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IMHO Sunday: 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics postponement, a foreshadowing of the USC and college football season?

In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think from Los Angeles.

Take heed: If you’re in limbo on whether you think the 2020 college football season could be in partial or complete jeopardy, thanks to the coronavirus, consider that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were scheduled to begin on July 24 and conclude on Aug 9. The Paralympics were to follow on Aug. 25 to Sept. 6. Give or take, college football training camps normally will begin around the first week in August.You don’t have to be Mr. Calendar to figure out if the Olympics are being postponed during that approximate time, could the Trojans and college football in general be not far behind?   

Take heed – Part 2: If – and that’s a big “if” – there is a partial college football season, I could see training camp starting in late August and – in the case of the Trojans – cancelling the original season opener against Alabama and the first Coliseum home game with New Mexico. Obviously, Alabama and New Mexico are non-conference games, and it wouldn’t affect the Pac-12 schedule.

Take heed – Part 3: It’s logical that the Trojans could begin their 2020 season with Pac-12 Conference game, which would mean the Men of Troy open at Stanford on Sept. 19. The next eight games would be all conference games.

If the season is delayed, the Trojans could open at Stanford (photo above) on Sept. 19 if needed.

Take heed – Part 4: So, if the Trojans only played a season consisting of Pac-12 games for the most part, they would still be able to end their season by hosting Notre Dame during Thanksgiving Weekend on Nov. 28.

Straight talk: In a recent Salt Lake City Tribune story with Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, the coach said, “I think spring ball is probably out the window. There’s very little, if any chance of that happening, at least in the normal prescribed spring ball window.”

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham (photo above believes it’s possible that the 2020 season could be cancelled.

Straight talk – Part 2: In a more dire tell-it-like-it-is potential of the 2020 season being cancelled altogether, Whittingham added, “I think there’s absolutely that possibility.”

Herbie predicts – Respected ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has a prediction on the future of the 2020 NFL and college football seasons. “I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football,” Herbstreit said, via TMZ. “I’ll be so surprised if that happens.”

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit (photo above) strongly believes there could be no college football in 2020.

Extension: According to a Victory Email from USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, the deadline for 2020 football season ticket renewal has been extended to May 13. The way things are going, maybe what Bohn actually meant was May 13, 2021. Bohn also added for those currently on season ticket payment plans, there will a delay processing the next installment until Friday, July 24.

From the press box…

The playoffs: What could be impacted with a partial football schedule would be the CFP (College Football Playoff). Could the CFP committee really determine four teams if they really were only using conference schedules and statistics? This could be a great time to be bold and do the inevitable – expand the college football playoffs.

The playoffs – Part 2:
If the CFP was looking for a somewhat radical quick-fix to the 2020 playoffs in the event of a partial schedule, have an emergency meeting with the stakeholders and increase the playoffs from four to six or hopefully eight teams.

The playoffs – Part 3: So how would you pick the teams for a six or eight-team playoff? Make it simple. The Power 5 conference championship game winners receive automatic placement in the playoffs with an at large selection from those teams that do not have a conference affiliation. For an eight-team playoff, add two at-large teams.

If the College Football Playoff (CFP) expanded to include an automatic playoff spot for the Pac-12, it would enhance the playoff regionally.

The virus: One of the effects of the coronavirus is that it will probably stop all summer 7-on-7 traveling teams competition, invitation only all-star evaluation camps, and summer passing tournament competitions between high schools.  

The virus – Part 2:
And don’t discount the effects the coronavirus is going to have on the upcoming recruiting classes. We are in uncharted recruiting territory, but the NCAA will have a big say in the direction of recruiting. Needless to say, what a potential mess.

The post-game show…

Happy Birthday: I just can’t get my head around the fact that former Trojans All-America and Heisman winning tailback Marcus Allen just celebrated his 60th birthday. No way. I can remember when Marcus entered Troy after a tremendous prep career in football and basketball at San Diego Lincoln High.

Hard to believe that Trojans’ legendary tailback Marcus Allen (phopto above) recently celebrated his 60th birthday.

Happy Birthday – Part 2: I never forget when I was an administrator with the Olympic Development Basketball League (AKA USA Development League), one of the nation’s first all-star summer basketball programs played on the summer weekends at Cal State Los Angeles, and Marcus Allen was on the San Diego area all-star team, playing for coach Lem Lemmings. Simply put, Marcus was a helleva basketball player. 

Remembering Mike Scarpace: If you missed, Trojans football recently lost a good one when former All-Pac-8 offensive guard Mike Scarpace passed. Mike was instrumental in the Trojans national championship drive of 1967. Considered a big offensive guard (6-foot-1, 250 pounds), “Scar” was a really physical player who was perfect for John McKay’s power I-formation and a road grader for All-American tailback O.J. Simpson.

Trojans are mourning the loss of former All-Pac-8 offensive guard Mike Scarpace (photo above), a starter on the 1967 USC National Championship Team. After his playing days, Scarpace went into coaching.

Remembering Mike Scarpace – Part 2: In the legendary USC victory over UCLA in 1967 – the classic 21-20 win that propelled the Trojans into the 1968 Rose Bowl where they beat Cinderella Indiana – Mike Scarpace made a huge play in that UCLA game that goes unnoticed. Early in the clash against the Bruins, the Trojans were having a difficult time moving the ball against a very tough UCLA defense. Trojans’ head coach John McKay, not known for pulling out trick or gadget plays, decided to run a flanker reverse to Earl McCullough, who had tremendous speed. McCullough got around the fooled UCLA defense and ran for 52 yards but fumbled at the end of the play. Wouldn’t you know it, the Trojans retained possession of the ball because Mike Scarpace hustled all the way down the field to make the fumble recovery. It was a major play in the game. The irony down the road was that Scarpace never played in the Rose Bowl against Indiana because he suffered a knee injury during Rose Bowl practice and was replaced by Dennis Born.

Former Trojans flanker Earl McCullough (photo a had an NFL career, but in the storied 1967 USC-UCLA game he made a major play on a flanker reverse only to fumble at the end of the play and was saved when Mike Scarpace recovered the fumble.

Remembering Mike Scarpace – Part 3: When I was a recreation director for the City of Monterey Park during my formative years, on occasion I was in charge of the Barnes Park basketball gym. On a number of occasions Mike Scarpace would play in pickup games, and you want to talk about your bull in a China shop; nobody wanted to take a charge from the big guy.

In case you missed it, a brave new world: For many Trojan athletes, the coronavirus has stopped their world of organized athletics. Junior wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown recently sent out a tweet: “This is the most time off us athletes will ever have from our sports.”

With football and sports at a complete standstill due to the coronavirus, Trojans’ wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (photo above) has never had such free time on his hands.

The call-in show…

Caller No. 1: Katz, what do you think the NCAA should do with the loss of spring practice? I would add the lost spring practice days and frontload them at the start of the original start of training camp if it starts in August.   

Could the days lost for spring practice be attached to training camp in August?

Caller No. 2: Greg, you weren’t really serious that the actual Trojans’ 2020 season could be greatly affected by the coronavirus? Absolutely. Since there is no vaccine for prevention, you can see the chaos. Then consider all the new rules that are currently in effect for maximum “gathering” of people. And we aren’t even talking about fans in a stadium and the mass media that follows teams. Bottom line: If I were a betting man, I don’t think there is going to be a season or at least as we know it. Imagine if one player on USC or their opponent get the virus, it would be an immediate cancellation of practice or a game. Could games be played without fans? Of course, but that may that would be stretching it, and it wouldn’t help the athletic bank account for the lost revenue.

Could there be an empty Coliseum (photo above) for the 2020 college football season if the coronavirus remains a major health issue?

Caller No. 3: GK, if you could go to dinner with a living or passed Trojan, who would it be? I think I would like to have dinner with legendary coach John McKay. I think that would be one entertaining and informative evening. Although I think this is a rhetorical question, but what would the Silver Fox say of the current state of Trojans football?

If it could be arranged, it would be interesting to go to dinner with legendary Trojans’ head football coach John McKay (photo above) and get his take on the current state of the USC football program.

Caller No. 4: My friend, do you read the Trojans websites of your competitors? Of course, I do. My colleagues on the other sites are good people and good writers. Plus, I like reading their viewpoints and comparing them to my own. Sometimes I agree with them and sometimes I don’t, and that is the fun of it all. I think what’s really insightful is when we agree on the same topic or question.

Caller No. 5: Sir, I understand you are a big James Bond fan. Of all the actors that have played 007, who is your favorite? Hands down and it’s not even close – Sean Connery – the real James Bond. Need proof? Enjoy this James Bond intro below with Connery as the one and only:

The final world: Because of the current world health situation, how many USC football fans that either renewed or are first-year buyers are having second thoughts?   

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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