No break from the news this week in what otherwise would seem to be a quiet time for USC football. The NFL Draft is over, school is almost out and summer workouts aren't here yet.
And yet, this is USC. There is no time off from football around here. Take the rest of this week. Pete Carroll returns for just the second time in any sort of official capacity (He did that triumphant one-man show at the Marshall School after his Super Bowl win a year-and-a-half ago).
Well, Pete is back this week for a double hit. On Friday morning, he'll join a USC crowd of 51,000 -- including graduates, family and friends -- for graduation at 8:30 sharp -- rain or shine -- outdoors in the center of campus to receive an honorary doctorate. Which in our minds is better than a statue in other places where he might qualify for one. Our only regret here is that Will Ferrell won't be getting one as well so he could join Pete on-stage for their two-man show.
Then on Saturday, Pete joins 15 other Trojan sports greats, including four other football guys, Jack Del RIo, Jimmy Jones, assistant coach Dave Levy and Tim Rossovich) for induction into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. Here they are alphabetically: Byron Black (tennis), Carroll, Del Rio (football/baseball), John Hamilton (Spirit Award), Isabelle Harvey (soccer), Joe Jares (media), Jones, Levy, Harold Miner (basketball), Aniko Pelle (water polo), Mark Prior (baseball), Kristine Quance-Julian (swimming), Don Quarrie (track and field), Jennifer Rosales (golf), Rossovich and Bob Yoder (volleyball player/coach).
We'll get a chance to catch up with Pete and the others Saturday so stay tuned.
But even before this week, you can catch the Athletes Graduation Thursday at Galen Center when USC will honor all the seniors getting their degrees this year including those 35 football grads including a number from years past and many more from next season's team. Always a great day and plenty of room for fans to come by and say Hi.
Summer football start dates
For your summer planning, here are a couple of dates to keep in mind:
*** July 30-31: The Pac-12 football media days return to LA for a second multi-day event. The site hasn't been determined as of yet. Not sure if we've run out of movie studios to host the event but that's been the pattern for what becomes the official summer start of college football hereabouts.
*** Aug. 8: Right now, this is Day 1 for the start of summer practice for the 2015 USC football team. They say it's subject to change but for now, we'll go with it.
And for some spring football . . .
Not that there won't be plenty of football for this spring that will play out with the Trojan Huddles happening all over California, from the Bay Area to San Diego to the Desert in Palm Springs. Pick your date to talk both football and basketball with USC head coaches Steve Sarkisian and Andy Enfield and selected players.
They won't be alone. Former coach John Robinson does a great job as MC and the Trojan Marching Band will make an appearance as always wih food and drink and silent auctions and raffles offering plenty of chances to pick up some USC football memorabilia.
The tour stops are: May 20 (Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, Northern California), May 26 (Brian Kennedy Founders' Room, USC Galen Center), May 27 (La Jolla Country Club), May 29 (Indian Wells Country Club), June 8 (Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach) and June 10 (Manhattan Beach Marriott).
Here are the details from USC Athletics: There's a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. at each venue. Dinner will be served at the USC Galen Center and the Indian Wells and Manhattan Beach stops, while hors d'ouevres will be served in Atherton, La Jolla and Newport Beach. A Q&A presentation by the coaches will follow. Business casual attire is suggested. For more information, please call USC Athletics at (213) 740-4155, email email@example.com, or go to www.usc.edu/trojans.
Odds on the Trojans
But if you don't want to wait until next week to listen to the coaches and figure out USC's chances this fall, you could do what an ESPN guy did this week in Las Vegas and head by the Westgate SuperBook to check on the odds for Pac-12 teams to win it all. Maybe a bit of a surprise ahead of Oregon, 15-1 USC is the top pick in the Pac and No. 4 in the nation behind only Ohio State (7-2), Alabama (6-1) and TCU (8-1).
Here's how the rest of the Pac-12 breaks down: Oregon 20-1, UCLA 20-1, Stanford 40-1, Arizona State 60-1, Arizona 100-1, Utah 100-1, Washington 100-1, California 500-1, Oregon State 500-1 and then included in a 60-1 "field" bet, you have Colorado and Washington State.
Westgate isn't the only oddsmaker here. Bovada has USC at 16-1, again at the top of the Pac-12 pack but No. 5 in the nation as Auburn jumps into No. 4 at 12-1 behind Ohio State (7-2), Alabama (7-1) and TCU (10-1). Notre Dame (18-1) is right behind USC. Oregon (22-1) and Stanford and UCLA (both at 33-1) trail USC in the Pac.
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