Obvious/Not So Obvious - Heisman edition

In what is expected to be one of the closest races in the 68-year history of the Heisman Trophy, the whirlwind Carson Palmer Show will conclude on Saturday evening in New York City with the 5 p.m. (ESPN) announcement of the famous award that many USC fans hope will be a new addition to Heritage Hall.

The Obvious - In what is expected to be one of the closest races in the 68-year history of the Heisman Trophy, the whirlwind Carson Palmer Show will conclude on Saturday evening in New York City with the 5 p.m. (ESPN) announcement of the famous award that many USC fans hope will be a new addition to Heritage Hall.

The Not So Obvious - For Trojan fans who remember the ceremonies for Garrett, Simpson, Allen, and White at the Downtown Athletic Club, a move to the Yale Club was necessitated due to damage to the Downtown Athletic Club from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center.

The Obvious - Many Trojan fans became concerned about Palmer's chances for the Heisman when the Trojans' All-American quarterback was shut out in the ESPN televised awards ceremony in Orlando on Thursday evening.

The Not So Obvious - Regardless of the outcome, Palmer's true reward and award will come in the spring with his high NFL draft selection which will translate into $,$$$,$$$.

The Obvious - One of Palmer's chief rivals in the Heisman race is Iowa quarterback Brad Banks, who was the big winner at the Orlando awards show by receiving the Davey O'Brien Award for the nation's top quarterback.

The Not So Obvious - Palmer and Banks couldn't have come from more diverse backgrounds. Palmer comes from affluent Laguna Nigel and prep power Santa Margarita High, while Banks attended Glades Central in Florida and took the JUCO route through Mississippi and Hinds Community College, which has sent 30 players into the NFL.

The Obvious - USC's Troy Polamalu, the All-American strong safety was a finalist in Orlando for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive back.

The Not So Obvious - While Polamalu lost the award to Kansas State's deserving Terrence Newman, Troy was interviewed during the show and the free publicity for both Polamalu and Palmer across the country these past several weeks is worth its weight in gold for the reborn Trojan football program.

The Obvious - The rise of Carson Palmer to potential Heisman Trophy winner is being equated to the teaching and system of Norm Chow, USC's award winning offensive coordinator and quarterback guru.

The Not So Obvious - A very interested observer of Saturday's selection announcement will be Palmer's personal youth quarterback coach Bob Johnson, the decorated Mission Viejo High mentor. Palmer also helps Johnson in his highly-successful Elite 11 camp for the nation's premier prep quarterbacks.

The Obvious - Norm Chow was recently named the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in the nation.

The Not So Obvious - Chow has kept many Trojan fans on pins and needles with his comments about the possiblity of becoming a head coach. Although he says that he and his wife want to be Trojans, he continues to say he is interested in new coaching positions.

The Obvious - One of the coaching positions that Norm Chow has expressed interest in is the East Carolina opening.

The Not So Obvious - After Utah selected former Notre Dame assistant Urban Meyers from Bowling Green, it appears another former Irish assistant is the frontrunner for the EC job. Kirk Doll, currently an assistant at LSU and worked under Lou Holtz at ND, is the likely selction for the position. Doll was a defensive end at East Carolina in the early 1970s.

The Obvious - Chow, who has a Carolina connection having coached at North Carolina State, says he has not been contacted by East Carolina.

The Not So Obvious - To help ease the tension of Trojan fans over the East Carolina position that Chow says he has interest, Kirk Doll was given the thumbs up for the EC job by Dennis Young, executive director with the East Carolina boosters, who said of Doll, "If everything is apples to apples and equal in terms of experience and talent, you'd like to think that the nod would go to someone (Doll) with an East Carolina connection."

The Obvious - Speaking of Carolina, many Trojan fans were excited to read positive comments in the ESPN.com diary of North Carolina quarterback recruit Chris Leak, who said the USC recruiting trip was his best so far.

The Not So Obvious - Leak on seeing the Coliseum for the first time said, " Now, I'm too young to remember the '84 Olympics, but we finally made it to L.A. and arrived at the Coliseum, the place had a magical feel to it. It sort of reminded me of the Coliseum in Rome."

The Obvious - There are some reports from recruiting gurus that suggest that Leak will end up at Florida.

The Not So Obvious - If Leak doesn't end up a Trojan, it won't be because USC didn't pull out all the stops. Leak
traveled to Los Angeles in a private jet (first time it has been made public that the Trojans are using private aircraft). Leak said, "The school sent a private jet to pick me up in Charlotte, and just like my trip to Florida, I was the only passenger. The plane had a kitchen, a couch, leather seats, and my own stewardess. Total luxury."

The Obvious - Despite all the red capet treatment, the best recruiting of potential USC blue-chippers is from the current Trojan players.

The Not So Obvious - Leak was very impressed with current Trojans after the Notre Dame game. Leak informed, "Aside from all the great meals and perks, the thing that stood out the most is how so many USC players pulled me aside to explain to me what a joy it is to play for Coach Carroll. That really struck with me."

The Obvious - The nation seems quite captivated with the Orange Bowl announcement of USC and Iowa.

The Not So Obvious - It appears that those who worried that USC would not travel can put those fears to bed. The word is that some of the travel packages are now on a waiting list.

The Obvious - Many of the Iowa fans lost money on airline tickets to Pasadena when it was assumed the Hawkeyes would be in the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious - Before the announcement that Hawkeyes had been invited to the Orange Bowl, Iowa had received 17,000 ticket requests for the Rose Bowl and 12 for the Orange Bowl.

The Not So Obvious - For Iowa fans, a 3-day Rose Bowl package-round-trip charter airfare, a three-day hotel stay, and game ticket went for $1,599. A similiar deal to the Orange bowl is $1,399. Customers were allowed to switch on packages, but not on non-refundable airfare. Trojan Orange Bowl packages ranged from $1,612 to $1105.

The Obvious - Many Trojan fans were being very creative in trying to put together their own packages, even flying into Orlando or Tampa to cut the rather large cost of a Orange Bowl adventure.

The Not So Obvious - While most of the Trojan fans tried to see if their budget could deal with the probable one grand minimum tariff, the word out of Iowa is that in the first 24 hours,Iowa sold 15,000 tickets and sold an additional 8,000 after an other request. Oh those farm subsidies.

The Obvious - The Pac-10 tried to help keep costs down for USC fans by chipping in some money that apparently took game ticket prices down.

The Not So Obvious - By subsidizing some of the cost, the Pac-10 and USC hoped this would stimulate more Trojan fans to attend the Orange Bowl. The lighest package for USC fans currently is $744 for air and game ticket.

The Obvious - The last time USC and Iowa got together was in the Coliseum on Oct.2, 1976.

The Not So Obvious - The Trojans won the game to give them a 6-2 series advantage over the Hawkeyes.

The Obvious - Many Trojan fans felt that the All-Pac 10 team should have had more Trojans and more recognition for Pete Carroll.

The Not So Obvious - Co-Big Ten champion Iowa had a record 11 players selected first-team all-Big Ten, including Offensive Lineman of the Year Eric Steinbach.

The Obvious- This will be the 69th Orange Bowl game.

The Not So Obvious - USC will be playing only their third bowl game east of the Mississippi.

The Obvious - Trojan fans are still celebrating their trouncing of the Fighting Irish, which now seems like years ago.

The Not So Obvious - Iowa fans packed the Metrodome in Minnesota to see Iowa clinch a share of the Big Ten title. After the game, Iowa fans stormed the field and celebrated by ripping down Minnesota's goal posts!

The Obvious - It will be a return to their roots as Trojan freshmen Mike Williams and Mike Ross return to Florida for the Orange Bowl.

The Not So Obvious - Iowa has a dozen Floridians, including seven on the two-deep roster, six from South Florida.

The Obvious - The Orange Bowl took a gamble by upsetting the Rose Bowl in selecting USC and Iowa for their game due to the fact that the Miami-based game believed that this would be the best matchup and could put people in seats.

The Not So Obvious - This year's Orange Bowl gamble is now a sellout and is the fastest sellout since 1994, as more than 72,000 are expected for the Jan.2 game.

The Obvious - Student Sports has now ranked USC with the current No. 1 recruiting class moving up from No.6 thanks to commits from LB Jonathon Turner, DL Alex Morrow, and TE-DE Chris Barrett.

The Not So Obvious - To show you just how subjective some of these rankings can be, USC is ranked No.8 in recruiting by Insiders.com.

The Obvious - The Trojans appear to be on the verge of a super recruiting class, and many USC fans thirst for more recruiting information by the second, sometimes to the dismay of new information.

The Not So Obvious - In the crazy world of recruiting that drives so many fans crazy, Trojan running back recruit Tony Hunt of Maryland will now trip to Michigan and apparently linebacker Drean Rucker will also take some trips. However, the Ting brothers recently said on their visit they are USC all the way. Isn't this fun?

The Obvious - For those driving to the Orange Bowl game,don't forget that the game is no longer at the original Orange Bowl, home of the Miami Hurricanes.

The Not So Obvious - The game is at Pro Player Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.

The Obvious - Pete Carroll and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron are more creative each year with official visits.

The Not So Obvious - Not only do the Trojans coaches take a recruit into the Coliseum lockerrom and display a uniform with the recruit's number in their own locker, but then the coaches pull back a curtain and display all the NFL uniforms with current Trojans names on the back of each player's NFL jersey.

The Obvious - The Trojans recently held their team banquet and handed out the usual awards.

The Not So Obvious - One of the more interesting awards is given to the scout team's best contributers to the varsity. Keep an eye out in the future for this year's winners guard Kurt Katnik and DL Travis Tofi.

The Obvious - Zack Wilson was named the USC's Offensive Linman of the Year.

The Not So Obvious - Quite a comeback for Wilson who got off to such a miserable start due to injury.

The Obvious - USC had many talented freshman play important roles this season like tackle Winston Justice and wide receiver Mike Williams.

The Not So Obvious - Perhaps an omen of things to come, freshman safety Mike Ross from Florida was awarded the John McKay Award for the most competitive spirit by an underclassman.

The Obvious - The Rose Bowl was very upset at the Orange Bowl for taking USC and Iowa, but the Rose Bowl took the high road for political correctness knowing that the Orange Bowl played by the rules.

The Not So Obvious - However, ABC's legendary announcer Keith Jackson was not quite so correct when he commented on Washington St. and Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and USC and Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Jackson said to USA Today, "It aggravates the hell out of those of us in the West!" Whoa, Nellie!


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