This week we're looking in lots of directions -- Trojan football, basketball, track and field and TV time for the Trojans, oh, and the NCAA, can't forget them, as we finish Week 3 of USC's summer football workouts.
And yeah, it's mostly all talk right now, which is what the summer is for for us football folks. We're just sayin'>
*** If ever you doubted USC's ability to draw on TV recently, just check out the National Football Foundation's exhaustive look at College Football 2014 this week. USC's Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska drew a 4.0 rating making it the highest draw of the entire college football postseason except for the College Football Playoffs' six access bowls. That number doubled the Texas Tech-Arizona State rating the year before and it was higher than the 3.7 the Pac-12 Championship Game between Oregon and Arizona drew on Fox, which was Fox's highest-ranked game and triple the number from the year before. Someone alert Larry Scott . . . Just Sayin'.
*** As tough as it must be for Ajene Harris to handle his hip surgery, from which he seems to be recovering remarkably, if he misses this season as he's likely to do, it does put some distance next season between him as a redshirt sophomore with Steven Mitchell, who will be a redshirt junior. And that's probably not a bad place for Ajene to be . . . Just Sayin'.
*** USC fans just have to hope that Phil Steele's picks in his preseason Top 25 plays out the way Phil says it could with his No. 3 Trojans in a parlay with No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 TCU and No. 4 Alabama. That New Year's Eve semifinal game between USC and TCU for the right to play OSU or Bama the next week in Glendale, Arizona, would have us all in. And if USC and Bama win there, they'd play two games in a row with the 2016 opener coming next. Be still my heart. Has the SEC heard about this? . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And for those Trojans fans who wish the USC number weren't that high, we say that's not the number that should give them pause. It's these numbers: USC will play teams Phil ranks at No 7 (Stanford), No. 11 (Oregon), No. 12 (Notre Dame), No. 15 (UCLA), No. 27 (Utah), No. 29 (Arizona State) and No. 34 (Arizona) . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But when we look ahead at future schedules right now, we find ourself jealous of what they've been able to pull off across town where UCLA announced this week that they've picked up their third SEC football opponent -- this time Georgia -- in a little over a year for a home and home down the road. How do they do that? Do teams just feel like they'll have a better chance to come in and win at the Rose Bowl than the Coliseum once USC is back to full scholarships? Beats the heck out of us . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But then it leaks over to basketball where UCLA will host, for the first time ever this season, Kentucky, at Pauley Pavilion, while the Trojans face off against the likes of Monmouth, CS Northridge, Idaho, Yale, Cal Poly, SIU-Edwardsville and Lafayette . . . Just Sayin'.
*** FYI if you're handicapping the fall schedule, and this comes from our super scout Mark K., who notes that the week before the USC game, Notre Dame faces Navy and in the last eight years, the Irish are 2-6 the week after the Navy game -- and they barely won those two -- after facing that triple-option and those tough little cut-blocking Midshipmen so . . . Just Sayin'.
*** As much as we like and cite Steele's work, we're not sure his stat on percent of players responsible for tackles returning is all that instructive. In the Pac-12, the league leader, Cal, at No. 9 nationally has 81.71 percent of its tacklers back. So does that change things for the Bears? Not really? USC, with 63.96 percent returning is in the middle of the pack in the Pac and No. 61 nationally. But those numbers aren't going to matter nor are losing three top tacklers if USC figures out what it needs to do with the talent it has and gets away from last year. The same thing for No. 1 national returnee, Notre Dame, with 90.9 percent of the tacklers who mostly couldn't tackle USC last year back . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Pretty cool the way the USC Track and Field team got 24 first-team All-Americans this week and footballer Adoree Jackson earned two of them but wait . . . 24? Shouldn't you have to sweep both the men's and women's titles to earn 24 first-team honors? Turns out, you just have to finish in the top eight to be a first-teamer. We'd make it the first four maybe, but eight? Too many. Anybody who scores a point in the championships should earn some sort of AA honors but not everybody on the first team . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Although we're fine with three-time All-American Canadian Andre De Grasse earning Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year, as he did Wednesday, at the very least. His double in the 100/200 was as good as it gets. ESPN should be sending him a check for what that did for the telecast . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Did you catch the news that Jim Tressel, now president at The Youngstown State University, returns to his old stomping grounds at The Ohio State University where he'll be inducted into The Buckeyes' Athletics Hall of Fame in September? Does the Committee on Infractions know this man who deliberately deceived them to cover up NCAA rules-breaking is back on campus and being honored? Even more, does former USC student-athlete Reggie Bush know it? Sorry, Reggie. Some alleged violations -- by students -- are serious and forever. Others, proven by multimillionaire coaches on their way to becoming college presidents, not so much . . . Just Sayin'.
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