Let’s take a look at what’s going on with USC as it reels from the Notre Dame loss and welcomes 0-19 Arizona to the Coliseum.
- This was a good note from Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated: “One school has fired three coaches before November in the last 10 years.” (Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, Clay Helton).”
- If Mike Bohn was going to fire Helton after two games, why didn’t he just fire him after last season? The fans weren’t placated by the 4-1 record in 2020 and he didn’t save any money.
- Nearly 900 alumni band members will perform with the USC band on Saturday at the Coliseum and former band director Art Bartner will conduct the group when it performs the alma mater.
The halftime show will also honor Bartner. When do they play Frankenstein? If nothing else, the 900 band alumni will boost the attendance figure for this week.
At least I think the countermarch got retired for this year’s Stanford game.
- Iga Świątek, the 2020 French Open champion, worked out at USC this week. Does she have eligibility left?
- Should USC’s new moniker be University of Scandals and Corruption?
- Several USC alums who went to the Notre Dame game last weekend said it was the tamest atmosphere they ever experienced in South Bend. That’s an indictment of the rivalry.
- Anthony Munoz told the NFL Network he is one of 24 former USC players advising the athletic dept. on the coaching search. Munoz probably holds more influence because he is a hero in Cincinnati and still lives there, so he already knew Mike Bohn (and Brandon Sosna). Munoz praised Luke Fickell and also complimented James Franklin and David Shaw, who makes around $9 million per year at Stanford.
- I wonder if Frostee Rucker (another former Bengal) is among the players advising USC since Sosna is a big Bengals fan. Former Bengals QB Carson Palmer is also part of the group, which he admitted during his infamous Dan Patrick interview.
- Former USC kicker Chase McGrath has made 8 of 10 field goals this season for Tennessee. His longest kick is 48 yards.
- Former USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic will have a jury trial in March, a judge ruled this week.
- One reason you can’t trust the fanboy media is the way Tahj Washington got pumped up in training camp. Because of the hype, Washington and Korey Foreman are probably the two biggest disappointments this season.
- When Drake London said he was committed to playing in a bowl game, it’s a good reminder that the team wanted to play in one last season but Clay Helton and Bohn declined because Kedon Slovis, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Alijah Vera-Tucker were injured and then claimed the team did not want to play.
- When linebacker Ty Kana decommitted this week, a few USC fans told me he was going to be dropped anyways. Maybe but USC needs linebackers and I remember when Ed Orgeron took some commitments in 2013 it was because he was worried the recruiting class would not have enough players with a new coach coming in. One of those players he took was Uchenna Nwosu, who turned out pretty good.
- And now for some history:
One of the weirdest USC-Arizona games was at the Coliseum in 1981.
USC was ranked No. 1 when it was upset by Arizona, 13-10. Perhaps USC was distracted because there was a stage for the Rolling Stones concert in the background. The Rolling Stones performed the day before and the day after the game.
The field had been convered with a tarp for the Friday night concert and was in poor condition for the game.
“It was just awful, filthy. The last thing you wanted was for some Trojan to knock you on your ass and rub your face in the dirt,” linebacker Ricky Hunley told the Arizona Daily Star.
The Trojans took a 10-0 lead as Marcus Allen ran 74 yards for a TD and then added a field goal.
“Maybe they thought it was going to be easy,” Arizona coach Larry Smith said.
But the Trojans didn’t do much after that and were held to 297 yards while Arizona had 402.
After the game, USC coach John Robinson entered the Arizona locker room and went to each player and shook their hands.
“I still remember him telling me, ‘You should be proud of yourself; you outplayed us in every way.’ It’s the classiest move I had ever seen to that point in my life,” Arizona offensive lineman Jeff Kiewel told the Daily Star.
- This week’s angry answer from Mike Tomlin about the USC job reminds me of some comments made by John McKay in 1976 when he took the Tampa Bay job.
“Lou Saban coached in the pros, then figured he’d retire to a college job and coast. At Maryland, he went 4-6. After that, he went back to the pros. I’m not trying to establish myself as a pro coach. I would rather the pro coaches go out and establish themselves as college coaches.”
- It’s been a few years since the big USC-Notre Dame luncheon was discontinued. It was held downtown the day before the game when it was in Los Angeles, but McKay attended the 1999 edition. It lasted three hours before he spoke.
“Congratulations, this is the longest meal since the last supper,” he said.