Did people suddenly forget the Holiday Bowl, which was barely four weeks ago?
I keep hearing how great things are happening at USC as if Iowa never beat USC, 49-24.
I’m actually concerned Kedon Slovis, the shining light of the football program, won”t make it past the Alabama game. Then what?
The biggest concern I have, though, is USC wins just enough games to retain Clay Helton, which I find more likely today than a month ago because Todd Orlando has to be better than Clancy Pendergast.
Imgagine if Helton comes back in 2021. That would mean three straight lackluster recruiting classes. Yikes.
- That picture above is USC athletic director Mike Bohn firing up the student section before Thursday night’s basketball game.
- Looks like USC will not have a recruiting dinner next week. A pro-Helton donor told me Wednesday there was no need because most recruits sign in December and nothing really happens in February these days. How about a dinner so Bohn can explain how recruiting went “dramatically better than anybody wants to admit.”
- USC had a nice tribute to Kobe Bryant before the basketball game Thursday night with 24.8 seconds of silence. It also left a No. 24 and No. 2 jersey with flowers on two courtside seats to honor Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
The game itself was dreary. USC shot 37 percent and gave an extremely average Utah team every chance to win the game. If you read different somewhere, then you know they are sugar-coating the performance. On the plus side, the student section was nearly full.
- A Pac-12 team will play Army in the Independence Bowl next season. Good luck!
- Long-time USC administrator Ron Orr was fired two weeks ago. An athletic dept. employee, sympathetic to Orr, relayed this story to show one aspect of his job.
A couple years ago, a wealthy booster attended a USC game and was actually a guest in Lynn Swann’s suite.
The donor went down to the field to watch pre-game warm-ups with another guest. When Swann saw the donor, he yelled at him, used profanity and ordered him off the field. Swann told him to get back to the suite immediately.
The donor did not know he wasn’t allowed on the field and felt humilated.
The following week, Orr called the donor and apologized for Swann’s behavior. The donor said he wanted Swann to personally apologize.
“That’s not going to happen,” Orr said.
Orr’s job often involved smoothing over whatever slights Mike Garrett, Pat Haden or Swann committed to boosters.
- Tom Selleck turned 75 on Wednesday. He was on the basketball team at USC, as shown in the picture below. His brother Bob, who was a year older, also attended USC and played baseball.
Although Tom became a famous actor, Bob was known as the more gregarious, humorous and outgoing Selleck. When USC played football games at the Coliseum, Bob would have Tom go stand by himself and wait for female students to gravitate toward him.
Once there was a group of co-eds, Bob and his friends would then join Tom.
- Parry O’Brien, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, would have turned 88 this week, so it’s a good time to recognize him. How many USC athletes have adorned the cover of Time magazine?
O’Brien and Mel Patton are two I know about.
- Lou Ramirez, a USC graduate in 1951, died Thursday. He was 93. Ramirez watched his first USC game in 1938.
“I was 12 and I decided then I wanted to go to ‘SC,” Ramirez told the Los Angeles Times in 1993.
Ramirez was athletic director at Birmingham High School in Lake Balboa from 1955-1998. Among his students were actresses Sally Field and Cindy Williams. He was part of a generation of USC graduates that went into coaching at local high schools and influenced many students’ athletic careers. Many of these coaches were P.E. majors, which is no longer offered at USC.