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IMHO Sunday: Heat of the moment

Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com

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

The temperature: Although the 2:15 p.m. PT kickoff for the Western Michigan opener is nearly a throwback to the old 1:30 p.m. Trojans kickoffs of yore, take into consideration that a Labor Day Weekend afternoon kickoff could include a real L.A. scorcher if the weather patterns for that time of the year remains constant to the past.

Temperature – Part 2: Talk to USC football historians, and they’ll point out that two of the hottest Aug./Sept. football games ever were the 1963 Coliseum game against the Oklahoma Sooners (Sept. 28) that kicked off at 105 degrees, and the 1998 season opener (Aug. 30) with the Purdue Boilermakers that also hovered around triple digits. The Sooners game was a 1:30 p.m. kickoff and the heat was incredibly oppressive, and the irony of the Purdue weather meltdown actually started at 11:00 a.m. and people were eventually passing out like flies as the afternoon wore on.

Temperature – Part 3: For the record, the 1963 Trojans lost to Oklahoma 17-13 and its legendary head coach Bud Wilkenson, but the 1998 Trojans defeated Purdue 27-17. The O/NSO was in attendance during those blast furnace games and survived both games, which should have been accompanied by some sort of gridiron fans Purple Heart.

Counting the house: BTW, that Oklahoma/USC Coliseum inferno in 1963 was played before 39,345 while the Trojans opener with Purdue brought together a gathering of 56,623. Given that back in 1963 the Trojans were ranked No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 3, it goes to show you just how hot it was when only 39,345 showed up and the game was on national television. BTW, the Sooners, who were meeting the Trojans for the first time, had a legendary running back by the name of Joe Don Looney. As for the Trojans and Purdue, the Boilermakers had a QB known as Drew Brees.

The tradition continues: The 2017 season will mark the 125th season of USC football.

Remembering the Longhorns: Most Trojans fans would like to suffer amnesia in remembering some of the key members of the 2005 Texas Longhorns (Vince Young), but how many of you Trojans historians remember some of the key Texas players that came to the Coliseum back in 1967?

Name game: Some of those big names that came to the Coliseum back in 1967 to face John McKay’s Trojans – led by tailback O.J. Simpson – were tailback Chris Gilbert, quarterback Bill Bradley, and linebacker Corby Robertson.

From the press box…

He’s back: ESPN and College GameDay legend Lee Corso, 81-years-old and still full of energy, have agreed on a multiyear contract extension.

He’s back – Part 2: As it pertains to the Trojans, Lee Corso is a perfect 16-0 when picking the Trojans to win on College GameDay.

Just wondering: Why have the Trojans played Stanford to open the Pac-12 Conference four of the past five seasons?

The streak: Maybe it means something or maybe it means nothing, but Stanford has beaten the Trojans in early September the past two seasons.

Back to the Horns: Much will be made of the reunion of the Trojans hosting Texas on Sept. 16, but this won’t be the 2005 Trojans and Texas facing each other. This will be a Texas team that is trying to right itself with new coach Tom Herman, and a Trojans team that is finally pulling away from devastating NCAA sanctions and headed for potential greatness.

The post-game show…

Reelection: Former Trojan All-Americans, strong safety Troy Polamalu and free safety Mark Carrier are back as candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame. The ballot for this year’s class is out, and there appear to be a rather large pool of nominees, which could make it tough for Polamalu and/or Carrier to garner enough votes.

Reelection – Part 2:
As a voting member of the College Football Hall of Fame, I don’t mind telling you that both Troy Polamalu and Mark Carrier will be checked on my ballot.

Must have: There has been a lot of discussion as it pertains to the Trojans’ offensive line recruiting for the Class of 2018. Having seen him in person and again on film, if there is a must-get OL recruit it’s Penei Sewell (Desert Hills, UT). Big (6-6, 315), strong, and nasty, the Trojans could use this kid and who wouldn’t want him?

The new guy: Because of his success in recruiting of running backs and their eventual production, it will be of special interest to watch the efforts of Trojans’ first-year running back coach Deland McCullough as he attempts to persuade ball carrier talents like Washington D.C. (Woodson High) tailback Mychale Salahuddin, who recently shined at the Under Armour Football Camp in Baltimore.

The pipeline: According to Max Preps, Washington D.C. Woodson High leads the District of Columbia in players sent to the NFL (1981 – 2017) with 17.

A tough one: As the new season opens and attention intensifies on the recruiting Class of 2018, I can’t help but agree that one of the best of the very best is electrifying Mater Dei wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. However, getting St. Brown to become a Trojan is going to be a real challenge. Can it be done? Well, let’s just say that it will help if the Men of Troy live up to their lofty preseason predictions.

The last word: USC retires numbers of players that have been named Heisman Trophy winners. Before O.J. Simpson’s No. 32 was retired, what former Trojans All-American wore that same number?

The last word – Part 2: Before the Trojans retired Simpson’s No. 32, another All-American wore the same number and his name was running back/safety Jim Sears.

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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