Trojan fans everywhere had to fill up this weekend with whatever recreation we have in our pathetic existences which is not USC football. What I had planned for the post-Oregon bye weekend was three glorious days of heat-onistic debauchery in Palm Desert, CA. My plans were thwarted, however, by my grandparents coincidentally scheduling a trip to the family condo (which they own) during my free love weekend. Now I have been relegated to spending my days with my grandparents eating fruit and taking my vitamins while watching all the football games on our recently installed cable television which took me two hours to figure out how to turn on. Not really a horrible fate by any means.
The Arizona State vs Washington State battle in Pullman kept me intrigued with the prospect of a Trojan Rose Bowl berth heavily implied. After watching the first half of that sloppy contest I started writing out my questions to interview Shamu down at the Holiday Bowl. It looks like Mike Price is going to put together a Rose Bowl run....unbelievable. This will also be the first time the Cougs have put together back-to-back winning seasons in decades. It was also pretty sweet to see Tyrone Willingham, the 2nd most powerful man in the Catholic community (the Pope is still #1 in the church BCS poll) with egg on his face. Old Tyrone broke out the green jerseys only to be dismissed by a very average Boston College squad. An opportunistic defense and solid special teams will only take you so far into the season. Luck and heart were what the Irish were living off. Maybe a deeper color green will inspire the Irish team a little bit better when they take on Navy next week.
As for our beloved rolling Trojan squad, things look wonderfully nice as star performers like Troy Polamalu, Jacob Rogers, Mike Pollard and Kareem Kelly rest their bodies during a perfectly placed bye week. Pete Carroll and staff are starting to be hailed as savoirs of a once-downtrodden Trojan program and deservedly so. How the Trojans perform down the stretch of this exciting 2002 season will truly tell the tale and, if you ask me, I believe the Trojans are poised and ready. Here are my picks for who should receive All Pac-10 honors:
Carson Palmer - The Heisman talk has begun to swirl around Carson Palmer and it is warranted. Though I don't think he has a shot at the actual trophy it would be great for the program and Carson's future just to get him to the ceremony. As for the Pac-10, Carson stands with Jason Gesser as one of the two best quarterbacks in the West.
Troy Polamalu - Through an injury that would have devastated most players, Troy has played an All Pac-10 season and (depending how he plays the rest of the year) an All-American season as well. I really believe that many of the dropped passes against the USC secondary are due to the Polamalu fear factor that haunts this nations receivers. As Troy gets his ankle healthy look for him to be a Trojan hero down the stretch in our huge rivalry games.
Matt Grootegoed - He is playing out of position at Sam linebacker but that doesn't mean he's not a first team All Pac-10 player. Matt's quiet, calculated, hit man-type attitude sometimes makes it easy to forget him but his playmaking abilities inside and outside of the box speak for themselves. In a great year for the Trojan front seven, Grootegoed should be recognized and honored.
Mike Williams - Though he will have a tough time earning first team honors in a conference filled with talented receivers, I only think we'll be with Mike for another year as his talent and ability are best suited for the next level. Let's hope he stays two more.
It was hard to look past Garry's high school game this week to the Farm and the Stanford Trees. However, after Steve Stevenson's Charter Oak Chargers slapped up Shaun Cody's Los Altos Conquerors live on Fox, I drove out of Covina toward the desert and I let my hatred flow. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Stanford? I have even tried to sort out why I hate them so much. It could be because they have corporate backing for a private school or the fact that you can drop a class there on the day of a final which makes it pretty easy on those brainiac GPA's. Maybe it's because the mascot is a walking tree or the nickname is a color without a verb introducing it. Most of the time the people in that stadium are too busy trading chardonnay sip for sip to cheer, it's like playing football on a golf course. It could just be because I was their number one recruit until they got my transcript and never called me again. No matter the reason, I'll enjoy my time in San Francisco with my agent and I'll enjoy seeing the Trojans chop down the Tree! I'll also be making an appearance at the Trojan rally at Union Square but I hope it's before I hit North Beach, the home of my high school literary heroes Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy, William Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg.
Goodbye for now. Petros.
Petros Papadakis is a former USC tailback and the sideline reporter for Trojans football on KMPC-1540. He also hosts the Trojans pregame show and Tuesday night's USC Insider on KMPC-1540. On television, Petros is an analyst for Fox Sports Net's Southern California Sports Report and he's the sideline reporter for Fox Sports Net's "High School Game of the Week." When Petros is not doing television or radio he's waiting tables at his family's Greek restaurant, Papadakis Taverna, in San Pedro. Petros has no free time.