O/NSO - Stanford preview

It won't be Pat Robertson's 700 Club Pete Carroll's ninth-ranked USC Trojans (4-1 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-10) hope to join when they host Pac-10 rival Stanford Cardinal (2-1, 0-1), but a place in college football lore.

The Obvious – Saturday evening's Pac-10 game between the No. 9 USC Trojans and the unranked Stanford Cardinal in the Coliseum was supposed to be a day of celebration for legendary Trojan running back Marcus Allen, but after a unique and accelerated turn of practice events, it appears Saturday may possibly be an evening of celebration for the debut of heralded USC true freshman quarterback John David Booty.

The Not So Obvious – The message is crystal clear that Pete Carroll is in agreement with Norm Chow believing Booty's time is now, and that John David, the native of Shreveport, Louisiana, gives the Trojans the best chance to win if Matt Leinart can't fight through his various ailments.

The Obvious – There has to be some human compassion for back-up Trojan quarterbacks Brandon Hance and Matt Cassel, both of whom fought the good fight.

The Not So Obvious –The key to the Booty scenario is Leinart's health and the Trojan's fragile must-win Rose Bowl situation. The message is Hance and Cassel, though willing and able, do not possess the physical and now mental skills to fight off the Booty advancement.

The Obvious – Trojan fans will be in a feeding frenzy Saturday night at the thought of seeing John David Booty make his anticipated appearance.

The Not So Obvious – If this week's practice was truly the measuring stick for Booty and his ability to deliver passes while picking up blitzes, then Hance and Cassel should have peace of mind that they did their best, and this is a simple case of talent growing up.

The Obvious – Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart has expressed his competitive nature by announcing that he expects to start at quarterback against Stanford, but Pete Carroll says, "If Matt can't go, all three backups are ready to go."

The Not So Obvious –While Carroll continues to play the expected political coaching gamesmanship, the practice reps tell the whole story, so this is a football case of do you want to believe me or your lying eyes.

The Obvious – It won't be Pat Robertson's 700 Club Pete Carroll's ninth-ranked USC Trojans (4-1 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-10) hope to join when they host Pac-10 rival Stanford Cardinal (2-1, 0-1), but a place in college football lore.

The Not So Obvious - It will, however, give Troy a chance to become the 10th team to join the elite 700 victory club.The Trojans have played football for 111 years and a win over Stanford would place USC among Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and leader Michigan (827 wins) with 700 wins or more.

The Obvious – The Trojans are a huge 22-point favorite Saturday evening to end the Rose Bowl dreams of the Cardinal, who have one Pac-10 loss to Washington, 28-17 and are coming off the dreaded bye week.

The Not So Obvious – It would be very tempting to take the points on this one considering Leinart's status and the recent history between these two teams, as the Cardinal have beaten the Trojans the past three of four meetings. However, the Trojans lead the series played in the Coliseum 24-15-1.

The Obvious – With the arrival of some big games nationally such as Miami/Florida State and Texas/Oklahoma, it figures that the BCS ratings could be thrown around in favor of the Trojans based on the outcomes of Saturday's games.

The Not So Obvious – In this week's Sagarin college football ratings, the Trojans are ranked seventh behind Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, Miami, Florida State, and Oklahoma in that order.

The Obvious – The Trojans flagship radio station is Sporting News 1540.

The Obvious – On Thursday morning, the morning 1540 hosts had USC offensive line coach Tim Davis on the air and, boy, does this guy entertain at the highest level. With a super quick wit, a hyper personality, and locker room humor, Davis gave hysterical answers to the Booty situation ("I'll look into my 8-Ball Crystal Ball, so don't ask ever me that again"), and said that Florida State would beat Miami because the game is at FSU.

The Obvious – Pete Carroll is the third-year coach of the USC Trojans and Buddy Teevens is the second-year coach of Stanford Cardinal.

The Not So Obvious – Both coaches attended private colleges for their education. Carroll, of course, attended the University of Pacific, where he was a two-time Pacific Coast Conference safety in 1971-72, while Teevens attended Dartmouth and was a three-year letterman and an honorable mention quarterback leading the Big Green to the Ivy League title in 1978.

The Obvious – The Trojans offense is averaging 37 points per game, but the Stanford defensive players have announced they plan to hold the emerging USC offense to under 17 points.

The Not So Obvious – "You're going to give up some points, " says defensive end Will Svitek. "Look at USC, they have so many great players. But that's definitely our goal."

The Obvious – The big question for Trojan fans – Is LenDale White the next Trojan legend and does this offensive line now have the type of back that will make it look good?

The Not So Obvious – Well, this week might not be a true test for White if SC runs roughshod over Stanford. In their first conference game against Washington, the Cardinal gave up a season-high 165 yards rushing.

The Obvious – There are a number of Stanford players that the Trojans tried to recruit but were unsuccessful.

The Not So Obvious – One of those former recruits is defensive tackle Amon Gordon (6-3, 285, Jr.). During their recruiting with the Trojans, Gordon was thought to be a package deal with Teyo Johnson, the former Cardinal now in the NFL. At the time of their recruiting, Gordon was a linebacker and Johnson a quarterback.

The Obvious – Two players the Trojans recruited heavily from last year were Fremont wide receiver Mark Bradford and Brea tight end Evan Moore.

The Not So Obvious – Both players have seen action, and Bradford is listed as the third flanker for the Cardinal and so far this season has four receptions for 77 yards.

The Obvious – On Saturday night, the Cardinal will start redshirt freshman Trent Edwards (6-4, 210) from Los Gatos at quarterback.

The Not So Obvious - Hidden behind Trent Edwards at quarterback is former Long Beach Poly star Chris Lewis, who burned the Trojans in 2000 with a late fourth quarter game- winning touchdown pass at The Farm. Lewis, a fifth-year senior and a fomrer consensus prep All-American , lost his starting job in the first game this year against San Jose St. when Edwards came off the bench and was 21 of 37 for 278 yards and two touchdowns.

The Obvious – Over the years, Stanford has had a difficult time defending the pass, but has normally done well against the rush.

The Not So Obvious – The Cardinal lead the Pac-10 in kickoff coverage, red zone defense, and is third in net punting.

The Obvious – The Cardinal present a fine running back in Kenneth Tolan (6-1, 190), a position that has been a strength for Stanford in recent years.

The Not So Obvious – Tolan hails from Albuquerque and was a First-Team All-State running back from Valley High. Out of high school, the kid ran a 10.8 in the 100. To attest to athleticism, Tolan also played three years of basketball in high school.

The Obvious – It is always a backyard brawl when USC and Stanford get together to decide which private university plays the best football on the West Coast.

The Not So Obvious – Despite the recent Cardinal success, USC leads the battle of private schools 54-24-3.

The Obvious – The Trojans are looking for their 13th straight Coliseum victory.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans have lost their last two home games against the Cardinal 35-31 in 1999 and 21-16 in 2001.

The Obvious – The Trojan offense seemed to have found its running game last week in Tempe and that could spell trouble for Stanford.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans offensive explosion couldn't have come at a worse time for Stanford, a team that USC has outscored 307-88 in their last nine Coliseum games against the Cardinal.

The Obvious – There figures to be a large group of recruits Saturday night as most high schools, since most will have played Friday night and will have done their film sessions Saturday morning.

The Not So Obvious – One of those expected recruits to be in attendance is Colorado lineman Jeff Byers, who some believe may be the best player at any position in the country.

The Obvious - It won't hurt for Jeff Byers to see Booty in action.

The Not So Obvious - In fact, some would argue that Byers coming to SC this weekend and not attending the Oklahoma/Texas game in Dallas is a good omen, considering that Texas is said to be one of his choices.The kid has kept his recruiting thoughts to himself, but he said he had a good recruiting trip to Iowa.

The Obvious – One recruit that most fans have not heard about that might be at Saturday's game is Lakewood High junior middle linebacker Luther Brown (6-3, 220).

The Not So Obvious - One respected "expert" says, "Brown is a big timer and explodes like former Trojan legend Richard Wood. Oh my, he's in the mold of the all-time linebackers I've seen in the area."

The Obvious – The Trojans will be forever grateful that wide receiver Mike Williams left Florida to become a Trojan.

The Not So Obvious – When Williams was a senior in Tampa, he was recruited by Stanford coach Buddy Teevens, then a coach at the University of Florida. "I told him that if he wasn't going to play in the SEC, that USC was a great place for him," said Teevans. "He (Williams) reminded me of that last year."

The Obvious – Sophomore Hershel Dennis will start at tailback this week against Stanford with LenDale White coming off the bench to probably carry the load.

The Not So Obvious – It figures that the Trojan coaching staff is in no hurry to dislodge Dennis, but if White continues with a couple more productive performances, it might not be possible or logical not to start the kid. Carroll said on XTRA Sports that White has run like "a runaway freight train in practice."

The Obvious – Coach Pete Carroll says that the Trojans are in an extremely tough part of their schedule with their next two games at Notre Dame and Washington.

The Not So Obvious –While this does sound challenging, one would have to say with a November schedule that includes Washington State and UCLA and a December game against Oregon State, the stretch drive looks even tougher, except for the fact all three games will be played in the Coliseum.

The Obvious – Sophomore wide receiver Greig Carlson will now handle the punt return duties for the Trojans.

The Not So Obvious – Carlson will never remind anyone of the speed and quickness of Justin Wyatt or Reggie Bush, but he also won't fumble and make poor decisions, thus he is the most reliable and the least vulnerable to a turnover.

The Obvious – Kicker Ryan Killeen was named the Pac-10 Bank of America Higher Standards Player of the Week for his special teams performance against Arizona State.

The Not So Obvious – Although he was 3 for 3 in field goals and made all four extra points, it was his five touchbacks on kickoffs that was equally as impressive.

The Obvious – The San Diego Holiday Bowl had a representative in the press box at Arizona State.

The Not So Obvious – You can tell where the Trojans stand the rest of the way by which bowl logos are being seen from week to week. The Trojans hope to see the fellas with the roses and maybe a little bit of sugar in the future.

The Obvious – The Stanford Cardinal have three former Trojan coaches on their staff in A.J. Christoff, Steve Morton, and Wayne Moses.

The Not So Obvious – Of the three, Steve Morton stood out as a fine offensive line coach and was a victim of a new coaching staff.

The Obvious – If there is one position at Stanford besides quarterback that draws attention, it is usually the wonderful array of receivers that the Cardinal trot out, a warning sign for the Trojans considering their questionable secondary this season.

The Not So Obvious – This year's star receiver is senior Luke Powell (5-8, 175) from Smyma, Tennessee, who was an option quarterback at Smyma High School. So far this season, the diminutive Powell has 19 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Another Trojan fear factor is the kid ranks sixth in the Cardinal record book in punt return yardage and average.

The Obvious – The Trojans' offense normally loves to see the Stanford defense.

The Not So Obvious – Scoring has never been a problem for the Trojans when they play the Cardinal in the Coliseum. In the past nine games, SC has outscored the Cardinal 307-88.

The Obvious – A look at the Trojan roster and one does not see too many unusual names with the exception of perhaps defensive end Kenechi Udeze.

The Not So Obvious – According to SC offensive line coach Tim Davis, Stanford has a good one in starting senior nose tackle Babatunde Oshinowo (6-2, 310). A former walk-on, "Baba" had a season high nine tackles against the Trojans last year. By the way, did we mention he was the Jazz Band section leader (trombone) and Wind Symphony Orchestra section leader in Naperville, Illinois.

The Obvious – The first 30,000 fans entering the Coliseum will receive a playing card of Marcus Allen.

The Not So Obvious – Speaking of running back legends, former Stanford running back "legend" Darrin Nelson is now the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations. Nelson oversees the Developoment and Media Relations departments for Stanford Athletics. As for those that can't remember, Nelson was a four-time All-Pac-10 selection and a 1981 First-Team All-American in 1981. Has it been that long? You gotta be kiddin'.

The Obvious – The Trojan family recently lost defensive tackle Art Riley, who recently passed away in Hawaii. Riley was a major player on McKay's teams of 1973-74.

The Not So Obvious – It has also been a shocking year for Stanford as legendary 1971 quarterback Don Bunce recently passed away. Bunce lead his Cardinal team to an exciting 13-12 victory over Michigan in the 1972 Rose Bowl.

The Obvious – USC has been known as the Trojans since 1912, and the mascot is Traveler the horse.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to 1912, the Trojans were called the Methodists or Wesleyans, nicknames not favored by university officials. Since 1981, Stanford has been known as the Cardinal. Sorry, but they will always feel like the Indians here, a nickname that spanned 1930-72. There is no Stanford mascot, but the "Tree", which actually a member of the Stanford Band, has been mistaken as the school's mascot, but it is not.

The Obvious – In the past two years, the Trojans have had seven players drafted into the NFL.

The Not So Obvious – In the past two years, Stanford has had 10 players drafted into the NFL, the most since 1974-75.

The Obvious – Quarterback Matt Lenart is not looking forward to a possible numbing shot to allow his high ankle sprain to allow him to play on Saturday evening.

The Not So Obvious – It sure seems like a lot of Trojans have had this type of injury the past two season. Maybe it's just a case of high profile players calling it to our attention.

The Obvious – One of Stanford's starting corners is Stanley Wilson.

The Not So Obvious – Yep, the son of former running back Stanley "Steamer" Wilson, who played at LA Banning, Oklahoma, and the Cincinnati Bengals. The son is majoring in Urban Studies and is one of 15 Senators elected at Stanford for the 2003-2004 academic year.

The Obvious – The Trojan game against the Cardinal will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

The Not So Obvious – For those that need to be fully informed, Pac-10 football can be seen on the tube as well with Oregon at Arizona State (ABC, 12:30 p.m.) and UCLA at Arizona (FSN, 3:30 p.m.).

The Obvious - This will be the only home game in October for Trojan fans, who will not see their heroes in the Coliseum again until Nov. 1, when they host Washington State for perhaps a real Homecoming Rose Bowl showdown.

The Not So Obvious - Just how important how fans view Saturday's game may well be represented by Saturday night's attendance. Having averaged over 70,000 per home game this season, the possible appearance of John David Booty, Marcus Allen Day, tailback LenDale White, and a critical Pac-10 game may yet turn the Coliseum into a bowl-type attendance atmosphere.

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