O/NSO - Memorial Day edition

In picking up Lindy's magazine, it certainly was different not seeing the likes of Trojan Heisman legends Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on the cover. However, junior All-America receiver Dwayne Jarrett keeps the magazine tradition alive, as No. 8 adores the regional cover of Lindy's national preview.

The Obvious – With a Memorial Day resonating with the sweet, summer fragrance of barbeque and frivolity, the long wait is over as the first of the 2006 college football magazines hit the newsstands on Friday. While technically still in the month of May, it certainly wasn't too early for Trojan fans to scurry down to invest in some pre-season excitement, especially as the returning Trojans and incoming freshmen begin to make their way back to campus in preparation for summer drills and conditioning.

The Not So Obvious – In picking up Lindy's magazine, it certainly was different not seeing the likes of Trojan Heisman legends Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on the cover. However, junior All-America receiver Dwayne Jarrett keeps the magazine tradition alive, as No. 8 adores the regional cover of Lindy's national preview. Like many of the major publications, Lindy's, does both a national and separate regional preview, and it is our humble opinion, that Lindy's is near as good as it gets, although we anticipate another fine edition from the comprehensive Phil Steele publication. Of course, nobody covering the Trojans will be as extensive as the second annual WeAreSC 2006 Trojan Yearbook, which we place the O/NSO reputation by saying it will be much bigger and better than our well-received initial effort last season. Shhhhh, come closer, but the staff is very excited back in our top-secret headquarters, deep in a clandestine location.

The Obvious – Memorial Day is the day in which our country gives thanks to all those that gave their lives, so we could live in the greatest country in the history of mankind.

The Not So Obvious – The O/NSO also says thank you to all servicemen and women around the world who read WeAreSC.com. On behalf of the staff, we hope, no matter where you are around this planet, we have given you some peace, relaxation, distraction and, of course, some Trojan football during those "off hours." A big Fight On to all of you!

The Obvious – The fact the popular Lindy's mag hit the stands in late May before the traditional glut of June publications, tells you how popular college football is these days on a national scale.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan are ranked sixth and Lindy's says, "Jan. 4, 2006 wasn't the expiration date of USC's run of excellence. The Trojans won't be as immensely entertaining, but neither will they take a major step backward, thanks to a much-improved defense." Lindy's names our good friends from South Bend as their pre-season No. 1.

The Obvious – As expected, junior offensive tackle Sam Baker is making a nice collection of pre-season honors, which began with his selection to the Playboy All-America team.

The Not So Obvious – Bad News Baker also is a first-team selection in Lindy's magazine along with Mr. Jarrett while senior center Ryan Kalil (photo) is the second-team selection behind West Virginia's Dan Mozes. While there are no Trojan first-teamers on Lindy's defense, junior defensive end Lawrence Jackson was selected to the second unit.

The Obvious – Many Pac-10 teams are hopeful that the 2006 conference season will be the end of the Trojans' four-year hold on the league title.

The Not So Obvious – Not according to Lindy's magazine. The Trojans are their choice to win a fifth straight conference crown with Jeff Tedford's Cal Bears in hot pursuit. Okay, here's the rest of the order: ASU, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State, and Washington.

The Obvious – Like most magazines, Lindy's names an All-Pac-10 team on offense and defense.

The Not So Obvious – Making the first unit offense is Dwayne Jarrett, Sam Baker, and Ryan Kalil with receiver Steve Smith, a second-team choice. On defense, Lawrence Jackson, Keith Rivers, and Oscar Lua were first-team selections, but there were no second-team mentions. Baker was also named the best run blocker in the conference and Jarrett the best "hands" in the league.

The Obvious – Junior offensive lineman Matt Spanos is ineligible for the fall, failing to literally make the grade.

The Not So Obvious – No sympathy here for Spanos. The Trojan football program has so many support areas that you almost have to be intent on not doing a darn thing. Here was a chance for Spanos to not only make his family as happy as Christmas morning, but a chance to finally get an chance in the Pete Carroll window of competition opportunity. If someone had turned to Matt before spring ball and told him he wouldn't be eligible to play in the fall, do you think he would have competed so hard to earn his big chance? Go figure.

The Obvious – The Trojan offensive line, despite the loss of guards Deuce Lutui and Fred Matua and tackle Winston Justice, is still considered, potentially, one of the best in America.

The Not So Obvious – With the loss of versatile Matt Spanos, attention should shift quickly to junior Drew Radovich (photo), who has quietly continued to rehab and could be a major force, both as a potential starter at left guard and valued reserve. If the former Mission Viejo product can stay healthy, the Trojan offense will be much the better. It figures that sophomore Jeff Byers will get first call at the left guard spot, but don't count out Radovich if No. 60 is ready to rumble.

The Obvious – Sophomore safety Will Harris tears his ACL for a second time and is lost for the season.

The Not So Obvious – Once again, a Trojan is bit by another big injury before he gets an opportunity, so help me Hershel Dennis. If Harris didn't have bad luck, the kid would have no luck at all. One of the harder hitters in a line of hard hitters on defense, the former Covina Charter Oak stud must now begin to wonder what his future is as a football player. As the late Howard Cosell used to lament, "The knee…always the knee."

The Obvious – There was no more celebrated recruiting saga this past recruiting season than that of wide receiver Vidal Hazelton, the anointed one from Staten Island, New York, by way of Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia.

The Not So Obvious - With all the attention of the Trojan program directed in various directions, it's almost as if Hazelton is now an afterthought….almost. We are led to believe that all is well and the multi-talented New Yorker is expected on campus shortly.

The Obvious – Starting offensive right tackle Kyle Williams recently became a first-time father, welcoming a daughter named Kylie Elizabeth Williams.

The Not So Obvious – Deuce Lutui was also a father during his playing days at Troy. Well, I guess you can say that the Trojan have lost one fatherly offensive line figure and replaced him with another. No truth to the rumor that Williams will now be referred on the offensive line simply as "Pops."

The Obvious – One of the well-known sporting goods stores in the southland is Chicks.

The Not So Obvious – During a recent visit to Chicks, a customer went over to one of those Trojan bottle openers that plays "Fight On" and activated it. Out came "Fight On," loud and clear. Two customers located within hearing distance of the famous Trojan fight song instinctively reached for their cell phones. It would have brought a smile to Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, the Trojans famed band director.

The Obvious – The Trojans win the Lexus Gauntlet award, given annually to the winner of the head-to-head all-sports competition between crosstown rivals USC and UCLA.

The Not So Obvious – Who cares about the Lexus Gauntlet? Well, when the lads from Westwood win it, you'll get your the answer. Competition between the Trojans and the Bruins is so fierce that one historian once noted, "If the Trojans were playing the Bruins in Tiddlywinks, Trojans fans would want to know who is starting at left tiddly."

The Obvious – It appears serious that the NFL is coming back to the Coliseum, probably by the end of the decade.

The Not So Obvious – Like our Garry P. mentioned in an earlier commentary, the NFL return needs to be put in the proper prospective by the Coliseum Commission and challenged by USC. When the Grand Old Lady was the target of numerous, unattractive comment regarding age, function, and poor location, the USC football program's return to national prominence turned those countless negatives into a new age of revitalization. Recently packing in 90,000 per home game, Pete Carroll's program has single handedly transformed the Coliseum back to a national treasure – surely commanding the heightened attention from the NFL. Thanks to USC, the NFL clearly sees a new day in Exposition Park, and the professional league and the folks at the Coliseum should give the Trojans their proper due.

The Obvious – The Trojan football program has turned the Coliseum into a major home field advantage by both the obvious internal signs and billboards located within the confines of the famed stadium.

The Not So Obvious – For those that have never had the privilege of walking up or down the famed Coliseum tunnel, there are constant reminders, through banners and artwork on the walls, that tell opponents this is Trojan country. Perhaps more importantly is the actual Trojan locker room that has been transformed into a matchless home team atmosphere. Giant pictures of past Trojan stars and an inside cardinal and gold color scheme make this a must-see and is a real citadel for recruits, not to mention a place of players to dress and get ready to get ready for battle. We say that if the Coliseum is to be redone, the Trojans should retain their locker room and a new locker room for the NFL team should be constructed. It's the least that could be done to keep a Trojan feel. One Coliseum model does show a two-tunnel entrance. Get out those "Save The Tunnel" bumper stickers.

The Obvious – Last week, Trojan incoming, prep All-America linebacker Allen Bradford of Colton High received the Ken Hubbs Memorial Award, considered San Bernardino County's most prestigious prep athletic award.

The Not So Obvious – Kenneth Douglas Hubbs was a young infielder for the Chicago Cubs whose life was cut short by an automobile accident. Hubbs, also a great athlete out of Colton High, was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1962 and was a Gold Glove recipient the same year when he went 78 consecutive games without an error. Many still believe he had all-star written all over him when he died at 23-years-old in Provo, Utah.

The Obvious – In a recent ESPN.com article on coaches, Pete Carroll reaffirmed that he does not allow coaches from other teams to pick his brain and visit his spring practices, including the likes of Florida State legend Bobby Bowden.

The Not So Obvious – In contrast, we observed many times during the John McKay era when it was not unusual to see spring visits from Alabama legend, Paul "Bear" Byrant, or Penn State's Joe Paterno. Not only were coaches like this part of an inner circle, McKay felt there was nothing to hide. Not to imply that Carroll's philosophy or methods are paranoid or unreasonable but simply a matter of coaching viewpoint.

The Obvious – There are still disgruntled Trojan fans that were shutout of away game ticket applications due to a new pecking order of support groups.

The Not So Obvious – Traveling with the Men of Troy has become not only fun but big business, as well. It will be interesting to see the types of "packages" that the usual travel agent suspects present this Trojan season. Perhaps the big winners will be ticket brokers such as StubHub and eBay, which given the right seller, is not always a bad alternative, depending, of course, on your pocketbook.

The Obvious – The Trojans open the season on Sept. 2 at Arkansas.

The Not So Obvious – For those still considering if they should make the trip to Fayetteville and are still lurking for a ticket, know that Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium seats 72,000. Forget about the official Arkansas athletic ticket site, which has announced that the only way to get a ticket for the Trojan game is to buy the "Fayetteville Package," referring to games played in Fayetteville (duh). If there are individual game tickets left, and don't hold your cardinal and gold breath, they will be made available no later than one week prior to the game.

The Obvious – Four Trojan home games will be 5:00 p.m. kickoff times, with a fifth set for 5:00 p.m. at Arizona.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans opener at Arkansas will be 6:00 p.m., Arkansas time. Of course that will mean 4:00 p.m., in SoCal. Arkansas is on Central Standard Time.

The Obvious – The 1976 UCLA Rose Bowl championship team will have its 30-year reunion on Saturday.

The Not So Obvious – One of the major players for the Westwooders who led the Bruins to a 23-10 victory over No. 1 Ohio State was a running back named Wendell Tyler. Wendell's son, Marc Tyler, who attends Oaks Christian, is one of the top running backs in the country and is now considered a strong lean to become a Trojan after inspecting Notre Dame during the Jimmy Clausen recruiting announcement circus.

The Obvious - There is no question that the Notre Dame campus lives up to all the hype, and for six or seven college football days a year is the ultimate college football experience.

The Not So Obvious - However, for a player like Tyler who comes from the wonders of environmental diversity in Southern California, what do you do for the other 358 days in the little hamlet of South Bend? Chicago is still a 90-minute drive and freeway traffic on the Indiana Toll Road and Dan Ryan Expressway can rival LA traffic at numerous points.

The Obvious – Fathers Day is Sunday, June 18th.

The Not So Obvious – For future Trojan daddies who have visions of watching their son(s) run out of the Coliseum tunnel with the glistening red helmets with the gray facemasks, bestow your future son with the name Troy. It seemed to work for kicker Troy Van Blarcom, All-America safety Troy Polamalu, safety/corner Troy West, and quarterback Troy Winslow. Of course the Bruins tried to beat the Trojans at their own name game with quarterback Troy Aikman, but we all know how that turned out. Just call Aikman's two losses to the Cardinal and Gold as the naming Curse of Tommy Trojan.

The Obvious – There is no larger figure in Trojan history than that of legendary fullback Sam "Bam" Cunningham, who started on what many consider the greatest college football team of all-time.

The Not So Obvious – Cunningham was recently the keynote speaker at the Long Beach Unified School District's Most Inspiring Student awards dinner, which recognized 90 students, each having overcome life's many obstacles of either physical or personal challenges. Cunningham's own daughter, Samahndi, a former Long Beach Poly student, received a special inspiration award, which was greeted by a big hug from her famous father. Congratulations No. 39.

The Obvious – The 2006 season is now coming up like a sunrise from the East as all aspects of Trojan football come together, which means prep all-star games, on-campus USC skills and linemen camps, team conditioning, and the June onslaught of those entertaining college football magazines.

The Not So Obvious – You know, Memorial Day really is a good time to crank up the old BBQ and invite some friends to give thanks, celebrate the coming summer, and chatter about the upcoming Trojan football season. And, hey, while we're smelling and then devouring the delights of some BBQ ribs and chicken, lets pop in that History of Trojan Football DVD to add some "flavor" to the festivities.

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