Blogging From The Trojan Trenches!

September 17, 2009

I’ll be blogging here throughout the college football season, sharing my thoughts about the USC football team and my experiences as I go from city to city following my favorite team.

I’m not going to focus on game recaps or anything like that, there are plenty of places you can go for X’s & O’s and game analysis. I’m going to blog about my experiences tailagating and visiting all the different cities we play in from the viewpoint of a diehard USC fan. I hope you find that makes for some interesting reading.

Between blog posts be sure to follow me on Twitter where I share my thoughts about USC and post other random musings. I also bring you along for the ride on USC road trips and on gamedays when I live tweet about my adventures. On Twitter I’m @uscpsycho or if you don’t have a Twitter account you can read my tweets at http://twitter.com/uscpsycho.

When USC is playing at home I hope you’ll stop by my tailgate before all USC football home games – http://www.psychogate.com

I hope you enjoy my blog! Let me know what you think!

Fight On!

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/uscpsycho

QB Controversy! Oh No! FIRE KIFFIN!

August 28, 2013

Hello! Yes, it’s been a long time since I blogged. When I started this blog I thought I’d blog more often. Like after every game or at least after most games. But I discovered it’s not always fun to write about USC football when we’re not doing well and since I don’t get paid to do this I only write when I feel like it. Apologies to the one or two people out there who care enough to notice I how long it’s been! ;-)

 

The subject of this blog is Lane Kiffin and the opening day quarterback situation. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably be surprised by what I’m going to say. For those who don’t follow me on Twitter I’ve been highly critical of Kiffin. He’s the wrong man for the job. He just is. He’s a vestigial appendage of the Garrett era; Pat Haden never would have hired Kiffin.

 

So a few days ago Kiffin announced that he will play two quarterbacks in the opening game against Hawaii. I had the same knee jerk reaction a lot of you did when you heard this. Two quarterback system??? NOOOOO!!!!!!!

 

In the following days Kiffin clarified that he would not be implementing a two quarterback “system.” It’s not going to be a revolving door of quarterbacks from play to play or even from series to series. But Kiffin has still refrained from naming a starter. And he has done this much to the chagrin and the displeasure of many fans and members of the media.

 

In fact yesterday Kiffin said that he will inexplicably make naming the starting quarterback a game time decision! Say what? Having Cheerios or Fruit Loops for breakfast is a game time decision. Naming your starting quarterback should NOT be a game time decision. FIRE KIFFIN!

 

Not so fast my friends… It’s not as inexplicable as you may think. What is Kiffin supposed to do when neither player has established himself as the clear frontrunner? Neither guy has seized the day? Neither guy has forced Kiffin’s hand. Neither guy has raised his level of play to be the clear #1?

 

Kiffin could do the socially acceptable thing and just pick someone to avoid controversy. Then what? Cross his fingers? His job is on the line here and there are a lot of people who demand to see an improvement from last season’s debacle.

 

If Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are that evenly matched, and Kiffin plans to play both guys anyway, why not just flip a coin and name a starter to appease people and minimize scrutiny? I suppose there’s no reason not to, I mean the “starter” doesn’t have to take more than one snap. He could name a starter just to get people off his back but the title of starter is a pretty big carrot and I’m guessing Kiffin is using that to keep the guys motivated, working hard and challenging each other.

 

The way I see it Kiffin doesn’t want to reward mediocrity. Or maybe he doesn’t want to settle for mediocrity. To me this raises a red flag for the season. We’ve kinda grown accustomed to having highly touted quarterbacks who take the bull by the horns and carry the team on their backs. It’s starting to feel like the other aspects of our game are going to have to step up and carry the team if we’re going to be successful this year. No reason it can’t happen but it’s not what we’re used to lately. 

 

So I’m going to give Kiffin a pass here. In fact, I’m going to go one step further and give him a pat on the back for going out on a limb. A lot of us have been critical of Kiffin. Questioned his decisions and lambasted his football acumen. But as flawed as Kiffin is, he’s not a complete imbecile. (I know some of you will beg to differ on this point.) Anyone who knows anything about football knows that five days before the opener you should know who your starting quarterback is. So Kiffin must have a good reason for taking this extreme course and maybe he should be rewarded for his bravery under fire. 

 

Kiffin knows this isn’t going to be a popular decision but he’s sticking to his guns. He knows it can’t make his reputation any worse but it is jeopardizing what little job security he has left. If things don’t go well this season a lot of people are going to point to this controversial decision and say that it’s just more proof that Kiffin is in over his head. They’re going to say that he doomed us before the season even started.

 

I personally don’t see it that way. Kiffin may in fact be in over his head but if in his opinion neither player is performing like the #1 quarterback then maybe neither player should be the #1 quarterback.

 

Of course most of this is speculation. I’m making a lot of assumptions and I could be wrong. It’s possible that Lane Kiffin really is bat shit crazy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Fight On!

 

 

 

USC Rumor Central

November 29, 2012

It’s been a wild week of rumors for USC.

It’s not uncommon for rumors to swirl in the days following an unsuccessful season but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.

Of course, a lot of it is fueled by social media where one person’s speculation can quickly turn into a rapidly spreading rumor. Especially on Twitter.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been the recipient of some credible information about several rumors so I can confirm some and dispel others. Buckle in…

First the quick hitters.

I’ll start with the bad news. The Sun Bowl in El Paso is a lock. It’s bad news because nobody really wants to go to El Paso for New Year’s. But I’ll be there so book your tickets and join me! Also, there is no truth to the rumors that the team might vote to veto the game. I was told there’s actually a good chance the team would veto the game if they could but Haden won’t allow it. Sounds like there’s a lot of apathy after the disappointing season.

This one is new and I haven’t seen it circulating anywhere yet but I’ve been told that Monte Kiffin is “gone.” The buyout has been negotiated for weeks. If this is true I don’t know how the heck USC kept a lid on it. Especially since you expect they’d be in the midst of a search for his replacement. The fact that this hasn’t been leaked yet gives me reason to question it but the sources seem reliable.

There have been rumors and denials that USC has been in contact with Tedford to become USC’s Offensive Coordinator. This rumor appears to be true but it’s very preliminary. Nothing is imminent here. Since Kiffin probably won’t give up play calling duties unless Haden pries them away from him my guess is that Tedford would come to USC as much to be a mentor as to be OC. Tedford has been a mentor to Kiffin for years but I don’t see what Tedford could gain from a move like this.

As for Lane Kiffin, his job is safe. I haven’t heard any real rumors about him getting fired but I know a lot of USC fans are calling for his head. It’s not going to happen. Not only has Haden thrown his full support behind Kiffin but he’s put together a great recruiting class that USC probably doesn’t want to jeopardize by firing Kiffin.

Finally the big one. If you aren’t up to date on the recent developments in Todd McNair’s defamation lawsuit against the NCAA you should read this. In a nutshell, the judge in that case basically said that the NCAA had a reckless disregard for the truth, wanted to stick it to McNair (and by deduction USC) so the NCAA manipulated the evidence to justify the sanctions they wanted to levy. The judge said the NCAA displayed malice, ill will, hatred and a bunch of other things you don’t want coming from a sanctioning body that acts as both judge and jury. The funny thing is that even the NCAA’s contrived infractions don’t justify the crushing sanctions levied against USC.

So the result of this is that the judge in the McNair trial is going to unseal all the evidence after giving the NCAA an opportunity to appeal. Well this is music to USC’s ears. I have heard from four different sources now that USC is poised to take action against the NCAA.

Full disclosure is important before I go any further. While there are several people corroborating the following either in part or in whole, there is another person who says none of it is true. My strongest sources who stand behind the following information are tied to the athletic department. However, I’ve talked to another person with close ties to attorneys representing USC and the Board of Trustees. He says he has heard nothing to substantiate what you are about to read. So take this all with an appropriately sized grain of salt. We are dealing with rumors here. A writer for the Reign of Troy blog also cites a source who states what you are about to read is untrue.

Nothing is official until it comes straight from USC. That goes for everything you’ve already read in this blog and everything you’re about to read. So here it goes…

I received an email from someone with very close ties to the athletic department and quoting sources within the athletic department. It states that USC is going to attack the NCAA as mercilessly as they attacked USC. USC is going to sue to get everything back that was taken away including immediate restoration of scholarships, vacated victories, vacated titles (assuming BCS title and 2011 Pac-12 South championship) and a vault full of money for damages, defamation, lost revenues, etc. To put it simply, USC plans to take the NCAA out to the shed. They also want Reggie’s Heisman reinstated but that’s not an NCAA decision. And I imagine all this will have the effect of restoring Pete Carroll’s reputation and legacy, which have been unfairly tarnished.

The email also said that USC President C. L. Max Nikias is concerned about the effects the sanctions have had on USC’s image and reputation so he is fully supporting the legal action against the NCAA.

There is no specific timeline for any of this. But as soon as the documents are unsealed (if they are unsealed) USC is ready to unleash the wrath of hell upon the NCAA.

Another source not only corroborated this but said that USC’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week to sue the NCAA and that USC will spare no expense in going after the NCAA and that Haden instructed Lane to “go after 25 guys.” (25 allowed scholarships rather than sanction-limited 15 scholarships.) I have to assume this means have 25 ready and willing to sign if we get the sanctions lifted. It doesn’t mean Kiffin should sign 25 guys in defiance of the sanctions.

Like I said, these are leaks that have been shared with me and corroborated by others who have heard the same or similar leaks. It’s worth noting that most of my information is coming from ties to the athletic department and they are not immune to rumors – it’s possible these are just rumors circulating through the department. Based on the language used in the email I received I doubt this is just a rumor but anything is possible. And as I said, the one person I spoke to with high level ties in other departments tells me that none of the rumors about USC suing the NCAA are true. Yet.

I don’t get paid to do this but I invested a lot of time on this and did my best to verify the information that was shared with me. No, I did not attempt to get USC to verify any of this. I’m not a journalist so I doubt anyone in the know would talk to me and if they did I doubt they would be prepared to confirm anything. Yet.

Sit tight friends. This could get interesting!

The Road Ahead for USC

October 23, 2012

USC isn’t doing it the easy way but if we don’t lose another game we can and will be contenders for the National Championship.

With five weeks left in the regular season USC probably has the toughest schedule in the country. Include the Pac-12 Championship game and eventual bowl game and USC could face four undefeated top 5 teams in its last seven games.

That’s good and bad. Good because it gives us a chance to compete for the championship based on the strength of our schedule. And bad because this is going to be a very steep, arduous uphill climb. It kind of makes the fact that we have a loss irrelevant because even if we had beaten Stanford and were still ranked number one, we’d have to climb the exact same daunting hill. The only difference is we can use a little outside help and we’re likely going to be underdogs in all these tough games. Being the underdog could work to our advantage if it gives our players extra motivation or causes our opponents to take us less seriously than if we were ranked #1.

As for the help we need, it’s more about rooting for teams rather than rooting against teams. Our best chance at climbing the polls is to beat Oregon and Notre Dame while they are undefeated. And if that happens we’d like to play an unbeaten Oregon State in the Pac-12 Championship. A lot of people think our goal is to beat Oregon twice, but what helps USC more is for Oregon State to beat Oregon then USC to beat an undefeated and highly ranked Oregon State in the Pac-12 Championship game.

I think the toughest game left on our schedule might be this week’s game against Arizona. This is a really dangerous game because the Wildcats are 4-3 and unranked so there is a risk USC won’t take them as seriously as they should. But Arizona’s record is very deceiving; they were barely edged out by 7th ranked Oregon State and barely lost to 17th ranked Stanford in overtime. So Arizona is a lot better than their record suggests. Arizona is so good that the Las Vegas line is moving in their favor. USC opened as an 8 point favorite but so many people bet on Arizona that the line is down to 6.5 points. That is a little surprising since USC is in the top 10 and Arizona isn’t ranked. But it tells you how good the Wildcats are on how tenuous USC’s ranking is but if we make it out of Arizona with a win we’ll be set to make a run for the championship.

I think the biggest hurdle USC has is themselves. USC is the most penalized team in the country and this lack of discipline is a killer against solid teams. It means one handed TD catches being called back. It means deep third down defensive stops turned into first downs in field goal range. It means punt returns taken from one end zone to the other being nullified. There are so many ways an untimely penalty can cost you the game; when you average ten per game it’s no wonder USC isn’t dominating the opposition like we should. We’re lucky all these penalties haven’t cost us more than one win but if we don’t fix this NOW it’s going to cost us several more wins.

We’ll learn a lot about the team this week. Look for Matt Barkley and the offense to keep rolling and build on the momentum from the Colorado game. Arizona’s quarterback ranks number four in the country in total passing yards so the defense probably won’t shut down the Wildcat offense but look for USC to control their passing game to give us a chance to win. And perhaps most importantly watch for a big reduction in penalties. And always #BE7IEVE!

Fight On!

 Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/uscpsycho

NC OR BUST!!!! Not so fast…

September 28, 2012

Since Stanford lost to Washington yesterday a lot of people have been asking me what it’s going to take for USC to get back into the national championship picture. Prior to Stanford’s loss the best situation was for USC and Stanford to go undefeated the rest of the season and then for USC to win a rematch with Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. A rematch is now unlikely and in fact is no longer the best outcome for USC.

So what does USC need to happen? First and foremost USC needs to run the table. If we lose a second game our national championship hopes are out the window. Now, we can still win the Pac-12 South, win the Pac-12 conference and get a Rose Bowl bid with multiple losses. But to have any hopes of being a national championship contender we can’t lose another game.

As long as there is no more than one undefeated team at the end of the season we can get back into the NC discussion but there are a lot of things that can help.

The biggest boost we can get is from Oregon being undefeated and highly ranked when we play them. And then of course beating them. The other thing that can really help us is for Notre Dame to be undefeated and highly ranked when we beat them. So if you’re going to scoreboard watch those are the two teams you secretly want to root for.

But the most important thing, and I can’t stress this enough, is we just need to take care of our own business. And we need to get the attention of the poll voters so style points, sizzling stats and blow out scores will help the cause. That’s unfortunately the way it is when you’re trying to come back from behind – it’s a beauty contest.

I’m going to close this with an important message. We all tend to get wrapped up in the hype created by the media. And I’m not innocent; I’ve done plenty of hyping on this team. But we’re USC fans because we love USC not because we love national championships. Because we love beating UCLA and Notre Dame to a pulp every chance we get. Because we love the Trojan Family, tailgating, celebrating and commiserating together. Hopefully you don’t love USC any less because they lose a game or because they’re not national championship contenders. That’s what other schools’ fans do. We are SC. Not ND.

#BE7IEVE.

Fight On!

 

#BE7IEVE!!!

September 27, 2012

This is not what we signed up for. This is not the way to take care of unfinished business. This is not what we were led to expect from the USC football team this season.

Deal with it.

You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to keep your dissatisfaction to yourself (I sure haven’t). You don’t even have to pretend that we are national championship contenders anymore (we aren’t, for now).

But for crying out loud, you have to show up! And you have to care. And you have to support this team as vocally as you possibly can. In a nutshell, you have to Believe! You have to Believe this team is giving everything it has. You have to Believe they are making every possible sacrifice to perform their best. You have to Believe that they want this ten times as much as you do because the fact is they probably want this 100 times as much as you do.

Of course I’m not talking to the bandwagon fans here. I never am. They can’t be helped and besides we lost most of them after the third week. I’m talking to the people who consider themselves true fans but don’t bother to come to games unless there is a buzz. Otherwise they stay home and watch from the comfort of their couch. There were way too many empty seats in the Coliseum this past week for a team as highly ranked as USC. I guess the team doesn’t deserve your support any more because they lost one game. Some fan you are…

There are only SIX home games every season. That’s it. These guys train and prepare all year long but you, “USC fan”, can’t make it out to the stadium six times to watch the team you love? This isn’t baseball with 81 home games. This isn’t basketball or hockey with 41 home games. This isn’t even MLS soccer with 17 home games. We’re talking six games spread out over three months. Two of the remaining four games are already sold out, it won’t take much to sell the other two games out. Let’s do this!!! Your only excuses not to be there are for financial, familial or professional reasons. If those excuses don’t apply the only other valid excuse is that the game is sold out.

Now I’m not writing this blog to sugar coat anything. That would be disingenuous because you know we haven’t looked good on the field for most of the season. And after losing a big game to Stanford we didn’t get the reassuring bounce we expected against Cal.

But if you’ve stopped believing you are a fool! All you have to do is look back to last year. After four weeks we had three ugly wins and a disastrous loss. Just like this year, except this year’s loss to Stanford isn’t nearly as disastrous as last year’s early loss to Arizona State was.

Just four weeks into the 2011 season and all hope seemed lost. And then what happened? We eked out a narrow victory against Arizona which gave people even more reason to worry. All hope seemed lost. But then…

The next week was our bye week and after the bye we came back with a fury. The only thing that kept us from running the table was a heartbreaking triple overtime loss to Stanford. Even though we had two losses we finished the season ranked as the number five team in the AP poll (we fell to number 6 after the bowls since we didn’t have a chance to play a bowl game).

We finished the season 10-2 and were considered one of the best teams in the country at season’s end. This year we have a chance to go 13-1 so there is still A LOT left to play for including a Pac-12 South title, Pac-12 Conference title and a BCS bowl berth. All of those things are in our control, no help needed. And if we run the table we have a very real shot at winning a National Championship with just a little bit of help.

Remember, nobody went undefeated last year and one of the most unfair things about college football is that a late loss hurts you more than an early one (it shouldn’t). It’s almost inevitable that all the undefeated teams ranked ahead of USC will slip up at some point. And when they do USC will be on the rise and ready to leapfrog them! USC practically pulled it off last year with two losses. There’s no question when Matt Barkley and the team get their swagger back we can do it with just one loss!

I don’t know why this team always gets off to a slow start. USC always takes a few weeks and a disappointing loss to reach their full potential but they’ve proven to us that they can and will bounce back. They are going to come back from this bye week stronger than ever! So do not give up on this team! Do not count them out! Let other teams make that mistake. You, fellow Trojan, must Believe! You must show up at every game and when you do you need to make some noise! There is nothing more upsetting than watching football players jumping up and down on their bench begging their fans to get loud. Shouldn’t have to happen. Ever.

I hope you will keep supporting and believing in this team and I hope to see you at the Coliseum for our next home game against Colorado!

Now I don’t usually do this in my blog but I’m going to make a shameless plug for Syco Wear shirts. If you’ve been on USC Football’s Facebook page you may have noticed their #BE7IEVE graphic. I created the hashtag and they’ve taken great liberties in using it without giving me any credit. And I’m afraid they’re going to start selling shirts with the hashtag — if they do they’ll be hearing from me… But if you’d like a #BE7IEVE t-shirt now, to show you will always stand behind this team, you can buy one at www.SycoWear.com. As always shirt sales help support Psychogate which is the gameday home to countless USC fans (and even opposing fans) from around the country and even around the world!

FIGHT ON!

Dashed Dreams At Stanford But All Hope Is Not Lost

September 17, 2012

This blog is for the Trojan Family. The Trojan faithful. The Trojans who have been there through thick and thin. The rest of you can leave now. Go read some other blog. Go join some other bandwagon. You won’t understand. You won’t get it. And to be honest, you won’t care about anything I have to say. UCLA is ranked, undefeated, feeling pretty good about themselves and in desperate need of fans, maybe you should turn your attention there. Plenty of room on that bandwagon.

This loss hurts. But it hurts in a different way, at least for me.

In terms of most heart breaking “football” losses this hardly registers. This loss was tough to swallow but it was hardly devastating compared to other losses that had so much more riding on them. And we are going to recover from this loss faster than you and everyone else realizes. Yes, I mean this year. I mean today — the very second our boys hit the practice field.

This loss was heart breaking because someone we love, someone who made a sacrifice we will never begin to understand, had his dreams torn apart before our eyes. Matt Barkley is one of the finest, most decent, most selfless people to wear the cardinal & gold. Matt passed up the opportunity to play in the NFL and millions of dollars to make his dream come true. A dream that pays nothing and risks much. A dream to make good on a promise he made to Pete Carroll five years ago. A dream to give every USC fan — bandwagonner or not — what they crave. A dream to go undefeated. A dream to be Pac-12 champion. A dream to be National Champion. A dream to be a Heisman winner. A dream to raise USC up to the pinnacle of college football from the ashes Paul Dee left us in.

I know other guys have passed up the NFL to come back to USC and I don’t want to take anything away from them but none of them were starting quarterbacks who willingly subjected themselves to some of the toughest sanctions ever doled out by the NCAA. Matt stuck with USC when he had the chance to take his talents elsewhere. And he stuck with USC again when he had the chance to become a millionaire NFL superstar.

Nobody could have faulted Matt for seeking greener pastures in the NFL. He certainly earned that right and would always be regarded as a USC hero, bringing us back from the brink of despair and riding off into the sunset after whipping UCLA 50-0. Matt’s loyalty to USC has never wavered.

Logic dictated that Matt should go to the NFL. But as anyone who has been in love will tell you, logic is no match for passion. Matt’s heart wouldn’t let him leave. There were unfilled dreams to make true. There were doubters to prove wrong. There was too much business left to finish.

So as I stood there on Saturday (never ever sit during a USC football game) watching USC struggle to keep pace with Stanford, watching the seconds tick off the clock in the fourth quarter, all I could think about was Matt and what was slipping through his fingers. All those dreams were fading away and he was essentially powerless to stop it.

I can’t imagine the anguish and desperation Matt was feeling on that last drive. I wanted this to be the storybook season for Matt who gave us so much. Who gave up so much. Who did everything right. We’ve had other Heisman winners and we’ve won other championships. And of course we will have them again but this was Matt’s one shot. He won’t get a second chance. And the thing is, Matt deserves it more than anyone I can think of.

So yeah, this loss was as heartbreaking as they come but not because we lost a football game. It’s because our hearts hurt for our brother.

Now for some good news. All hope is not lost. The undefeated season is gone but everything else Matt came back for can still happen. The road isn’t as smooth and we’ll need some help but here’s what we need to happen in order of importance:

  1. USC goes undefeated the rest of the season.
  2. Stanford goes undefeated the rest of the season.
  3. Oregon wins all games except against USC & Stanford.
  4. UCLA wins all games except against USC & Stanford.
  5. USC beats Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
  6. No more than one (preferably none) team from a BCS conference finishes undefeated.
  7. Icing on the cake is for ND to have only one loss to Stanford before losing to USC.

That’s the road to a National Championship. The road to a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl berth is much easier.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is OK to root for UCLA if it helps USC. Besides, it will be so sweet to dash their hopes in November if they’re still riding high. So as hard as it is you have to become the biggest Oregon/Stanford/UCLA closet fan you can be.

And here’s the most important thing. Do not get down on this team. We owe it to Matt and to the entire team to show up at every game. To be louder than ever. To keep it positive. To support our men no matter what happens the rest of this season because the only guarantee is that they are going to show up no matter what.

Return the favor.

USC’s Season to Remember

September 7, 2012

Hello there!

If you’ve been wondering “What’s up with Psycho? He hasn’t blogged in a long time!” You’d be right. I’ve been delinquient in my blogging duties. No good excuse. Just been getting it all out on Twitter. If for some reason you read my blog but don’t follow me on Twitter you should be following! It’s some seriously good stuff and it comes at you every day, in real time. You don’t have to wait for me to blog to get my enlightening and entertaining psychobabble. If you don’t believe me, I was recently selected as one of the five best USC Twitter follows by one publication and one of ten USC Twitter accounts you need to follow by another publication.

I wanted to write a preseason blog but getting ready for my first tailgate (tailgate info can be found here) of the year and planning for my first road trip of the season didn’t leave me with much spare time for blogging before the season opener. And seeing as how I’m writing this in the wee hours of the night from my hotel room in New York just a few hours before the Syracuse game, I still haven’t found enough time for blogging. (I’ve also been wanting to redesign the blog from the day I started it and don’t think I’ll ever get around to doing that. If you’re a proficient WordPress designer and want to lend a hand I won’t say no.)

So USC kicked the season off last week and we’re well on our way to dominating college football this season and finally getting the SEC to STFU. We all know this is going to be an epic season so I figured I should document it for posterity. And for my kids. And their kids. And your kids… So that future generations can look back and know that USC has always kicked ass. You’re welcome world.

This season is going to be really special. No team has ever ednured such crushing NCAA santions and immediately emerged as a national championship contender. Even more impressive, no team has ever emerged as National Champion, like USC is about to do. And you know what’s really crazy? What’s crazy about all of this is that USC hasn’t quite “emerged” from sanctions yet! We’re actually not even close. USC hasn’t so much as served half it’s penalties. We may finally be bowl eligible but we’re on the front end of three years woth of scholarship restrictions.

When the NCAA punishes programs with sanctions the objective is to make them suffer. To make them pay for their wrongs by setting them back. But instead the NCAA strengthened USC’s resolve and created a monster that is going to shove a crystal BCS football trophy up the NCAA’s collective ass come January 7, 2013. And we’re going to do it while serving the most punishing part of our santions — the scholarship reductions.

Think about that for a second. The NCAA infractions committee sat in a conference room a couple of years ago and came up with this plan for destroying USC. That was literally their goal. It was led by their ring leader Paul Dee who is second only to Jerry Sandusky when it comes to NCAA douchebags who deserve to rot in hell. I’m sure this committee thought the penalties they nailed USC with would get us out of the SEC’s hair for a long time to come. No way they could have imagined they were building a powerhouse at USC with their sanctions. Conventional wisdom says that teams with sanctions like USC’s are supposed to be unpalatable to top recruits. But conventional wisom doesn’t apply to USC. Instead of being avoided by recruits USC has become a bigger destination for them than ever before. Being so good despite all these sanctions has increased USC’s mystique. Somewhere in a grave, Paul Dee isn’t just rolling, he’s spinning.

USC got the party started last Saturday with a dominating win over Hawaii. The Coliseum was sold out on opening day for the first time in a long time. The tailgating was as good as I’ve ever seen it on opening day. The bandwagon was back and loaded to the gills with the reemergence of fair weather fans. And the weather was perfect. So it was quintessential USC football and it really felt like USC is back. The fans picked up right where we left off last season and haven’t skipped a beat.

Maybe that’s why USC was recently named the #1 tailgating school in the country by tailgating monthly?

I’d like to end this blog with a message to fans. THOROUGHLY ENJOY THIS RIDE! Don’t worry about looking ahead or jinxing the team or anything like that. Revel in how great USC is! Beat your chest! Go ahead and tell everyone that USC is going to win the national championship this year! Stay classy but indulge in our greatness without reservation. Let the team worry about “taking it one game at a time” and “not getting ahead of themselves” and every other cliche you can think of. That’s for players and coaches. We are fans. We are the ones who are supposed to have fun! So don’t be shy about it! And for the love of God, don’t worry about jinxing the team. I promise you that nothing you do/say/wear/etc has ANY effect on the team or what happens on the field. If you had that kind of power you’d have won the lottery by now. And I’m sure the other team’s fans are “jinxing” their team too so it’s a wash anyway.

So take it all in and soak it up this season. Smell the roses. What USC is about to do over the next three months has never been done before and likely never will be done again. Enjoy the moment!

FTFO!

“New Era” of USC Football results in termination of a Trojan tradition

April 10, 2012

If you are going to the USC Spring Game this Saturday you might notice that something is very wrong at the Coliseum. There will be lots of change in the air and it’s not good.

“At the annual spring football game on April 14, USC athletics will audition select public address announcers as part of our ongoing effort to update the football game day experience.

Dennis Packer’s voice has proudly boomed through the Coliseum for more than two decades.  He likely will return as the voice of the Trojan Marching Band announcing the pregame and halftime shows.

But going forward, the department is taking a look at the possibility of a new voice to usher in the latest era of USC football.  The final decision will be made later this summer.”

You read that right. USC in all its infinite wisdom has decided to get rid of the familiar voice we all know and love. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that for USC fans Dennis Packer’s voice is as endeared as Vin Scully’s is to Dodger fans or Harry Caray’s was to Cubs fans.

If you don’t know who Dennis Pakcer is you certainly recognize his voice:

“Ladies and gentlemen presenting the Spirit of Troy. The University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. Band, take the field!” How excited do those words make you? How many of you can recite that from memory?

Over the last 37 years Packer has been the voice of the Dodgers, Angels, Raiders (in Los Angeles and Oakland), Clippers, Kings, Chargers, World Cup and even UCLA. But suddenly his services are not needed in Troy?

Why on earth would USC fire Packer now, after all these years of loyal and excellent service to USC? If Jordan Moore has it right they’ve sent Packer packing to “usher in the latest era of USC football.” EXCUSE ME? 2012 is far from a “new” era. In fact it’s most likely going to be the pinnacle of the current era. The team is loaded with experienced players and coaches who have served two terms. There is nothing new about USC football this year, if anything it is the exact opposite. We are neck deep in the current era. And it’s fantastic!

If a new era necessitates a new voice then why wasn’t Packer fired before? You want to talk new eras? I’d say Carroll to Kiffin and Garrett to Haden were clearly new eras but Packer wasn’t fired then. What exactly is happening in 2012 that qualifies it as a new era? Nothing.

The USC announcement goes on to say that Packer will “likely” return as the voice of the band. I don’t buy it. That’s going to be the extent of his job? Just come to the Coliseum to recite a few sentences before the game and then at halftime? Is USC going to pay him enough for those services to make it worth his time? And why would USC want Packer to go on as the voice of the band but not be the public address announcer? Everything about this seems illogical.

Since this news broke I have heard from lots of USC fans and not one of them is happy about it. 100% of the feedback I have seen is opposed to the change and wants Packer back. In a lot of ways, and for a lot of people, Dennis Packer *is* USC football. The coaches change, the players change, the AD changes and even the Coliseum evolves but the one constant we have come to rely on is Dennis Packer’s booming voice. Sure, he won’t be there forever but there’s no reason to cut his tenure prematurely short.

I always thought USC embraced history and tradition but it appears that is no longer the case. So if this is what USC means by “new era” then I’d like to usher it back to wherever it came from and bring the old era back.

The question has to be asked… Who’s idea was this? Who makes these decisions? Petros Papadakis’ public address work at the Galen Center has completely ruined the experience of attending USC basketball games. How is it possible that Petros Papadakis still has a PA job at USC and Dennis Packer doesn’t? This is absolute insanity!

If Packer being fired upsets you then let USC know. Call the athletic department, send an email, post a comment at http://www.usctrojans.com/blog/2012/04/coliseum-pa.html or sign this petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/usc-packer. If enough people express their opposition to this maybe USC will reverse course. This isn’t about saving one man’s job, this is about preserving a cherished tradition of Troy.

What do you think? Does anyone think this is a good idea? Please share your comments below.

USC Tailgate Registry (what we need)

August 29, 2011

**UPDATE ** This blog post has pretty much been made obsolete by the tailgate website which has more & better information. The tailgate’s website is www.psychogate.com. Visit the website for all tailgate details. You can also follow @psychogate on Twitter for gameday updates or things we might need on gameday.

A lot of people are asking what they can bring to the tailgate. Thanks to all who have offered, rather than respond to everyone individually I’m going to post a list here. Kinda like a gift registry but for the tailgate.

If you’d rather just lend a helping hand instead of bringing things let me know. I can always use a help setting up at 6am or breaking down an hour before kickoff!

If you’ve never been to the tailgate and don’t know how to find us, everyone is welcome to come and the details are here.

Also, please support the tailgate by buying Syco Wear t-shirts. The money goes towards covering my tailgate expenses and for upgrades to tailgate gear. The shirts are cool and they help keep the best tailgate on campus going strong! You can order the shirts from http://www.SycoWear.com. Please like Syco Wear on facebook and help spread the word!

Things needed for tailgate:

  • ICE ICE ICE – Can never have too much
  • Jagermeister – Can never have too much
  • Munchies – Chips, pretzels, nuts, dip, salsa, guacamole, cupcakes, cookies, etc.
  • Paper/plastic ware – Plates, cups, forks, knives, napkins, etc.
  • Liquor
  • Beer
  • Water
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Stripper pole (Anyone have a spare?)
  • Anything else you’d like to bring
  • Just offer to help out!

THANKS & FIGHT ON!!!!!

The NCAA Sucks! You know it, so show it!

August 26, 2011

College football sucks. There. I said it. It’s been destroyed by the NCAA which kind of exists to make sure that college sports don’t suck. But the NCAA screwed the pooch and killed the game.

I remember when people asked me why I liked college football so much more than NFL football. Answer was always that the college version was more pure. It was a bunch of kids playing for love of the game rather than a bunch of greedy malcontents who are just out for themselves in the NFL.

Well times sure have changed, haven’t they? Now college football is full of schools that want to win at all costs and players who want to get paid more than they care about winning and the NCAA is turning a blind eye to it all. Except for USC. No, USC has ONE PLAYER break some rules and USC gets hammered by the NCAA with the strongest sanctions in decades.

But then when a bunch of big time players from Ohio State get caught breaking rules they get to play in their bowl game and get their punishment postponed until the following year. What the hell is that? And then we have Cam Newton’s dad shopping him around to the highest bidder and the NCAA does nothing. And the University of Oregon pays a recruiting service to deliver a player and nothing. And the entire University of Miami football program has gone to hell, committing the worst violations in the history of NCAA violations while under the watch of the very person who hammered USC. And you know what? Everyone is pretty sure Miami’s penalty won’t match the crime. I can go on and on but you get the picture; if you’re reading this you probably already know what I’m talking about.

So now the NCAA’s made it so you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want to do, unless you’re USC, and the NCAA won’t come down on you that hard. And if you don’t like whatever punishment you do get, you can always seek asylum in the NFL and let the next generation of players, coaches and fans pay for your sins. And if you’re an NFL agent you’ve got it made in the shade. You can entice players to break every rule in the book but you have ambassador status and can’t be touched by the NCAA.

Bottom line is that the NCAA has made it so you’re at a competitive disadvantage if you’re not cheating. That’s because the benefit derived from cheating is always greater than the penalty from getting caught. Unless you’re USC. And until that changes they’re enabling people to break the rules.

Yay for college football!

If that isn’t enough to convince you that the NCAA is sucking all the joy out of college football they have a new rule this year that literally sucks the joy out of college football. Starting this year taunting an opposing player can NULLIFY SCORING PLAYS! ARE YOU F’N KIDDING ME??? So if you legitimately score (this isn’t basketball folks, points are hard to come by in this sport) and hurt your opponent’s feelings in the process you lose the points… I can’t wait to see the first time that penalty is called with a game on the line, or in a bowl game, or in overtime. This is probably the first rule in the history of all sports that takes legitimately scored points off the scoreboard because of gloating. Who comes up with this crap?

That’s like telling a kid he’s a virgin again because he got too excited after getting laid for the first time.

The result of this rule is going to be a chilling effect on celebration. What fun is that? The only people who benefit from this are long snappers who will no longer have kickers jumping into their arms like little girls. The old unsportsmanlike conduct rule worked just fine. What’s the point of this rule? Why is the NCAA wasting their time on crap like this? My advice to the NCAA? Stop over-enforcing celebrations and start enforcing serious violations.

Then there’s the NCAA’s butchering of the post season which everyone pretty much agrees sucks. We NEED a playoff. Or we need to get rid of the BCS and go back to the way things used to be. This BCS business is a crock of shit and the NCAA knows it, that’s why the NCAA still doesn’t officially recognize a national champion in college football – not even the winner of the BCS. I bet some of you didn’t realize that the winner of the “BCS title game” is not considered the National Champion by the NCAA. Fact is, the AP is far more credible and effective than the BCS, so why even bother with it? Money. Plain and simple.

You see, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the NCAA cares more about self preservation than it cares about the sport. And the colleges aren’t innocent either; they care more about making money than they care about having a good system. And in the end the only people that really get screwed are the fans.

Are you nodding in agreement? At this point I feel like I’m preaching to the choir. So let’s do something about it!

I hear a lot of people complaining about how bad things have gotten but I haven’t seen a lot of people do anything about it. The thing is, we the fans are in control here. All we have to do is stop watching college football. Yes, I said stop watching college football. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop going to USC games. I’ll watch USC football but nothing more. And you know what? Thanks to what the NCAA has done I won’t miss it.

What can we accomplish by boycotting college football? A lot! The NCAA is all about trying to bring in as much money as possible; that money primarily comes from one place and it’s television. What do you think will happen when fans are pushed to their breaking point and stop watching in large numbers? The ratings go down, the audience growth disappears and then the NCAA can kiss all that ad revenue goodbye.

Then and ONLY then will the NCAA stop making a mockery out of the sport and get things straightened out. As we know, right now the NCAA isn’t listening to fans and doesn’t seem to care about us.  So we have to make them listen and make them care. Don’t watch college football! Tell your friends not to watch college football. Some people don’t think it will make a difference if they watch or not but this is just like any other boycott, or like recycling, or whatever…  The only time it doesn’t matter is if nobody does it, but as long as some people are doing it you are part of a bigger pool that does matter. And besides, if you’re sick of the NCAA’s bullshit you shouldn’t put up with it anyway!

Fortunately for most of you reading this you are USC fans and USC football is the best thing about college football. We’re like a shiny diamond surrounded in a big pile of dog crap. We’re like the one cute sorority girl at ucla (making a huge assumption that there’s a cute girl at ucla but you get the point).

So if you love USC and/or you’re sick of the NCAA’s crap you should buy one of my new shirts which is pictured below. None of the shirts were signed by Matt Barkley but you can forge his signature and tell people yours was. Proceeds go to supporting the best tailgate on campus which is starting to get very expensive. Buying a shirt accomplishes four things: 1 – Shows your support for USC; 2 – Makes you look very cool; 3 – Expresses your hatred for the NCAA; 4 – Ensures the best tailgate on campus stays that way.

You can buy a shirt right now at www.SycoWear.com or you can buy one at the tailgate, but I don’t have many and I have a feeling they’re going to sell out fast so hurry up and place your order!

You can also make your voice heard by signing the petition to the NCAA to reverse the excessive penalties levied upon USC at USCPetition.org.


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