Morning Buzz: USC-Cal Report Card


What would USC’s record be without Caleb Williams? He’s basically become the eraser who rubs out all of the Trojans’ shortcomings. USC’s implosion on defense would have been a lot more stressful if you didn’t know Williams would save the day.

Grade: A-


USC’s game plan was to pass, pass, pass. Makes sense if you’re overmatched. But USC was playing Cal. Travis Dye still had 98 yards in only 15 carries. Austin Jones transferring from Stanford doesn’t look great today. He had one carry. What has Raleek Brown done since striking a Heisman pose in the Rice game?

Grade: B


Tahj Washington is the go-to guy without Addison and M. Williams. Terrell Bynum had his best game of the season (7 catches, 68 yards). Michael Jackson electrified the crowd with his 59-yard TD. With USC missing some receivers, the surprise is that Brenden Rice, who has started every game, hasn’t played a bigger role.

Grade: B+


No sacks for a second straight game but that’s a byproduct of having Williams at QB. The line actually looked frazzled at times but maybe it’s understable when 34 of the first 49 plays were passes.

Grade: B-


Other than Tuli Tuipulotu (four tackles, two sacks) it was a fairly ordinary performance especially when you consider Cal’s offensive line had only one starter from Game 1 because of multiple injuries.

Grade: D+


We lamented the pass-coverage skills last week vs. Arizona and there was no improvement against Cal. Yes, USC is short-handed but even when healthy the linebackers were getting exposed against the pass. See the Utah game.

Grade: F


The semi-excuse the previous two games was that USC faced its two-best offenses to date. But then Cal QB Jack Plummer passed for 406 yards. Ceyair Wright got benched; Caleb Bullock had two pass-interference penalties; Jaylin Smith had a busted-coverage TD and Mekhi Blackmon had a pass-interference penalty.

Grade: F


Isn’t it funny that the week Lincoln Riley said he didnt believe in having a special teams coach, the special teams fell apart? They should get an F for Denis Lynch wearing white cleats.

Grade: D


Lincoln Riley has apparently decided he simply has to outscore every opponent, even tomato cans like Cal? He’s also gotten caught out on two onsides kicks this season. Alex Grinch wants to vomit? So do a lot of fans. Grinch is dealing with a limited group but it also looks like some defensive backs are confused by the coverages. If I’m Riley, I’m not sure I’d want to make the College Football Playoff.

Grade: F

87 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC-Cal Report Card

      1. SO




        Liked by 4 people

    1. The overall grade for the Ladies of Troy with the exception of Caleb Williams, as Dean Wormer would say, “Zero point zero”

      In Other News…Alex Grinch threw the recruiter idiot Donte Williams under the bus. He should have thrown himself and the other clown, defensive line coach, Nua under the bus as well, and then they all three should have resigned…


      1. Travis Dye pissed off, as well he should be. Even with a shit offensive line this guy can almost always be counted on to make something out of nothing, ‘but ‘Ol Mule Shoe has been doing his Clay Helton impersonation, completely abandoning the run game.

        All this quick strike offense offense shit does is pur Grinch’s shit defense back on the field quicker which in turns gets the Ladies of Troy tired quicker. They already can’t stop anybody, so the plan is to tire them out by scoring quickly?

        How about not trying to score so fast and take some time off the clock with some run sustained drives, give the Ladies a breather once in a while?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Why aren’t they giving Darwin Barlow a chance? He’s an outstanding RB. They need some speed LB’s who can cover sideline to sideline. Shane Lee is not that type of LB….either is Nomura. They are both good run stoppers but they can’t cover a good pass catching RB. The DB’s have the talent. They need some coaching.
    I’m not sure what is wrong with Mario Williams. He was on the sideline at the Cal game and on one play he leaped high to give one of the receivers a chest bump and he leaped so high that he could have easily slam dunked a basketball. He didn’t look injured to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘Ol Mule Shoe already said that Barlow is lazy, doesn’t practice well, that’s why he’s not seeing any game time.

      Hell, ‘Ol Mule Shoe has abandoned anything resembling a balanced offense, it’s all about the pass.

      Travis Dye is none too happy not getting that many touches


      1. Dye mentioned team, not the coaching and it’s shit so called “game plan”

        Watch the video free ride to UC Davis law school Michael “Socialist” Guarino


      2. Tebow’s just mad cuz Dye believes in a place called the Moon…and he believes people called Americans landed on it….. several times…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure what to make of the Mario Williams thing. I’m not trying to start some conspiracy theory especially since I have no reason to believe that LR would lie when he says that MW is injured.
        I just wish I could find the video that I saw. MW was on the sidelines in a sweatshirt violently waving a towel. If he was hurt, I don’t think that I would let him do that. But then one of the receivers came off of the field and MW did a chest bump with him and he really jumped high. He literally could have dunked a basketball. Are you telling me that MW is injured. He didn’t look injured to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. After the last 7-years of SC not resembling SC football I will take whatever 2022 has to offer and not allow anything to interfere such as Scott’s exaggerated negative grading which I stopped reading last week. Instead, I would simply give a team grade of B- for the Arizona St game which the Trojans won but not in the manner we fans would prefer

    And the polished Travis Dye interview gives me hope that this year’s team will improve over the next 2-weeks and will give sucla all they want

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Provocations to “Post is absolutely” the best reference ever. It is click bait plain and simple.

        As posted daily, I am so happy we do not have the old regime in charge.
        I will take 8 -1, 9 -1 any day any month any year any lifetime.

        P.S. – PC sure has found the fountain of youth up there in Seattle – 6 and 3. Wish he was coaching the LA Rams.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. wow!!!! you can run for the Senate in the state of Pa. with just a PO box.

        He must be trump endorsed, explains it all


      2. The Pennsylvania Senate race highlights what is wrong in today’s politics. Voter turnout was only about 27%. Moderates on both sides now are choosing not to vote, and the outcome is very evident of who did vote.


  3. Caleb, A-…(insert thinking man emoji)

    What does a guy have to do to earn a solid A?
    Trojan67 compared Caleb to Carson during Carson’s Heisman year.
    Caleb has been supreme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The A- was purely an aesthetic thing —- having to do with Caleb wearing red nail polish on the finger next to the beige nail polish…


      1. Has Caleb been on the record talking about the nail polish?…. I sure would enjoy hearing his angle on it.

        I’m sure it’s not vanity related


    2. The commentator made a great point during the USC game Saturday night. He said, outside of the kid from North Carolina(can’t recall his name). Is there anyone more valuable to their team than Caleb Williams, no? Without Caleb we are .500 at best.

      The point he was making, is that Caleb should be high on the Heisman debate based on what he has done to bring success to USC football….I CONCUR 100%


  4. I have seen no evidence that USC can beat UCLA. That being said, it is unrealistic to throw together an All Star Team and expect to immediately compete for a National Title. My long term concern with Riley is that SC will end up being a typical Big 12 team. All offense and little to no defense. Guaranteed to go 12-1 or 11-2 at best, but still getting punched in the face when it matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My final contribution for the day (I promise)…

    Grade for the folks posting on the site?

    Solid A–including the political troller/posters.

    I don’t come here for the politics, but it all keeps me smiling and laughing–uproariously! Occasionally, some football wisdom comes through too!

    GeorgeTirebiter. A+
    Guarino. A+
    Carra, Global, Joan Levis–A+. Welcome back. Same old blog you left, same old people. Just scroll by all the lewd commentary and leave us some good analysis. Nice to have some smart,

    Bourbon4me? A solid B- grade. I’ll try to bring a better game this month and next. Booked a room in Vegas* for the Champ game–can’t wait to hear what TebohBama has to say about that one! I love this Trojan Football team. Vegas will love ’em too.

    Keep up the good work, posters. I’d hate to drop you to an A-.

    *Of course I can cancel the room in Vegas by Nov 26 without penalty. Bourbon might be crazy, but he ain’t dumb.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What no grade for Ghost? I go all the way back to when this was Michael Lev’s blog. Back when I was “trojandude207”. When trolls could look up your email address and threaten your family , I got quite a surprise on day in an email threat. Moving on from there, I have had several aliases including Truman, Rialto and Me. Each time I get chased off I reinvented my alias and started fresh.
      I deserve the solid C I’ve earned here.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yeah, fools wanting to take it to that level aren’t playing with a full deck. Thank goodness we appear to only have one of those here.

        Were you Rialto Trojan on Topix? I still wonder what happened to Chosen Traveler. He used to get into it pretty good with Bruin Rob (Carrillo).


      2. I may have left a few off the list…

        YOung/Dole, Burrow/Trump

        All, solid A+!

        Forgot the local whipping boy, Just Owns.
        Gonna have to give Owns an INC–the succSC or whatever is getting old. Bring some new insults to the party, bro.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Bourbon: Pure A+ all the way.
      [Special Note: Don’t let Vegas keep more than $100 when…and IF…. you timely cancel —some of the big hotels are charging up penalties even when you cancel within their own stated “cancellation” period—– it’s such bullshit]….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A+ for everybody, huh, ‘I’ll have whatever Bourbon4me is drinking,’ as he reminds me of Mr. Hickey in 6th grade leaving for the big time Junior High School and Mr. Hickey gave the entire class straight A’s as a kind of going away present.

        Personally I would be satisified with a B- grade here for sustained effort but goes off topic too often

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The money grab related to the major resorts on the strip has been a hot topic with the locals.

        Staycations are not the bargain they used to be. My buddy told me, hotel rates on the strip are the highest they have ever been. …corporate greed is out of control….


  6. Aside from the past 7-years sucla football has always been at a psychological disadvantage when playing SC with the Trojans’ pedigree in big games getting inside those sucla heads.

    Actually, as it stands today Oregon looks better than sucla or Neuter Dame so SC has a formidable road to the playoffs where they would probably have to beat Georgia and then Ohio St.– A piece of cake, right?

    Liked by 4 people

      1. No question. Notre Dame didn’t pour it on hapless Donte [16-31]. UCLA went out of their way to take advantage of the poor lost soul [33-62]….


    1. New year’s 6-bowl game would be an overachievement and a nice reward. But an Alamo bowl is still a great improvement from the gutter Helton had us stuck in.

      If we had a defense equal to the caliber of our offense, I would be very enthusiastic about reaching the playoffs.

      In reality, were are still a year or two away from being a playoff contender

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d gladly take beating UCLA and then narrowly losing to Oregon in a shootout in the Pac-12 championship game. 11-2 record. Oregon goes to the CFP, USC to the Rose Bowl to play Michigan/Ohio St. That’s overachieving for Riley’s first year.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey, wolfman(bark @the moon!)……You know I love you like a hemorrhoid(ouch!)… You need to break down the coaching category into two grades, offense, and defense, and if it makes you feel better about your pathetic life, a special teams grade also.

    The coaching on offense has us averaging over 40 points a game and a top-10 offense from a statistical standpoint.

    The play-calling and adjustments on offense have been solid all year. The D is a nightmare, especially when the talent is average at best

    just asking for slo cal…… all this grade stuff confuses him……


  8. I thought I was seeing things Saturday night when I saw Jordan Addison warming up and Eric Gentry dressed in uniform before the game. But this morning in the paper the story mentioned those two were factually warming up.
    I’m telling everyone who will listen that Riley is doing a bit of Rope-a Dope with his injuries. I expect most if not all of the injured players will see action against Colorado. For this reason the coaches grade should at least be an F+
    I think this bend but don’t break shtick is a ruse to lull the media into believing we can’t stop the offense of a Pop Warner team. We shall see when the buttalos (stupid smell check)
    Or maybe we are as shitty as TebowObucket says we are and we go down in flames for the umpteenth time.

    On a personal note to Gabby: You said Tuba, I merely pointed out that playing the tuba wasn’t the unathletic thing you depicted in your rant.

    Fuck me and my tuba? I doubt you have the stamina for both of us. The sousaphone has a 9 inch bore where the bell connects and a half inch bore where the mouthpiece goes. Judging from your bravado herein, you might want to try the mouthpiece end first.
    I didn’t play tuba, I’m a drummer and carried a heavy marching drum, not with the ergonomic carriers of today. Yes I’m old I had a two inch wide canvas sling over my right shoulder from the seventh grade until college. My teeth are mine old folks rarely have dentures and my buck teeth are real and uglier than a British character actor’s mouth.
    My final question for you; why so serious?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabby is a born warrior — he never stops. He reminds me of the King’s Champion in “El Cid”. “It’s not that I don’t want to forgive you. It’s that I can’t.”
      And the same is true of So Cal.
      They are the two wealthy ranchers who yearn for a final shoot out in “The Big Country”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MG…. you never seize to pull a good laugh out of me!

        The world needs more good people like you!

        I’m privileged to be your friend, in all honesty

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Gabby….


      3. MG…..Will we ever see a prez under 50 again?….we need age restrictions, and require a cognitive skills test.

        I commend Biden on his fortitude to address the media and the public. But his communication skills(and some policies) are not helping his approval rating.

        I wasn’t convinced about his messaging related to the mid-terms. Obama had to step in and bear some of the load. For me, it was anyone but trump

        Joe needs to head to pasture and let a youth movement guide the party.


    2. Ghost….you got triggered last night, relax! Everyone within the blog knows Slo cal and I engage in spirited bantering on a daily bases….nothing new…

      I used “tuba” as the instrument, only because from a visual perspective it stands out. After a little research this morning, slo cal actually played the “flute”. He was told as a young buck of 5′-2″ he was too small to bear the strain of hauling an instrument bigger than him.

      Thanks for educating me on the athleticism it takes to master the tuba…


      1. Flute? Perfect for making fun of people. They don’t make any sound that’s why the TMB needs thirty or so of them. When I was in high school the heaviest girl in school played the piccolo (think hippo with a toothpick) but nowadays that’s fat shaming so I won’t mention it.
        Anyway it’s all good. Have fun


      1. At some point, the stopped clock will be right. Scottie just needs to keep waiting.

        Scottie started down this track back during Pete’s tenure. 10-2 under Pete was vomit time for Scottie. 15 years later, 8-1 is vomit time.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the USC defense because it makes the games exciting.

    Breaking News:
    Clay Helton says he likes Grinch’s defense because it reminds of him of Pendergast. Pursuing to get Grinch to Georgia Southern soon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I get it, Gabby —I guess all of us are typing stuff as fast as we can & w/o edit function….


    1. Waiting for Grinch to be the mean one. Right now he’s the Grinch who stole a New Years bowl.
      If they make a change who would you like to see as a new defense coach ?


      1. Someone with SEC, NFL, and recruiting experience…… Bring us a list of potential candidates….Asking price is of little concern


  10. “What has Raleek Brown done since striking a Heisman pose in the Rice game?” Other than jinx himself?

    If Raleek was smart, he’d be tied to Travis Dye’s hip the rest of the season, learning how to be a great RB and teammate.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “With USC missing some receivers, the surprise is that Brenden Rice, who has started every game, hasn’t played a bigger role.” Not really. Unfortunately, it seems Papa Rice didn’t make Brenden catch bricks all day to develop great hands. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My perception of Mr. Wolf’s snarky comments is to bring up points put forth by certain media who pretend to be know-it-all about USC and Trojan football in particular. What’s perplexing is Mr. Wolf posted what another Pac 12 coach said “Brendon Rice is the real deal” and Blackmon was a great pickup and the best returning cornerback in the conference because of his speed and size. Now Wolf wants to focus on the negatives of an 8-1 team without offering any flowers to anyone? It’s as if he’s condemning USC for not pleasing him. Even his praise of the quarterback is faint and surrounded in disappointment. Why act toxic?


  13. The F coaching grade is ridiculous. USC is a team that has very little depth and some of the key players are out. The receivers have stepped up – MJ3 is going to be the third best receiver on this team, better than Taj. Brendon Rice is overrated because he is the son of a legend. He has dropped too many balls, so he is not playing as much. The offensive line was able to perform well (both run blocking and pass protection) with players moved around and missing their best guy. That is due to strong coaching from Hansen.

    The defensive coaching is a mess and deserves an F, but not the whole team. Next year, after Grinch has some time to install his recruits and develop existing players will be a better measure of whether he is OK, or a bust as a coach. The fact that his defense has gotten worse and is so bad when it is missing one linebacker would tend to suggest that Grinch is not a good coach, or has a fundamental problem in his methods/strategy.


    1. One more thing. Part of the reason Caleb is so good is because of Riley’s coaching and system. You are not giving Riley any credit for the good and only giving him credit for the bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve heard of the New Math? Well, here’s Scott Math: Everything on BOTH sides of the equation is a negative number….


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