Football, baseball, hoops, track-Just Sayin'

Lots of topics to talk about at USC right now -- football, basketball, baseball, track and field and an off-topic soccer shot. We're Just Sayin' and Just Askin' here.

No football here of any kind until June when the players get back to campus but there's no limit on talking a good game so what the heck.

The one exception this week is the USC Coaches Tour hitting Southern California even if the Trojan Athletic Department really doesn't want any media coverage from actual media so we'll pass on that part of it. It's their call. But if any of you at the Tour stops want to share the off-the-record conversations of Sark and Andy, you're welcome.

Because there really is a lot to talk about, ask about and just plain wonder about -- and not just football. There's basketball, baseball and track and field as well for USC right now. We're "just sayin' " it looks like a full week coming on here.

*** One thing we note is that despite all that's happened with the NCAA over the past decade, people still like to like USC. ESPN's Danny Kanell is the latest example, naming the Trojans as his No. 3 preseason pick Tuesday. Sure, he called USC his "trendy pick . . . like UCLA last year," he said, but still, there the Trojans are in what was recently SEC territory. We'll take it . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Not sure why that's a surprise, After all, back in 2012 as USC was heading into Year 1 of the sanctions under the steady hand -- and voting, of one Lane Kiffin, that Trojans team was inexplicably tagged the nation's top team in preseason for reasons no one will ever be able to figure out. So take it for what it's worth . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But there is this. If this were eight years ago, with this USC team, many USC fans would be thinking right now: "Oh no, is this another one of those years when we're going to get screwed and end up back in the Rose Bowl?" . . . Just Sayin'.

*** To the complaints of many around here, USC opens this season against Arkansas State and Idaho and still, according to the likes of smart guys like Phil Steele among others, the Trojans will face the nation's second toughest schedule. Imagine where that schedule would be if Texas A&M hadn't dropped out when it joined the SEC. Is there a number higher than 1? . . . Just Askin'.

*** Some things you notice when kids from places like Florida and Georgia decide to leave SEC country to play their football at USC. They're the kinds of students who really want a USC education and know the weather and the town is better place for them than back home -- and they're well aware of USC's unparalleled history of putting players in the NFL, rattling off the numbers and names. It helps to be No. 1 . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Bryce Dixon was a topic of fans before last night's Coaches Tour stop we won't talk about. Could he possibly be back, they asked? We're about as unofficial as it gets on that topic but it does appear there is a way, maybe a slim chance, but a whole lot of pieces have to fall into place just so and that will take a great deal of finesse and common sense from folks both inside and outside the University. Is that expecting too much? . . . Just Askin'.

*** Now on to track and field with USC sending off 38 athletes to Austin, Texas, this weekend with at least 15 among the No. 1-ranked women and the No. 5-ranked men looking like good bets to advance to the NCAA finals the following week in Eugene where only the top 12 qualify, we have just one question: How soggy will the Texas track be after more than 10 inches of rain this week and it's just started raining again? . . . Just Askin'.

*** No worries about rain here this weekend for USC's return to the NCAA baseball tournament at the Lake Elsinore Regional -- if only it would. But nice job by No. 1 seed and host UC Santa Barbara, a team that beat second-seeded USC twice by a single run, to take the tournament to Southern California with the NCAA requiring a host field with lights. USC fans really should not miss this one. Really nice minor league venue at The Diamond there . . . Just Sayin'.

*** With the winner of the Lake Elsinore Regional facing the winner of the UCLA Regional, where the national No. 1 seed Bruins are hosting, for a trip to Omaha, it couldn't be more clear how much the NCAA does not want the College World Series cluttered up with too many Pac-12 programs that just get in the way of an SEC-ACC finals . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Don't want to be a negative Nelly here with the news Tuesday that Shaqquan Aaron, the No. 27 prospect in the nation two years ago, will be transferring from Louisville to USC but there are some issues here that you hope his year sitting out takes care of. But from the day the 6-foot-7 wing from Rainier Beach, Wash., where they've produced some big-time players, showed up at U of L at a skinny 168 pounds, things haven't gone well and when Louisville started recruiting Drexel's Damion Lee, a top-five scorer, as a grad student for the spot Aaron coveted, that was it and he was gone . . . Just Sayin'.

*** After having had to sit out the first nine games, or 30 percent of last season after the NCAA determined his parents had taken improper benefits, Aaron played in 23 games, started two, averaged 1.3 points a game and didn't finish strong after an 11-point game Jan. 4 against Wake Forest. He scored just 15 points in the final nine games and played just seven minutes in three NCAA games after this broadside by Rick Pitino in late February: "He just doesn't have a Louisville attitude," Pitino said of Aaron. "He's not a Louisville man in terms of the way we practice, the way we go about it." . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And now for something completely off topic but topical -- soccer. How about those FIFA indictments. All we can say is what took them so long? It's been going on since 1991 and involves hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes that the whole world -- literally -- knew was happening and until now, nothing? . . . Just Askin'.

*** We're no lawyer but we still remember the first time we saw the FIFA folks in all their glory, an entourage of 80 or so, after the championship game in women's soccer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium and they swept by looking for all the world like a Mafia crime family. You felt like you, not the players, needed a shower after that. Not a surprise that the folks who just sent the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar might just be crooked. Ya' think?. . . Just Sayin'.

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