O/NSO Ducat edition

There has been a great deal speculation that much of the vanished "star power" of the USC Trojans would translate to reduced attendance for the 2006 season. However, proving that the real star power is USC Trojan football, three of six Coliseum home games, Nebraska, Cal, and Notre Dame, have been officially announced as sellouts by the Trojan Ticket Department.

The Obvious – With the departure of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and LenDale White, there has been a great deal speculation that much of the vanished "star power" of the USC Trojans would translate to reduced attendance for the 2006 season. However, proving that the real star power is USC Trojan football, three of six Coliseum home games, Nebraska, Cal, and Notre Dame, have been officially announced as sellouts by the Trojan Ticket Department.

The Not So Obvious – The remaining three home games, Arizona State, Washington, and Oregon, may also be declared as sellouts. If you are looking to purchase just one ticket, the O/NSO did a "market research" and found that one ticket for Washington (Oct. 7) places you in high up in Section 28H (Row 80), one ticket for Arizona State (Oct. 14) puts you lower up in Section 14H (Row 72), and one ticket for Oregon (Nov. 11) puts you even lower in Section 3H (Row 55). A no-brainer bet would be sellouts for ASU and Oregon and should the Trojans get out of the gate unscathed in the first three games, the Washington contest, depending on the Husky record and kickoff time, could be the attendance coup de grace.

The Obvious – The Trojans figure to be a sellout attraction on the road as well, as most of the opponents have jacked up their ticket prices just for the appearance of the Men of Troy.

The Not So Obvious – It may not reach the bowl lottery frenzy in terms of anticipation, but that Trojan road ticket lottery for non-donor season ticket holders figures to be quite a moment the week of July 18th as results are announced for four of the five road games. If you were an odds maker, you would think your chances for Washington State at Pullman are your best bet. Most lottery fans will be crossing their fingers for the opener at Arkansas and the finale at UCLA in the Rose Bowl. If you think that a service like StubHub is worth the extra change, consider that those lucky fans that paid the $50 top price on the Stanford Ticket Department's Monday sale were wowed when they looked on StubHub and found their same section and row going for $150 per ducat.

The Obvious – The Trojans ticket department sent out an e-mail for fans wanting to purchase game tickets at Stanford through the Cardinal website.

The Not So Obvious – Former Cardinal coach Bill Walsh, who has always held the Trojans close to his heart and is currently a special assistant to the athletic director, will be happy to know, so please raise your hand, if you made sure you "logged on" by the opening sales bell at 9:00 a.m. last Monday. Tickets, which went for $50/$40, were gone within 50 minutes. Strong rumors indicate there was a large sale of seats from the Los Angeles area. With Stanford Stadium rebuilt from an 85,000-seat venue to a 50,000-seat facility, it figures the Cardinal should get sellouts on a more consistent basis. The O/NSO has checked out the "live" camera shots of the new Stanford Stadium and we like what we see.

The Obvious – Pete Carroll is beginning his sixth season as the head coach of the University of Southern California.

The Not So Obvious – When practice begins officially in the first week in August, Carroll will break his own personal record for longevity at any one coaching stop. The Trojans' CEO is "currently" tied at five years at the same place with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets.

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

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans will leave on a Thursday to get "use" to the surroundings and will stay in a little outpost known as Rogers, Arkansas. No, it was not named after Roy Rogers, the late cowboy icon. That's the type of remark Scout.com recruiting guru Scott Schrader would dispense.

The Obvious - Speaking of young Schrader, Scott's dad, legendary columnist Loel Schrader, has teamed with Orange County Register columnist Steve Bisheff on a new historical book on Trojan football.

The Not So Obvious -The hardcover book, Fight On! The Colorful Story of USC Football, which is due out Sept. 1, not only contains story and era reviews, but also rates the ten best Trojan games and top fifty players. The cover features coaches Pete Carroll and John McKay, quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, and tailbacks Mike Garrett and Marcus Allen, and the foreword is by Ronnie Lott. You can pre-order this promising account through Amazon.com.

The Obvious – The next WeAreSC dinner at the Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro will be Wednesday, August 30.

The Not So Obvious – It will a twin headliner evening as Fight On! A Colorful Story of USC Football co-authors Loel Schrader and Steve Bisheff will entertain the masses with reflections on the past and present state of Trojan football and provide some tantalizing sneaks of their new book.

The Obvious – According to the Associated Press and the Daily News, the famed Trojan Marching Band is being relocated into the "Sun Deck" for the 2006 season.

The Not So Obvious – Of the relocation, Director Arthur C. Bartner told the Daily News, "Am I apprehensive? Yes, It's definitely a challenge. But my goal and Mike's goal is to get the whole stadium yelling. Rocking and rolling. I said, `Let's go for it.' My goal is to make the Sun Deck a happening place and to project sound." Being the good team player that he is, Bartner took the high road. Yes, it's possible that the new location and a new sound system will fill the Coliseum with better audio from TMB, but it leaves the O/NSO with the impression it was all about increased season ticket and donor money at the expense of the students and we're not cool with that. Of course, visiting bands to the Coliseum were banished last season to beyond the end zone of the peristyle end. There is something dubious when the TMB is only a "section" away from the visiting band.

The Obvious – There have been stories written about the Trojan Marching Band and how each play on the field has a corresponding musical response.

The Not So Obvious – The first thing that comes to mind is how will Bartner and the band know what to play when they can't see the action at the closed end of the Coliseum? The band will also be devoid of access to watching the video board, since it will be behind everybody but the good director. The logistics will be interesting, but you can bet Bartner will somehow turn a negative into a positive. Oh well, the band should have experience from away games on what to do since they are usually placed behind an end zone on the road. Come to think of it, this does get the musicians ready for the behind-the-end zone roadie against the Bruins

The Obvious – Word is also out that the Trojans will no longer have yell leaders but will motivate yells through a unit known as Team Trojan.

The Not So Obvious – For old time Trojan supporters, there was a time when the yell leaders actually led Coliseum crowds in "traditional" chants such as "first down" or "touchdown or "defense" or the famed S-O-U-T-H--E-R-N C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A spellout. When lead by yell leaders that know their football, it adds greatly to the home field advantage, not to mention crowd participation. Sometimes going back in time works like when Pete Carroll brought back the retro uniforms and they were received beautifully. With the band banished to the Sun Deck and the elimination of the yell leaders, it leaves tradition with a little bit of a bruise. We keep an open mind to see if it works, but the wrath of the O/NSO will be ready at the wake if it "sucks."

The Obvious – It seemed rather appropriate that legendary ABC broadcaster Keith Jackson, a southern California resident, called his last game of his career with the Trojans playing Texas for the BCS National Championship in the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious – In case you have not heard, this year's BCS championship will be in Glendale, Arizona in the NFL Cardinals' new stadium on Jan. 8 and the "voice" of the Fox telecast will be veteran broadcaster Thom Brennaman, current voice of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Fox NFL coverage. Brennaman is the son of Marty Brennaman, famed baseball broadcaster.

The Obvious – There is no louder facility than Washington's Husky Stadium when "The Dogs" are at their best.

The Not So Obvious – However, as far as watching a game there, if you subtract the beautiful view of the boats coming to the Husky Stadium off the lake, it is a terrible place to watch the game, since the fans are so far away from the field thanks to a track that surrounds the gridiron. Apparently the Husky Athletic Department has heard the cries of the O/NSO as plans are being made to renovate the facility and make it more fan friendly. Generally, Trojan fans are stuck behind the West end zone and you need a NASA telescope to view the proceedings.

The Obvious – Stellar Washington D.C. prep receiver Arrelious Benn recently visited the Trojans and part of his SoCal "vacation" was staying a night at the home of Notre Dame verbal Jimmy Clausen and then watching the standout quarterback at a local passing tournament.

The Not So Obvious – Sometimes it's nice to see the writing on the wall as it would take a major change of heart to keep the talented Benn from attending Notre Dame. However, as a Scout.com story recently pointed out, Benn said that one day he would like to live in southern California. Trojan fans would appreciate if Benn would make the LA the home next summer, but don't hold your breath or anybody elses.

The Obvious – Florida offensive lineman James Wilson of Nease High says he will make his decision on his future college on August 1.

The Not So Obvious – Considering this is the birthday of your humble scribe, it sure would make a perfect birthday present should Wilson choose the Trojans over the South Benders. In case you have not read the detailed report by Scout.com's illustrious guru, Allen Wallace, Wilson says it' s "50/50" between "Notre Dame and USC" and gives and solid positives for each institution. We still think the Irish have the slight edge, but James says he does like the SoCal weather. However, if there is one certainty about recruiting, it's the uncertainly, and we August 1st birthday boys have to stick together, don't we?

The Obvious – If you have been by Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Fields lately, there is a whole lot of work to get the natural turf ready for the return Aug. 3 of the Trojans.

The Not So Obvious – Our lasting memory before the latest re-sodding efforts was the fields were starting look like an 80-year-old man in need of Rogaine. The gridirons distinctly had the appearance of those district high school football fields that are used throughout the weekend during the fall prep season. If history is any indication, the Trojans will return to an immaculate green carpet like we saw at the beginning the 2005 season. And no, there won't be any specialized long grass areas to prepare for the Irish, you can bet on that.

The Obvious – Lindy's Pac-10 Preview magazine has now hit the newsstands.

The Not So Obvious – Lindy's presents its All-Pac10 team of the last 20 years and the usual Trojan suspects are on the offensive and defensive lists. Matt Leinart beat out UCLA's Troy Aikman for the quarterback position and joining the offense with Leinart are Trojan RB Reggie Bush, WR Dwayne Jarrett, WR Keyshawn Joh and OT Tony Boselli. Unbelievably, WR Mike Williams DID NOT make th[/b]e first or second team, but OT Jacob Rogers did make the second unit. Defensively, the Trojans were in good standing with first-team honors going to LB Junior Seau, LB Chris Clairborne, DB Mark Carrier, DB Troy Polamalu, and punter Tom Malone. Second team selections DL Shaun Cody and LB Willie McGinest.

The Obvious – Lindy's Pac-10 publication rates the top 20 teams of the last 20 years.

The Not So Obvious – The 2004 Trojans get the nod as the best in the last two decades topping the 1991 Washington Huskies.

The Obvious – Lindy's ranks the 20 most unforgettable coaches, players, games and moments.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans swept all four categories with Pete Carroll, the coaching winner over Washington's Don James. Reggie Bush beat out the late ASU linebacker Pat Tillman for players. The 2005 Rose Bowl loss to Texas was the best game ahead of the 2005 Notre Dame classic, and the best moment was Reggie Bush's "push of Matt Leinart into the end zone to beat the Irish. The Bush moment won out over Oregon's Kenny Wheaton's interception against Washington, which helped bring the Ducks first Rose Bowl appearance in twenty-five years.

The Obvious – There were rumors during the past several weeks that not only was wide receiver Whitney Lewis leaving Troy, but offensive tackle Thomas Herring was be looking for a Greyhound ticket.

The Not So Obvious – Thanks to our Garry P.'s love of getting up before the roster crows, we have evidence of Herring's intentions in the recent early morning photo of the big tackle during the pre-eggs and sausage exercises. So there, put the rumors to rest and reset the alarm clock of panic. Thomas is alive and well and Trojan fans got a look on their monitors as self- assurance. Not to worry.

The Obvious – Safety Allen Bradford made his appearance on Friday without visibly feeling the effects of the Trojans intense conditioning program.

The Not So Obvious – The O/NSO is reminded of seeing Bradford on Howard Jones Field during fall practice a little more than a year ago when the former Colton All-America linebacker seemed a little intimidated by the size of the Trojan linebackers. Perhaps he was comparing himself with the old eyeball test, but just the shear height of Dallas Sartz (6-5) and the physical build of Keith Rivers certainly could give a prep senior-to-be some self doubts. With Bradford being groomed as a safety for now, we promise not to talk about his best position being running back, so help me Darnell Bing.

The Obvious – The Orange County All-Star Football Game is this Friday night at LaBard Stadium on the campus of Orange Coast College.

The Not So Obvious – The OC game, which kicks off at 7:15 p.m. and coincides with the popular Orange County Fair across the street, generally draws a healthy 7,000 fans, although this year's game will be devoid of any Trojans. The lone incoming Orange County Trojan, Alex Parsons, is attending USC summer school and is attempting to survive the early days of Camp Carlisle. Last year's OC Game featured Trojan kicker Troy Van Blarcom out of Orange Lutheran, home to two current Trojan verbals, OT Michael Reardon and QB Aaron Corp. Friday night's game, however, will feature a number of other performers from The County who will suit up for Pac-10 competitors.

The Obvious – The 14th annual ESPYs will air on ESPN from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on July 16 at 6 p.m. (PDT) and Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart are listed in a couple of categories.

The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans are being urged to vote for their heroes in various categories for a show that actually will be taped on July 12. In promoting the show on ESPN, there is a rather clever but painful reminder of the lost glory the Men of Troy suffered at the hands of Texas in the national championship. While humorous at different points, the spot was a reminder of how close the 2005 Trojans came to instant immortality yet stopped by the incredible performance of Vince Young, who figures to be honored by the ESPYs.

The Obvious – Despite the loss of a number of superstars, the 2006 Trojans remain a blend of the young and the old, the experienced and the inexperienced.

The Not So Obvious – The oldest player on the 2006 Trojans will be junior offensive guard Alatini "Tiny" Malu, born Apirl 30, 1981, and the youngest will be freshman receiver Travon Patterson, born Sept. 20, 1988. No, we aren't going to do the math for you, but here's a hint: One is equal to a generation and the other is still underage. Of course, the O/NSO was not a math major and we take no responsibility for addition or subtraction.

The Obvious – It is well documented on the success of Pete Carroll in recruiting out-of-state talent.

The Not So Obvious – There are currently 23 players listed from out of California in the 2006 program. One, senior Travis Tofi, is from America Samoa, but we guess you knew that. California remains the heart of the operation with 82 players listed from our Golden State.

The Obvious – And finally, the Trojans have released more game-used jerseys for auction including the jerseys of No. 10 Darnell Bing, No. 14 Tom Malone, No. 34 Hershel Dennis, No. 51 Fred Matua, and No. 90 Frostee Rucker.

The Not So Obvious – We don't want to turn this thing into a financial popularity contest, but in the early bidding, former safety Darnell Bing has the highest number of bidders (10) now setting the pace at $1,000. Right behind Bing in terms of number of bidders is former guard Fred Matua with seven bidders ($450). If you're looking at the second highest in terms of money plopped down, it's former defensive end Frostee Rucker at $500 with five bidders. Boy, does the Pete Carroll competition factor ever end?


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