O/NSO - Bye Week Two

With the Trojans' second of three byes coming to a close, the glare of the national media spotlight continues to shine down on the nation's second-ranked BCS football program, as USC fans are basking in the glow of their team's performance, persona, and surging recruiting momentum.

The Obvious – With the Trojans' second of three byes coming to a close, the glare of the national media spotlight continues to shine down on the nation's second-ranked BCS football program, as USC fans are basking in the glow of their team's performance, persona, and surging recruiting momentum.

The Not So Obvious – However, the real undercurrent of this week's bye is the tremendous swell of Trojan fans that are awaiting Sugar Bowl ticket information. Expect an equally huge backlash of disappointment when USC season ticket holders are informed that the athletic department may only be able to fill support group requests.

The Obvious - If you've been to the Final Four in basketball or had a favorite team in this mega-event, you know what this ticket business all means, especially what's in store for the huge Trojan season ticket legion.

The Not So Obvious – One of the big arguments about not having a bowl playoff with the NCAA involved is that the eventual championship game will become a Super Bowl and Final Four experience. All of which means the loyal season ticket holders are left on the outside watching the game on the tube, unless they can afford big money groups like the Cardinal and Gold Club.

The Obvious –Rose Bowl tickets have rarely been a problem in the past when it comes to accommodating USC season ticket holders.

The Not So Obvious – While Trojan fans would love to see their heroes in the BCS spotlight game, it figures many USC season ticket folks will feel a tremendous letdown should they receive Sugar Bowl ticket rejection notices, even wishing for the good, old days in Pasadena.

The Obvious – It will eventually come out through the Los Angeles media how the Sugar Bowl disperses the ticket allotment, a reality as unpleasant as being doused with a cold bucket of water.

The Not So Obvious – By the time the ABC corporate sponsors, Sugar Bowl committee, New Orleans, etc. pass out the ducats, USC fans may be heading to the Staples Center, if available, to watch the title game on the big screen.

The Obvious – The Trojans managed to be this week's Sports Illustrated's main feature without having to be on the cover, a jinx that is well documented.

The Not So Obvious – With the annual rumors swirling about offensive coordinator Norm Chow's prospects of being hired as a head coach at another institution, it should comfort Trojan fans to read in SI Chow's remarks about coaching with Pete Carroll. Chow said, "Pete's fun to be around. He created an atmosphere where we can win at a high level."

The Obvious – There has been a flurry of questions about bowl tickets, transportation, and lodging, as New Orleans has become the hot button in Trojan talk.

The Not So Obvious – The USC honchos have indicated that Trojan bowl information will be mailed and available online Nov 24th. Hold our breath, Trojan fans.

The Obvious – With the thought of the Trojans playing for the national title game in New Orleans, fans and national media members are turning their attention to the fabled USC tradition as an added bonus to the Big Easy atmosphere.

The Not So Obvious – ESPN guru Beano Cook, for one, hopes the Trojans and their tradition go the distance and make it to New Orleans. "One of the great thing about USC playing for the title – the USC song girls on Bourbon Street," gushed Cook, the old geezer.

The Obvious - The impact of the No 2 BCS ranking and possible national title game in the Sugar Bowl has the good folks in southern California talking football from super markets, to coffee breaks, to even the boys in the barbershops.

The Not So Obvious – It's expected that Trojan football would be getting a lot of play on Sportstalk radio, but you know the town is talking USC gridiron when the political talking heads are interacting Trojan football and Baghdad.

The Obvious – Trojan football talk is naturally about the Sugar Bowl and should Troy remain spotless the rest of the way and earn their way to the French Quarter, everybody will want the latest information on the New Orleans.

The Not So Obvious – For those that need a tease, you can whet your appetite on the web with www.NokiaSugarBowl.com.

The Obvious – The USC/UCLA game on Nov. 22 is a Coliseum sellout.

The Not So Obvious – If the Bruins come into the big rivalry game with a very possible three-game losing streak, how many Westwooders will be dumping their tickets faster than you can say Wisconsin?

The Obvious – The Trojans' home attendance is on a record setting pace, perhaps establishing a new standard of support for future years.

The Not So Obvious – According to athletic department officials, the Dec. 6th final conference game in the Coliseum against Oregon State, which could be for the Pac-10 championship and BCS title invitation, is on line for a sellout.

The Obvious – Much was made of the Trojan defense holding Washington State to minus-25 yards rushing.

The Not So Obvious – The truth be told, a grand total of 64 rushing yards were lost on two Riley Fitt-Chappell snaps that zoomed over the head of Cougar punter Kyle Basler.

The Obvious – Trojan kicker Ryan Killeen has been named a semifinalist for the Groza Award, given to the nation's finest kicker, perhaps a surprise to Trojan fans.

The Not So Obvious – One of 20 finalists, junior Killeen, who has hit on 15-of-19 field goal attempts and 43-of-44 PATs in 2003. However, Killeen will be judged by Trojan fans on his ability to hit'em in the clutch the next three pressurized games against Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State. Good luck, kid.

The Obvious – In the past four games, the Trojans' offense is averaging over 500 yards a game, no longer a surprise when it was originally assumed it was the defense that was would carry most of the Trojans load.

The Not So Obvious – Fine ESPN sports writer Ivan Maisel did a piece on the Trojan offense and Norm Chow, and the Trojans' offensive coordinator made some very revealing comments about this year's offense. Chow said, "We're awfully young. The confidence level has improved. They are trusting what they are reading. Wow. It's scary. I thought this team was a year or two away. But, hey, they play hard. You might beat us, but you're going to have to play."

The Obvious - The Trojans spanked the Washington State Cougars last week in wonderfully cool football weather in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious – In another big Pac-10 battle this weekend of one-loss teams, those UCLA Bruins travel to Pullman, Washington to play the Cougs, and the weather forecast is for partly cloudy and a high of 46 degrees.

The Obvious – The final two USC games are at home against UCLA and Oregon State and victories are a must if the Trojans are to play in a BCS bowl game.

The Not So Obvious – In the past 25 Pac-10 games, the home team has won 64-percent of the time, a good omen for the Trojans.

The Obvious – There has been some detractors of USC saying the Trojans haven't played anybody, despite the win over then No. 6 Washington State.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans have won their last four games against teams ranked in the top 10.

The Obvious – The 8-1 start by Troy is the best since the 1988 season.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans were coached then by Larry Smith, he of the theory that uniforms and traditions don't mean anything. Larry, please tell that to Pete Carroll.

The Obvious – The tailback production of Hershel Dennis, Reggie Bush, and LenDale White has fueled Norm Chow's offense to the almost unstoppable level.

The Not So Obvious – Dennis, Bush, and White have a combined average of 5.6 yards per carry.

The Obvious – Trojans' sophomore quarterback Matt Leinart has a streak of 138 passes in a row without an interception.

The Not So Obvious – The leading Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year candidate is nine passes shy of the school record set at 147 last year without an interception by Mr. Palmer.

The Obvious – Pete Carroll and staff hit the recruiting trail this week, and the destinations of New Jersey and Ohio are in the Trojans' crosshairs.

The Not So Obvious – Gee, hush, hush, that couldn't be New Brunswick, New Jersey, home of wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, where Trojan staff will lay the groundwork for his Nov. 22 visit. The trip to Ohio targets the fine city of Toledo as a follow-up visit to see WR Fred Davis, who was on his official visit at the WSU game, and Cleveland, the la casa of DB Ted Ginn, whose big track interest puts the Trojans within Buckeye striking distance.

The Obvious – Super tight end prospect Dale Thompson (6-5, 250) of Corona Santiago made a Trojan verbal over UCLA earlier this week.

The Not So Obvious – Thompson, whose father, Dale, was a defensive back at Cal St. Fullerton in the early 80's, is considered a even better prospect by some gurus as an offensive tackle in his Trojan future. The kid has played there on occasion to help his team when he had an injured hand.

The Obvious – With freshman quarterback John David Booty passing on a redshirt year, it swings open the possibility that Troy will get another top-flight prep quarterback, a battle which may be another USC-UCLA tug-a-war.

The Not So Obvious – While injured senior quarterback Rocky Hinds of St. Bernard has the Trojans and Bruins in the recruiting mix, the more interesting battle with the Bruins is Washington quarterback prospect Matt Tuiasosopo (6-2, 210) of Woodinville, whose father, Manu, was a star defensive tackle in Westwood.

The Obvious – Los Alamitos safety Randy Estes was once considered a lock to become a Trojan.

The Not So Obvious – While the local papers may possibly give the reasons for Estes removal from Los Alamitos High, the kid's issues are such that all should say a prayer in hopes that he can first find peace and courage to rebuild his life and, perhaps someday, his football potential.

The Obvious – The Trojans' next game at Arizona will be televised on TBS at 4:00p.m.

The Not So Obvious – For those that need a bye week tune-up of Pac-10 football, this weekend will feature welcome-back-to-reality UCLA at Wobbly Washington State (ABC, 4:00 p.m.) and killer Cal at Webster Webfoot Oregon (TBS, 7:00 p.m.).

The Obvious – The Pac-10 is looking for its first representative to a BCS championship game.

The Not So Obvious – Should the Trojans get to New Orleans, it would benefit Pac-10 bowl eligible teams in terms of destination. This week's UCLA versus Washington State game could actually be for the Rose Bowl should teams like Oregon State sink along the way.

The Obvious – As the Trojans take a week off, it gives Trojan fans a time to reflect on recent big wins such as the USC 45-14 blitz of Notre Dame where the cardinal and gold scored the games last 31 points.

The Not So Obvious – Apparently the Trojans scoring onslaught left a big divot at Notre Dame Stadium. As of this week, including the Trojans' 31 points, the Irish have allowed 68 unanswered home points.

The Obvious – The next five weeks of Trojan football figures to be as exciting a time as there has been in a long, long time.

The Not So Obvious – With the very real possibility of back-to-back home sellouts in the Coliseum against UCLA and Oregon State, it doesn't get much more exciting than that for a USC fan –unless, of course, you can actually score a Louisiana Superdome ticket for a Trojan appearance in New Orleans.

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