By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com
In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.
Agent of change: If the Pac-12 wanted to do something really beneficial in addition to reducing the number of night and late night football games on a Saturday, they’d figure out a way to say “Goodnight, Irene” to those horrendous Thursday and Friday night games.
Over exposure: I realize the Pac-12 wants to showcase its football conference to the entire country in an effort to get better respect and publicity, but late night games are obviously not the answer. The answer is for teams like USC to beat teams like Alabama when they get that rare opportunity.
IMHO: The Pac-12 should have a rule that says that no college football game can start on the West Coast – with the exception of the Arizona schools due to the heat index – any later than 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday, but the cable networks would howl like wolves at that thought because of ratings. If you wonder why ESPN and FOX decided to give in on their “windows” of overlapping games that conflict with the Pac-12 Networks, common sense would tell you that most of the Pac-12 games shown on the conference network are not exactly compelling matchups of interest.
Ratings: In Lindy’s preseason magazine, Trojans explosive sophomore Ronald Jones is ranked No. 16 nationally. Somewhat surprising, senior Justin Davis is not ranked in the top 25.
Rankings – Part 2: In Lindy’s ranking of the top 20 offensive tackles in the country, Trojans senior Zach Banner is listed at No. 3 behind Alabama’s Cam Robinson and Florida State’s Roderick Johnson, both juniors. Regarding Banner, Lindy’s says, “Son of Lincoln Kennedy is particularly strong in the run game.”
Rankings – Part 3: In Lindy’s ranking of the top 12 inside linebackers in the nation, Trojans sophomore Cameron Smith is listed at No. 10. Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan is at the head of the inside linebacker class.
Respect: Although he isn’t getting quite the rush yet for a preseason Heisman campaign, Trojans junior Adoree’ Jackson is listed by Lindy’s as the nation’s No. 2 all-purpose player behind – you guessed it – Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. No argument there.
Coliseum reduction: The renovation of the “new” Coliseum is expected to reduce attendance from 90,000 to 77,000. That’s quite an amputation of seats, and one has to wonder if the Trojans were drawing the sellout crowds of the Pete Carroll era would the reduction in seats be so dramatic?
From the press box…
By the numbers: Did you know that the Trojans return nine starters on offense and five starters on defense while Alabama returns five starters on offense and five starters on defense?
An opinion: The highest-ranking Pac-12 team in Lindy’s preseason magazine is the Stanford Cardinal at No. 10. Just goes to show you that in spite of losing quarterback Kevin Hogan to the NFL, the Cardinal have a tailback, Christian McCaffrey, that nobody can contain. Yep, the kind of tailback that was the centerpiece of historically great USC teams.
An opinion – Part 2: The highest-ranking Pac-12 team in The Sporting News preseason magazine is Stanford at No. 9, just in front of No. 10 Notre Dame. The good news is that the Trojans can really test themselves against both clubs, playing at Stanford on Sept. 17 and hosting Notre Dame on Nov. 26.
The mystery recruit: The Trojans have gotten a lot of good publicity from the signed class of 2016 and some were on display during spring practice. However, the incoming player I find most intriguing is tight end Cary Angeline from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and the pride of Downington East High.
In the genes: Cary Angeline has a pretty impressive gene pool. His grandfather, Fran, was a tight end and defensive end at Colgate (1955 captain) and then was the 1979 National Coach of the Year while at Union-Endicott (N.Y.) High. Cary’s father, Chris, was a quarterback and tight end at Columbia while Cary’s brother, Ryley, is a sophomore tight end at Delaware. His uncle, Larry, played football at Mansfield and another uncle, Jerry, played at Hobart.
The post-game show…
20/20: That’s a pretty stunning story about how former Trojans defensive back Kevon Seymour played at SC with poor vision and how the Buffalo Bills figured out Seymour’s problem of why his athletic skills weren’t matching his production. It was all about eyesight. It’ll be interesting to see what changes – if any – the USC medical staff makes in the future as it pertains to testing players’ vision capabilities.
Keep on truckin’: According to a story by CBS sports columnist Dennis Dodd, one of the first perks for Clay Helton as the Trojans new head coach was a company car, a Mercedes from Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach, California. Prior to the Mercedes, Helton was driving a Ford Expedition.
Keep on truckin’ – Part 2: According to the Dodd article, it was suggested to Helton that the Mercedes would enhance his image as the Trojans head coach. Helton told Dodd, “I’ll do it for Mr. Jones and for the university, but I really like that truck. I’m just a ball coach. Just give me a good Ford, and I’m happy.”
The wonder years: In the Dennis Dodd article, Clay Helton revealed, “Growing up, I remember the names — Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Willie McGinest, Ronnie Lott. Blue collar, toughness, physicality. That’s what I hope we get back to.”
Sound-a-likes: Trojans athletic director Pat Haden and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Truth serum: So UCLA has signed an enormous deal with a shoe company and makes a big deal about it. Honestly, why is the signing up with a new vender so important to athletic success? Was UCLA’s failure to get to the Pac-12 title games in football and basketball this past season a reflection on Adidas, their previous athletic uniform supplier? Since when does a sports apparel company have a direct impact on championships? USC was winning national championships in football long before signing with Nike.
Truth serum – Part 2: The reality is that much of the fanfare of a high paying shoe company contract goes to a number of athletic areas and not just in product.
The last word: It’s hard to believe that we’re “less than 100 days” until the Alabama kickoff. Oh dear, what’s one to do in the meantime? I know, how about a vacation on Maui in July? That should “kill some time.”