In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think from Los Angeles
Dreamland: No, you weren’t dreaming when former Texas Longhorns freshman wide receiver Bru McCoy formally announced on Friday he was entering the NCAA Portal Transfer without officially saying he was returning to USC, but he is, and you weren’t dreaming when six of the 12 kickoff times for the 2019 USC football schedule were announced with five being selected as nighttime contests.
Sunscreen: Folks, put away the Coliseum suntan lotion for late August through September; you won’t be needing it except for some earlier tailgating. The first couple of home games, Fresno State and Stanford, kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT. Ah, back-to-back 7:30 p.m. games. Is there anything better than two late night kickoff to start the season? Yeah, how about 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. kickoffs? We hear that the downtown JW Marriott in trendy L.A. Live has some reasonable room rates for the late-night games, especially if you can invoke the senior citizen discount.
Good news, bad news: Well, with the ESPN late night kickoffs for Fresno State and Stanford, it figures you won’t have to worry about heat stroke but falling asleep at the wheel driving home around 11p.m. could be a challenge. The bad news? Yeah, but for many, it’s another 1 a.m. arrival back home, depending, of course, where you live. We’re sure that these 10:30 p.m. ET kickoffs will be music to the ears of Trojan fans on the East Coast and Midwest. Right? Well, at least they don’t have to drive home when the game is over, which is probably somewhere around 2 a.m. in New York City.
Friday night lights: The Trojans play two Friday night games in 2019, one at home and one away. The home game? A huge Pac-12 South Division game on Sept. 20 against rival Utah, which kicks off at 6 p.m. PT. The good news? This will only be the second Friday night home game since 1999, and we guess you could convince yourself that a 6 p.m. kickoff is better than a 7:30 p.m. start time, and an early Friday night game frees you up for the remainder of the weekend. The bad news? Well the Friday 6 p.m. rush hour traffic should be especially horrendous on getaway day, and this game has all the earmarks of taking a taking off of work or at the very least a half-day in order to do a tailgater in Exposition Park. Oh, and BTW, this is also the day that incoming USC president Carol Folt officially assumes command of the cardinal and gold kingdom in an earlier campus ceremony.
For the record: The Trojans haven’t played two Friday games since 1977. That’s at least one too many for our cup of tea. Again, thank you ESPN and for the Trojans going along with it. You think that Alabama, Ohio State, and Michigan would go along with two Friday night games? Not. You think that Big Ten Commish Jim Delany would do that to their premier acts like the Buckeyes and Wolverines? Leave it to Pac-12 Commish Larry Scott to give his blessing to ESPN. Does Scott really believe these 10:30 p.m. East Coast Zone kickoffs really affects the conference image and recruiting? We’re getting cramps from being doubled over in laughter.
A day game: Say what, a day game? The Trojans are actually going to have a real afternoon game in its first 6 games. It must be divine intervention, but the Men of Troy will actually have a 1:30 p.m. MT/12:30 p.m. PT kickoff at BYU, and that was somewhat of a surprise. The game will be shown on either ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. It means that Trojan fans traveling to Provo might be able to fly out on Saturday night from Salt Lake City… if they can find a late enough flight. You’d better check the flight schedules before you book for just one night.
Same old, same old: Although it has already been released, the kickoff time at Notre Dame will again be 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. This primetime kickoff between the Trojans and the Irish is now a way of life. As a gentle reminder, there is a one-hour time difference between Chicago and South Bend, so those making travel plans might want to take that into consideration.
TBA: Interestingly enough, two of the Trojans first 6 games do not have a kickoff time. The Trojans are awaiting word on the away game at Washington on Sept. 28 and the home game with Arizona on Oct. 19. It’s possible that the game with the Wildcats will be a night game (think Pac-12 Networks). Oy Veh.
The change: For those that get concerned over the change from daylight savings time to standard time, the official time to move your clock back one hour will be on Nov. 3, which could affect the final three games with ASU and Cal on the road and UCLA at home.
From the press box…
Point of information: According to the Trojans’ SID office, kickoff times and televising networks for the Trojans’ remaining six games of 2019 will be made 6-to-12 days in advance of each contest. The Pac-12 has television agreements with ESPN (including ESPN2, ESPNU and ABC), FOX (including FS1) and the Pac-12 Networks that allows all conference schools’ football games to be shown live nationally in 2019.
Legacy: Maybe it’s a sign of good things to come, but Clay Helton and his staff had to be excited to get a verbal commitment from tight end Jack Yary (Murrieta Valley, Calif.), the son of legacy legend offensive tackle Ron Yary. Although considered an outstanding tight end prospect, Jack is still a growing kid (6-6, 255) who could follow in his Dad’s offensive tackle footsteps.
Nothing for granted: Before you roll your eyes in making a big deal over the verbal by Jack Yary and point out that, of course, he was going to USC, not all Trojan legacies have found their way to dad’s campus. For reasons that are still head-scratchers, some standout legacy prospects have forsaken the Trojans and signed elsewhere. Ronnie Lott’s son, Ryan Nece, signed with UCLA and had a fine career, and then there was the recruiting snafu of letting former Trojans’ offensive tackle Pat Harlow’s son, Sean, head to Oregon State where he became an NFL draft pick.
Save the date: The transition from Salute to Troy to a new format of a Cardinal and Gold Game scrimmage in the renovated Coliseum appears to be set for Saturday, Aug. 17.
Save the date – Part 2: We are being told that season ticket holders will be asked to sit in the seats of their new seat locations, and the whole affair will be treated like a regular season Coliseum home game. Call it a true dress rehearsal for the season, which kicks off on Aug. 31 against Fresno State (7:30 p.m. PT) in the Coli.
Money ball: When the Utah Utes come to town for the crucial Pac-12 South game with the Trojans, it will also be a battle of two new offensive coordinators in the Trojans’ Graham Harrell and the return of former Utah OC Andy Ludwig. While the Trojans are probably paying Harrell a tidy sum of cash, it’s being reported that Utah’s Ludwig is earning 2.5 million per season (three season contract), which makes him one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the Pac-12.
The post-game show…
Another ballot box: The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will announce Monday, June 3, the names on the 2020 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. This will another chance for some of the most distinguished Trojans to become members of the College Football HOF.
Another ballot box – Part 2: The 2020 ballot will include 76 players and five coaches from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 101 players and 33 coaches from the NCAA divisional and NAIA ranks.
HOF totals: FYI, there are currently 32 Trojan players in the College Football Hall of Fame.
HOF totals – Part 2: There are three Trojan head football coaches in the College Football HOF: Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson. There will be four when Pete Carroll is on the ballot.
HOF totals – Part 3: There are seven former Trojan assistant coaches in the College Football HOF: Mel Hein, Aubrey Devine, Bob Blackman, Ricky Hunley, Ken O’Brien, Don Coryell, R.C. Slocum.
HOF totals – Part 4: There is one former Trojans’ athletic director, Mike McGee, in the College Football HOF.
The last word: Here’s the latest real time Coliseum renovation camera view: https://app.oxblue.com/open/usc/lacoliseumrenovation