preload

USC

Nov 24

FirefoxScreenSnapz028

Notre Dame beat USC, 22-13 Saturday night, in what may prove to have been a best-case scenario for me: the #1-ranked Irish are headed for the BCS championship game in Miami, and USC’s Lane Kiffin might have gotten himself fired — Pat Haden’s previous assurances notwithstanding — thanks to a pair of utterly catastrophic goal-line sequences that cost the Trojans their chance at a fourth-quarter comeback.

More on Kiffin in a moment. But first: WOOOOO!!!! NOTRE DAME!!!!! WOW!!!!!

If you’d told me before the season that Notre Dame would go 12-0 and play for the national title, I would have been utterly flabbergasted. Just like lifelong ND fan and Solid Verbal podcast co-host Ty Hildenbrandt, I thought the very idea of Notre Dame going unbeaten was laughable. I looked at this team’s schedule and figured 9-3 was a stretch, let alone 12-0. So what they’ve done is simply amazing. Unbelievable. What though the odds be great or small…

And for those of you who will now proclaim that the Irish have no chance — zero, zilch, nada — of beating the SEC champion, I suggest you have a chat with 2002-03 Ohio State (given no chance of beating Miami), 2005-06 Texas (an afterthought to questions of whether USC was the best team in history), and 2006-07 Florida (no possible way they could beat those dominant Buckeyes) about predictive overconfidence in a sport where we know far less than we think about the top teams. For that matter, talk to Boise State and Utah and West Virginia and other huge-surprise winners of BCS bowls over the years. Or, hell, talk to Baylor about last week, or Texas A&M about two weeks ago. The point is, upsets can and do happen in college football, all the time, including title games, and including matchups where the very notion of an upset is considered absurd according to the conventional wisdom. Moreover, if you really drill down into their resumes instead of just chanting “S-E-C, S-E-C” over and over, it’s unclear how much Alabama and Georgia have really proven on the field, this year. Notre Dame may very well lose, but you’re a damn fool if you’re talk about that outcome like it’s pre-ordained.

Anyway… I did ultimately decide to root for the Irish tonight, for the reasons I discussed earlier. Once Florida had beaten Florida State — making an all-SEC national title game highly likely in the event of a USC win, and eliminating any possibility of Notre Dame back-dooring into the title game despite a loss — that was the final straw that caused me to stop dancing around the issue and pushed me into the pro-ND camp.

It was very, very weird, though, rooting against the men in cardinal & gold, regardless of the unique circumstances. It felt unnatural. I hope to never do it again.

FirefoxScreenSnapz030

But I’m very happy for the Irish. What an awesome accomplishment. GOOOO IRISH, BEEEEAT AN S-E-C TEAM TO BE NAMED LATER!!!

Now, about Kiffykins…

The ending of the game was unbelievably disastrous for him. First, he called a late “ice his own quarterback” timeout that appeared cost his team a touchdown (they got a field goal instead). Then, far more catastrophically, a noxious/glorious combination of horrible clock management, unbelievably bad play-calling, and indefensibly poor awareness of the game situation (and, of course, great defense by the Irish) caused USC to somehow turn a situation where they had the ball at the Irish 2-yard line, down 9, with well over 5 minutes left — which was causing ND fans everywhere to #PANIC — into a situation where, after nine shots at the end zone and zero points, they turned it over on downs with 2:33 left, and a Notre Dame victory was assured.

Kiffin, in other words, did not merely lose a second game to an archrival in a week, capping off a 7-5 season for a team that started off ranked #1 in the country. He managed to do so in a manner that drew all the attention to himself, highlighting his glaring weaknesses in the most humiliating manner possible. The alumni pressure to oust him will be intense and unrelenting. He’ll be gone by Tuesday.

If I’m right, like I said, that’s pretty much the best-case scenario for me:

After the jump, for posterity, the complete Storify history of my USC-ND tweeting today:

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share  |  No Comments  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Nov 18

Goooooo Irish, Beeeeeeat Trojans?!?!?

Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 1:03 am Mountain Time

Back in 2004, when I enrolled at Notre Dame Law School and became an “Irish Trojan,” I wasn’t sure initially whether I would become a fan of Notre Dame’s sports teams. After all, my undergrad alma mater was USC, archrival of the Irish. I figured I’d wait and see how I felt about ND sports once I got there.

One thing I knew for sure, though: at a bare minimum, I would root for USC when they played the Irish.

When I arrived on campus in the land of Domers, I quickly fell in love with the school, its traditions, and yes, its sports teams. My first football game was an upset of a Top 10 Michigan team, which ended with the students — including myself and fellow USC alum Steve Shim — rushing the field. I was instantly hooked on Notre Dame football.

Whatever some Irish die-hards (in particular the reprobates at the ND Nation message board cesspool community) might say in the years to come, I became a genuine fan of the Fighting Irish right then and there. Love thee, Notre Dame. I cheered for the Irish every week, and I cheered hard. Well — every week but one, and there’s the rub. Regarding the rivalry game, I stuck to my guns: when Notre Dame played USC, I would of course root for the Trojans, my first alma mater. Indeed, USC’s epic win at Notre Dame in 2005 became a defining day of my entire decade. I would root for Notre Dame eleven games per season, but in that one game each year, USC-ND, I was a Trojan through and through.

Even way back in 2004, however, I do remember repeatedly articulating one nagging thought, distant and unrealistic though it seemed then, back in the glory years of Pete Carroll and the waning days of Ty Willingham: what the heck would I do if Notre Dame ever played USC in a situation where the Irish were undefeated and in the running for the national title, while USC was out of the BCS hunt, playing a game that’s essentially meaningless to them (outside of the rivalry itself) and simply attempting to play spoiler? Would I still root for USC, even though it meant destroying an Irish dream season for no tangible gain beyond the simple satisfaction of doing so? Or would I, in that unique situation, make an exception and root for the Irish?

My answer then, when I occasionally pondered this issue, was: “I’m just not sure.” That situation, I acknowledged to myself (and I’m pretty sure I said aloud on one or two occasions), would be genuinely difficult, and I really did not know how I’d handle it. And, in the more than eight years since then, I’ve never had to decide.

Well, now I damn well have to decide.

Next Saturday, Notre Dame will play USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It will be the marquee game of the post-Thanksgiving weekend, College Gameday will be there, and with good reason: the Irish will come in as the #1-ranked team in the country, thanks to tonight’s losses by Kansas State and Oregon. Win, and Notre Dame is going to the national championship game, probably to play Alabama or Georgia. Lose, and they’re almost certainly out of the title hunt (and we get into a situation of total #CHAOS that could result in the nightmare of an Alabama-Florida BCS title matchup).

USC, meanwhile, is 7-4, and bound for some crappy third-tier bowl regardless of Saturday’s outcome. The preseason #1 Trojans will be playing for pride, and to be a spoiler — nothing more. Arguably, a loss to Notre Dame could even be beneficial to USC’s longer-term prospects, as such a disastrous end to the Trojans’ season against their two hated rivals might force Pat Haden to fire Lane Kiffin, whatever he says now. Regardless, the Trojans have essentially nothing to gain in the big picture by beating the Irish, whereas Notre Dame has everything to gain, and an enormous amount to lose.

So, what the Hell do I do?

I discussed this in a Facebook post last week, back when it was still a hypothetical possibility. I wrote, in part:

All these years, since I became an “Irish Trojan” in 2004, I’ve faithfully rooted for USC over Notre Dame every time they’ve played, indeed I’ve rooted EXTRA HARD for USC when the Trojans were playing the Irish, really living up the whole dual loyalties thing. I’ve said “I root for Notre Dame in every game but one” more times than I can count. Over and over, I’ve proclaimed that I always root for my first, original alma mater, my undergrad over my law school. Always.

But… but… in this unique situation… where Notre Dame is playing for a shot at the national title… and USC is playing for nothing (except for the mere fact of beating Notre Dame, which is, of course, never literally “nothing”)… is it justifiable to make an exception? …

I know that, if root for ND, I’ll be tarred and feathered by a “bandwagon” fan, probably by both USC fans and to some extent ND fans as well. But let me just say, the issue is NOT which team is “better.” If USC were 2-9 and Notre Dame were 9-2, there’s no question I’d root for the Trojans. Likewise, if Notre Dame were 11-0 … and USC were 10-1 and ranked #5, but still had a shot at the title if they beat ND and other dominoes fell, I’d definitely root for the Trojans. The only reason this is an issue is because ND has a shot at the national title while the game is effectively meaningless for USC.

Right now, I sort of feel like, when they kick off, my heart is going to be with Notre Dame. But I’m not sure. And I feel like I should feel guilty about that. Maybe.

I asked for people’s comments on my dilemma, and the reactions were fascinating.

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share  |  12 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Dec 22

Christmas comes three days early

Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm Mountain Time

MERRY BARKLEYMAS, FELLOW TROJANS!!!!!

The arm of Matt Barkley shall throw in the Coliseum — one last time. FELL DEEDS AWAKE! Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a cardinal dawn!

FORTH TROJANLINGAS!!!

Bookmark and Share  |  2 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, Lord of the Rings, USC
Dec 20

What Pat Haden should have said

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm Mountain Time

Today, the NCAA announced Ohio State’s sanctions for Tresselgate. They are, of course, far less severe than USC’s sanctions, despite the misconduct having been indisputably more widespread, with higher university officials (like, I don’t know, THE HEAD COACH) having been undeniably more directly responsible for what occurred.

Asked to comment, USC athletic director Pat Haden demurred: “My job is to move on. Not going to compare it.”

Here’s what Haden should have said:

Good afternoon. Today, the NCAA announced that it is imposing a 1-year bowl ban, and a reduction of 9 scholarships over 3 years, on Ohio State’s football program. These penalties resulted from an investigation which found that five football players had sacrificed their amateur status, sold merchandise illicitly, and taken illegal benefits from boosters within the Columbus community, and that head coach Jim Tressel knew about this, lied about it to the NCAA, and covered up his role, in large part so that the ineligible athletes could continue to compete for Ohio State, including in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

As you know, USC is presently serving a 2-year bowl ban, and is about to suffer a reduction of 30 scholarships over 3 years, as a result of the NCAA’s findings that a single football player took illegal benefits, in San Diego, from a would-be agent. The NCAA found that USC had not adequately monitored this athlete’s activities or those of the agent, and had lacked institutional control in that the university “should have known” what was occurring, because “high-profile athletes require high-profile monitoring.” Crucially, however, the NCAA found no proof of actual knowledge by the school, still less of coaches or other university employees lying to the NCAA or engaging in a coverup.

We are gratified that, by imposing lesser penalties on Ohio State for what are indisputably more serious infractions that those committed in the USC case, the NCAA has tacitly acknowledged that its penalties against USC were far too harsh. It is unfortunate that the NCAA did not come to this realization sooner, such as when we appealed for a reduction in the penalties. However, the NCAA has obviously, if belatedly, realized its mistake, and for that we are grateful. All of college athletics is better off when the punishment for a given infraction fits the crime, as in the Ohio State case, rather than being grossly excessive, as in the USC case.

In light of these developments, we look forward to receiving an explicit statement of acknowledgement and apology from the NCAA. We also believe, although our appeals process has been exhausted, that a discretionary decision by the NCAA to reduce our scholarship penalties would be appropriate. But in any case, we are grateful that the mistakes made by the NCAA in our case will not be repeated going forward, and other schools will not suffer similarly unreasonable penalties to the ones we were given.

Thank you for your time.

But alas.

For the record, I’m genuinely glad Ohio State didn’t get hit harder. The fact that USC got royally screwed — a fact that cannot now seriously be disputed — is no reason to royally screw everyone else, too. That flies in the face of the concept of “precedent,” of course, but I’m looking at the bigger picture here. We can’t be giving Ohio State a three- or four-year ban, Miami the death penalty, and Penn State…what the hell would you give Penn State? No, we can’t do that, not if we want college sports to continue.

What should happen is an explicit renunciation of the USC ruling — the precedent being wiped off the books with an apology, a cancellation of the as-yet unserved sanctions, mass resignations from the Committee on Infractions, and a criminal investigation of Paul Dee (okay, kidding, I’m sure he’s done nothing criminal, but dammit, I can dream). That won’t happen, of course, because of the NCAA operates like a third-world kleptocracy, and third-world kleptocrats can never acknowledge that they were wrong about anything — it’s right there in the third-world kleptocrat handbook! So the USC ruling will remain on the books, a “widows & orphans” case that will never be used as precedent for anything, and USC fans will forever (or at least for the next decade or so) be pissed off when new rulings come out that are plainly unjustifiable when compared to our sanctions. That’s just how it’s gonna have to be, folks.

Meanwhile, I extend my sincere sympathies to any Buckeye fans who might be reading this. You’ll see no schadenfreude from this corner. It sucks to be you today. I know. I remember. But take heart: you’ll be back. Today is the low point. So fly your colors proudly today, as I did when USC’s sanctions were announced. Take your medicine, but have pride in your school. Tomorrow, the sun will rise. And Urban Meyer will still be your coach, you bastards. :)

Bookmark and Share  |  6 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Nov 26

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm Mountain Time

UCLA sucks. That is all.

P.S. Enjoy your Pac-12 South “championship”! Have fun at Autzen! HAHAHAHAHA

Bookmark and Share  |  13 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Oct 25

Wake up the echoes

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 5:18 am Mountain Time

IMG_0490

Wow, it’s been more than two weeks since I blogged anything?!? Not counting my November 2008-June 2009 hiatus, that has to be a record dating back to 2002, no? Anyway, sorry, I’ve been really busy, and what free time I’ve had for the Interwebs has been going toward Twitter instead.

But look! A pretty picture of Notre Dame Stadium at night! (And here’s a panorama!) This past weekend, as a 30th birthday present from the Best. Wife. Ever., I returned to Notre Dame for the first time since graduation, and attended the USC-ND night game (sitting in the USC section this time). It was a glorious weekend in all respects. And despite the perhaps slightly inflammatory t-shirt I wore to the game…

IMG_0475

IMG_9023

…I was otherwise on my best behavior, and more than anything else, spent the weekend (aside from tailgating and the game) soaking in Notre Dame, indeed posting so many #LoveTheeNotreDame tweets that David felt compelled to express some #PANIC and to remind me who I was rooting for. Heh. He needn’t have worried; my rooting interest was never in doubt. But I do love Notre Dame, and it was wonderful to be back, if only for a couple of days. It’s hard to express this sentiment adequately without sounding like a complete sap, but it’s a very special place, and I missed it more than I realized.

IMG_9074

IMG_9076

The trip “woke up the echoes” of what almost feels like a completely different life, even though it ended only 4 1/2 years ago, because upon leaving Notre Dame, I not only entered the “real world” but also promptly started having kids, such that my time under the Dome is now something akin to a distant, long-ago dream. Being back was almost like an out-of-body experience. (It also made me really, really look forward to the day — in 3 or 4 years, perhaps — when we go back for a game, not against USC, with all three girls, and do the whole “Notre Dame football weekend” thing as a family. Can’t. Wait.)

Oh, and also, I stopped in Chicago on Thursday night, crashed at Kyle Whelliston’s place, and met the original Bally. So there was that.

IMG_8905

So anyway, back to the Notre Dame part of my trip. As you may have heard, USC, which came in as a 9-point underdog, won the game. So that was awesome. Fight On!

Go Irish, Beat Navy! Fight On Trojans, Beat the Farm Drunken Trees!

Bookmark and Share  |  1 Comment  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Jun 22

Let’s review. USC’s football program allegedly allowed agents, proto-agents and/or runners to run rampant (I’ll ignore for the moment that this was not actually proven), and failed to monitor the activities of one “high-profile athlete” (two athletes counting O.J. Mayo, who played basketball, not football), or rather said athlete’s family. An assistant coach supposedly knew about the athlete’s family’s activities (again, we’ll ignore that this was not actually proven). For these crimes against amateurism, USC was hit with the “lack of institutional control” hammer, and suffered the most serious penalties in years, which were not reduced on appeal even after arguably more serious violations subsequently emerged at Ohio State and Auburn.

Meanwhile, in Chapel Hill… North Carolina’s football program allegedly allowed agents, proto-agents and/or runners to run rampant, and failed to monitor the activities of numerous rule-breaking players and of an assistant coach who was working for an agent… AND had massive academic fraud to boot, involving university employees and like a dozen players (all of whom played football, not basketball). Yet according to the NCAA, North Carolina did not lack institutional control, and is guilty only of the lesser charge of “failure to monitor.”

Is there any possible rationale for this, other than “it’s North Carolina football, who cares?” or “we’re the NCAA, we don’t heed no stinkin’ precedent!”? Can anyone come up with something else plausible, or even something implausible, that would even begin to rationally explain this unbelievable case of indefensibly disparate and discriminatory treatment? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I’m not at all inclined to be a conspiracy theorist, like some of my fellow Trojans who think the NCAA is specifically out to get USC because — what? they’re jealous of us? why on earth would they hate USC?!? it makes no sense! — but this is pretty f***ing ridiculous. In fact, it’s gone beyond ridiculous. Auburn was ridiculous. Ohio State was ridiculous. This is criminal!

If North Carolina gets anything less than a two-year postseason ban and a 30-scholarship reduction (i.e., what USC got for indisputably less serious charges, which were only partially proven), USC should drop its post-Garrett nice-guy act and, as dcl keeps saying, sue the bastards… or set up a secret meeting with Texas, Notre Dame and a handful of other high-profile programs, to discuss secession from the corrupt, incompetent, hypocritical, unaccountable overlords of college sports otherwise known as the NCAA.

(Not that I actually want the secession scenario to happen; it would be terrible for the mid-majors, obviously, in both football and basketball. But for heaven’s sake, this is utterly absurd. Has any organization ever sacrificed as much credibility, through a series of unforced errors and nonsensical decisions, as the NCAA has in the last year or so? It’s beyond infuriating — and remember, I started out as a lone Trojan voice in the wilderness last summer, defending the NCAA’s penalties and saying we should take our medicine and stop whining. But subsequent events have proven that the NCAA’s critics were right, and I was wrong. The NCAA, or at least its enforcement arm, appears to be irredeemable — rotten to its core, incapable of doing its job in a reasonable or remotely fair fashion. So, what do we do? How do we blow up the NCAA without blowing up college sports?)

P.S. Upon reflection, I suppose my Grand Unified Theory of NCAA Inconsistency would go something like this:

1) The NCAA brought the hammer down on USC because the bureaucrats in power felt public pressure to “do something” and “show they were serious,” and they were all-too-happy to do so in USC’s case not because they’re OMG EAST COAST BIASED PAC-10 HATERZ, but because USC was perceived as thumbing its nose at the NCAA (even while formally cooperating in the investigation) by virtue of retaining Mike Garrett, hiring Lane Kiffin, etc. Basically, the NCAA — like all unaccountable bureaucratic entities tend to do — acted largely out of pique, with the “judge and jury” focused more on the notion that USC was not properly respecting their authoritah than on the actual facts of the case.

2) As subsequent cases (Auburn, Ohio State, North Carolina) emerged, the public pressure equation subtly changed. Pundits and casual observers started panicking — We can’t have all these major programs suffering USC-style sanctions or worse! We can’t have death penalties! — so the “do something” and “show seriousness” rationale faded somewhat, replaced by the notion that perhaps the NCAA’s amateurism rules themselves are the problem. Also, in the case of UNC, because the football program is so low-profile, nobody cared all that much.

3) Logically, the transition from #1 to #2 should have led to USC winning its appeal. But remember, these are unaccountable, and therefore (by virtue of human nature) corrupt, bureaucrats! They can’t admit they were wrong! That’s Rule #1 in the Unaccountable Corrupt Bureaucrat Handbook! So they stuck by their guns in the USC case, even while unilaterally disarming in the various other cases on their docket. And they defend this by saying, literally, that precedent doesn’t matter, because every case is unique. Did I mention they’re unaccountable and corrupt?

If you think about the NCAA more as a third-world kleptocracy than as a sports governing body, their decisions actually make a fair amount of sense.

Bookmark and Share  |  6 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
May 26

So say rumors on the Internets.

UPDATE: Here’s the story. Multiple media folks are confirming it.

So, no postseason (again) for USC in 2011-12. Any seniors who wish to transfer can (again) do so and play immediately elsewhere. Only shot at a national title is (again) the AP-only version. And the inaugural Pac-12 South will have just five teams competing for a spot in the conference title game, two of which are Colorado and UCLA. So, basically, three teams. Your move, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah.

P.S. Auburn’s national title remains intact as of this hour, as does Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl title. Also, Jim Tressel is still Ohio State’s coach at last check. Just in case you were wondering.

THURSDAY UPDATE: It’s now official. Here’s the NCAA’s report (PDF). USC responds:

“We respectfully, but vehemently, disagree with the findings of the NCAA’s Infractions Appeals Committee,” USC said in a statement Thursday. “Our position was that the Committee on Infractions abused its discretion and imposed penalties last June that were excessive and inconsistent with established case precedent.”

[President Max] Nikias, in a statement said: “We are extremely disappointed in this result. We are very concerned that the historical value of case precedent and the right to fair process in the NCAA adjudicative process, both in terms of the ability of an institution to defend itself or prove an abuse of discretion on appeal, have been substantially eroded.

“Further, the decisions of the [Committee on Infractions] and [Infractions Appeals Committee] have set a standard that leaves little, if any, room to discipline more egregious violations that will be addressed by the NCAA in the future without irreparably damaging athletic programs across the country.”

That’s what I’ve been saying since the fall. The NCAA is going to have to start handing out “death penalties” if it’s going to be remotely consistent going forward. I’m frankly shocked that the appeals committee didn’t have the foresight to see that. But I suppose I shouldn’t be. Although I originally counseled Trojans to accept the sanctions without whining, it’s subsequently become clear that the NCAA cares not for consistency, has no foresight, and is basically a corrupt and/or incompetent joke of an organization. This just cements that.

Anyway, Nikias added, “Notwithstanding this troubling concern and our grave disappointment, we will look forward to the future.” In other words, the NCAA sucks, but we ain’t suing them.

[Original timestamp 2:10 PM on May 25; Bumped to top. -ed]

P.S. USC A.D. Pat Haden: “If we have to prove an abuse of discretion and there is no standard because you can’t use past precedents, how do you prove an abuse of discretion? I don’t know how you overcome the burden. It’s kind of circular.” Indeed.

Also, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, laying down the fightin’ words:

We join the fans, alumni, staff and leadership of USC in being extremely disappointed with today’s decision. I want to state emphatically that our conference is committed to adhering to the highest ethical standards and compliance with NCAA rules. USC’s new leadership has certainly demonstrated this with its handling of the sanctions and by establishing a new culture of compliance for its athletic programs with its win-by-the-rules approach.

I respect USC’s decision to take the high ground and not pursue any further recourse to the NCAA ruling. At the same time, I fully expect that every NCAA member institution be held to the same high standards. These sanctions, notably the postseason ban, have a devastating effect on current student-athletes, most of whom were in elementary and junior high school at the time of the alleged violations.

To me, that is a source of great frustration and disappointment. Going forward, we can and need to do better in terms of the enforcement process.

Aside from the boldfaced shot across the NCAA’s bow in reference to Auburn and Ohio State, does anyone else sense the unspoken, nascent seed of a notion of big conferences seceding from the NCAA if “we” fail to “do better in terms of the enforcement process”? As a fan of the mid-majors, I obviously don’t want that to happen, but the NCAA may be writing its own obituary if it keeps this up.

Bookmark and Share  |  15 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Mar 30

OMG OMG OMG

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:26 am Mountain Time

OMG:

[A]s if any Irish-Trojans confrontation required a more electrified backdrop, there was this bombshell out of South Bend on Wednesday: Notre Dame will host its first home night game in 21 years this fall, and the opponent will be USC.

The Oct. 22 matchup between the teams will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CDT. It’s the first Notre Dame Stadium night game since Michigan visited under the lights in 1990.

OMG. WANT.

Bookmark and Share  |  6 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Dec 06

Idiots:

 

Bookmark and Share  |  1 Comment  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Dec 04

Since my tweets aren’t updating the right-hand column right now, due to server issues, I’m going to set up an all-day live-tweeting window here. It’s going to be a busy day of college basketball and football: Utah State-Georgetown is at 10:00 AM MDT; the Butler-Duke rematch is at 1:15 PM MDT; Oregon-Oregon State and Auburn-South Carolina start at 1:30 and 2:00 PM MDT, respectively; Illinois-Gonzaga is at 3:15 PM MDT; Cal State Northridge @ Denver, which I’ll be attending, tips at 4:30 PM MDT; UConn-South Florida is at 6:00 PM MDT, with a BCS berth at stake for my home-state Huskies; and of course USC-UCLA is at 8:30 PM MDT. Beat the Bruins!!!

Anyway, the liveblog is powered by Cover It Live. It will display all of my tweets and Becky’s tweets, and also tweets by Stewart Mandel, Matt Zemek, TCU fan Jarod Daily, the USC SYCO guy, and perhaps others who I’ll add as the day goes on.

And you, too, can join in the conversation! Just tweet something “@brendanloy,” and it’ll appear below. If you like, you can do this using the reply window at the bottom of this post. (NOTE: After the first tweet, you will need to retype “@brendanloy” in the window for each subsequent tweet.)

[event over; tweet reply box removed]

Bookmark and Share  |  No Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Nov 27

Notre Dame 20, USC 16

Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm Mountain Time

So… that just happened. My first USC loss to ND since I became an “Irish Trojan.”

Congrats to my long-suffering Irish-fan friends on finally beating USC. Really.

And… sigh.

Beat. The Bruins.

P.S. Amen to this:

Ronald Johnson is as good a man as you will ever want to meet. He dropped a ball on the final USC drive that would have changed the outcome of the game. He felt the cruel reality of sports tonight just as the Boise State kicker did yesterday. I feel for him and the Trojan family should support a senior, who did it the right way for four years.

“It’s just part of the game. You drop balls,” said Mitch Mustain about the unforgettable play. “That one probably would’ve changed the outcome, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if there’s a worse feeling than that.”

Bookmark and Share  |  2 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Nov 23

Pat Haden talks about 4th and 9

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm Mountain Time

Via The Ripsit Blog, in honor of Notre Dame Week…

Bookmark and Share  |  1 Comment  |  Categories: College Football, Notre Dame, USC
Oct 12

Nothing is official yet, but my day of rejoicing may be near:

Pac-10 athletic directors weren’t able to arrive at a consensus during two days of meetings last week in San Francisco, but a compromise is in the works, according to multiple sources.

The conference would like to have a north-south split of two six-team divisions, instead of a “zipper format” that would divide the conference on an east-west alignment of every rivalry.

The schools in the Northwest will sign off on a north-south split, but want Stanford and Cal to be in their division instead of Colorado and Utah to ensure a foothold in recruiting-rich California. [Presumably Colorado and Utah also want this. -ed.]

However, the California schools would rather stay together, which would mean UCLA and USC being with Stanford and Cal. Add southern schools Arizona and Arizona State, and the South not only would have all of California, but also a historical competitive advantage, even if the current standings show the Oregon schools atop the conference.

One source said the league has to do what’s best for the overall conference, not just for the individual interests of a few schools. And to a number of the members, splitting the four California schools is a must.

If a compromise is reached, Cal and Stanford would be placed in the North division with Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State. The South division would be UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State and new members Utah and Colorado, formerly of the Mountain West and Big 12, respectively.

YAAAAAY!!!! USC IN BOULDER EVERY OTHER YEAR!!!! WHEEE!!!!!!!!

Of course, nothing is official yet. *knock on wood* But it sounds like that’s the direction things are moving in. Indeed, if the Zipper has been definitively rejected, then I don’t see how else things can shake out, since putting Utah and Colorado in the North Division would piss off, well, the entire North Division — and more broadly, create the perception (fair or unfair) of a Pac-12 Real Teams Division and a Pac-12 Kids Table Division. So I think it’s gotta be NorCal + Pacific Northwest and SoCal + Arizona + Mountains.

This apparent outcome is exactly what I predicted last week:

My guess? All this sound and fury will signify nothing. Larry Scott doesn’t like the Zipper; ergo, it won’t happen. We’ll get Cal and Stanford in the North Division, with the Northwest schools. SoCal, Arizona and Mountain schools in the south. No special guaranteed crossover games for the California schools. They’ll have to live with only playing each other 3 years out of 4.

That last point is still up in the air, and it sounds like each school may get a single crossover game — presumably UCLA-Cal and USC-Stanford. (Just what we need: more games against Stanford. Why not schedule an annual trip to Corvallis, too? Ugh.)

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share  |  37 Comments  |  Categories: College Football, USC
Jul 23

6 points in 2.8 seconds

Friday, July 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm Mountain Time

I had never seen this before, but stumbled on it today via YouTube. It’s USC at Oregon, January 7th, 1999, and it’s pretty freakin’ sweet. The action starts at around the 1-minute mark of the clip.

Here’s a contemporaneous news article about the game. And here’s a 2008 interview with the Trojan hero that night, Adam Spanich.

Bookmark and Share  |  No Comments  |  Categories: College Basketball, USC