coliseum.

Check yourself, guys. Coach O is the best assistant coach, recruiter, spit-when-you-talker ever and I really was hoping he honored his word about staying on (and being made the highest paid assistant in CFB) if the right coach was hired. But he didn’t.

And Sark was the right hire.

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We need to get 4 recruits in by 12/15. Sark is already recruiting them and the only quality candidate that could get this job done in this amount of time, because USC fans do not tolerate losing seasons. This was the right hire. It wasn’t sexy. But it was right. And if it doesn’t work, it can be corrected and if it does, I can’t wait to see everyone pretending they said I told you so.

We need a “THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING” moment here. Sark is the new caesar. Form a phalanx, Praetorians.

I want to address everything so bear with me.

Many have said that the players crying when Coach O left means we owe him something. He was a player’s coach. Of course they are sad. They just went through a traumatic time. But did any of you see Speed with 17 time Academy Award winner Keanu Reeves? Relationships built under pressure situations don’t work. Kiffin. And eventually, O. They were crying because they’ve been through a lot, not because they made half time adjustments and beat UCLA.

Coach O himself said he knew he lost the job when he lost to UCLA. He is leaving because he wants to be a head coach. He currently doesn’t have a job. Anyone feel like the best way to interview for an HC job would have been to tell the players I’m gonna stick around and coach you in the bowl and show the nation I can keep them motivated? I mean, I get the sense there are some colleges that might respect that. Especially the ones that would hire Coach O, ones that aren’t our rivals. Or in our class.

Instead, he peaced out and is going to spend that time interviewing in the board room, not on the field. Neuheisel coached out UCLA while Mora hit the recruiting trail. O could have done the same while Sark locked up the mid year recruits.

But he didn’t, because this is a business and he knows it. I want Trojan fans to know that too. This is the second time he’s left USC to pursue an HC job. I believe he loves USC. But stop kidding yourself that he loved us so much he’d do anything. He didn’t. Money wasn’t enough.  He wanted to be the man. I respect that. But other than “thanks for helping salvage a season”, we’re good.

We’re not here to reward people for salvaging seasons. We need to prepare to be off sanctions and compete at the highest level with the best possible staff and a full deck of players. Sark is ready to do this and while he isn’t sexy as a pick, I really do think it was a wise one. And as Coach O showed, nothing is forever. We can course correct again, but we were inches away from Coach O being a lame duck. I think he is leaving because he has delusions of grandeur and I think some (getting quieter daily) of Trojan Nation have the same affectation via their affection for Coach O.

I just want to make sure Arrogant Nation isn’t in that group. It’s the Sark era now. I’m going to be on board from day one because come September, he’ll be on the field with the headset.

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He was pretty much Carroll’s heir apparent until everyone’s favorite Mike Garrett told him no. He was offered the job before Kiffin. He had the smarts not to take the Raider’s HC job. He’s developed some of SC’s best quarterbacks, in fact, most of them. You don’t have to be thrilled yet, he has to prove himself. But you should be intrigued. Don’t let anyone tell you he had the weapons at UW that he will have here.

Pay your fond farewells to Coach O. Now let’s get back to business. This is football and it’s a business for everyone but the players. And if it’s the players you love, do them a solid and get behind their new head coach. We don’t need to be fighting our fans and the NCAA at the same time. The two front war doesn’t work.

Ask Germany.

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