Monday, October 31, 2005

USC-Wazzu

55-13. This may have been the most boring 50+ point performance of the year. That's a good thing. I grew up in southeastern Washington (in fact, I had multiple youth track meets at WSU) and this one's always nice to win so I don't have to worry about folks back home giving me crap (or more accurately, so I can wear USC apparel around at Christmas with a smirk on my face).

It was my pleasure to attend this game, my first of the season (it was Homecoming). The atmosphere was awesome and I'm very jealous of my friends in L.A. who have season tickets. I'll have to make a habit of weekenders like this.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Longhorn Fans' Rooting Guide

Is this serious? Do Longhorns fans really need to be told which teams to root for? They even advocate rooting for the Sooners and the Aggies because it will improve Texas' schedule strength. That's just sad.

As long as polls play a role in determining the national champion of Div. 1 college football, no team is in complete control of its destiny. What's the use in getting worked up over the results of games across the country over which your team has absolutely no influence. It's simple for USC fans; we root for the Trojans . . . and whoever is playing UCLA.

Update: I guess this is a weekly thing.

Further update: It looks like All Things Longhorn took offense to this post. ; )

Overzealous Longhorns

I came across the All Things Longhorn blog a week or two ago and have been irregularly browsing the site since. As a USC fan, I find many of the posts quite amusing. Expectedly (but not necessarily justifiably), the Longhorns' jump past USC in the BCS ranking generated significant euphoria. The prevailing theme of the blog seems to be that Texas, enjoying a once-in-a-generation season (it's a little sad, really, that they expect success on this level so infrequently), clearly has the nation's best college football team even though all the major human polls indicate otherwise. For All Things Longhorn, the latest BCS ranking validates this belief. I found the following statement interesting and decided to record it so I wouldn't forget it later:

USC can talk 29 consecutive wins and all that jazz, but for the 2005 season alone, the Texas Longhorns have been the best team in all the land, as the current BCS ranking reflects [italics mine].

Considering the slim nature of Texas' lead in the ranking and the relative strengths of the remainders of the Trojans' and the Longhorns' schedules, I hope All Things Longhorn doesn't change it's tune when USC regains the #1 spot in the BCS ranking in the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

USC-UW

OK – the offense looked good.  Leinart’s passes clearly had improved accuracy and zip.  Jarrett had an extraterrestrial catch.  On the negative side, there was another major breakdown on kick coverage.  The defense allowed Washington two long TD drives.  Of more concern is yet another injury in the secondary.  I don’t know his status, but it looked like John Walker injured his ankle in the first half, and he appeared later on crutches.  Hopefully, it’s not serious and he can get back on the field soon.  Overall, the result was very satisfactory.

I’ll be at the Coliseum next week for Homecoming.  I can’t wait to see the team in person.

Norm Chow

Relatively little has been written about the departure of Norm Chow since the season began. Statistically speaking, the offense has been more prolific than ever, but that was almost a forgone conclusion with the players USC had returning on offense. What concerned me most about Chow’s departure was losing his play calling. USC didn’t jump out to quick leads over good teams last year, but I always had the sense the team was in complete control. After feeling out the opposing team’s defense for 20 minutes or so, it was lights out the rest of the way. This year’s team looks to be trying to score quickly early, but hasn’t always been successful. Games have gotten out of control until the offense finds something that works, which has usually been as simple as handing the ball to Bush or White. Is anyone else worried by quotes like this, following the ND game?

Leinart and wide receiver Steve Smith have been talking about doing some things differently, as well, with Leinart making his plea to Steve Sarkisian, the assistant head coach in charge of USC's offense.

"We have to get back to basics," Smith said. "Matt and I have been talking about going back to the simple things."

Leinart told Sarkisian: "Go back to what we do the best -- quick, three-step drops, quick slants and play-action stuff. They're playing 10 yards off our receivers. Don't keep going deep."

If this is true, why have we gone away from what has worked so well in the past? And, why aren’t we taking the easy stuff the defense is giving us? It seems like our defense could benefit from more time of possession by the offense.

Today’s Washington game could be significant. Will the offense get back on track, or will they continue to struggle to find a rhythm?

USC-ND

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a USC Trojans fan – I have been since my freshman year, the fall ’92 season.  That means I had the good fortune to experience the worst decade of USC football in the last 40 or 50 years.  I say good fortune because now I understand how special this current run is.  Anyway . . . .

USC’s last loss was to Cal on September 27, 2003.  I remember a sense of dread building as that game wore on; I just knew we were going to lose (to the annoyance of those around me watching the game).  I haven’t experienced that feeling since.  If memory serves, that Cal game was USC’s only close game in 2003.  There were a number of relatively close games in 2004, but only one was in doubt in the final moments.  This year’s game in South Bend was easily USC’s closest and hardest fought game during the current 28-game winning streak.  Still, even at 4th and 9 from the USC 26 with 1:32 to go, I wasn’t panicking.  Don’t get me wrong, I was realistic about the Trojan’s chances at that point, but I hadn’t lost hope.  As soon as Leinart completed that 61-yard reception to Jarrett, I knew we were going to win.

For me, the most impressive thing about USC football over the past 2+ years has been their character; they’re confident, they never give up, and given the opportunity to seize victory, you can be sure they will take it.

By the way, check out these must-see videos of the last moments of the USC-ND game, recorded and shared by the Irish Trojan.  They almost brought tears to my eyes.  Amazing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Go

The title of this blog is derived from my high school nickname. Nearly all of my friends, the soccer team, and at least two-thirds of the student body referred to me as "Crazy". I'm not sure I earned that moniker, but that's what they called me nonetheless.

One of our graduation-related events was a dinner with seniors and their parents. The students who organized and MC'd the event came up with dozens of original "awards" for the seniors. These weren't voted on like those traditional yearbook designations, "Most Likely to Succeed", "Class Clown", "Most Athletic", etc.; they were just thought up to highlight the unique characteristics of some of the graduates. I was set to attend USC in the fall, which was rare for our high school in eastern Washington State, so I was given the "Crazy Trojan Award".

Nobody has called me "Crazy" since then, except when I run into high school classmates from time to time. I find it amusing.