Here we are the week after the Super Bowl and still talking some football and thinking how smart the NFL's PR and marketing folks are as they get us, with so much else to talk about, to discuss the pros and cons of the Trojans invited to the NFL Combine in the height of college basketball season.
And doing so at a time when we all probably should be talking about where USC should be looking for its next AD to succeed Pat Haden, who tweeted Saturday: "Happy to get home today. Thx for all the good wishes! Looking forward to get back to work as soon as possible. Fight on."
So lots to talk about. And of course, we can forget about last week's ugly Super Bowl. And the ugliness about the two quarterbacks since then. The NFL is past that. They're looking ahead to Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis -- an event some day soon we might see in LA, we'd guess -- and what do you think about USC's seven Combine guys?
*** These NFL guys are geniuses. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And what about USC getting just seven invites? Sure, that's more than Stanford's six. And fewer than Notre Dame's 10 -- but UCLA has nine? What's up with that? . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Turns out it doesn't mean all that much although having your top two rivals lose more than you do doesn't seem all that bad a deal. . . Just Sayin'.
*** Still that doesn't explain Delvon Simmons not getting a call. Just off his one-gap performance against Wisconsin alone, he should have earned a spot after escaping at last from Justin Wilcox's two gap trap. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** We'll talk more about the Trojans' NFL prospects in the weeks to come but the first challenge for USC right now is getting the basketball team back on track and playing the confident go-go style that got it here, not the tentative no-go game it allows opponents to slow it down to way too much of the time away from home. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Not that anyone in the Pac-12 is having much success on the road this season but if USC reverts to half-court basketball, it really has no chance the way it rebounds -- or doesn't -- on the defensive boards. Or when it runs its halfcourt offense and defense and fails to finish at the goal. Gotta' finish. USC does in transition mostly. Not so much when it's walking the ball up the floor. So no reason ever to play that way. Speed it up guys, you have nothing to lose. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** After the Arizona game, have to think this USC team would be better off opening up as if it were 17 points down and play with its hair on fire for 40 minutes and see how that goes. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But even with the NCAA bid much more on the line right now, the most important thing that's going to happen around USC sports in the near future is picking a person to succeed Pat Haden. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** So important is it that the San Jose Mercury-News Pac-12 columnist Jon Wilner wrote this week that it's not just important for USC but for the entire league. He led his column with: "The Pac-12 is looking for an AD." This hire is about more than USC. And USC has to get it right. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Thanks for the reminder, Jon. USC can never get too many bumps from outside when it comes to hiring. But here's how we'd like that to read when all is said and done and a new USC AD named: "The Pac-12 just got an AD at USC that the rest of the league is going to hate." . . . Just Sayin'.
*** No more Mr. Nice Guy at Troy. Which is what we thought when that story came out of Louisville last week saying Tom Jurich was in play for the USC job. Might be some issues there with Jurich at U of L but at least the Pac-12 would probably hate the guy. . . . Just Sayin'.
***Interesting list Wilner put up even if some are nonstarters: TCU’s Chris Del Conte, Pittsburgh’s Scott Barnes, Arizona’s Greg Byrne, Memphis’ Tom Bowen, Florida’s Jeremy Foley, Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione and Arkansas’ Jeff Long. Some there you'd certainly consider. . . Just Sayin'.
*** That's the ballpark where USC should be looking. And yes, we think USC has to look far and wide and hard and smart everywhere there's a talented AD doing what talented AD's do these days -- which is market and manage, hire and fire, fundraise and figure out how to compete better than anyone using all the tools at their disposal, which in USC's case, is as much as anyone has. . . .Just Sayin'.
*** Here's how Wilner explained what it is USC has and why this is such a big deal: "the conference’s flagship football program . . . in the nation’s No. 2 market . . . at a top-25 academic institution . . . in the midst of major legislative and financial challenges rippling from the NCAA HQ and Power 5 conference offices to campuses big and small, public and private, from coast to coast." So yeah, it's a pretty big deal getting this right. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And since we're partial to Big Ten folks who seem to get USC from afar thanks to the leagues' historical connections, we'd add Michigan State's innovative and ingenious Mark Hollis who's done a sensational job in East Lansing. And maybe even former Arizona State AD Gene Smith, an NCAA insider from Ohio State for the way he backed down that organization when it came around his school even if OSU was guilty as hell. USC is one of the schools that can afford -- or at least has been willing to pay -- someone like Smith who probably knows where the bodies are buried in Indianapolis. . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And since we're obviously focusing on outsiders here, does this mean we've pretty much decided USC should not stay inside for only the second time in more than 90 years? Yeah. Pretty much. Would take an extraordinary case to be made not to open this up and we don't see it. Someone will have to convince us. . . . Just Sayin'.
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