Category Archives: USC Football

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,
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Filed under USC Football

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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Sark Makes USC Look Like Vols Post Kiffin

Guys, I don’t expect you to like this because it’s a super emo time for everyone with our interim coach not getting the chance to follow in a long line of interim coaches that failed as head coaches.

But it’s my job to play devil’s advocate, even against my own fans and fanbase.  This may not apply to you all, but read it anyway.

Today, USC hired Sark away from Washington to replace Coach O who was replacing Coach Kiffin.  This was the USC reaction on Twitter:

Relax, Trojans. This is making you look like SEC fans. I get that this rock was painted for different reasons, but people who flip out about reasonable coaching hires usually think the Gulf of Mexico is the ocean.

Sark is not the big, sexy hire everyone wanted. Short of Pete Round Two or Harbaugh coming to Troy, who was that hire? There wasn’t one.

Which brings us to the second reason everyone is flipping out. People wanted to give Coach O the job. This is because after Kiffin’s 3-2 start had everyone acting like SEC fans (myself a little too), Coach O brought the fan base back, he inspired the players and made USC football feel good again.

That’s cool.

But let’s break this down a little. Sark has taken an 0-12 program to a respectable one in a part of the world (one I live in now) where you don’t get players from LA, Texas or Florida without paying for them (COUGH COUGH CHIP KELLY). Sark had to recruit mid stadium renovations and his best connections are in Southern California.

USC is one of the few schools out there that can get big AND fast players. Oregon has fast players and you see what happens when they play NFL size/speed lines like Stanford.

Sark’s head coaching record is slightly above .500, pretty much what Pete was coming into the USC job (albeit from the NFL). No one dug him either as a hire and all of those people probably named their kids after him.

Coach O was a monster failure at Ole Miss, who won plenty when they had Eli Manning. He had some recruiting, but if Kiffin’s 7-5 and 11-2 wasn’t good enough, Coach O’s previous legacy should scare us more than Sark’s.

When Coach O was at USC, he was a fourth and nine “holy shit” pass to the best receiver USC may have ever put on the field from being 5-3 with losses to both rivals and a team that had been owning us of late. No one is clamoring for a 5-3 interim coach to take over.

I love Coach O. He’s a staple of our family and we should give him so much money to talk him out of having another bad head coaching run somewhere else. We should give him a harrier jet filled with naked girls and stacks of 100s. He’s a Barkley-like figure and I will ALWAYS appreciate what he did for the positivity of the program.

But Sark is a better Xs and Os coach and he’s going to recruit well. It’s already starting.

Sark will run a pro set here because he won’t need gimmicks because USC will remain fast and big.

Another thing is that it’s a little ridiculous to kill Pat Haden over this hire when you don’t know the interview process. Armchair QBing is fine, hell, I have over a million readers a year that like seeing me be one, but keep it real. Sumlin has probably never been to Dorsey high school. Franklin doesn’t know the home address of the Mater Dei booster club heads. Pederson’s Boise State charm already missed it’s window of relevance to recruits he can’t get a phone call with already.

Sark knows all of these people and when he was recruiting for USC, they said yes. When he was recruiting for Washington, they said no. To assume Sark can’t get it done at USC is to assume USC itself cannot be a kingmaker.  King Carroll disagrees.

Am I saying Sark is going to win Rose Bowls and National Championships like crazy? No. Definitely not right away with year 238 of sanctions.

Do I think he could? Sure.

What I am certain of as the Bearfighter, a person that only has a following because I told everyone to stop overreacting when the sanctions first happened, is to stop overreacting now.

Outside of Nick Saban, rarely do coaches do the same thing two jobs in a row. It’s an unpredictable world.

I do know Sark was there, just like Kiffin, just like Coach O, during our greatest tenure in decades and he deserves some respect just like Coach O does.

This is a Trojan who left, took a lot of our staff and frankly would have been a much better hire than Kiffin, but he was probably smart enough to stay away then. Whatever he told Haden, it had to be enough.

Let’s just wait and see. We’ll never know if Coach O would have won next year and if you really loved him, wish him well at the bowl game and be glad you won’t have to find out. He’ll go out a hero.

Please. Enjoy the holidays. Root responsibly. We’ll know a lot more in September after the Dodgers win the NL West.

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Filed under USC Football

Stanford’s Deranged Tree Finally Falls.

The day started out the way I wrote it up.  Arrogant Nation showed up and made not only a great collection of my signs for College GameDay, but a great collection in general.

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But let’s just set the stage.

The sanctions cup has boiled over. After the Miami non-ruling, after the lack of responses from the NCAA on how Paul Dee was allowed to oversee our committee on infractions and after our team has been playing with basically half a deck for this injured season, even the most Trojan faithful had to be wondering when we’d stop being the punching bag for a broken system.

I mean, the Paterno family threatens to sue the NCAA and despite all the, you know, child rape,  they get their penalty reduced. Because The U has a former Clinton staffer for a president who called the NCAA out for botching their investigation and threatening suit, the NCAA tried to convince us that their “self sanctioning” made it work.  It’s been bullshit case after bullshit case and because we didn’t kiss the ring, the one thing the army we were named after refused to do, we got called “arrogant” and pushed without the evidence to support anything more than the wristslap failure to monitor that Oregon got.  But we got the hammer.

And here we were coming into this game on a 4-1 run after our coach gets fired on the freaking tarmac at LAX after a road loss. Here we are with ESPN coming to the Coliseum like they do every year no matter what, hosting a Stanford team that despite the “what’s your deal” game, has been beating us in CLOSE, CLOSE games to the point that you wondered if it was a curse.

I gave an interview to the Stanford Daily about all of this. There’s this illusion that there is parity in the Pac 12 right now because USC is not winning the conference every year. There’s parity because the “1” in the Pac 1 is literally playing with half a team. And for all of that, no losing seasons. What is Cal’s excuse? What will UCLA’s excuse be when their brand positioning as a basketball school comes back and they fade into mid-conference mediocrity. Not this year, but deep in Bruin hearts they kind of know it’s coming. Even when they deny it.

I work in strategy. Positioning. In the country’s mind, USC is the only west coast football power and right now, they are clawing their way out of a dungeon.

Positioning. USC has a lifetime over .700 winning percentage.  32-16 record in bowls.  It hit me that in the decade INCLUDING OUR BOWL BAN we went to 7 BCS bowls, won 6 of them and 2 national titles.

The issue with there being a second power in the Pac 1 is that no one else has broken the glass ceiling.  Stanford has won a couple BCS games.  Oregon has won a couple, but lost the big one that would have made a point.  They are schools with losing bowl records.  It’s easy to see them falling into the middle again.  Or maybe not. There’s been nothing to prove either way.

Look.  It was really contested with Cal for a while and then it turned into 9 years or whatever of us beating them.  Stanford had us for a little bit.  So did WSU for a while.  They won this year.  Anyone think that’s going to be sustainable?

It’s always only ever been us and unlike every team in the conference who has made a run, or had a great era or even couple years of being the bad boys, we’ve done it in every decade to every team.  If any of these teams made a run against us, they have to go undefeated for a long, long time to even the gap.

Here’s our record against the rest of the Pac 1.

59-29-3 against Stanford.
38-19-2 against Oregon.
46-29-7 against UCLA.
66-30-5 against Cal.
51-28-4 against Washington.
57-8-4 against WSU.
59-11-4 against OSU.
29-8 against Arizona.
19-11 against ASU.

Hell, ASU is actually the closest thing to an on-field rival we have.  They could win 9 in a row and tie the series. That’s crazy.

And since there are likely USC haters reading this who will point out eras they perceived we were awful in, let me bring up one stat I’d love for you to compare to your own school:  USC has won a Rose Bowl in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.  We just recently became eligible to play for them again, but it’s worth mentioning we would have played Oregon in the 2011 Pac 12 Championship for a spot in a year where we had already beaten them on the road.

The point is, you wouldn’t bet your pink slip or even 100 dollars that USC is done winning Rose Bowls, National Titles, putting more players in the NFL than anyone else.  You wouldn’t just like I wouldn’t bet 100 dollars USC is making the Final Four any time soon (as much fun as that’d be with Dunk City).

Oregon has won 2 Rose Bowls.  We have won 4 in the last 10 years and we were banned from playing in them two of those years.  USC has had several 5-7 year runs across the history of the sport in which they have equalled the entire trophy cases of many of their “rivals.”

We’re the Yankees, coming with all that victory, baggage and hatred from the rest of the world and in this case, the NCAA itself.

And that brings us to Saturday.

Underdogs, a rare thing in a conference game, even during sanctions.  Playing shorthanded.  Getting calls like THIS made against you:

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Literally, referees unable to read the chains.

And they take their punches in front of a full house of recruits and beat back another Pac 12 team’s chance at a National Title. There is really only one team in this conference that has consistently been able to win the big one and they came into the game unranked.

It made me think of how often USC gets called out for losing the big game. The OSU games. The awful Booty UCLA loss. It happens a lot because we are constantly in the big game. The gravity of USC potentially winning 11 games this season, with this few scholarship players, is so insane they should cue up the 30 for 30 crew. Alabama didn’t survive these sanctions. They had to rebuild.

No losing seasons.

We were named for an army that fought to the death and died. The idea of this school was remaining dangerous even when being beheaded. That’s what Saturday was. It was a reminder that even starved, caged and beaten to death, we can still land a kill shot.

I am so against us rushed the field. I shook my head as we did, but I was smiling because if there was ever a time to do it, it was then. Not because we beat Stanford. It wasn’t because of that. It wasn’t because we beat a highly ranked team.

It was a celebration because it guaranteed that we beat the NCAA. Make no mistake about it. They tried to kill us. Nothing would shown we were hurting like inviting ESPN to the game and having our asses handed to us by a deeper, bigger team that is laying claim to a conference they have no claim on. Wouldn’t have mattered that we never had a losing record during sanctions (what was WSU’s excuse?).  All that would have mattered was a triumphant 66-7 Stanford drubbing in front of the whole country.

But it was Hector’s day. Not Achilles. It was a hero maker day, not because beating Stanford meant so much, but because we told the country “wait til we’re at full strength.”

Everyone knows it now. It was a psychological victory for us, which is rare because we’re always psychologically winning. Hell, we’re myopic fundamentalists about winning. You can never shut a Trojan up with a loss because the Trojan mind (and history) will tell you your win, your five wins, were anomalies. We will win the lifetime series. When future generations get interested in football and Google the Pac 12, they will realize it’s the Pac 1 until someone strings together a couple epic decades and says otherwise.

I am against rushing the field, but to scream FUCK YOU to the NCAA on national television, the Bearfighter will allow it.

a-toast

Here’s to a monday that feels the way it should.

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Seven Signs You Need for USC GameDay

As the Bearfighter has mentioned for years now, College GameDay would come to USC once a year if we were 0-12. We’re the story when we’re good. We’re the story when we’re bad. We’re the story when we’re in trouble. We’re the story when we are compliant (see Teague Egan’s Johnny Drama go-kart). We’re the story when we’re not the story.

And because mighty Stanford is playing lil ole USC this weekend, even though we are not the story, we’re the story again. And that means Arrogant Nation and the rest of all you Trojan fans new to this game have an amazing platform to let America and the NCAA know how you feel. We’ve done it before and it helped me immensely:

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This year, they know that they can’t sanction the endzone. Not even switching coaches midseason and having a team that’s half injured (thxNCAA!) and half walk-ons (thxNCAA!) could stop us from getting into a bowl. We don’t have losing seasons, even if you drop a nuke on us and lightly urinate on the feet of worse offenders and then pretend it was for more than just curing their athletes’ foot.

Well, now you are setting up your TV show in our hometown, on our wet campus where I once flipped a triple burner BBQ I was trying to ride like a long board from 28th Street to campus. Sorry for anyone I inconveniced when trying to lift it back up totally sober at the intersection of Jefferson and Hoover. It was worth it. Sparks flew.

So, my goal for all of you is to ditch the traditional Stanford sucks signs and definitely ignore anything Nerd related because they are owning it:

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Don’t give them the pleasure of acting like they matter. They AGAIN rushed the field at home for beating Oregon, even though they are both top ten teams. Stanford, to their credit, does not give two shits about how bad they are as fans, in fact, they may even embrace it and since most of us use electronics, pharmaceuticals or legal counsel that came from the minds at this school, why don’t we do what Arrogant Nation would do and make this day about us, our problems and our message.

Basically, let’s be that annoying girl who calls her friend to a hungover brunch to talk for the 20th time about a relationship that’s never going to work. Let’s be that girl. Only better looking.

So, here are seven signs I want to see this weekend at the Coliseum:

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO READ FULL MESSAGE

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And if all else fails, just print this QR code (so 2008 of me) and send them right to me. I’ll let them know.

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I want you to SEND ME EVERY SIGN YOU MAKE and I’ll put them up after the game. Regardless of the sanctions, which we’ve already basically endured, there’s on thing I want and I am dedicating the rest of the season to getting it.

I want the NCAA to finally give us a statement as to how Paul Dee leading our investigation was in any way ethical.

That’s it. I just want to hear the scumbags say it. Or not say it. I just want an answer and I will take it from there.

You job as Arrogant Nation is two-fold. The first is our original goal, which is to use the platform to say the things that USC won’t say. It’s clear by now that Pat Haden thinks it’s best to keep politely asking instead of suing. Fine, but you don’t have to act that way. You can demand some answers. I don’t even want the scholarships back. I just want an answer. Clearly, the sanctions most pundits and reasonable fans know were totally inflated to the point of a Ponzi are bullshit haven’t even given us a losing season. They are just delaying another Rose Bowl or fake-ass NCAA “natty.”

So what. Let them know this weekend.

The other job you all have? HAVE SOME FUCKING FUN AND BRING HOME A WIN.

Your Bearfighter continues to train on the wild bears of the great Pacific Northwest. You’re welcome for the OSU win. I won’t explain.

Share this post with everyone you know at USC and let’s have some fun with the platform. College sports are supposed to be fun. Coach O knows that. We should remember that to. Even it it’s at the NCAA’s expense.

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Miami Ruling Ended My Love Affair With College Football.

I have to say I’ve seen this coming. I’ve seen it coming, but it’s just hard to believe it could actually happen. It’s like the feeling you get growing up and moving into the “adult world” and realizing there’s no set of oracles to consult. Adults, companies, doctors and lawyers make idiotic decisions, just like they did when they were still kids.

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I was the loudest voice when USC was sanctioned by the NCAA. It was too harsh, but at the time, public sentiment was in favor of it because, frankly, most people hate USC. I get why. We historically win a lot of bowls and we do it with a lot of bravado. We have beautiful Song Girls and they look a lot like the rest of the beautiful girls on campus. We’re by the mountains, we’re by the beach and as students, when people claim it’s in the hood, you laugh. You can spend $3000 buying a bottle at Hakkasan in Las Vegas and you won’t meet a better looking girl than you will on 2-for-1 night at the 9-0. To make it worse, we ended up becoming a top 25 school, which really pissed off every Big Ten and SEC school that hated us because with the exception of Michigan and Notre Dame, it’s hard to get consistently good football at a top tier school.

Basically, I get the schadenfreude that went on when we got pinched. Fuck that guy in the Beemer with a hot girl in the front seat eating Wagyu Ribeye with his steak and eggs. Fuck that guy because most of us won’t be that guy. I’m that guy. You are that guy. But most aren’t.

And I blame no one for that.

I blame the NCAA for pinning a baseless case on USC that’s lead to everything from injuries to coaching changes, just not to a losing record. We took our lumps and then we waited.

The more the NCAA was questioned for having less policy than a middle school slumber party attended by girls that hate each other, for having less ethics than, say, Nevin Shapiro and his billion dollar Ponzi scheme and the only less impartial stance than your own mother, the more I realized that until they are eradicated as an organization, there is zero hope for College Football.

Zero.

We watched them get bought, extorted, strong-armed by every school that got caught for something, anything. Nothing would happen.

Cam Newton shopping his services? Play in that bowl. Students can’t be blamed for their parents unless they are Reggie Bush’s parents.

Buckeyes selling team memorabilia? Play in that bowl. It’d totally ruin our ratings to neuter a team of that stature so close to a game. Suspend them early next year when they play cash cow games at home against Ohio and Youngstown State. When you do give them scholarship reductions, make it a player a year. Let Urban Meyer talk about how hard it is.

When Oregon pays a recruiting service that’s only service is influence over athletes from a small area of Texas and then cannot provide any of the recruiting documents that never existed in the first place, the NCAA tells them the Ducks’ proposed self-sanctions aren’t enough. Then they wait a year and slap their wrists barely.

The NCAA decided to harshly penalize Penn State for covering up a decades long sex scandal performed by one of their coaches in their own player locker rooms because it was covered up to protect football. Once the school started to fight back, the NCAA caved. Rape is better than a player’s parents taking money from an agent unrelated to USC operating out of a city some 120 miles south of campus.

All of this, and I still waited for Miami.

For those living under a rock, Miami had dozens and dozens of documented counts of improper benefits coming from Nevin Shapiro, a man now in jail for running a billion dollar ponzi scheme. These benefits weren’t the famous Ohio State hundred dollar handshakes. He was taking players out on yachts, feeding them booze and cocaine, buying them prostitutes and if necessary, paying for their abortions. How close was this man’s booster ties to the school? Well, not many of us get to do this:

I mean, I do, but I never paid players. I was a booster by actually BOOSTING MORALE.

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This case took four years to investigate. It took for years to investigate this man’s connection to the program and the events in question. It took me 30 seconds to Google Image search:

It goes on forever.  And what did Shapiro say when he laid this case on a table for the NCAA?

“I became a booster in late 2001, and by early 2002, I was giving kids gifts. From the start, I wasn’t really challenged. And once I got going, it just got bigger and bigger. I just did what I wanted and didn’t pay much mind toward the potential repercussions.”

…and later…

“I did it because I could,” he said. “And because nobody stepped in to stop me.”

That is lack of institutional control. Yet, it was the Athletic Director who oversaw Miami during the Nevin Shapiro years who was chosen to literally lead the committee on infractions against USC. Through a vendetta of USC becoming the premier power in college football, he dropped the hammer without concrete evidence. A lack of evidence that has Todd McNair’s suit against the NCAA looking like a slam dunk, currently in appeal in an effort to delay the inevitable unsealing of emails that state clearly the NCAA had “malicious intent” to pin something on USC. That already happened, the cadence just isn’t working out fast enough to protect our players who have to play with a team half the size as their opponents because the NCAA doesn’t have the guts to admit they overstepped. Overleaped. They killed a fly with a flamethrower, only the fly didn’t die. It hasn’t had a losing record yet.

Miami got off with no bowl ban, some random probations and the loss of 9 total scholarships over three years because of their “unprecedented” self sanctioning.

So there’s your answer, America. No matter how badly you fuck up, no matter how much an agent of the football team provides sex, drugs and diamonds to players, as long as you admit you were wrong and sit out a bowl game or two, you are good.

USC’s crime was telling the NCAA to fuck off. Now their crime is not suing.

The NCAA has never offered a statement on how Paul Dee, may he fester in peace, was allowed to influence, lead and ultimately coordinate the assault on USC as head of a committee the NCAA put together. There’s never been an inquiry into it. There’s been no look at their decision because the case is closed.

We can’t play with a full team. We have no built in process to force them to answer questions about Paul Dee and about how now a decade later, USC’s case is the extreme outlier thanks to the NCAA’s tail-between-the-legs approach to peeling back their sanctions on Penn State.

The NCAA is on the run. They can’t sell their “student athletes” jerseys on their site anymore. They aren’t licensing their name out. They are boarding up the doors, but for me it might be too late. Until they are gone, I can’t go beyond hoping my college beats the other college on a particular Saturday (or Thursday or Friday so they can make more money in media sales).

I can’t tell anyone in good faith that being an NCAA champion means a damn thing. Not at all. That’s because it doesn’t. It’s like being employee of the month at a bank that played the sub-prime mortgage game and almost tanked our economic system. It’s like being executive chef at a D rated restaurant.

I love USC far, far too much to root for that. So let me be clear. I’m done with college football, but not with watching USC play it. I’ll get excited to see them play their opponent and hope they win, so our team beats their team. That’s pure. Even purer when we actually can field a full team.

But I am done even caring about Rose Bowls. If we play in a Rose Bowl, great. I’ll be excited about playing whoever they trot out against us. But until the NCAA apologizes, gives a real answer about Paul Dee or is nailed for everything they are, I just don’t care what awards we win.

Not a huge deviation from what I’ve always said, but I am furious. It’s confirmation of your worst fears. There’s no one running the ship. And we need to sue for something. I don’t even know what, but if you can sue someone for handing you hot coffee and you spill it on yourself, we can sue the NCAA for what they’ve spilled on us without a hint of wanting to toss us a towel to dry off. O’Bannon is going to win and be the coolest Bruin ever, what Prefontaine is to Oregon, and we’ll get a victory. Somehow. But I want a fucking answer from them about Paul Dee. I want an answer about their process. And since I likely won’t get it, I’m watching the bare minimum of football on television. My Trojans.  Stop telling me this is an amateur sport. The only amateurs are the NCAA.

I am interested in football.

I am interested in USC football.

I am not interested in NCAA football.

And that’s because if there was ever a chance for them to make sense, it was with Miami. Game, set, don’t-give-a-fuck.

Fight on.

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PENN STATE SANCTION REDUCTIONS AND WHY THEY ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR THE WORLD.

The NCAA is a house of cards.  If you ever, ever questioned that, stop doing so and stop doing so yesterday. We’re finding out the NCAA is going to start returning scholarships back to Penn State, the school that covered up mass child raping that went on in their own locker rooms.

There’s been plenty of discussion of whether this should have been a sanctionable offense and if all the bourbon left me some memory cells, I recall my opinion is that when the severe “crimes” cited by the NCAA in most sanctions-worthy cases are “failure to monitor” and “lack of institutional control”, they apply in some way to Penn State.

I mean, they failed to monitor a horrific amount of child rape going on in their own locker room by their own coaches and pretty much covered it up for the sake of playing football, which for me, is lack of institutional control.

Since this case, and more appropriately the swinging death axe that is the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit (Go Bruins! just this once) and with the APU (all players unite) movement starting, the NCAA has largely been a paper tiger.  The Johnny Manziel suspension of “one-half” was ridiculous, both in that a player can’t sell his own autograph, but also in that it totally violates the NCAA’s bullshit rules, yet it barely was prosecuted.

How did the Cam Newton case go away in the time it took to prep for the bowl game. Same with the Terrelle Pryor situation.  Wrapped up fast, just in time for everyone to cash in on the bowl.

The NCAA is the dude from Office Space who gets fired and makes a Jump to Conclusions mat.  They are claiming they are “a people person” protecting amateurs, but in reality they only protect themselves.

With the noose tightening, with EA going at their college football game alone now, free to make deals with each school, you have to wonder about the NCAA and how fucking terrified they are.

They’ve pulled out of their big video game.  They’ve stopped selling players’ jerseys on their website (which is amazing that an organization built in the support of amateurism sells amateurs memorabilia while making it illegal for amateurs to sell their own memorabilia).  Basically, these guys are pulling out of ANYTHING that makes them look like what they are:  people persons that are hated by most people.

I don’t care if USC gets any scholarships back.  Really, at this point, we’re the heroes.  When you look at this, when you look at how it is shaking out, you realize that whenever it is we win our next national title, the stories will be ready.  “USC, who got the worst deal, the deal that first called into question at a massive level if the NCAA had any due process of sanctioning schools, has won a national title despite the best efforts of their governing body to murder them”.

Fuck their charity, refuse their shitty offer assuming one ever came, which it won’t.

To admit the obvious, that USC’s potential wrist slap ended up being a drone strike while we were asleep, would be to admit that the NCAA acted out of malice.  It would be to admit they put the now-deceased Paul Dee in charge of our witch hunt even though he was the AD of a Miami school that is still waiting for rulings on a decade’s worth of cocaine yachts, booster sponsored abortions and gifts, all caught on photo and sponsored by a man who got to run out of the tunnel with the team.

It’s about money, guys.  Shame on you reporters who claim the USC sanctions and Penn State sanctions are apples and oranges.  They are rotten fruit distributed by the same supermarket.

USC “should have known” that Reggie Bush was taking money from someone not based in Los Angeles or affiliated with USC in any way and despite total lack of evidence (see the Todd McNair anti-defamation lawsuit that he won in appellate court and now the NCAA has appealed to delay the inevitable).  The judge found the pursuit of McNair to be “malicious” and basically confirm why the process took so long to sanction us.  They had nothing, they acted maliciously to create proof they did and then when they felt like they’d get away with it, they punished us for being arrogant about calling their bluff.

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We got the worst sanctions of the era and I made money creating Arrogant Nation.  Thanks for my BMW, NCAA!

Meanwhile, Oregon pays for a “recruiting service” that has no service beyond influence with Texas players like Lache Seastrunk and LaMichael James.  The NCAA rejects Oregon’s “settlement” basically saying you did way worse than what you are proposing self-sanctions for…  Then…  A year later…

A wrist slap and a “failure to monitor” charge, even though it seems impossible to fail to monitor someone you actively pay to help with recruiting.  Failure to monitor sounds like what USC should have gotten. We failed to monitor the actions between an ex-con in San Diego with no USC ties and a player’s family.  Fine.

You can’t go apples to apples on any of this because it’s all rotten fruit and the NCAA couldn’t define what an apple was if you dropped it in Washington State with a map and a drawing of a Red Delicious.

They are trying to take the heat off and I am certainly not trying to turn the heat up.  I think they are a braindead ponzi scheme and they are incapable of saving themselves.  All we have to do is wait.  It was unfortunate that our success as a football program delayed the time it took for the world to embrace the reality that we were over-penalized.  I live in fucking Oregon.  Most of the fans I meet here agree.  They now know that USC got a raw deal, even if they were glad we did.

The NCAA lost the war, but there are still battles going on and hypocrite zombies to behead.  Instead of the Bearfighter suggesting outrage over Penn State getting reduced sanctions, I humbly suggest you enjoy the show.

What you are seeing is an organization so afraid of another lawsuit that they are reducing their penalties on a school that literally harbored a decade of child rape by a coach and then former coach in their own player locker room, in the showers the team still showers in.

When you apologize to a school that got in trouble for that, you get a clear picture of where the NCAA is at.  They can’t be sued again and it’s not just about the money.  It’s about unsealing documents.  It’s about the world pulling back the curtain and seeing that these people have no process.  They have no continuity.  There aren’t standards despite what they may tell you.

I am happy for Penn State today because they have joined the battle with USC.  Any time the NCAA overextends itself, it leaves itself exposed and they are not smart enough or just enough to protect themselves from a vicious counter.

Light a cigar, pour a bourbon and revel in the sounds of the breaking wood as the tree begins to fall.

If you agree, share this post.  I don’t care what they do.  I’m just enjoying watching them struggle and expose themselves further.  They spilled the gasoline on themselves trying to protect their assets.  They are about to light their asses on fire.

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RANTING ON USC, NCAA, KIFFIN, THIS SEASON AND THE FUTURE OF THE UNIVERSE.

As you can see, this year I am bucking my normal format and spending more time live tweeting during games, the response has been insane.  Those of you that are tweeting with me, it’s been a blast.

For those asking why the new format?  Mainly, I feel like I’ve said as much as I want to say about Tempe, Arizona and Seattle after all the years covering the game.

Now, I am more interested in what is going on with the team, where is the program going and any games that are coming up where we have something to say.

Truthfully, the strangest part of this season is figuring out what goal we’re looking to achieve.  We’re the Kings of the Sanction Era officially.  The NCAA is bracing for the O’Bannon floodgate to open and has decided that all penalties will be wristslaps.  The NFL just quietly handed out 3/4 of a BILLION dollars to about 4500 former players and future law suits so they wouldn’t put the concussion issue on display any more.  EA is not doing NCAA Football anymore.  Well, they are.  But they won’t use the NCAA name.  And the SEC is out too.

Why?  Well, because they are guilty.  Anything they put their name on is just creating more people that are going to sue.  I kind of have a hard time celebrating the game in general.  I am still happy to see USC play.

Fact is, I think we fought the battle and we’ve launched the final missile.  We’re just waiting for it to explode.

We’re the martyr.  Congrats, America.  With two free hands, USC is the best boxer in the land.  With one free hand, we’re still managed to have a winning record.  Every other school has pretty much, at worse, gotten a couple fingers taped together.

I’ve had a hard time with the media story about Texas and USC falling so far.  Texas aside, because, well, let’s not talk about barbecue land because they haven’t been sanctioned.

They listed our post 2006 falling off.  A falling off that includes 3 Rose Bowl wins…  Let me stop you there.  Every school in the Pac 12 except maybe Oregon would have killed to have 3 Rose Bowl wins since 2006.

Then they go into post 2009, but no mention of the most unjust, crippling sanctions of all time.  And I know it’s all about fuck Kiffin right now, but even during these sanctioned seasons, we still won the Pac 12 South once, beat Oregon that year and probably were going to a 4th post 2006 Rose Bowl.  WSU would chop down their apple trees for that resume.  Oregon State would skin all their beavers for that resume.  Arizona State would give up all the breast implants in Tempe for that.

I’m sorry, America, but USC won the National Title for not going down after getting shot in the stomach with a howitzer.  There’s been no losing seasons.  Just disappointment at sanctions, at not being excellent every time.

I’ve taken a step back and I’m saying that even though Kiffin is probably not the guy to take us forward, he deserves a lot of love for taking a job none of our more illustrious NFL alumni would take because of sanctions (Fisher, Del Rio) and he’s kept us from falling that far, gave us some great years with Matt Barkley and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, and basically taught the world how to dress in all white after Labor Day.

Sorry if the medicine tastes bad, but when Kiffin leaves, and likely soon, you should tip your hat.  Our team dropped off for OUR standard, not college football in general’s.  You’ve seen all the sanctions and no one, not anyone, has had anything near us despite the fact it’s hard to discern how Oregon’s “crime” was less severe than ours.  They’d agree, the rational ones that I live amongst in Oregon.  Once they realize that I wasn’t rooting for their sanctions, they realize that it’s all absurd.  All of it.

All that said, Kiffin is on the thinnest of ice with the Bearfighter.  It comes down to one thing.  It comes down to not picking a quarterback.  Kessler will probably be fine now that he’s the quarterback.  You need the growing pains.  Leinart looked like garbage in his first game, we were just so damn good we beat Auburn on the road.  His numbers were fine, but it’s easy to forget when he grew into a legend that he wasn’t 4th and 9 at Notre Dame from day one.

Not picking a quarterback is losing control of your offense.  I don’t want Jack Del Rio.  I don’t want to pretend Chris Peterson is coming.  Fuck all that noise.  The Bearfighter endorses Clancy Pendergast and his defense which will win us some big games.  This is the steely glance of you’re not ever getting in my fucking endzone.

It worked with Pete.  Defense first and then bring in some offensive coordinator who can manage to draw up valuable plays that lead to touchdowns with superior talent.  We won a lot of Rose Bowls under a lot of OCs. The reason we scored so much back then was we ALWAYS HAD THE BALL.

So chill out Arrogant Nation.  Let’s win as much as we can and stay behind the team.  It’s fun to commiserate on Twitter when our offensive game plan is bubble screening like this girl:

That said, it’s more fun to enjoy the ride because we’re going to win more Rose Bowls.  That’s a fact.  It’s history.  It’s future and not one team on earth would question it and if they did, they wouldn’t bet pink slips on it.  And they shouldn’t.  We haven’t fallen, we’ve slipped and landed on a hot girl and now we’re going to grab drinks.

Who is Utah State?  I DON’T KNOW AND I DON’T CARE.  I just want to see how our defense plays against their offense and I want Clancy to prove he’s as good as I know he is.  You can’t sanction the endzone, but we can sanction yours again.

I’ll see you on twitter RIGHT HERE tomorrow and we’ll get down.  Embrace the new format.  Embrace our new defensive set up.  Embrace Kessler and enjoy the fucking ride Trojans.  Don’t trip out.  That’s what they’d want you to do, whoever they are.  I don’t know, I don’t pay attention.

Our greatest strength is always that rooting for an 0-12 USC team is better than rooting for anyone else ever under any circumstances.  I feel like a winner every time I hear the fight song and that goes with me to work everyday.

FOR MY ON CAMPUS READERS:  My best friends, the dudes that were in my band when I was at USC are blowing up right now and they are playing at Tommy’s Place on Tuesday.  See them now before they are charging you 80 dollars to see them open for Mumford.    Here’s a video:

Here’s the details:

Relevant Details:
Date: Tuesday, 9/24
At: Tommy’s Place
Cost: FREE
Time: Show starts at 8pm – we’re on around 10pm.
Other Stuff: ALL AGES, OPEN TO PUBLIC
Address for student who are too drunk to remember where Traddy’s is: USC Ronald Tutor Campus Center, 3607 Trousdale Pkwy, TCC 330, Los Angeles, CA, 90089-3102
Just go to the thing, I may delay my return travel to Portland to come that’s how much I enjoy it.  So go, tweet/instagram me that you did.  I’ll post it here next time I decide to tear the system an new one and celebrate Clancy.

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THE ONE WHERE I TALK ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE

Thursday is the new Friday again, Arrogant Nation.  That’s a big win for the agency because we’re going to talk last week and this week today.  As in right now.

Tonight is the Fall Sports Rally at Galen and for the first time in 3 years I am not hosting it.  I want to believe this is because I am in Portland, but maybe it’s my documentary or my newfound “keeping it realositiy” that went on during the game on Twitter.

I decided that live tweeting is more fun that a traditional recap (although if there’s an epic game, you know I’ll weigh in like the Bearfighter I am).  I mean, having fun at Kiffin’s expense was so fruitful, I was trending in Los Angeles.  From Portland.  Because two quarterbacks.  Arrogant.

Truth is, we all evolve.  I don’t want to stay the same.  I want to talk football and continue to bleed so much Trojan blood that I use it for bitters in my Old Fashioneds.  That said, you can expect me to be LIVE TWEETING every game I can, so if you don’t follow me yet, maybe FOLLOW ME.  To the death.

THE PART WHERE I SUM UP THE HAWAII GAME…

I dunno.  I’m torn.

Let’s start with some positives.  Kiffin came out in all white like some ghostly necromancer committed to not committing on anything.  Larry Scott already ruined our college football opening day by scheduling us on Thursday so “more people would watch it” which I am sure they didn’t.  At least Kiffin’s white knight visor costume was there to remind us of days passed.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Hawaii

Let’s talk about Clancy’s Ghost Recon 5-2.  I loved it.  As much as Hawaii sucks at everything but vacation, they commit hard to testing DBs.  We took the ball four times from a team that often drops 24 points on their opponent even when getting blown out.

It was all about swarming the QB and beating his ass as much as possible.  This year, the way to slow down the up-tempo spread is going to be to hit the QB in the backfield when he playfakes or does anything deceptive.  When the Oregons of the world have a running back and a wide out converge in the backfield, the game plan is “kill the QB” because he “might” have the ball.  I think this team is suited to execute that.

Defense will keep us in some games.  I’m hopeful.

Also, Tre Madden and Justin Davis showed a lot of moxie, burst, wheels, [insert word] in that second half when our O Line started to get it together.

Albarado’s pink punting boot and George Uko’s belly also are candidates for player of the game.

On the bad side, our O Line didn’t block in that first half (which largely fucked Kessler) and Marqise Lee forgot how to catch the ball and turned a 300 yard game into a 100 yard game (which fucked Wittek).

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These factors led us to have NO STARTING FUCKING QB AND NOW IT IS WEEK TWO.  At least we are 1-0…

THE PART WHERE I TALK ABOUT THE COUGARS.

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We get to play Washington State again, which is amazing because they have the worst logo on the planet. It’s like a 4th grade design contest to redesign their logo actually yielded their official logo.  What the hell is going on here?  I’ll show you in a new feature I call YOUR LOGO SHOULD DIE ALONE.

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Refute that.  I dare you, Palloose-folk.  Look, I’ve been out into the deep woods on Washington now that I live in the northwest and I still can’t find a human that knows where the hell you are hiding your school. I feel like you just give the opposing teams coordinates instead of street directions.

It wasn’t even at this awesome lake I went in to cool my stomach down from bourbon and campfires…

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It’s also a team named after the least original cat ever.  In fact, it’s a name more associated with mothers that have sex with younger men than cats.  I mean, you name your team the Cougars because you just don’t give a shit what you name your team.

How will WSU deal with us not having a quarterback?  They’ll have to prepare hard for one QB who throws the ball into the line and one that throws it a mile past everyone.  GOOD LUCK GAMEPLANNING THAT.

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If there’s one thing to fear this week, it’s the WSU fans who may make the trek.  They have an INCREDIBLE booze-drinking reputation.  They hit bars and empty kegs.  They fucking drank an airplane dry (not sure if that means they drank the blue toilet water and the jet fuel too).

I mean, hide your kegs, hide your wines.

Mike Leach gets his first shot against USC in a series the Trojans own to the tune of 57-8-4.  USC are 15 point favorites and assuming Leach doesn’t lock Marqise Lee in a shed before the game (too soon?), we ought to win this one at home.

Ought thought presumes we kick field goals when they are presented, we catch passes and we block people trying to tackle our people.

Kiffin hopefully spent the week flexing, doing uppers and imparting the philosophy that losing the Pac 12 South is one thing, but losing it because you lose at home to the Cougars is another.

QB Connor Halliday went off against Auburn last week, but threw 3 picks.  The 5-2 will have to hit him a lot, but when you look like Napoleon Dynamite, there’s no telling how he’ll react.

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In fairness, this guy slings the ball, our secondary is a little banged up and if we leave them in the game, the reality that the kid who played banjo in Deliverance might beat us will add unnecessary pressure to the situation.

Need to get it right and get it tight.

THE PART WHERE I PREDICT THE SCORE…

KESSLER USC – 14
WITTEK USC – 17
STIFFLERS MOMS – 17

THE PART WHERE I PLUG SOMETHING COOL…

There’s a dude at my office who loves CFB and he also is hell on a piano.  He wanted to commemorate the beginning of football season.  Well, read this:

Ansel Wallenfang, a writer, director, classical pianist, and football fanatic currently in Wieden+Kennedy’s W+K 12, made a short film and composition called Fantasy Football and Fugue. As a tribute to the upcoming NFL season, Ansel mashes-up the NFL theme songs of CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC through classical counterpoint, stunning photography,  and a great sense of humor.

If you don’t want to watch a video like this made by a man named Ansel Wallenfang, you have learned NOTHING FROM ME.

Also, one of his cheerleaders (Shea) was a Song Girl, so click because you are a Trojan and stay for the talent.  I got a kick out of it.

CLICK HERE and watch.

FTFO until you PTFO.

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