USC Sunday Buzz: A Lot Of New Year’s Day Notes

Former USC tailback Anthony Davis, who was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame on Thursday, was a no-show at the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl on Saturday.

The other inductees, Michigan linebacker Ron Simpkins and former Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, rode in a car at the parade and were on the field for introductions during the Ohio State-Utah game.

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I’m told Davis wasn’t able to attend either event because he was not vaccinated and this had been known for more than a month by Rose Bowl officials.

  • USC linebacker Drake Jackson officially announced he was turning pro, which is a bit odd because agent Drew Rosenhaus said he signed Jackson on Dec. 23.
  • USC cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart also announced he would turn pro, which was expected.
  • ESPN reporter Adam Rittenberg said USC is targeting Utah running backs coach running backs coach Kiel McDonald. The fanboys will say this would be a great hire even though they probably never heard of McDonald before Saturday.
  • Did you see former USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. reportedly left the Houston Rockets game right after halftime Saturday night following a heated discussion with Rockets assistant coach John Lucas? If I remember, I will write something later this week that will illustrate why no USC coaches around in 2018-19 would be surprised by Porter’s behavior.
  • It was gorgeous day at the Rose Bowl for Ohio State-Utah and many wondered if it ever rains on New Year’s Day?

I know there was a constant downpour at the 1955 Rose Bowl between USC-Ohio State and it was dubbed the “Quagmire Bowl.”

USC QB Jim Contratto had at least three fumbles and the next day someone sent a football with a suitcase handle attached to it to the athletic dept.

“The rain definitely hurt our passing game and we intended to pass a lot,” USC coach Jess Hill said. “Jim Contratto told me he just couldn’t hold onto the ball.”

Ohio State coach Woody Hayes was furious that the Buckeye and USC bands were allowed to perform at halftime.

“I think we’ve got the greatest band there is. But they should have kept them both — USC’s band, too — off the field,” Hayes said. “They let ’em come out at halftime and cut our football field into a quagmire between the 30 yard lines. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Despite Hayes’ complaints, Ohio State won the game, 20-7.

56 thoughts on “USC Sunday Buzz: A Lot Of New Year’s Day Notes

  1. In other news …. Kiffin the supposed reformed O genius looked like crap vs Baylor even before top qb went down. The idiot also has Chuck Weis jr. on staff lmao. Wonder who dialed up all the sacks ! what a shitshow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …or, maybe Dave Aranda IS a defensive genius?
      Corral–a former USC QB who ran off after JT Daniels enrolled at USC–was not exactly lighting it up in the first quarter vs Aranda’s D.
      If Baylor can recruit some decent D/T QB’s and speedy WR and keep their run game intact, then Aranda is gonna have a nice run in his Big 12 (-4+4) time. After Texas and Okie leave, he should own the Big 12.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In Kiffin’s defense –he had to go with a second string, frosh QB almost the whole game (who threw a bad pass into the end zone which was picked and returned for a TD –a 14 point turnaround —plus his kicker was out so he had to go with a second stringer there too –and the guy froze on both field goal attempts). If you look at the stats I think you’ll see Mississippi outgained Baylor substantially…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Even though I know Riley was a homerun, I still would have preferred Aranda as our new head coach. Riley will probably put on a better show and be the guy that can tap into the Hollywood crowd, but Aranda is just a savant that will be the next Nick Saban, wherever he ends up.

        I just hope Aranda does not end up at UCLA.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. IT WAS a rainy Rose Bowl for sure…Howard ‘hopalong’ Cassidy had a good day, Woody’s heisman winner. Aramis Dandoy had SC touchdown, Contratto was a pretty good left handed passer,but not on this day. Jon Arnett was 2nd string to Dandoy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim’s comment the other day about football being more fun in the 1950s made me think he’s right, except I would add the early 1960s onto that list.

      Football back then had more of a club feel to it, a ‘just us guys and nobody else.’ The players mixed well with the students because they were there to get an education, the allure of NFL big-money had not yet materialized. —And little tv. If you wanted to see an SC game other than its big games, you had to go to the coliseum. And the fans had no social media to vent. You had to read the Herald Examiner or L.A. Times to get SC football news.

      The dew came off the rose as football evolved into a big money machine. Corporate America such as schools and television invested in their product, and saw it grow, with NFL money skyrocketing. The college footballers got wise to the fact that their bodies had value, and now shop their physical talents to competing football schools. acting as if they are professional free agents, only with more freedom.

      I of course still love football. The players today are bigger and faster than in the 50s-60s. Still, football back then felt kind of like a fraternity, or something.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Who wants to watch two 6-6 teams battle in some worthless, poorly attended Bowl Game in some backwards-@$$ town? I guess ESPN does.

        We have some knowledgeable and experienced (and vocal) CFB fans on this site. We should discuss the “ESPN effect” and the “Saban effect” in some detail (instead of fussing about whether some 16 year old recruit is gonna commit to “whomever”).

        I agree, JW, that CFB is not as fun as it used to be.
        The season is too long, too many games (esp Bowl games) are inconsequential, and the sport is over-commercialized.

        Heck, a bunch of tOSU buckeyes chose NOT TO PLAY in the Rose Bowl yesterday so as to better prep for the NFL. The ROSE BOWL!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. One small correction, Bourbon, if I might: the “players” didn’t “choose” anything — the money people behind the players are making the decisions about whether they compete in bowl games…. or, nowadays, even final season games (you and I have been around plenty of agents and sports attorneys who are thinking of one thing when they advise players: “what’s MY take?!”]…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. This is the second time LR has been blessed by not getting what he initially wanted. Either he’s growing and evolving or there is some adult supervision. (It would be hilarious if the much maligned Coach Bohn was behind this, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.)

      It was a blessing losing out on Bill Bedenbaugh; Josh Henson was a much better “get” for OL/OC if he’s allowed to coach. He also meshes well with running backs coach Kiel McDonald who is far better and more qualified than Tashard Choice.

      And now we have a chance to get a real Defensive Line Coach instead of Cain. For USC Cain isn’t the best type of recruiter, and no one had him down as an actually good coach.)

      I’m as sick of the fanboys as anyone else– they know nothing about football, they just want to cheer but are too shallow to know what they should cheer. It’s partly why ‘SC has fallen so far.

      It would be great if the LB coach left quickly. While Alex Grinch has got a bad rep and not looked good as a DC in a while (you can put some of that on being a DC in an Air Raid offense perhaps, I dunno)… but he’s good with the secondary, appreciates speed. It’s the front seven, especially LBs that seem to be the weakness.

      Still, we’ll have to see if there is growth and humility at the top or more of the stubbornness that’s cursed the last few head coaches and the program.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Grinch is an improvement over the last decade of defensive futility.

        No, his record has NOT been outstanding. But in the pass-happy Pac 12 he will be prepared to slow down some of the high-powered passing games.

        Bring in some top-line D-line recruits from So Cal (Thibideaux types) and restore the USC Linebacker heritage and we will be fine.

        It has been 4 years now, but I recall how Grinch held an epic and experienced USC offense led by RoJo and Sam D to 3 TD’s in the Palouse.
        Burnett, Pittman JR, Vaughns….

        Now granted, Sammy was at a disadvantage with Helton and Tee Martin as coaches, but still…that was an a talented offensive group.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Zach Moss was a stud running back, and I believe any coach could have “coached” him. Not to say the new guy Riles is bringing in is good or bad, who knows.

      Besides, I cannot coach but if I were forced to coach it would be the running backs. Kind of like, “Hey Bush. it took you 4-downs to get that touchdown, can you make it 3 next time.”

      And I get it that a Head Coach makes a difference, but with some of these Assistant Coaches aren’t we sometimes splitting hairs when comparing their competence-levels?

      And thanks Charles for the heads-up

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Yep –and you can add, Charles, that Utah has recently led all Pac 12 teams in rushing…and that includes Oregon..

      Liked by 5 people

      1. MG, I can see getting outbid by the likes of those Down South
        football-factory colleges, but not Utah.

        And who at SC determines what the school will pay for any particular assistant football coach?– I am sure Bon-Bon has a say, I don’t know about Please Butt-Out Folt, anybody else?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Let’s face it, my friend, Mike Bohn doesn’t move an inch in any direction without checking with Mommy first…

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Utah knows the run game.
      I like this (potential) hire for USC.
      Utah TB’s run hard, gain tough yards, and protect the QB.

      Whittingham is showing no signs of slowing down or retiring.
      Scalley (the DC) was supposed to be the HC in waiting, but he had a very stale racial slur (via text) show up years later and likely will be cancelled out. Not a lot of upward mobility at UU.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Just an idea —maybe he should be handcuffed to his new desk at Heritage for a couple of weeks….

        Liked by 2 people

    5. Echoing other comments here, this is a very solid hire. McDonald’s position group has yielded excellent results and he’s been in a first-rate program under Kyle Whittingham. Riley said in the Gameday interview yesterday that the assistants that he has brought to USC know first-hand what a championship-caliber program looks like and that is important in changing the culture within the team.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d almost like it if, at the first team meeting, Lincoln asked everybody to describe the hardest practice they ever had under Helton… and, after getting all their answers, told them “this is gonna be a lot harder than that.”


      2. Lincoln Riley coached under Mike Leach and Bob Stoops; two coaches known for pushing player strength and conditioning and tough practices.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Charles, you sound exactly like the fanboy wolf was describing. You probably knew nothing about McDonald until you googled him. 🤪🤪 Just messing with you Charles.

        Liked by 2 people

    6. …and their last two RB graduates–Zach Moss and Dontae Booker are both having nice careers in the NFL.

      John White and Joe Williams never quite had an NFL career, though both were 1000 yard per season rushers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t look it up, but Utah gets mostly 3-star recruits. Think what McDonald can do with 4 and 5-star recruits like Raleek Brown.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is called the COVID-fighter. It was in all the papers, Ed.

      Meanwhile, I still prefer 28-24 games where the defense matters, as opposed to 48-45 games where I have to make sure I am not checking out some basketball game

      Liked by 3 people

    2. A lot of the people who can help you with that, ed, have been banned from Twitter….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with the NFL, ITS!

    At least he won’t be getting scorched by the 2-3star WR talent in the Pac 12 any longer. I’m sure the NFL competition won’t be nearly as talented.
    I chuckled these last 3 years watching him get routinely toasted all game long.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. …..and 1.8 blocks per game! I recall Owns telling us that EMobley was gonna be a wash out. tsk tsk. Doing pretty well for a 20 year old, I say.
      Heck, next season Mobley can celebrate with a beer after a good game.

      …and Demar Derozan still putting up all-star numbers–for the Bulls now. Great player. Great attitude–esp for a guy who has suffered with depression over the years.

      N Vucovich still playing at a high level.

      Slowly, quietly (?), the Tojans are building a proud NBA heritage.*

      *And I still miss “Swaggy P”! (lol)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes indeed, Trojans are building in the NFL, and Evan looks like he will be dominant for years. owns and tebow both predicted he would fail. Trolls will be trolls…

        Cavs are making a nice run this year, going against the tide of small ball, and creating an effective game plan around their big guys.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I have to repeat something Bourbon wrote:

    Some Ohio St players who are NFL bound wanted to avoid injury and so opted out of the Rose Bowl game yesterday. “The Rose Bowl!”

    The Rose Bowl is so famous it is the subject of a joke:
    Two strangers are talking to each other, and the one says,
    “Yeah, I hurt my leg years back in the Rose Bowl.”
    The other asks, “You played in the Rose Bowl game?”
    –“Naah, I fell down in the stands.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. OU was 129th out of 129 teams versus the pass in 2019… They’re still one of the worst defenses, and all that with playing with top 3 talent in the nation, vs the least talented conference (look at both recruiting and NFL draft) in the nation, and one or two paid-to-lose bums like the UTSA or the Presbyterian BlueHose or something…

    Utah, UCLA, Cal and a bunch of other teams “held” the 2017 offense to under 30 the same mediocre numbers or worse… ND and Ohio State gave us one or two charity scores at the end… Matter of fact, Grinch is all the worse since USC came into that game down 3 starting OL and Darnold was throwing 8 interceptions in 5 games.

    I have to put a space between so the auto moderation doesn’t get overactive:

    oklahoman. com/story/sports/2021/10/23/oklahoma-football-can-coordinator-alex-grinch-turn-defense-around/6104242001/

    soonerswire.usatoday. com/2021/10/27/oklahoma-sooners-football-defense-alex-grinch-kansas-jayhawks-texas-tech-red-raiders/

    stormininnorman. com/2021/10/25/ou-football-sooners-defensive-issues-strike-a-concern/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was you along the way–GC–who has blamed the high-scoring/fast paced offenses for setting up defenses for failing.

      “The D-line/LBs get tired from not being off the field long enough when their O scores too quickly.”

      “At the end of the game the D is gassed.”

      It takes 3.5 hours to play a college football game nowadays due to all the TV time-outs, clock stoppage with each first down, etc. Defenders get plenty of rest, and with the newer substitution rules in place a DC can rotate in several of these 350 lb “pseudoathletes” who’s sole job is to plug a gap.

      The last year that OU dedicated to defensive recruits was 2018.
      A review of their signings shows a distinct trend in 2019/2020/2021 for offensive talent and O-linemen. No surprise that their defense got slashed this year. With good Defenders going to the NFL after year 3 and talent entering the portal if they can’t beat out the #1, a GOOD team has to rebuild their D every year. A review of their NLI signing showed their failure.

      Can’t say whether they developed their D recruits…

      If anything, it could be an indictment of Riles that he does not emphasize the D (in practice or recruiting) as much as he should.
      I am fully cognizant that USC D has been deplorable since 2008, and
      2022 will be hard to watch. Still, Grinch is no Pendergast, Orlando, or Wilcox (who may not have been as bad as we thought). We will see ongoing improvement in the DB’s–with Bullock and Alford two players to watch. The D-line and LB’s are certainly cause for worry. (Grinch was a DB when he played.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If Riley’s offense scores 35 points every game (which I think they will), Grinch’s job won’t be all that difficult…..

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And that Nick Bosa led D-line of tOSU was monstrous.
      With the exception of a Saquon Barkley led Penn State game, no one scored on tOSU in 2017.

      The USC ND game in 2017 was a non-game. The snap over Darnold’s head and it was game over.

      Given the dearth of coaching talent at USC in 2017, that USC offense was a juggernaut and Grinch’s scheme effectively ended Darnold’s and USC’s season in late September.

      Is he Aranda or Kirby? No. (and Kirby gets the best talent on Earth.)
      Is he Orlando. Hell no.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. …you mean that snap over Darnold’s head WHICH HE RECOVERED HIMSELF …and didn’t make a peep about when the ball was turned over to Notre Dame… is that the snap you’re talking about?

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Per FPI efficiencies:

      Grinch’s Wazzu 2017 defense–with the pass-happy Mike Leach as HC–#12 ranked
      OKIE 2018–WITHOUT Grinch–#90
      Okie 2019–first year Grinch–#44
      Okie 2020–second year Grinch–#5 (Covid year)
      2021–not so good at #39

      He is a bring young DC who is on the upswing. Give him talent and he will do well vs the pass-happy Pac 12.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. The more Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and by Air Raid extension Patrick Mahomes excel in the NFL, the better it is for Lincoln Riley and USC.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. …and the reason things are working out that way is….(let’s all pay tribute to tommyd) ….mobile QB’s are integral to 21st century football….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Funny. I was JUST now thinking the same thing. Bigger. Faster. Bionic Warriors.


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