Throw everything out the window

Forget the stats, ignore the common opponent results, it doesn't matter who quarterbacks, nothing before the kickoff matters because it's rivalry week and when you're playing your rival, anything can happen. At least that's what Bob Toledo has been chanting before bed every night for the last two weeks... "Anything can happen. Anything can happen."

Forget the stats, ignore the common opponent results, it doesn't matter who quarterbacks, nothing before the kickoff matters because it's rivalry week and when you're playing your rival, anything can happen.  At least that's what Bob Toledo has been chanting before bed every night for the last two weeks... "Anything can happen.  Anything can happen."  The problem, for the Big Boy, is that they don't make ruby slippers in a double-wide and that wishes don't always come true.  Okay, Bob's supposedly a nice guy, and it's certain Trojan fans want him to do just well enough to keep his job, but he's not going to get healthy off SC, not this year.


Bob knows what's up.  SC is better than Ucla this year - same as last.  He's prepping his team, fans and new boss about that fact.  He called the seventh-ranked Trojans "the best SC team that I've seen since I've been here at Ucla."  And it's true.  They are also the best coached team SC's had since Toledo arrived at Ucla - and that includes his years as an assistant.  That really is the story of this years game.  Yes, it's going to be a slugfest and yes, they are our second-tier rival and so we do have to gear up a bit to play them.  But the true difference, the thing that separates this year's (and last) Trojans from the Bruins is execution.  This team gets it done on the field.  They are able to do that because of the outstanding coaching staff they've put together.  The only coach to get maybe a percentage point more out of his talent is Mike Price.  Then again, Mike's been at this college game a long time.  Pete's just getting started and Pete has a bit more access to the stuff teams are made of - players.  Toledo's done a very good job this year - in fact, some think it is his best work as a coach since dawning the baby blue.  He's winning with a redshirt freshman running back and two true freshmen quarterbacks - or he was, until Saturday.  Everybody is cheering on Fat Man and Little Boy - ah, that's what I've dubbed Toledo and Ebell.  Ebell is the only bruin who's bringing top calibre play to their squad.  I'm sure there are others who have spot performances, but this kid brings it day-in-and-day-out.  He must be, because he's in the paper day-in-and-day-out.


I love the propaganda machine that is the ucLA Times.  Beginning three years ago, they dubbed the bruins as perennial national title contenders.  In fact, all the way into the 27-0 thrashing, imposed upon them by the men in Cardinal and Gold, one Times editorialist said the bruins were the only game in town - the "new" edition of Los Angeles' college football.  He had forgotten that the Trojans had already ended "the streak" and had begun one of their own.  Now, one year later, that lisping, spew-specialist has plopped his plump tuchas on the SC band wagon.  Funny how that goes.  Stranger still is how the media has quickly returned our cross-town rivals into the cheered for underdog - the gutty little bruins. Despite their top ten recruiting classes, Bel- Air location, state supported programs and of course "the perennial national ranking," Ucla has become a bunch of "blue-collar boys," America's team, the mighty underdogs, the ones to root for, blah, blah, blah...   It could almost make me mad, but I don't let it.  Because I know, despite how hard they try, that to most Angelenos  USC will always be the "good guys."  Who else rides in on a white horse to save-the-day, but the good guy?  And besides, with the moniker of "gutty little bruins," how good could the team in baby blue ever get, beyond mediocre?  It would be politically incorrect for them to ever be truly as good as the USC Trojans.   So, I'll take the press, or lack thereof, and know it only means we're doing it right.  It's good to be the king.


Yes, even this week another LA Times reporter used quotes from literary heroes (it's a wonder that he reads, because he certainly can't write) to call up the journey that has been Bob Toledo's bruins.  He closed with this one...


For God's sake, give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.


-- Robert Louis Stevenson


At first I thought he was talking about Steve Lavin, but then I realized that lampooning is a few weeks away.  Let's see... "Give me the young man..."  Well, Coach Toledo is no longer young.  That's evident.  "...a man who has brains..."  And brains, well, when one takes the time to review his gameplans, brains quickly comes into question.  Nope, not the brightest light in the chandelier.  But he is a very nice guy.  Look how he lets his players walk all over him.  Who wouldn't want to play there, you can get away with anything?   But Bob is an expert on one thing and that is size.  When asked to describe the USC game he had this to say... "Big game.  Big, big game."  That's right Bob.  Very good.


Everyone talks about the bye week and how it provided Bob and his boys that much more time to prepare -- to come up with some more trickery.  You'd think after last year, Toledo would learn to play straight up football, but no, not Bob.  He'll have something up his sleeve.  Probably a Krispy Kreme donut, but something, to be sure.  Every year it's the same for Toledo... "He's playing sixty players through his rotation, starting true freshmen, suiting up his daughters,(that's the players preference to facing SC themselves)"  what do people expect from the team.  Look at this year, even star Tight End is playing with thorns in his feet, at least that's what I read.  First he said this...


     "The three-game losing streak to their cross-town rival is "a thorn in my foot." 


And then when asked why he didn't become a Trojan and follow in his father's footsteps (too many thorns), he followed that up with this malarkey...


            "My father had been a Trojan baseball player and my family wanted me to continue the legacy.  But the Trojans didn't pursue me, even though I was rated as    the No. 1 tight end in the nation.  That was a thorn in my foot."


What I want to know is how the heck do you plan on playing with wounded feet (or would that be egos)?   Nice excuse for another loss and the mistake of a lifetime.  The reason why Siedman is not a Trojan is because "he chose" to go a different route.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.


Speaking of dummies, the one thrown off the building during a Trojan practice, was a dummy, but not literally.  Someone spread a rumor that it was the Ucla "towel guy."  You know, the guy who walks up and down the sideline swinging that towel in the air?  Too bad it wasn't him.  He could've used some sense knocked in him - nothing like a good fall to get the job done.  I finally found out why he twirls that thing around throughout the games - actually there are two reasons.  The first is that his son is on the team and stinks so bad, that he waves the towel around him to keep the coaches from noticing.  The second, and this one really makes sense, is that flies smell the odor of death and decay.  The towel guy has taken on a sacred oath, that despite the heartless performance of the Ucla bruins in most games and despite the writing on the wall that the bruin program is a goner, he will continue to wave that towel to keep the flies away - at least until his son graduates.


Speaking of wrapping up a career, do you folks realize Bob's in his 7th year as Ucla's coach?  Man has time flown.  I think about how much Coach Carroll and his staff have accomplished in their short tenure and can't imagine how great things will be in five more years.  Like I keep repeating, or am told over and over, Bob's a nice guy but in looking at their program prior to his arrival versus today, has it really gotten any better?  Let's see, he's had a player mutiny over black armbands, blown his only shot at a National Title, fumbled the career of the school's Heisman hopeful, had enough quarterback controversies to see the best of them leave the school, law troubles every year with key players, is back to 7-5 and 6-6 seasons and had a complete no-show at the school's most important annual matchup.  Man, most people with that level of performance would be searching the classifieds for work.  Lucky for SC fans, bruins are accustomed to mediocrity.


So, if all the above is true, do the 2002 USC Trojans have anything to worry about come Saturday?  Yes.  They need to make sure they play their game.  Take care of their business and their business will take care of them.  There are matchups, but not in the key slots.  Carson, Justin, Troy, Matt, Keary, Tom, Norm, Alex, Sultan, Mal, Mike, Kareem, Winston, Jacob, Mike, Bernard, Mike, Omar, Deshaun, Darryl, BKU, Chad, Zach and Eric, along with all the other Men of Troy will be superfine if they simply play their game.  Their game has been better than Ucla's for so long, only one member of the bruins remembers what it was like to be as good as the Trojans.  It's a wonderful luxury to be able to say that with confidence.  In college football, the ball can bounce many ways, but this year it bounces the way of the Trojan.


SC  31  Ucla 17


USC puts it away in the third quarter and never looks back. ND is next. Top Stories