Are we playing some good ball right now, best of the season, and it reminds me, except for the brief portion we seem to go to sleep each of the past three games, of being as good as we have been generally over the past few years. I sure didn't think I'd be saying THAT coming home from Corvallis. I mean, Paul and JJ and I were thinking of things to do to occupy our time in Juarez and El Paso during the holidays!
The day began like so many do: watching little kids soccer in a tournament, this one at the Rose Bowl! From there, it was a rather early arrival at the Coliseum, which suits me just fine. It gave me time to set my stuff up in luxuriously slow fashion, and talk to all sorts of friends before the game. Spent time with Rich, and Jack the doorman and his big Samoan body guard. Jack works both sides of the fence. He's a Trojan through and through, but dutifully dons a blue and gold tie to work the press entrance at the Rose Bowl, too. Money talks.
Lee and Val Sampson, and their great staff. We spent a ton of time with Manny the SC sound tech guy, who is one of a kind good people, and gets more swag from the team than any other living human, save the equipment guys.
Dennis Packer and I went over notes on seniors who were being introduced one by one, and I talked with Timer Kyle Lucas a long time great friend.
Got some food, watched some ball with Helmer, Burt got there, then Jenny and Leo.
I spent time with scribes Bill Plaschke who wrote a nice piece I wanted to thank him for about the long time Garfield HS stats guy. I was jealous, that guy gets paid!! Bill was talking with T.J. Simers who got a full explanation of the origins of the power of the Hawaiian shirt.
Hoppe rolled in, then Anne, and before you knew it the stands were filling, the sun went down and it got chilly, the teams warmed up and the game was ON!
Trojans looked pretty darned invincible early. West coast ball is so much better than the Midwest right now.
Second quarter, and the Trojans hibernate. It's a difficult quarter to watch and call. I hope they stop doing this for ten minute stretches in their final two games, especially the last one. Gotta play a full 60, and sometimes more.
Very time SC had to answer on one side of the ball or the other, it seems they did with relative ease. I guess I was worried a little when it was 28-17 after three, being still in doubt and all. 31-17 wasn't enough either, but 37 was.
I was all worked up on Reed's punt return putting it in their face. Bill Dwyre's column disputing the fact that ND had grown the grass taller on purpose was filled with hope, but misplaced enthusiasm for his University, which never would stoop to those sorts of shenanigans. Only they did.
Also, Cushing's onside kick return was one of the ages, and DJ's one handed grabs were spectacular but now run of the mill, to show you how good we have come to expect him to be!
The Irish looked like fish stuck on the deck gasping for air the final ten minutes. They had no hope but kept at it anyway. I absolutely love the sight, maybe the best sight any of us can imagine during any SC-ND game, is to look around and watch the ND fan sections emptying out early in the fourth quarter. I get all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.
I thought JJ did a really nice job on color, filling in for Paul, who I am also sure is the happiest guy in the world SC did not lose in the one game he did not call, or it would have been all his fault. Suzy did a good job as well on the sidelines filling in for JJ. Everyone back to their regular spots this week, but it's good to know we have a versatile team. If we are ever in need, I have absolutely no doubt, having worked with each, that stat guy Mark Hoppe could do color, and so could scoreboard update guy Mark Helmer. How many other broadcast teams could say that?!
Now all we gotta do after moving to #2 is beat the Bruins. Yeah that's all! For details on pain, read any story about 1965, or 1966, or John Barnes (Stokes TD should not have counted, the running back lurched forward before the snap, the ref reached for his flag but ignored it) That'll keep you worried the rest of the week, believe me!
It's a busy week, I will be the guest speaker pre-Pete at MMQB on campus Monday (duh!), and then Chris Roberts and I will co-MC the Downtown Rotary luncheon and interview former big game stars. That's Thursday this year. That night, it's back to campus to talk to the Trojan Football Alumni Club at the Galen Cafeteria. Friday, it's Marshall at Eagle Rock in the city semifinals. Saturday, up early for breakfast, then on to Pasadena.
Funny, at least for me, the road to Glendale goes through Glendale to Pasadena. Fight On!