If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

Will the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff format make a huge difference for USC?

Let’s take a look at the last time USC would have made the CFP in 2017 if the new format existed. So USC would have played Penn State, and if lucky, Clemson.

That’s as far as it would have gone. The Elite Eight. Still a long way off from the national championship. USC couldn’t muster any offense against Ohio State, the fourth seed, in the Cotton Bowl. But the Trojans would play Clemson. That would have been a bloodbath.

Clay Helton vs. Dabo Swinney? Do people actually feel better about USC in a 12-team format?

Oh wait, I haven’t factored in all the recruits visiting this month who can play if the 12-team CFP goes into effect in 2023 or 2025.

I have the same answer to this as I do everything regarding USC: Get rid of Helton first and then get back to me on it.


Graphic: Max Olson.

  • There are few people more slippery than Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff and before that, the Bowl Championship Series.

When Hancock worked for the BCS, he constantly made statements about why the College Football Playoff was not necessary.

More recently, Hancock constantly defended the four-team College Football Playoff. But here he was Thursday, saying, “12 keeps September important but also keeps November important.”

The guy doesn’t believe in anything.

  • USC put out two tweets Thursday on Reggie Bush being reinstated a year ago. The athletic dept. is “working” to normalize Bush, especially when you consider I reported they wrote a letter asking for Bush to be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
  • Why is it so important to USC? Bush never really apologized for the damage he caused to USC (and the players hurt from sanctions) because he refused to speak to the NCAA.
  • And now for some history:
  • I don’t intend to write about Marv Goux every week, but then I come across something and I can’t resist putting it into the column.

Goux was famous for his pre-game rally speeches on Thursdays in the locker room in the basement of the P.E. Building and later in Heritage Hall.

In 1971, before USC played Nebraska, Goux started off, “We’ve been kicking each other’s asses in practice since spring. ARE WE READY FOR MEAT?!!”

“Yeah!” the Trojans would respond.

“They call us ‘The Wild Bunch’!” Goux said. “Well, we’re gonna take 50 wild people back there where they say they’ll have 60,000! Just remember you’re the best — you’re from Southern California, and we have the best football players in the country!

“You’ve worked and sweated and took a lot. Now it’s YOUR turn to go out and get ’em! SPIRIT AND PRIDE — if you don’t have it, then don’t get on the bus!

“It’s like a fight — a big street fight!” Goux told the team, which surrounded him. “And when you get knocked down in a street fight and you don’t get up, who are you? Don’t come on this trip! Remember that! Have PERSONAL PRIDE!”

  • No. 5-ranked USC went to Nebraska and defeated the Cornhuskers, 31-21.
  • In 1967, USC basketball games were on the student radio station, KUSC. George Grande was an original ESPN anchor and a long-time Cincinnati Reds announcer. Now you know he went to USC. He also was a member of the 1968 USC baseball team that won the College World Series.

And is that Chuck Henry the Los Angeles TV institution? I honestly don’t know.

  • In 1969, KFI-AM aired “The John McKay Show” on Friday evenings during the football season.
  • The 1970 USC pitching staff averaged 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, led by Jim Barr, Steve Busby, Eric Raich and Brent Strom.
  • Do you recognize this former USC player?

OK, here’s a much easier picture to identify him.

I will reveal his identify later today in the USC newsletter.

  • In 1929, the USC gym was destroyed in a fire. The basketball team was forced to practice at the Shrine Auditorium while the gymnastics team went to the L.A. Athletic Club until construction of “the new Palace of Troy, the $750,000 P.E. Building, where they will have every modern convenience.”
  • A building block of USC’s success in the 1960’s and 70’s was junior-college transfers. Consider that in 1965, 14 JC transfers joined the team:

Dennis Crane (San Bernardino Valley), Tony Kochinas (Pierce), Jim Lawrence (New Mexico Military), Ray May (Los Angeles City College), Mike Westphal (Long Beach City College), Leonard Sims and Greg Wojcik (Orange Coast) came in the fall. They joined spring enrollees Mickey Upton (San Bernardino Valley), Gary Fite (Chaffey), Larry Petrill (El Camino), Jim Homan (Long Beach), Mike Scarpace (Valley), Ron Yary (Cerritos) and Bill Hayhoe (L.A. Valley).

That group included four JC All-Americans (Upton, Petrill, Yary and Wojcik) and five all-conference picks (May, Westphal, Sims, Scarpace and Fite).

Lawrence was Orange County high school Back-of-the-Year at Buena Park High School and Kochinas was Northern League Player-of-the-Year at Lincoln High in Los Angeles.

Yary, Petrill and Homan were all-conference at USC.

  • The 1962 national championship also had an array of JC stars that came that season: Gary Kirner (Santa Monica), Damon Bame (Glendale), Larry Sagouspe (Chaffey), Ron Heller (Santa Monica) and Armando Sanchez (Phoenix Union).

65 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. Q. What caused Early Birds existential crisis?
    A. Checking gmail & seeing Amazon Prime’s announcement they’ve just added big fat earthworms. Available via same day delivery. Guaranteed 100% wiggly.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Something wonderful—and unprecedented — is happening this morning: I’m being “moderated for content” —and then posted—one minute later. How awesome!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Amazon ended my existential crisis…..
      Can’t close without saying thank you to Scott —these “If it’s Friday” pieces are pretty amazing. [But I think USC outgained Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl —- we just forgot to score]…..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hate to live in the past, but you’re correct Michael.
        RoJo, Sam et al struggled but did have some nice gains vs a brutal tOSU defense
        (how many NFL stars did that OSU defense have playing?)

        My only recollection of that frustrating loss was how Sam went vocal on how horrible was the Calloway O-line. We were warned in 2017.

        …and what did we do?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Bourbon — Sam left in disgust after the Cotton Bowl (actually he mentally left in disgust after the Notre Dame game). Too bad Bohn isn’t as “aware” as a 20 year old kid.
        (This will take a while to show up —all my posts are being “moderated” …and then “approved for content” —wtf?)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Half refund on a Clay Helton? Not shabby. Figured all Heltons were sold as js, no refund. Guess that kind of generosity shouldn’t be a suprise… after all they let their employees keep their own piss bottles at their work station…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. After the loss to tOSU in the Cotton Bowl a reporter asked Sam Darnold about why he thought the Trojans offense sputtered and Darnold said, “Well, it’s hard to throw when you’re on your back all game”.

        USC offensive guard Viane Talamaivo promptly punched Darnold in the mouth.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Viane punching Darnold after that loss in the Cotton Bowl is as real as it gets when it comes to Trojans playing under Helton.

        Helton has a history of inciting punches being thrown…among players and coaches.


      1. ..But it will be such a better world …once ALL the little sellers are annihilated ….

        Liked by 2 people

    2. In 1971 Nebraska went 13-0 and won the National Championship, they didn’t play USC that year.

      The year was 1969 when USC beat Nebraska 31-21. USC was ranked #5 while Nebraska was unranked.


      1. In 1970 USC went 6-4-1. USC tied Nebraska 21-21. Nebraska went 12-0-1 to win the National Championship.


    1. Bohn’s a good AD and will fix the SwaHaden fiasco.
      Takes time. Has he been on campus 18 months?

      Nice to see the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams doing so well at the Champs.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Bohn’s a good man —but he’s not a great A. D.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No one cares about track. Football is the glue and money maker. These peripheral sports cant hold a candle to football. He therefore takes care of little things but the big. Makes no sense. Doesn’t matter how long he has been here. The elephant in the room was ignored day one.


  2. And let’s not forget JC transfer Bill Hayhoe (6’8″) tipped the Andrusyshyn PAT in the ’67 game of the century, USC 21, UCLA 20. Through business, I met Gary Beban many years later who said to me “We were ranked #1 going into that game, and are lucky they didn’t beat us by 4 TDs.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 67 —Shortly after UCLA got beat by us and, then, Syracuse, I was at Silverwood’s in Westwood …. Beban walked in and my buddies and I knew it was probably smart NOT to talk to him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha!! Beban is a terrific guy, obviously a great leader, given what they accomplished with such a small team, and what he did that day against USC with a bunch of broken ribs. He is only about 5’9″, probably 160, if you passed him on the street, you would never say “there goes a Heisman winner.”

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think Gary mighta gotten the broken ribs on the last series —McKay had his guys coming for him…big time. I guess UCLA had two things going against them in that Syracuse game — Gary’s condition…and broken hearts…

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Michael, absolutely right. He said “You never lost sight of the fact that Prothro was a great coach and a real tough SOB. But he got the best out of us.”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Prothro got the best out of some very average Ram teams too. He maybe was the best coach UCLA football ever had….

        Liked by 1 person

      5. IMHO,
        Prothro #2. Vermiel #1.
        I thought Terry D was a pretty good coach also. UCLA would lose games inexplicably and then come to the Coliseum and beat the Trojans under TD.

        Then there’s Jim “Own this town” Mora….

        Liked by 2 people

  3. JC football in the 1960’s (and to some degree the 1970’s) was relevant and So Cal JC football was a great feeder system for all the conferences. Remember how the JC national champ game was vaunted back then?

    Wasn’t one Orenthal James a JUCO trf?

    University admissions have likely softened since the 70’s, and students who otherwise would not have gained admission to any D1 CFB school now gain admission as frosh instead of having to “prove their academic mettle” at a JC. We find a way to get athletic talent into the major CFB programs no matter what the GPA and SAT…

    I’m good with it. They produce income for the University instead of cost.

    Nevertheless, today there is occasionally a “diamond in the rough” at the JUCO level.
    A guy who “matured late,” etc. Compare him to the guy who has had a ton of reps against solid competition at the D1 level from his Frosh year onward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah –O. J. played JC ball in the Bay Area. I was playing touch football with a bunch of guys in Oakland and this one guy —a real soft Baby Huey type —told me, “I played against O. J. in junior college —he came around my side once —he didn’t make that mistake again.” That is one of my most favoritest stories…..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. When I cruise down the 280 south towards the 101, I see a typical housing project up on a western hill (the Potrero?) . Is that the PJ that OJ grew up in?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Bourbon,
        280 becomes 19th Ave. 101 becomes Gough. I don’t recall if you can see the projects from 280. I don’t know which neighborhood OJ grew up in. Might have been Hunters Point. I was in High School in Los Gatos when OJ was at SC. I do vaguely recall that it was known that it was best that he cleared out of SF for his own good.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I think his name was Gary Seaglekoff — 6 feet 4 inches, 230 pounds — couldn’t throw, couldn’t catch —but maybe he could hit —I wouldn’t know since we were playing touch….

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I vaguely recall a Bush “apology” after USC got the death penalty–something about “being embarrassed” and “hurting the family.” It wasn’t a formal presser with that fake contrition that you see from other celebrities. I like Reggie for this. Always hate that “fake contrition” done in the name of corporate greed.

    Give the Heisman back. Admit that he was the most electrifying player for 2 years of NCAA-F and by far the POY that Heisman year. Admit that Cam Newton (a JUCO trf) and/or his dad was/were durty,

    I don’t recall anything from OJ Mayo, but I don’t follow the NBA that carefully.
    And I’m good with Mike Garrett telling the NCAA cabal to go F.O.!
    Mike’s a great Trojan and understands that 99% of America hates USC (due to envy).
    I love to trounce those weaklings (the 99%) on a daily basis.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What’s Emperor Garrett doing these days since he was fired as the Cal St. LA AD for sexual harassment?


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been careful to stay away from the “Hunter screws his dead brother’s wife” [and “seduces her minor daughter”] stories….. but maybe this opens the door…

        Liked by 2 people

  5. And finally for a Friday….

    Looks like the CFB playoff will be expanded and we’ll have poorly paid teenagers destroying theirs brains to 17 games per year. Epic decision by rich white guys who never once knocked heads on the gridiron.

    We, the cognoscenti, know that this is just about getting eyes glued onto a TV screen for more weekends.

    Monday has historically been Winner’s and Loser’s day for all of us, but I see the Pac 12 as an ongoing loser in the expansion, as Ore, UW, and USC will inevitably lose in the first round. The expansion will just help to showcase the B1G (big 10) and SEC supremacy, with the Group of 5 and Pac12 being their fodder. The ACC and Big 12-2 will tuck neatly in the middle, and the Princess will also continue to fade.

    If you can’t regularly fill a 100,000 seat stadium with rabid fans who have tail-gated all day long and who see CFB as their religion, then you just won’t matter in the evolving sport of NCAA-F.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Washington, Oregon and USC might all lose in the first round —- but if they lose by only one point —bruin scoring should be invoked and they should advance to the next round….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’d hate to descend into that morass that is UCLA mentality, Michele.
        We’re better than that.

        We are one HC away from being blue blood again.
        I think we can get there…soon.

        At 10-2, do you fire the HC?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Smile when you call me “Michele”….
        —-The Immortal Paul McCartney
        [btw,The last time I heard this song was when my buddies tied me up and left me on the lawn of my old girlfriend…. and her sister was playing the 45 on her record player inside their house]…..

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It’s my inner Dago coming out, Michael.

        Italians are about the only people who can take a boring Christian name and make it sound exciting.

        Giorgio! Pietro! Marco! Vieni qui!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Yep, the SEC and the midwest really want to play football because that is what they love, here on the west coast, we play it because it fills the coffers. Pure talent, as the ’16 team showed, could get you far, but in the champ game, the talent is about even but the coaching and preparation is not.

      On a side note, in Dec. 16, after USC walked over #4 Washington, I heard a bookie interviewed on sports talk radio who said “on a neutral field, the only team we would favor over USC would be ‘bama. Clay Helton really has that team rolling.” So Clay even had those guys fooled back in the day.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. On the money! It wasn’t Clay. It was a special group of players! Watch the Rose Bowl game —see JuJu getting the team pumped up on the sidelines —watch our O-Line guys crying happy tears as we came back from down 2 scores…. that kind of love for your brothers can overcome Helton any day —and we might have that kind of team THIS year!

        Liked by 3 people

  6. A work colleague/friend who has a son that is currently on the team asked me if i was renewing my tickets. I said I love SC but I will not renew the tickets until Helton is gone. Love goes both ways. I have not seen that SC cares. They have kept Helton and not got a better coach.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Expansion of the college playoffs is nothing but good news for USC. OK, so you are right that a USC team under Clay Helton would lose badly to Clemson, or Alabama or any other top team. But that is a good thing, because it forces this administration to face up to the facts. They cant just let Clay hide anymore. There will be no more hiding. If USC doesnt make a 12 team playoff, the coach is fired. If USC makes the playoff and gets beat bad, the coach still gets fired.

    And that is a very, very, very GOOD thing.

    Expansion will allow USC to qualify most years to get into the playoffs, assuming they have a decent team (Pac-12 decent).

    There are quite a few positives USC can sell to new recruits. New Pac-12 commissioner and better TV exposure, probably an 8 game conference schedule so there are 4 games where SC can schedule games that get national media attention (OK, maybe 3 since they will make the first game a cake-walk). Now an expanded CFP. All great things that might make a top recruit willing to take a chance on SC.

    The coaches still need to be able to convince recruits that they can develop talent. That is a harder sell. TO and staff can claim that they are moving the defense forward. Despite Scott’s claims, there are good coaches in place and the schematics of the defense are strong. TO’s defenses are aggressive and allow players to develop their talent. The big problems are all around the offense and GH. Unless there are real changes this year, I predict it is the end for GH and Clay will have no more lives, finally. Whether TO would remain as DC with a new head coach is a question mark.

    Cheer up Scott. With a little patience, we will get what we need.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great points, gamer.
      I guess my point was that the season is too long already with too many insignificant games causing too much unnecessary injury to kids that I respect. All done so a bunch of rich white men can get richer. I love CFB. So make the effort of the players matter.

      There are high school FB games that get a better crowd than most CFB bowl games.
      Don’t know what the attendance has been at the fight hunger bowl, but the camera man is cautious to never get the camera above the field of play.

      So, extend the CFB playoff season and eliminate the “don’t matter” games.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Don’t know if it’s moderation or bad internet but I tried posting twice and it wouldn’t go. Both times the post was over a page long.
    The only thing I really wanted to say was we need a water dropping helicopter. I’ll explain it later when I have better internet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t want to steal your thunder Rialto, but I saw your post this morning and then when I thought of an answer it was gone. A water dropping helicopter based on the idea that it would melt Helton isn’t half bad. As you pointed out, the Administration ignored the fire Helton banner the same as the Wizard ignored the Surrender Dorothy message from the Wicked Witch of the West. And Helton loses the big games because he’s afraid to be doused with Gatorade. So a water dropping helicopter is absolutely genius in my book.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Don’t think anyone has had as many posts deleted as I have. If your sensitivity levels are set too high, then this isn’t the blog for ya. That said, I don’t think that’s what is bothering you.
      For your longer (or any) posts, I’d suggest writing them in notes or some word processing app and copy and pasting it onto this site. Then if it disappears you’ll easily repost. I’ll also suggest that when you’re the first to post on a particular thread it is the most likely to be deleted.

      Liked by 2 people

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