It’s a new year. I’m in a new city surrounded by ducks and beavers. The grey flannel blanket has yet to be pulled over Portland, so it’s hard to picture football returning, not now, not so far from home and in the middle of a historic Dodgers playoff push.
But my legion of readers have been tweeting and messaging and emailing me en masse. From up in the woods, the Bearfighter must answer the call. There is football tomorrow. And that is good.
While I have no idea how I will see any of the games up here, I will find ways. Missing a game has never really stopped me in the past. That said, I want you to know I plan to experiment with posting this year. I don’t know if I’ll keep with the AGP/AGR model. I might, I just don’t know. It’s my kitchen, you eating what I’m cooking?
We’ll see. Since Hawaii is not a real game and we’re all bored of Norm Chow jokes, this AGP will be more of a season preview as I’ve had a long offseason to ponder what the hell it all means.
This is about as bad as it’s ever going to get. Sanctions are over(ish), but our cabinet is as bare as it will be.
We’ve overhauled a coaching staff. We’ve got a new 5-2 defense being installed. We haven’t picked a quarterback, which is pretty arrogant, except that it usually helps in winning to pick players to play specific positions. In interpretive dance, fuck it, you go over there, you spin around in a circle over there.
In football, someone has to put his hands under the center’s junk and lead the offense.
Kiffin is at his final stand. I was not invited to host the pep rally this year, like the Lakers, I couldn’t three-peat. There’s just a ton of uncertainty about what to expect from this season. Frankly, it reminds me of when I first started writing about football.
What are we to expect from this season? Well, let’s get into some of that.
The perennial powerhouse gets to be an underdog. Not an underdog for a national championship (which who fucking wants anyway, the BCS dies with a death gurgle this year). We’re being called underdogs to win the Pac 12 South.
I’m sorry, there’s never a time on earth USC is not the favorite to win the South. The South was designed to give USC an opportunity every year to play in the Rose Bowl and make everyone lots of money.
But meanwhile, people are picking UCLA and sometimes Arizona State to win the South. I understand the ALL UNIVERSE TROJANS last year underachieved, and the UPSTART CAGEY BRUINS won some games. I understand the blue moon happened and they even beat us. I am sure they will make a fucking t-shirt to commemorate it. That’s what Bruins do.
I made shirts to commemorate sanctions.
On that note… Way to go NCAA. While they are finally handing out the penalties that make sense for the crimes, they still haven’t apologized to me personally or Pat Haden or Pete Carroll. Johnny Manziel is sitting out ONE HALF OF FOOTBALL for what Terrelle Pryor sat out a few games (of his choosing) for. Oregon got a phantom back rub as a punishment for using a recruiting service whose only service was being friends with athletes that they wanted to sing (or buying influence as the rest of the world would say).
We’re still eating shit tacos, but hey. The BCS is dead. NCAA Football is no longer a video game and the O’Bannon class action lawsuit is coming. They are right to limit the people they piss off right now. Too bad they pissed me off first… COUGH COUGH
This is just a weird year for college football. It’s hard to know what to make of any of it at all. I do know this, I hated seeing all the tweets of people flying to Hawaii today. I mean, I am glad their going but seeing people flying to Hawaii to watch football and stare at Song Girls while you are walking to the office with your gym bag is like your boss telling you about the vacation he took with your wife.
Anyway, we might as well talk football because Kiffin won’t.
THE PART WHERE WE TALK ABOUT THE GAME
Hawaii returns (insert number of players) from a team that will 100% compete with Arizona for most haka dances done before losing football games. The only time I really appreciate a haka dance is when I am in the serenity pool at the Four Seasons Wailea waiting for them to come light the torches as I decide if I should drink more or go eat a tuna cone from Spago. It was also pretty good when Riggins (older, drunker one) had the team do it in Friday Night Lights.
Norm Chow will unleash his throw short to the wide receiver offense which only worked at USC, because Mike Williams.
Let’s all just stay super honest that this is a practice game for USC. It always has been. Not even when Colt Brennen was throwing the ball five hundred times a game did they beat us. They never will. If they do, I won’t believe it. I’ll think I’m dead, like it’s the Sixth Sense and it’s all made up. Basically, even if it happens, it didn’t.
This is a vacation day. The NCAA won’t let you pay players? Well, you get a trip to Hawaii if you play on our team. But really, go to LSU and enjoy the sights on campus playing Northeastern Louisiana Tech Polyphonic Spree University.
WE’LL TAKE YOU TO HAWAII. Your parents who love you didn’t even do that for you. Play football for us, get on a plane with our drunken band and our nails hot Song Girls and play a practice game in Hawaii and you will even see the same haka dance you would see back at the Four Seasons.
Sign on the line, son.
This game is so practice game we’re not even naming starters. Kiffin said he spent five minutes thinking about the depth chart. Everyone check your inboxes tomorrow. You might be starting. Kiffin doesn’t know or care. You know why he doesn’t think he’s on the hot seat? When it’s always 300 degrees on your ass, eventually you feel nothing.
In my mind, Kessler probably won the job and we don’t want to piss off our Mater Dei pipeline by sitting Wittek, who also seems more likely to transfer. But either way, they will both be pissed off when Max Browne is starting next year so let’s rip the damn band-aid off already.
I don’t see us as National Championship contenders this year and I don’t care because it’s still the BCS and it doesn’t mean much anyway. I do, however, want us to play in a bowl that I have heard of. The Rose Bowl, specifically. That can happen a multitude of ways and us having an easy schedule is one of them.
While the prognosticators are picking UCLA to win the South, Bovada still keeps it real. USC is favored to win at 9/4. While UCLA is a close second, let’s keep it extra real. If after their previous season you were so convinced they are fixed that even switching Oregon and Washington in for OSU and WSU still has you stoked on their win total, you watch a lot less football than I do.
Based on schedule (home v away) alone, USC and it’s two quarterbacks, it’s cupcake schedule, it’s hot seated coach and it’s new defense are still the favorites. Our two QB slug line still leads on the ESPN ticker. WE ARE ALWAYS THE FUCKING STORY END OF STORY.
Even our sanctions were the biggest and best. We had the noisiest mediocre year of all time. Even when Matt Barkley slipped in the draft, our enemy’s coach moved up to pick him.
And that has been my thesis all along. It doesn’t matter. The sun never sets on the Trojan Empire. Even when we underperform, we over perform in underperformance.
And that’s what makes the world go round.
For this game in the absence of caring about special teams since Kyle Negrete left, here is my score prediction:
HAWAII – 17
KESSLER’S TROJANS – 24
WITTEK’S TROJANS – 17
MARQISE LEE – Looks good in aviators, loves Mai Tais.
New season, new look Bearfighter. Roll with the punches, stay hydrated with bourbon. If you come to the OSU game, get at me. I’ll see you at the Coliseum at Game To Be Named Later.
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