It’s Christmas and maybe USC’s loss last week was a present of sorts for those who want better for the football program.
Those who have standards. Those who see things clearly. Not the willfully blind who pretend everything is getting better.
For the first five games, there was some dissatisfaction over the unimpressive performances but it got muffled because USC actually won the games.
However, the loss to Oregon has broken the dam. The fans have been complaining all week on social media and the Los Angeles Times even had a couple tough takes on the program.
Can you imagine what would have happened if USC beat Oregon?
There would have been smug cries from the administration and sideline groupies that pretend to be coaches about how USC deserved to be in the College Football Playoff. Or how USC as undefeated (never mind the easy schedule). I don’t double some in the media would have parroted this argument too.
In short, it would have been insufferable. And it would have obscured the truth about the state of the program.
- One player told me it didn’t help last week that a staff member kept going around telling everyone USC should not have been forced to play in the Pac-12 title game once Washington opted out.
- USC safety Talanoa Hufanga was named an All-American by ESPN. Good thing they didn’t watch the Oregon game.
- Some people want Helton to fire some assistant coaches. He’s fired 13 assistants since he took over the program. Will one-or-two more make a difference now?
- And now for some history:
In my annual Christmas tradition, here is my all-time favorite USC picture.
Hollywood screen legend Greta Garbo was sent to USC in 1926 to pose for some publicity photos with the track team.
Garbo initially refused until MGM deducted $25 from her salary, which convinced her to head to campus and don a USC track singlet.
She is posing with a USC track assistant coach. And here she is below with the now-notorious USC track coach Dean Cromwell.
- Speaking of track and field, USC discus thrower Joe Antunovich, who came from New Zealand in 1970, was believed to be the first Trojan athlete allowed to major in architecture.
Antunovich’s interest in architecture was even obvious during a track road trip to Arizona.
“Everyone else on the team would go sightseeing for Indian ruins,” USC assistant coach Ken Matsuda said. “But not Antunovich. Joe went to see exhibits by Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects.”