O/NSO - Stanford review

Whether you thought that the ninth-ranked USC Trojans' 42-0 pounding of the woeful Stanford Cardinal (0-9, 0-6 Pac-10) on Saturday was not as impressive as the numbers would indicate, there's no question that in Stanford's beautiful new stadium, Pete Carroll's club (7-1, 5-1 Pac-10) got the impressive rebound and number of turnovers the coach had openly yearned.

The ObviousPalo Alto - Whether you thought that the ninth-ranked USC Trojans' 42-0 pounding of the woeful Stanford Cardinal (0-9, 0-6 Pac-10) on Saturday was not as impressive as the numbers would indicate, there's no question that in Stanford's beautiful new stadium, Pete Carroll's club (7-1, 5-1 Pac-10) got the impressive rebound and number of turnovers the coach had openly yearned.

The Not So Obvious – Okay, so Stanford is the worst Cardinal team in decades, but for Trojan fans it was a marvelous Saturday on The Farm and the result was Sunday poll movement up to No.7 in the country. For those that were able to attend the always-popular Bay Area Weekender, the big Trojan win in Palo Alto was icing on the cake. For those who couldn't make the trip or for those that love to compare notes, here is the words-eye view of the trials and tribulations of the O/NSO On The Road in one of northern California's most entertaining locality.

Friday, Nov. 3

6:20 a.m. – Alarm goes off and the voice on the radio talks about investing in the future. If ever the Trojans needed to invest in their future, it will be tomorrow against Stanford and, boy, the Trojans will be looking for big dividends at the expense of the Cardinal.

7:20 – After the traditional breakfast of you-know-what (oat bran and toasted cinnamon bread), we do a quick look at the weather for the Bay Area and it says showers during the day. Ah, who cares, what's a little water on business trip? Oh, speaking of business, we decided to take along Mrs. O/NSO, better known in this space as "The Cheesehead" in honor of her degree from the University of Wisconsin. Once a Badger, always a Badger, but she's coming around to the good side. This will be our first trip together to the Bay Area since our dating days back in 1983. Yeah, let's cool the romantic stuff, this is, after all, the O/NSO for heavens sake.

7:30 - Head out to John Wayne Airport.

8:15 – Standing in the Southwest "B" grouping line, we are joined unintentionally by recently married middle-aged Trojan fans. The women is complaining how hot it was in her red USC sweater and quite frankly we're as hot as well in the John Wayne Terminal B. She tells us that she feels like she is going to faint and that she needs to sit down. We both agree that we are air conditioning freaks and she tells us she turned on her AC this morning because her Irvine house was too stuffy. Her husband, who is also wearing a USC golf shirt, says they are going up to the Bay Area, but he is going to watch the game at a sports bar. Huh? The guy says he and his wife are going to join some friends for some wine tasting. Okay, you're excused.

8:35 – Our Southwest flight has lift-off for San Jose International Airport. Thanks to the kindness of Mrs. O.NSO, we get the window seat. What I love about this flight is that it is so short. You see, the O/NSO has been trained to now love the Trojans' "short" passing game, and it is amazing how it helps you in other walks of life.

9:45 – Arrive in San Jose after an uneventful flight, although Mrs. O/NSO strikes up a conversation with her isle seat partner, who happens to have children at the same high school that our children once attended. It's a good way to get Mrs. O/NSO off to a good cardinal and gold start. See honey, it's not all about football. San Jose International is currently a mess of an airport due to reconstruction. Weather is a little damp but comfortable outside. It's not quite the shower day predicted earlier. After getting our National rental, we head for the San Jose Marriott.

11:00 – After an easy ride on the Guadalupe Parkway, we arrive at the Marriott and can you ever go wrong staying at a Marriott? We are assigned an end room and it's a honeymoon delight. It has two bay windows on separate walls, a great "WeAreSC" workstation, a decent showerhead, and very comfortable bed. Looking out our north window, we see below a building that looks very familiar to us. Wow, it's the San Jose Civic Auditorium, a venue that we once announced a basketball game called The California Classic, which featured the best prep hoopsters in 1975 against a national all-star team. Perhaps some of you good readers remember the names of Bill Laimbeer, David Greenwood, Reggie Theus, Brad Holland, Bill Cartwright, and former Trojan Neil Arnold?

11:45 – Head to San Francisco for the day and for the evening Trojan pep rally at the Westin St. Francis hotel. Along the way, we pass by many of the townships that have been furtile recruiting grounds for Trojan teams past and present. We see a pair of blimp hangers that remind us of those historical building on Edinger Blvd. in Tustin. Mrs. O/NSO gets excited when we pass the sign alerting us of the Stanford off-ramp. She says she didn't realize that Palo Alto is so far from San Francisco.

12:40 p.m. – By a popular vote and because of the O/NSO's love of baseball parks, we first stop at AT&T Park, home of the Giants. What a great ballpark and this time they didn't screw up the location like Candlestick Park. Our friend, Jeff Odekirk, owner of those famous Field of Dreams ballparks around SoCal may have a new one to build in the future. Although it is closed on this day for tours because of some ridiculous X-Games ski jump type of competition, a sweet security lady lets us walk in for a short peek when we tell her we are writing a story for WeAreSC. This ballpark is sweet, my friends, especially the Willie Mays statue in the front. Mrs. O/NSO gives AT&T thumps-up, especially McCovey Cove, which is the water area behind the right field wall. We are told the 2007 All-Star Game will be played here and our mind starts thinking what a nice summer vacation destination. Are you listening, honey? Inside the Giant Dugout merchandise shop, they even sell a Giants/Dodgers chess set, similar to the USC/UCLA chess set that is available at the Trojan Bookstore.

1:43 – Take Embarcadero Street down to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. What a beautiful day in has turned out to be after fears of showers. We decide to eat at Alioto's. Big mistake! It's salmon streak for us and prawn louie for Mrs. O/NSO. The food is as bad as the Stanford offense and defense. What a major disappointment. Well, the sourdough bread is okay, thank goodness. There was one redeeming social value, we got our parking validated for three free hours.

3:00 – Walk by the loading zone for the famous cable cars. We still have a picture of your aging writer in front of one of the cars taken nearly 22 years ago. No, we aren't taking another one and placing them side by side. We continue to Ghirardelli Square and it, too, is under construction like the San Jose Airport. Mrs. O/NSO is in nirvana with all the free chocolate samples being passed out. Out of the goodness of our heart, we give her our samples. Is this like going for two and giving the rock to Chauncey Washington? We are told there is massive remodeling going on and Ghiradelli will reopen in the fall of 2007. There are a number of Trojan fans in the area and the weather continues to be outstanding, with even pockets of sunlight shinning down on Alcatraz.

4:00 – Suddenly a dramatic moment occurs, we actually see a young boy dressed in a blue UCLA sweatshirt and he can hardly look up to all the Trojan fans walking the wharf. Kind of feel bad for the kid, being in a city swarming with cardinal and gold. These days, it's tough to be a Westwooder.

4:40 – We agree it's that time for all couples who "come to San Francisco," lyrics from Scott McKenzie's famous 60's anthem, to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It's well documented on this space about our vertigo issues and if you have gone over the Golden Gate it is a real challenge for people like us. However, it's so foggy you can't see a darn thing, which of course totally disappoints "The Cheesehead," but secretly brings relief to my vertigo. We head over to Sausalito and it's still as quaint as ever. Returning on the Golden Gate, we are meet with a big traffic snarl from the rush hour and to top it off, it's now $5 to return into the city.

5:14 – Get on Lombard Street and take that famous winding road down the hill. There are more tourists taking pictures than there are cars testing their brakes.

5:40 – After getting directions from a cabbie because we don't know where the hell we are, we finally get to Union Square and the St. Francis hotel. The streets are crawling with Trojan fans and no Bruins in sight. They must all be having their rally in downtown Oakland and, no, there is nothing wrong with Oakland. The parking structure under Union Square is our only option because the guy in charge of the St. Francis parking structure says that they are totally full because so many Trojan fans came for hotel parking only due to the rally in the ballroom.

6:15 – After doing some quick stops for the little women at the across-the- street Disney Store and Saks Fifth Avenue, we walk into the impressive St. Francis. Mrs. O/NSO really likes the San Jose Marriott, but she is blown away by the St. Francis. Let's face it, this hotel is royalty.

7:02 – After some foot cruising and window shopping, we make our way upstairs to the rally. The rally is just gathering momentum and in walks former Trojan quarterback Paul McDonald and followed shortly by former Trojan basketball star John Block, who probably wished he still had some eligibility for the beautiful Galen Event Center.

7:10 – After some opening remarks by the USC Alumni Association big wigs, the masters of ceremony is veteran San Francisco ABC television personality Don Sanchez, who is a Trojan alum of some 30-years ago. He is a hit with the fans. Paul McDonald and John Block address the crowd. McDonald pledges the Trojans are going to run the table and end up in the Rose Bowl, not a bad consolation prize if they don't make it to Arizona. Mrs.O/NSO hears McDonald say the Trojans are going to "run the table," and she replies, "What? You mean they are no longer going to pass?" Don't think Lane Kiffin was in the room at the time.

7:26 – The Trojan Marching Band arrives and the joint goes wild. The full band is in attendance and the sound is just plain awesome in the crowded ballroom. When the TMB gets to the part in "Fight On" that requires the singing of the lyrics, the whole ballroom joins the band in the vocals.

7:40 Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, the TMB director, has the room in the palm of his hands and tells everybody that the Trojans are going to go 5-0 and be in Pasadena on New Year's Day. He leads the throng in the chant "Rose Bowl" and then begins a UCLA chant of "No Bowl!"

8:00– Band plays Conquest and even the St. Francis hotel bartenders are raising the two-finger sign of victory along with the fans.

8:12 – Rally ends and reconvenes outside in the middle of Union Square. Cars stop and people in high-rise stores like Macy's look out the windows as band put on another show. One ominous passerby continues to yell, "Go Bears," and he doesn't mean the men from Chicago.

8:22 – It was bound to happen, two fans dressed in blue UCLA band shirts make their appearance and smugly yell, "Go Bruins!" They are totally ignored.

8:32 – Former Trojan cheerleader and Hollywood producer Barney Rosenszweig leads the outdoor gathering in the SoCal spellout and the sound is careening off the adjacent high-rise building.

8:50David Baker, father of Trojan tackle Sammy and Commish of the Arena Football League, wraps a playful hug around your correspondent, and then we are joined by former Trojan receiving great Rod Sherman, he of the famous 1964 touchdown reception to beat the previously unbeaten Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Rod, who runs those successful Fantasy Camps for the Trojans, explains to Mrs. O/NSO how he originally played for UCLA and then transferred to USC. It all had to do with units attained and a non-playing a short stop at Pasadena City College. Anyway, we all know you can't do that today and often people refer to the current ruling of transferring within the conference as "The Sherman Rule."

11:00 – Head back to San Jose. Upon arriving back in Rm. 1601, we turn on the television and the NBC affiliate. Sportscaster Daryl Hawks mentions everything, including the Bears and the Bruins, but makes no mention of the Trojans and the Cardinal. That's a bad sign for Cardinal coach Walt Harris. Lights out (wink).

Saturday, Nov. 4

9:30 a.m. – Finally we wake up and there is nothing to report at this time other than it's great to sleep in. Enough said. We head downstairs for some bowls of oat meal. It's not the same as oat bran, but it beats some of the other alternatives.

10:30 – Return to the room and turn on the Penn State at Wisconsin game and see one of the great new strategies in college football. Near the end of the half, Joe Paterno goes nuts when Wisconsin intentionally goes off-sides on two consecutive kickoffs to kill time on the clock. The new rule says the clock starts when the kicker touches the ball. The Badgers effectively burn over ten seconds to reduce JoPa's team to 0:04 remaining. This is a juicer. Later, the ESPN halftime group of John Saunders, Craig James, and Doug Flutie discuss the Wisconsin strategy and Paterno's meltdown and James refers to the legendary Penn State coach as "that old fart." We have to ask Mrs. O/NSO is this is what we heard? Wow!!!

1:00 p.m. – After doing some WeAreSC writing for "On The Road," we depart for Stanford.

1:45 – Getting to Stanford on Hwy 82 was a real treat, unlike Hwy 101. This journey was pure California beauty as the hills and homes were just beautiful, highly impressing the Madame. It is certainly easy to understand why the area real estate costs are out of this world. We get off on Alpine Blvd. and weave our way through very little traffic until we hit the campus. After finally getting our directions straight, we park free in a lot that a Stanford fan says is a season ticket lot. No guilt here as nobody asked us for any pass and we only learn afterwards. On the walk to the stadium, a female Trojan student remarks, " This school looks like a giant campground."

2:20 – Run into a fan wearing a red Stanford sweatshirt and ask for directions and the guy looks familiar to me. In the course of our conversation, he says he went to Corona Del Mar High. We ask him when he graduated and he comments it was 1974. We then ask him if he knew our Fox sports acquaintance Bill McDonald. Suddenly the guy says, "I am Bill's brother, Bob. I just was down in SoCal and was with Bill during one of telecasts." Boy, what a small world.

2:30 – The Trojan team arrives and the players are looking very subdued, perhaps noting that they don't want to be the first team to lose to Stanford and present Pete Carroll with his first November loss as the Trojans' head mentor. The mother of Trojan offensive tackle Sam Baker tells the O/NSO that a Stanford security guard commented, "I've never seen so many people for the arrival of a team." The guard proceeded to call in extra help for crowd control.

2:40 – Want to see if we can take a peek inside in Maples Pavilion, home of the Stanford basketball teams. Maples is closed, but it allows us to walk back towards the stadium and see the final moments of the Trojans/Stanford water polo match, and the stadium is almost completely full. A Stanford fans tell Mrs. O/NSO that he has never seen a water polo game on The Farm so well attended. The majority of the fans are Trojans and they let out a huge cheer as the final second tick off as the Cardinal and Gold are 6-2 winners.

2:50 – There is a huge line at the Gate 2 Visitors Will Call area for family and friends. In line is the Ponce De Leon of Trojan football, the ever youthful Pat Howell, the former Trojan All-America guard. Mrs. O/NSO finds the former No. 66 a very attractive man, not exactly a shock to your correspondent.

2:54 – The Stanford equivalent of the USC 710 ESPN GameDay radio show at the Coliseum is on the air with the legendary Bob Murphy adding his expertise. They are located on the long walkway leading towards the stadium.

2:55 – Well, here's a treat. Coming up the same walkway as where the Stanford pregame radio show is located is the Cardinal equivalent of the Trojan Walk, that grand entrance of the Trojan football team from their busses into the Coliseum through the fans. For the Stanford Cardinal, they do it a little differently. They dress in their practice lockers away from the stadium and arrive for the Stanford Walk in full uniform. Ya know, it was pretty cool to see the Cardinal, as bad as they have been, in full uniform walking behind the cheerleaders. Do you think "Pete" would go for that idea of dressing the team before they came to the Coliseum and then doing the Trojan Walk?

3:00 – Walk into the Stanford version of Fan Fest and, boy, what a surprise. Virgin America, the airline, is doing a "free" BBQ buffet including ribs, chicken, pork, potato salad, cole slaw, and four choices of cookies. Oh, baby, it's all you can eat and free. Music to the hears of Mrs. O/NSO. Let the pigout begin. Really, we'll never see something like this in our lifetime at the Coliseum. Of course maybe there could be a test run at next week's Homecoming game against Oregon. Don't bet on it. Anybody want to feed 92,000?

3:10 – Meet a Stanford alum named Ted Lawson, an employee of nearby Citrix. We ask him if Stanford coach Walt Harris is history after this season and he says he's not sure so he asks his dad, a connected Stanford grad. Dad says, " It's not like USC where they expect you to win every game. At Stanford, you don't have to win every game because we're tolerant. With the new stadium and going winless, I expect Harris to be fired."

3:15 – The Stanford band, which we are told is not allowed to perform because of some serious behavior issues, comes marching band in full "uniform" and lead by "The Tree." Mrs. O/NSO finds the band absolutely entertaining and hopes they will perform. Our new Stanford friend, Ted, says the band has been marching to the games like they are going to play even though they haven't been allowed. Ted tells us you don't even have to play an instrument to be in the band, just wear a red coat. If you're are a freshman, you have to carry a tuba, even if you don't play it. And that red coat, when you leave the band, you are expected to pass it on to a new band member as part of the legacy.

3:30 – Trojan fans walks by in a red shirt that reads "In the Moody for Booty."

3:42 – Walk into the new Stanford Stadium and it is a winner in every facet. This place is as beautiful and football pleasing as it used to be ugly and a football viewing disaster. From the food and restroom facilities to the viewing site lines, it is a crying shame the Cardinal are on the bottom of the Pac-10... and figure to stay there for the foreseeable future. If you get a chance in two years to come up and see this place, don't waste a minute in your decision. FYI, the video boards behind each end zone are top shelf. Take a hint, Coliseum. It's time for a bigger and better board.

3:50 – Purchase a game program and it's the best "away" game program we have seen this season. The cover shows the Stanford team celebrating. Maybe it's a photo of the team being told the end of the season is near. This program, unlike previous "away" game programs, contains pictures of the Trojan team. The 156-page program was a reasonable $4 per copy.

4:00 – After the Trojan Marching Band entertains the predominantly Trojan crowd, in a surprise move, the Stanford Band follows with their routine. A Trojan fans yells, "Hey, its' a two-fer. We get a football game and the circus." The band does the National Anthem and some fans are startled when fireworks on the field explode.

4:07 – Stanford takes the field through a tunnel that is smoke filled as the video board is showing a giant red letter "S" with a background of lightening blinking on and off.

4:09 – The Trojans come out of the same tunnel and a sea of cardinal-clad fans rise as one, and suddenly Stanford Stadium looks like the Rose Bowl game when the Wisconsin Badger fans bought out the UCLA tickets and embarrassed the hometown Bruins. The Cheesehead was there for her beloved Badgers and agrees.

4:12 Troy Van Blarcom kicks off for the Trojans and the first upset is that Troy's kickoff does not even get close to getting into the Cardinal end zone. Not the way you want to start with an 0-8 team.

4:16 – Trojans hold Stanford on their first offensive series and take over on their own 49-yard line.

4:17John David Booty starts off with a pass to receiver Patrick Turner, who drops it. Must have been the intimidation of the vaunted Cardinal secondary, second-best in the Pac-10.

4:18 – Cardinal get the ball back and promptly call a timeout. When you haven't won a game, it's nice to look at your brand new scoreboard and see that you aren't losing yet to the nationally ranked USC Trojans.

4:23 – After another exchange of downs, the Cardinal get the ball back and Stanford freshman back Toby Gerhart gets stopped by Trojan defensive end Lawrence Jackson. Gerhart was looked at by the Trojans, but wanted no part of being a USC fullback.

4:25 – Cardinal punt to the Trojans and freshman Vincent Joseph is given a real dose of college football hitting as he really gets a "physical" education and is helped off the field by his Trojan teammates. This ain't the MooreLeague, Vincent.

4:30 – After Booty overthrows a wide open Dwayne Jarrett in the Cardinal end zone, which draws a large groan reaction from the Trojan fan base, new fullback Thomas Williams throws a great lead block and freshman back Emmanuel Moody gets a three-yard gain.

4:31 – During another FSN timeout, a lucky fan wins two tickets for flight in the USA by American Airlines. That would be nice to hear in the Coliseum, wouldn't it?

4:32 – The Trojans have had enough of toying with the Cardinal and blast Chauncey Washington off the left side and thanks to a key block by left guard Drew Radovich, finds a seam and powers into the end zone from 15 yards out. The Trojans go 60 yards in 8 plays. Mario Danelo kicks the extra point. USC 7, Stanford 0.

4:36Troy Van Blarcom again comes up well short in his kickoff and Trojan fans want to know if this is by design. Jeff Schwieger, a San Jose native, gets a Pete Carroll opportunity to remind folks of his untapped potential. Although he doesn't make a big play, the fact Jeff is seeing the field again is a positive sign for the Schwieger Fan Club.

4:42 – Reserve corner Mozique McCurtis comes up big by breaking up a developing screen pass to receiverRichard Sherman. McCurtis could be a major factor in upcoming big games with Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame.

4:43 – The public address announcer reads a spot from the local police that there will be an unannounced sobriety checkpoint after the game, prompting one Trojan fans to yell, "Then we should drink more!"

4:45John David Booty locates Dwayne Jarrett for an ESPN highlight 34-yard gain and the Trojans are on the march. The first quarter comes to a close. Has it been an awe-inspiring first quarter of play? No, but then Trojans are recovering from last week's upset at Oregon State and let's see how things unfold the rest of the way. During the first quarter break, the Stanford video board shows the Trojan Marching Band, and, on cue, Art Bartner's group takes the video opportunity and starts playing and dancing. USC 7, Stanford 0

4:48 – On second-and-10 from the Stanford 37, Chauncey Washington gets the call and is stopped by the Cardinal's Nick Sanchez. Did we hear the name Nick Sanchez? Are you telling us that the father of Trojan quarterback Mark still has eligibility? Last time we talked with daddy Nick, he told us his playing days were over after playing on that 1968 East Los Angeles JC championship team that featured former Trojan tailback Clarence Davis. Somebody call the NCAA. Nick was a quarterback at ELAC, as if you're surprised.

4:50 – Booty locates Dwayne Jarrett again for a perfect pass in the corner of the Cardinal end zone and it's a pass that needed the highest level of precision to be completed. The Trojans move 85 yards in seven plays. Danelo's kick is good. USC 14, Stanford 0

4:52 – To add insult to injury for the Cardinal fans, a Trojan fan wins the Wells Fargo card promotion. Even the public address announcer seems annoyed and disappointed in announcing the cardinal and gold winner. Oh, the Trojan fans won $100. Just don't spend it at Alioto's at The Wharf, my friend.

4:53 – The Trojan begin to roll as the Cardinal's Wopamo Osaisai fumbles Van Blarcom's kickoff after being rocked by Keith Rivers, which leads to a John David Booty to Steve Smith 7-yard touchdown reception. Booty give a great fake on a bootleg and Smith is all alone. Danelo's kick is good and fans are starting to understand why the Cardinal have not won a game and the Trojans are reminding themselves that they have a lot of talent and need to stay motivated. USC 21, Stanford 0

4:59 – On third-and-11, the big news is another led block by Thomas Williams, which propels Chauncey Washington to the Stanford 35. Unfortunately, the drive stalls when the Trojans attempt to go for it on fourth down and Booty can't connect with Dwayne Jarrett and the Cardinal take over.

5:10 – After a Stanford punt by walk-on Jay Ottovegio, Mrs. O/NSO says what a nice weekend we're having except for the lunch at Alioto's. Well, if you can't have a nice lunch at The Wharf, you can always feed on the Stanford Cardinal and the Trojans have their napkins on their laps.

5:19 – Now serving the main course is the Trojans' offense as the Cardinal and Gold fire up the offensive BBQ and move 98 yards in nine plays, capped by a two-yard scoring toss to tight end Freddie Davis with 0:55 seconds remaining in the first half. Danelo is enjoying a nice practice day of kicking and one gets the impression that Stanford is making the Trojans very, very well in a hurry. USC 28, Stanford 0

5:21 – Fans are starting wonder if anything is wrong with Trojan kicker Troy Van Blarcom when backup David Buehler comes in to pinch hit and promply "nails" one to the Cardinal 16-yard line.

5:22 – Trojan fans grow mighty quiet after watching stellar linebacker Keith Rivers take a real shot and Keith, who is having an outstanding season, lies motionless for a moment and gives all the indications that his leg has been dealt misfortune. Moments later, he walks off the field under his own power and all Trojan fans from Maine to California breathe a sigh of major relief.

5:26 – The first half comes to a conclusion and while the Trojan offense is productive, it's not overwhelming. However against the hapless Cardinal, you don't have to be a well-oiled machine this week. USC 28, Stanford 0

5:30 – For halftime, there is no Stanford Band performance, but instead recognition of highly acclaimed Cardinal faculty, who each receive a football for their recognition.

5:57 – The balance of halftime is devote to new members of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame and one member, Mike Dotterer, a personal friend of ours from our days with the Edison High football program, is inducted for his contributions in both football and basketball. Mrs. O/NSO and I are quite touched to have seen this kid from his Huntington Beach Edison High days in 1978 to this highest of honors. Good kid, good man.

5:48 – Third quarter commences with Stanford kicking off to the Trojans and moments later linebacker Dallas Sartz steps in for apparent big touchdown return of T.C. Ostrander's misguided pass. Unfortunately, Mr. Sartz is found guilty of holding and his moment in the sun, ur, darkness is edited out of the highlight package.

5:52 – The Trojans run a blitz on T.C. Ostrander and linebacker Rey Maualuga practically breaks the kid into little "tree" pieces. A middle screen had been set up and had Maualuga not forced Ostrander into a hurry, it might have gone for a big gain well into San Jose.

5:55 – The public address announcer, who actually has a golden throat and has good spotters, is having a tough day as he has trouble reading his script on the winners of the Virgin America paper airplane winner at the pregame fan fest. A fan comments, "Well, to think he was a Stanford Nobel Prize winner in public address."

6:05 – Booty slips a pass out to freshman fullback Allen Bradford and the kid rumbles for a 13-yard pickup. Quietly, Bradford is getting more opportunities to get on the field and you know the former All-American from Colton High is just glad to be out on the field.

6:12 – A young Trojan fan who has tried the whole game to get recognized for a sign opportunity on FSN, finally lets out a primeval scream and while not getting the attention of the TV people, gets the attention of fans, some of whom are horrified before actually understanding why the kid did his yell.

6:18 – Trojan fans again hold their breath as defensive end Lawrence Jackson comes out of the game and tries not to show he is hurt when coming off the field. As soon as he disappears behind his teammates, you can tell the All-Pac-10 star is in some real discomfort.

6:20 – Cornerback Terrell Thomas races 71 yards to "The House" after nose tackle Sedrick Ellis blocks a Cardinal field goal attempt. Thomas is aided by intense blocks by teammates Kevin Ellison and Brian Cushing. It should be noted that Terrell Thomas takes his football seriously and it wouldn't surprise us a bit if he became a future leader of the team at some point. Danelo kicks the extra point and the route is on, although the offensive hasn't taken a seat with the defensive execution. USC 35, Stanford 0

6:21 – Wanting to be like SoCal wanna-be fans, the few Stanford fans in attendance head for their NorCal destinations and even a few Trojan fans have seen enough. Now, the true fans…

6:22 Troy Van Blarcom returns again and hits another short kick. One starts to wonder if this is a future strategy being practiced for the final four big games or is it the turf or an injury. Luther Brown makes the tackle for the Trojans and, boy, wouldn't it be nice to see Luther healthy and able as a linebacker for the future. The kid is a major dealer of pain.

6:23 – The Trojan Band plays and Mrs. O/NSO notices that the tubas are are sitting on both ends of each row, unlike most tuba sections in which all of them generally sit in the back row. Actually it looks goods and sounds good. A thumbs up from the O/NSO.

6:26 – The third quarter ends and the public address announcer announces the winner of the "Student of the Game." The winner is a fan with the letter "O" on his chest amongst a group spelling out Stanford. The winner gets a Cingular cell phone. Not a bad gig. Show some skin and you can win. USC 35, Stanford 0

6:28 – Trojan fans react loudly to the insertion of Mark Sanchez at quarterback to begin the fourth quarter. Sanchez's first play is a disaster as the talented kid from Mission Viejo is blitzed by Stanford linebacker Clinton Snyder and is sacked for a loss. Welcome to Stanford Stadium, Mr. Sanchez.

6:31 – Announcement over the public address about the famous Stanford Hospital. No word whether the Cardinal team will be checking in after the punishment the Trojans are dispensing at this point in time.

6:32 – The Trojan defense continues it's physical assault of Stanford as defensive tackle Averill Spicer knives through to drop running back Anthony Kimble for a 4-yard loss, and, well now, for those wondering whatever became of the once highly-touted Spicer, here is your man. It just takes time to wait your turn. When you wear No. 99, you better be patient.

6:37 – Sanchez fires a rocket to true freshman Travon Patterson and if you ever needed to question the arm of Mr. Mark Sanchez, you saw evidence of why everybody is so high on this kid's future. Pass goes for 22 yards while splitting defenders.

6:41 – Another 22-yard rocket by Sanchez to Patterson after Sanchez looks left and fires right. Fans of both teams have been awakened by Sanchez's poise and ability to read the defense and progressons.

6:43 – The Sanchez Show completes its first big run with Mark showing the toughness of a wrestler by putting his head down and going the final four yards on a keeper to up the scoreboard totals. A future quarterback controversy? Probably not at this time, but Sanchez's time will come. Mario Danelo makes it 6-for-6 on PAT attempts for the afternoon. The Trojans journey 57 yards in 11 plays. USC 42, Stanford 0

6:49 – It figures that given enough tries, Troy Van Blarcom finally gets himself a touchback.

6:58 – Mercifully the game finally ends before an almost empty Stanford Stadium. Both teams exchange handshakes and former New Jersey Bergen Catholic teammates Brian Cushing and Stanford tight end Jim Dray embrace. Moments they are later met by Cardinal OG Alex Fletcher, another New York connection. Final – USC 42, Stanford 0

7:20 – We depart for a quick tour around the Stanford campus and than it's back to the San Jose Marriott. One problem, remember that checkpoint sobriety station? We run into in on Embarcadero St. heading to Hwy 101 and the two-lane street is a disaster. We are checked for alcohol consumption and must watch the officer's finger go front left to right with my eyes. Listen to the Cal post game show and all the talk goes to the matchup with the Trojans. Announcers agree that Cal has some areas that can be exposed by the Trojans and vice-versa. They mention how the Trojans are drawing over 90,000 per game and remark, "Who needs the NFL?"

9:00 – Get back to the hotel and get a quick bit to eat. Watch the 11:00 p.m. news and sportscasters on the local stations are saying that Stanford coach Walt Harris better update his resume. Talk turns to upcoming Cal/USC game. However, it's good the Trojans left right after the game and didn't such talk. The Trojan better worry about Oregon first, especially after their big 34-14 victory over the Huskies.

11:30 – ESPN college football experts Lee Corso and Mr. Herbie say the Trojans still have a chance for the second spot in the BCS championship if they can run the table. Haven't we heard this all before?

Sunday, Nov. 5

7:45 a.m. – Get up for 10:15 return flight to The OC. At the airport, Trojans everywhere and one fan is wearing a "Pete Carroll for Governor" shirt.

11:30 – Finally get home after a wonderful weekend in the Bay Area, capped by an important Trojan victory.

The Obvious – The Trojans now face the final phase of the regular season, a phase that fans have been waiting for since August.

The Not So Obvious – Needless to say, the Bay Area Weekender was a winner all around and certainly a nice way to enter November. However, from here on out, here come the big boys of the schedule and the truth is that nobody knows what this 2006 Trojan team is all about. We are about to find out and that, my friends, is pretty obvious.

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