So what do you think, publisher Ryan Abraham asked, want to do a USC season prediction column?
Haven't done them. Don't like doing them. The more you think you know about this stuff, the more you realize what you don't know.
As good as the guys in Vegas are, and as much money is riding on the calls they make, they're really just working to hit the number that gets equal dollars bet on each team. They're not calling winners and losers.
And when they do, as in over/unders for number of wins, they don't call each game and usually they'll make it a number like 8 1/2. If only you could get a half win.
So as I thought about it, I decided to peruse the BRO board and see what the Bruins were doing as they triansitioned from gleefuly talking trash about Sark while hoping the Ishmael Adams deal wasn't as announced thus far.
And what do you know, there was a thread predicting USC's record. My quick take on the BRO consensus was a five-loss season for the Trojans who look to finish fourth or fifth in the Pac-12 South according to our buds over in Bruin Land.
Yep, USC will be worse on offense, worse on defense and the only saving grace might be Clay Helton calling the plays, they conceded. And when you say USC will be worse than that team that took the gas in the Rose Bowl last year, which is all these guys know first hand -- after the two previous Crosstown Rivalry games -- can you blame them?
So no help there. But the more you think about doing this, about making this kind of call before a game has been played by anybody, before an injury is in the books, before the Pac-12 penalty flags start to fly, you have to ask yourself: How do I do this?
If you'd have asked me before the last two Salute To Troy's, I'd have predicted good things from those events: Love the band always in its debut performance and how can you not like the Song Girls. The boosters are all fired up, the 25- and 50-year Trojans back are cool to see. What could possibly go wrong?
So if you couldn't get that right, and there's no opponent anywhere around, how do you look 14 weeks down the road? Not just for your team but the other guy matters here as well.
And you have to do it now. On the last day of August. Think about that.
Imagine how you'd have called last year if they'd have let you do what they never do: Wait until the game has started and then make your bet.
How would any of us picked that USC-Boston College game midway through the second period with the Trojans up 17-6 if they'd have let you get a late bet down in Vegas? How would that have worked out?
But even worse. Say it was late in the fourth quarter at home in the Coliseum against Arizona State with USC up, 34-25, and someone tapped you on the shoulder and said you can still get down in Vegas on this game?
And even after that 73-yard TD given up by the Trojans, you're still smiling because they get the onside kick and have the ball in ASU territory with just 2:43 left. One first down and this one is over. Do you double your bet now even when USC gives it up with just 23 seconds to go after a three-and-out?
And then it's three weeks later and it's third and two at the Utah 27, less than 2:30 left, with USC up 21-17. Get two yards in two plays and USC goes home a winner. And even better, they let you bet right before that third and two play.
Do you take the Trojans? Of course you do?
And now you're asking me to pick these games and it's not yet September.
So with that as our lead-in here, with that as the history for this team, this staff and this program going into 2015, you want someone to pick what's going to happen -- before it happens.
When we would have had no chance to get it right after it had mostly happened a year ago? Really? Not going there.
This team, these coaches, could figure it all out. It could be the 2002 team all over again. Or 2011. But who knew those teams were going to do that?
How'd you have liked to pick a record for either of them after they each lost two games before they got out of October -- or in 2002, barely out of September.
You just never know. Even if you know a lot. You never know enough.
Unless they ask you to pick a record -- and you say no. I'd rather not. I don't know enough. Not yet.
Ask me after the last play. I'll tell you then.
This team does have a chance -- a chance to be special. But this is USC. They always have a chance.
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