The Not So Obvious ? What was of consequence following the conclusion of Saturday?s activities is that Nov 18 is shaping up as one of the great days in college football and the BCS in general. If there is no toe stubbing, call it ?BCS Elimination Saturday? as Ohio State and Michigan will have at it on ABC (12:30 p.m., PST) followed by ABC?s coverage of the Trojans and California (5:00 p.m., PST). Needless to say, Columbus and Los Angeles potentially will be the focus of the college football world.
The Obvious ? On Saturday, Notre Dame and Cal were punched woozy on the ropes almost to the point of being almost vanquished while Oregon and UCLA were painfully knocked out altogether.
The Not So Obvious ? Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA exposed their own set of issues and while all these adversaries figure to bring their ?A? game to the Men of Troy in November and December, they all showed signs of vulnerability. Saturday?s opponent struggles were a pressure release for Trojan fans, who perhaps were feeling more than a bit anxious about their own team?s recent performances, despite a spotless 6-0 record.
The Obvious ? With just over a minute to play and no timeouts, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn drives the Irish 80 yards in three plays to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as the No. 10 Golden Domers (6-1) stun UCLA (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10), 20-17, at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Not So Obvious ? The Trojans need no introduction about what can go wrong in the unfriendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium. The Bruins did everything but win and on the UCLA post-game radio show, callers were demanding the heads of both Karl Dorrell and offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda. Without Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Dwayne Jarrett, Brady Quinn might have done the same thing last season to the Cardinal and Gold in the final moments of the fourth quarter in South Bend, but that?s what ?fight on? is all about. We tip the O/NSO cap to the Bruins, who really competed, but for the gridiron computers of America, the ND victory was a Trojan win all around.
The Obvious ? In the Times UCLA-Notre Dame pregame story by former Trojan receiver and Bruin beat writer Lonnie White, Bruins? assistant coach Chuck Bullough said, ?There are only a couple of stadiums that are great to play in. The Rose Bowl, the Big House (Michigan Stadium), the Coliseum, and here (Notre Dame Stadium)."
The Not So Obvious ? The Trojans are well versed in playing in the Rose Bowl, their ?home away from home,? Notre Dame Stadium, a bi-yearly experience, and, of course, the grandest of them all, the Coliseum. However, the only time the Cardinal and Gold have played at Michigan was back .in 1958. Let?s see, the O/NSO does see an open dates in 2008 and 2010. All those in favor of a little roadie to Ann Arbor? Thought so.
The Obvious ? California tailback Marshawn Lynch runs for 150 yards and a 22-yard touchdown in overtime as the No. 11 Bears (7-1, 5-0 Pac-10) survive Washington's (4-4, 2-3 Pac-10) upset bid for a 31-24 victory in Berkeley.
The Not So Obvious ? Yes, it took a Hail Mary by the Huskies to take this baby into overtime, but with UW QB Isaiah Stanback out, Ty?s lads gave Jeff Tedford?s club all they could handle in Berkeley. Suddenly, those Cal Bears don?t look quite so invincible, although tailback Lynch is All-America material and quarterback Nathan Longshore is a menace.
The Obvious ? This is the time of the season when the media picks its Half-Season Awards candidates.
The Not So Obvious ? The Sporting News had a plethora of experts giving out opinions such as ?Who?s your coach of the half-season?? TSN columnist Tom Dienhart said, ?Pete Carroll at USC. No coach has had to replace more talent or deal with more injuries and expectations.?
The Obvious ? Washington State (5-3, 3-2 Pac-10)) withstood an Oregon 20-point fourth quarter comeback bid to stagger the No.16 visiting Ducks? (5-2, 3-2 Pac-10) title hopes, 34-23, in Pullman.
The Not So Obvious ? Apparently coach Mike Bellotti?s Ducks weren?t paying much attention to the difficulty the Trojans had with the Cougars in Pullman. Been there and done that, Trojan fans are shaking their heads slowly towards Oregon as in ?so you want to measure our performance with the Cougs to yours??
The Obvious ? Redshirt freshman tackle Thomas Herring (6-6, 330) used the bye week to get in some work at offensive guard.
The Not So Obvious ? Well, you can imagine what a Trojan corner must have been thinking at the sight of Big Thomas pulling out from his new guard experimentation. If the Men of Troy are looking for a back-to-the- future type John Drake or Deuce Lutui, it certainly made sense to give young Thomas a tryout. It may have also made sense with the uncertain status of sophomore guard Jeff Byers, whose health issues remain a concern.
The Obvious ?Arkansas tailback Felix Jones returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and the Razorbacks (6-1) defeated Mississippi (2-4) 38-3 Saturday
The Not So Obvious ? Houston Nutt?s club continues to help the Trojans? national championship cause and former Trojan coach Ed Orgeron, second- year Ole Miss head man, should be left completely alone and hide the women and children. Can you say ?meltdown??
The Obvious ? The latest fad in college football is discussion on who has the best opportunity to ambush the Trojans?
The Not So Obvious ? Lee Corso, Terry Bowden, and Trev Alberts gave their opinions for The Sporting News. Corso says, ? California. They have the offense. No one else in that conference can. They?re all afraid of USC. ? The youthful looking Bowden commented, ? California and Notre Dame. Both teams can score points. USC doesn?t score enough right now-they are very beatable.? Last but not least, the controversial Alberts injected, ? You?re only going to beat USC if you can get into a shootout. The team that has the best chance to do that is Cal. That said, I don?t think anybody beats team.?
The Obvious ? Dr. Arthur C. Bartner is the director of the famed Trojan Marching Band, whose talented musicians take a bi-yearly trip back to the Midwest for the Notre Dame game.
The Not So Obvious ? Bartner?s counterpart at UCLA, Gordon Henderson, was featured in a major article in the Daily Bruin written by David Regan. Regan describes how little support the Bruin band gets in terms of funding. In an extensive article comparing fund raising, Regan wrote ?I know where it is easier, and it hurts me to say it, but if you ever find yourself talking to USC band director Arthur C. Bartner, you will be talking to one very happy man. You will hear that the Trojan family is the greatest thing in the world. You will hear that Pete Carroll is the greatest coach in the world. A part of you will eventually think that it would be pretty cool to be in the USC marching band. Whereas this is a unique year in which the UCLA band gets to take two road trips, USC has had band members at over 230 consecutive games, home or away. Though USC only takes its full band to the Bay Area and Notre Dame, it takes approximately 60 band members to every road game.?
The Obvious ? Forget about Halloween and Thanksgiving, merchants have already begun the December holiday gift push.
The Not So Obvious ? StubHub, the Trojans? ?official? ticket broker, has some ideas for some early stocking stuffers. Of the Trojans? ticket value, ?Stubby? says ? NCAA football tickets to USC games are a chance to bask in the history of a program that includes seven Heisman Trophy winners, 28 members of the College football Hall of Fame, 35 Pac-10 titles, and 130 All-Americans. Simply put, sports tickets are a valuable commodity when used to see USC football.? How valuable? Well, the StubHub Colisuem ticket price range for Oregon is $59 - $1000, Cal increases to $110 - $1,500, and Notre Dame zings to the tune of $194 - $3,599. Here come the Ir$sh! Here come the Iri$h!
The Obvious ? Sports Illustrated.com came out with their top 15 college quarterbacks and No. 1 was Ohio State signal-caller Troy Smith.
The Not So Obvious ? Three of the top 15 will be playing the Trojans in the second half of the season including Oregon?s Dennis Dixon (No. 14), Cal?s Nathan Longshore (No. 7), and Notre Dame?s Brady Quinn (No. 2). Wonder what it would be like if you had to face each one of these ptichers in three consecutive weeks. Oh, the Cardinal and Gold are going to do that, you say? BTW, John David Booty didn?t make the SI list, but then signal-callers like Hawaii?s Colt Brennan did. Of course, a majority of the quarterbacks, unlike John David, don?t throw for undefeated teams.
The Obvious ? Norco fullback/linebacker Jordon Campbell has made a public verbal to the Trojans.
The Not So Obvious ? With his passion for the Trojans, Campbell reminds the O/NSO of former St. Bonaventure linebacker Bobby Otani, who once said going to USC probably meant more to him that many of the players who committed to Troy. Campbell has repeatedly told the O/NSO how much he wanted to be a Trojan and how much his grandfather loved the Men of Troy, not to mention his mother. The timing apparently was right for all parties concerned and this Troy Polamalu look-a-like might reminds some of linebacker Lofa Tatupu in his intensity and game brains. Jordon will also surprise some with his ability to play fullback, the position he will start with upon his freshman entrance into USC.
The Obvious ? INHD, a channel devoted to high definition programming, has being running a weekly series devoted to the great college football stadiums of America and the programs that inhabit them.
The Not So Obvious ? The series, Fields of Glory, has a program devoted to the Trojans and the Coliseum. The history, game day, the pageantry, and USC traditions are profiled and narrated by Brent Musburger. The DVD of the Trojans Fields of Glory is available through the USC Bookstore and the O/NSO thinks you will enjoy it. Need a little extra incentive? There is some bonus features including extended interviews with the USC Song Girls. Wowzers!
The Obvious ? The media and fans love to compare John David Booty with past Trojan Heisman stars Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.
The Not So Obvious ? The Sporting News? Matt Hayes has an opinion. Hayes says, ?He doesn?t. USC doesn?t throw downfield with Booty, something it did over and over with Leinart and Palmer. Much of that, though, is predicated on a substantial running game setting up play-action ? and that?s something the Trojans don?t have.?
The Obvious ? Reggie Bush visits the Trojans practice this past week.
The Not So Obvious ? It was a touchy-feely moment at practice and why not? The players spent time with Reggie and all concerned were happy to see No. 5 walking the sidelines at Howard Jones Field. Bush certainly was walking and talking like somebody who had done no wrong and gave everybody the impression that things will work out for the best.
The Obvious ? Anaheim Esparanza played Huntington Beach Edison High Friday night at Orange Coast College.
The Not So Obvious ? Trojan offensive line coach Pat Ruel was in attendance to check out Martin Coleman, the mammoth Edison Charger lineman who has verbally committed to the Cardinal and Gold. Unfortunately for Coleman, who will enter USC in the spring, the OC?s No. 4 Chargers suffered one of their worst losses in history, going down to a determined No. 7 Esparanza, 38-0. While Coleman did what he could, Oregon verbal, running back Charles Neal, stole the show by running for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Neal reminded many observers, including the O/NSO, of Trojan freshman Emmanuel Moody.
The Obvious ? Dave White is the longtime head coach at Edison High School.
The Not So Obvious ? Trojan fans, remember the name of the head coach?s son, Hunter White (6-0, 200), who is an Edison senior running back, receiver, and linebacker. A number of respected high school coaches in football-rich Orange County say he would be the first player they would select if starting a team. Hmm, that would also include OC Trojan senior verbals Aaron Corp and Michael Reardon of Orange Lutheran and Servite?s Chris Gallippo.
The Obvious ? Matt Grootegoed is a former Trojan All-America linebacker from Santa Ana Mater Dei.
The Not So Obvious ? No only does Hunter White somewhat facially resemble the former Trojan All-America linebacker, he plays like him both on offense and defense. The Trojans coaching staff is hearing the same high praise and film of White has been requested sent to Heritage Hall. The only Pac-10 team that is showing strong interest is reportedly Washington State, but that figures to change in a hurry as White?s stock continues to rise. Our impressions of White? He is a special player and perhaps good enough to be a Trojan, if there is a spot in the smaller than usual recruiting numbers. The kid is definitely being under-recruited.
The Obvious ? The Trojans return to action at Oregon State next Saturday afternoon.
The Not So Obvious ? The current weather forecast for Corvallis calls for sunny and a high of 68 and a low of 42. The rain? Oh, it?s forecasted for Sunday, but you know how that works in the Pacific Northwest.
The Obvious ? Bill Workman is the retired head coach at Orange Coast College and a legendary former head coach at Huntington Beach Edison.
The Not So Obvious ? Workman is no stranger to great prep running backs. In 1978, he coached Mike Dotterer, who is being inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame during the Trojans visit to The Farm on Nov. 4. In 1979, Workman coached tailback, Kerwin Bell, who was the CIF Player of the Year and mentioned in the same breath as some kid named Hershel Walker, who wound up at Georgia. Bell was highly recruited by John Robinson during Robby?s first Trojan tour of duty, but eventually went to Kansas. When the O/NSO asked Workman about his impressions of Oaks Christian running Marc Tyler, who had a career-high 297 yards rushing and four touchdowns on Friday night, Bill laughed and said, Somebody at SC will be transferring out, Tyler is really great.?
The Obvious ? And finally, Oregon State (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10) defeats Arizona (3-5, 1-4 Pac-10) 17-10 in Tucson.
The Not So Obvious ? Well, it?s almost time to get back to the season at hand and didn?t the Trojans beat Arizona 20-3 in a struggle in Tucson? You can all avoid the old comparing the scores exercise if you want to, but it sounds to the O/NSO like before the Cardinal and Gold start pointing to November, Mike Riley?s Beavers of Corvallis might be laying a little bit of a Beaver trap next Saturday. There?s work to be done.