The Not So Obvious – For Trojan fans, there are so many things for which to be thankful, it's almost as impossible to express all of it, much like trying to tackle Reggie Bush in the open field or stop LenDale White inside the five-yard line. As Trojan fans take a deep breath before the winner-takes-all game against the Westwooders, there is enough news to keep one distracted while still giving thanks for all the cardinal and gold blessings.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful that Pete Carroll is the coach of the USC Trojans.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful that Carroll brought to the Trojan program such innovations as the retro uniforms, the Trojan Walk, the gong sound during critical third-down moments on defense, the open fall Coliseum scrimmage, semi-open practices that bewilders opposing coaches, and did we mention one of the all-time runs in the history of college football?
The Obvious – If ever a team needed a bye week before their titanic rivalry game against UCLA on Dec. 3rd, it's the top-ranked USC Trojans (11-0, 8-0 Pac-10) who have been given the grateful opportunity to recuperate, thanks to an arrangement by ABC Sports.
The Not So Obvious – While Pete Carroll's Trojans have a chance lick their wounds and recharge their batteries, thousands of Trojan fans were greeted last weekend with an e-mail announcement from athletic director Michael Garrett regarding bowl game tickets. For those not in the season ticket loop, Rose Bowl tickets are a neat $175 per ticket, while the other bowl BCS bowl options include the Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta Bowl, all under $90 per ticket.
The Obvious – One of the more popular Trojan football shows is Trojan Rewind, a well-produced highlight show of the previous opponent from different viewing angles.
The Not So Obvious – In this week's opening of the Fresno State Trojan Rewind, Matt Leinart gave every indication that the Trojans were looking forward to their match with Fresno State. In a team huddle, Leinart said, "They wanted us. They've got us now!" Well, you can't say the fellas weren't up for the game.
The Obvious – Anthony Davis will be the featured speaker this coming Wednesday night at the monthly WeAreSC dinner at the Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro.
The Not So Obvious – It should be a festive evening next Wednesday evening at the taverna with old No. 28 and UCLA week. AD always presents his viewpoints in an honest and concise manner, and it should make for an informative session as the former 1974 USC Player of the Game versus UCLA Award winner dissects the big game and his thoughts on Reggie Bush.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful that there is still a Traveler that rides behind the bench of the Men of Troy after each touchdown.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful that Traveler is still alive with the Trojan home scoring average 53 points per home game.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for All-America quarterback Matt Leinart, who will go down as the finest signal caller in the school history.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful for Leinart's audible passes to Dwayne Jarrett against Notre Dame and to Reggie Bush against Fresno State, both of which, in time, may become as legendary as O.J. Simpson's 23-blast call from quarterback Toby Page.
The Obvious – Although their final destination won't be know until shortly after the UCLA game, Trojan fans are busy returning their season ticket holder lottery applications for potential bowl destinations.
The Not So Obvious – In case you haven't read the form carefully, an O/NSO reminder that "the lottery will be weighted based on years and number of season tickets purchased."
The Obvious – The various bowl options in the season ticket lottery application includes BCS heavyweights Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls.
The Not So Obvious – So how many Trojan season ticket holders raised those eyebrows and cracked a grin when you saw the Holiday Bowl as an option? A Holiday Bowl seat sells for $48.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for seeing the greatest backfield in Trojan history, featuring running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White, and quarterback Matt Leinart,
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans should also be thankful for fullback David Kirtman, whose lead blocks have sprung Reggie Bush and LenDale White at the most opportune times, and let's not forget Kirtman's critical receptions out of the backfield when called upon.
The Obvious – The goal of the Trojans and their fans is the Rose Bowl.
The Not So Obvious – Although the ticket price for the Rose Bowl is $175 per ducat, considering there won't be the frenzy for airline tickets and hotel reservations, the price is a bargain. For those that have traveled to games in Florida, while the enjoyment was unquestioned, it was pricey unless you had air miles and hotel points.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for an offensive line that had potential greatness written all over it years ago when those letters of intent were barely dry.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans should be thankful for unsung heroes on the line like junior center Ryan Kalil, who was the least publicized linemen when those letters were faxed back to Heritage Hall.
The Obvious – The Fiesta Bowl would probably be the Trojans' option should they stub their toe along the Harbor Freeway
The Not So Obvious – It is a very real possibility that if it turns out to be the Fiesta Bowl on Jan 2, it could also mean a rematch against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. If not the Domers, Penn State could be an option.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful that Reggie Bush didn't sign a letter of intent with Stanford or Notre Dame coming out of Helix High.
The Not So Obvious - Reggie Bush is thankful he didn't sign with the Cardinal or the Fighting Irish.
The Obvious – Fans are still talking about last weekend's shootout in the Coliseum against Fresno State.
The Not So Obvious – The game was so intense that fans from both sides were nearly mute after the game as they departed near midnight. For Fresno State, it was the satisfaction that they could play with the Trojans and could have beaten them. For Trojan fans, it was another intense challenger and emotional coaster that felt like a sense of incredible relief. There were, for the most part, 90,007 fans that were not only tired but also drained
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett's miraculous reception against Notre Dame in the waning moments in South Bend.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful for the blocking of reserve wide receiver Chris McFoy.
The Obvious – Reggie Bush reinvigorated his Heisman performance with his record all-purpose yardage evening against the Bulldogs.
The Not So Obvious – Although most of the nation was asleep as the game went well beyond midnight in the East, there were enough Eastern writers and broadcasters on stations like ESPN that gave a full account of Bush's superstar performance. It will all come down for Bush to seal the deal against the Bruins that will be telecast nationally on ABC.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for play of junior middle linebacker Oscar Lua, who has had the difficult assignment of filling the shoes of Lofa Tatupu, now a budding star with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also appreciative of senior middle linebacker Collin Ashton, a former walk-on who proved that its as much about heart and head as it is about body and soul.
The Obvious – Besides the Heisman, Reggie Bush is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award (top running back) along with Jerome Harrison of Washington State and DeAngelo Williams of Memphis.
The Not So Obvious – And the predicted winner of the Doak Walker Award…….please, next question, commodore.
The Obvious – The Trojan fans are thankful for the spirited play of defensive end Frostee Rucker and offensive guard Fred Matua, who bring not only a physical presence but a spirited connection with the sellout crowds at the Coliseum.
The Not So Obvious – The Trojan fans are also thankful for the emotional play of linebacker Thomas Williams, who has played hurt for most of the season and will never be accused of taking a down off. The Hitman is also quite a crowd favorite at the Coliseum.
The Obvious – With victories at No. 6 Notre Dame, at No. 8 Oregon, and last weekend at home against No. 16 Fresno State, it's hard to argue the Trojans haven't played a tough schedule.
The Not So Obvious – Add the potential for a victory over No. 11 UCLA and what could a nation want in terms of credibility? The Trojans, including Fresno State, have now beaten 15 AP top 25 teams in their 33-game win streak.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for the play of the left side of the Trojans' offensive line, namely All-America left guard Taitusi Lutui and future All-American left tackle Sam Baker.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful for reserve junior offense tackle Kyle Williams, who has been able to put his team first and be there in relief when called upon.
The Obvious – With the holiday season rapidly approaching, a suggestion gift for a Trojan football fan is the current book, Conquest: Pete Carroll and the Trojans' Climb to the Top of the College Football Mountain."
The Not So Obvious – Conquest authors Gary Klein and David Wharton will be available for a 2 p.m. book signings this Saturday at the Pasadena Borders Bookstore, 475 S. Lake Ave., Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Calabasas Barnes and Noble, 4735 Commons Way, and next Thursday (Dec. 1) at the Glendale Borders, 100 S. Brand Blvd. at 7 p.m.
The Obvious – The Trojans are thankful for freshman linebacker Brian Cushing, who came across the country from New Jersey to challenge himself in spite of the intense competition.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful for freshman Georgia tackle Kyle Moore, who has shown his enthusiasm and determination in helping lead the Trojan team out of the Coliseum tunnel before kick-off.
The Obvious – The Trojans have suffered with defensive injuries to both their linebacker and secondary units.
The Not So Obvious – Although freshman linebacker Luther Brown is recovering from surgery, athletic officials at Lakewood High, Brown's prep hangout, said they saw Luther come by Lancerville a week ago and said he looks great and is ready to go. While most know the stud athlete for his football exploits, there are those at Lakewood who swear he would have made one heck of a basketball player had he had the time to play some hoops. Of course, he hasn't really test himself until he has played against Pete Carroll, king of the Trojan pickup games on campus.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful to junior defensive backs Brandon and Ryan Ting for showing what it being a team player is all about.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful to senior tailback Andre Woodert, who seldom sees action but provides team leadership worthy of a starter.
The Obvious – The Trojans heart stopping game against Fresno State was a beauty to watch on FSN replay.
The Not So Obvious – However, wherever we go, folks ask us if we have a copy of the Notre Dame game. The ND game would also make a fine holiday present for those that still can't forget that Oct. 15th classic.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for the hard-hitting play of safeties Darnell Bing and Scott Ware, both of whom have made recent interceptions to keep the Trojan horse running undefeated.
The Not So Obvious - Trojan fans are also thankful for sophomore corner Josh Pinkard, an outstanding secondary prospect who plugged a gap at corner after coming over from safety.
The Obvious – The Penn State Nittany Lions stayed up late Saturday night to watch the Trojans/Fresno State game, hoping for a Trojan stumble that might put the lads from Happy Valley in the national title picture.
The Not So Obvious – According to the New York Times, PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley revealed his phone was ringing at 1 p.m. from friends giving updates. Bradley said, " You don't root for anyone to lose, but you do watch a little bit closer." Sure you don't root for the Cardinal and Gold to lose. Hook coach Bradley up to a lie detector test and the guy would electrocute himself.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for Kettle Corn at the Coliseum, an addiction that seems to during and well after the game.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans area also thankful for the roasted corn, although it seems the line at halftime runs all the way back to the USC campus.
The Obvious – Fresno coach Pat Hill would love to get another rematch with Pete Carroll's Trojans.
The Not So Obvious – A mutual friend of the O/NSO who is a longtime family friend of Hill said, " Pat has got a real edge to him and we've known he and his family for years. Let me tell you one thing, he is a great, great coach."
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for the special teams play of now injured Desmond Reed, whose season ended with misfortune thanks to the lethal grass at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thank to freshman linebacker Rey Maualuga for some of the toughest hits of the season on special teams, bringing a bright light to an otherwise dysfunctional unit.
The Obvious – Forty-two points were the most points USC has ever allowed and still won and the most in the Pete Carroll era.
The Not So Obvious – Well, in the Pete Carroll era we've seen a 33-game winning streak, two national titles, a succession of Pac-10 titles, and perhaps a third Heisman Trophy winner, so when you run those bases, eventually you're going to trip at some point. The good news is the 42 points didn't belong to the boys from Westwood.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful to Trojan fans for screaming their cardinal and gold heads off and selling out Coliseum to unimaginable heights.
The Not So Obvious – Trojans fans are also thankful to Trojan fans for wearing red to the games, an awesome sight as evidenced by video shots from the various blimps that hover over the Coliseum during televised games.
The Obvious – The aftermath of the Fresno State is still lingering in central California, especially for the pained Fresno State football team.
The Not So Obvious – Outstanding Bulldog cornerback Richard Marshall said, "We should have won the game. We had a lot of chances to put them out. It was just some things we didn't take care of that hurt us." Richard, my boy, that's why the Trojans, among other things, have won 33 in a row and have two national titles. They don't make many Reggie Bush fumble mistakes and when the Men of Troy get one of yours, like five turnovers, they generally decapitate the opposition. Good teams win close games and great teams win a lot of them.
The Obvious – Fresno State came into their game with the Trojans averaging 40.2 points per game and 410.4 yards in total offense.
The Not So Obvious – UCLA comes into next Saturday's game averaging 40 points per game and 444.4 yards in total offense.
The Obvious – There were more than a number of media that were fast asleep when Reggie Bush was rewriting Pac-10 history against Fresno State.
The Not So Obvious – However, the national media has made up for nocturnal time with large doses of coverage of The Roadrunner's astounding performance. USA Today columnist Ian O'Conner wrote, "At a fat-free 6-feet, 200 pounds, Bush is the best college player I've ever seen, and probably the best college player anyone's ever seen. Today's defenses are bigger, stronger and much faster than they used to be, allowing for a wide body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that Bush is better than the great backs before him, better than O.J. Simpson and Barry Sanders, better than the two-time Heisman winner, Archie Griffin."
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for the field goal kicking of sophomore Mario Danelo, who has taken advantage of his brief moments and actually helped kick the Trojan to victory over Fresno State with his three field goals.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful for the snaps of Will Collins, who has been near perfect, thus providing an anonymous positive to the Trojan special teams.
The Obvious – Apparently Chick's Sporting Goods thinks they see another trophy in Heritage Hall as they have displayed a cover photo of Reggie's No. 5 jersey on the cover of their holiday catalog.
The Not So Obvious - There is also a full page of Trojan apparel for both men and women. What about the Bruins? They only reference to the Westwooders is a mini helmet display next to a Trojan replica mini helmet. Well, when you're hot you're hot and across the country the Trojans are cardinal hot.
The Obvious – ESPN's College Game Day show will be present for the Trojans and Bruins slugfest on Dec. 3.
The Not So Obvious – Thanks to a 1:30 p.m. kickoff, those early tailgaters won't have to wait for the action to begin since the ESPN show will start airing live at 7:30 a.m., Of course the highlight will come around 8:55 when Lee Corso wears the headgear of his predicted winner. As a reminder, when Corso puts that Trojan helmet on, no Mel Brooks look-a-like, History of the World comments.
The Obvious –Trojan fans are thankful that ESPN Game Day is returning to the Coliseum for the UCLA game.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are also thankful the UCLA game is at 1:30 p.m., meaning a return to what used to be the standard time for college football games for the cardinal and gold.
The Obvious –College football fans are still buzzing about the Notre Dame win and Matt Leinart's relentless plunge into the Irish end zone.
The Not So Obvious – If you like reliving the Leinart South Bend magic, this month's December edition of WeAreSC magazine has a wonderful color photo at ground level of Lefty giving the final lunge to win of college football's most exciting endings. The photo, taken by WeAreSC photographer Joe Andras, is a real keeper.
The Obvious – Next Saturday's Trojan/Bruin confrontation will be televised on ABC at 1:30 p.m., PST.
The Not So Obvious – While the community awaits the moment of Pac-10 championship truth, there is some entertaining alternatives this weekend beginning Friday morning with a possible Rose Bowl scouting report as No. 2 Texas at Texas A&M (9:00 a.m., ABC). At noon, it's "We beat the Bruins, We beat the Bruins" Arizona at "Wait till next year, again" Arizona State on FSN. Saturday afternoon provides impending Pac-10 disaster featuring No. 6 Notre Dame at " Even our basketball team lost at home to UC Irvine" Stanford (5:00 p.m., ABC).
The Obvious – Trojan fans are thankful for TiVo and other devices to record most of the games.
The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans area also thankful that ABC legend Keith Jackson, despite an occasional lapse or two, is calling the UCLA game and, with a little skill and Coliseum luck, the Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
The Obvious – Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarrett and Taitusi Lutui, all members of the Trojans' vaunted offense, were selected to the American Football Coaches Assn. All-American team
The Not So Obvious – Congrats to the four Trojans selected, but the O/NSO is more interested seeing the All-Pac-10 team and players of the year. We expect to see at least two more members from the offense receive some love. Even Pete Carroll's defense could see as many as three players making all-conference.
The Obvious – The O/NSO is thankful for all the kind reader words for this column, our staff writers, and, of course, our publisher Garry Paskwietz
The Not So Obvious – The O/NSO is also thankful to be covering a Trojan era that is the best in the history of the school, something that many AARP folks thought ended when John McKay went to the Sunday league. Now if you excuse please, we're going to digest Thursday's turkey by popping in the History of USC Football DVD, much better than pumpkin pie.