By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.
Option play: Things are getting interesting with which NFL team(s) is coming to Los Angeles in 2016. If it’s two teams, which seems to be the word, one team will likely play in the Rose Bowl, which leaves the Coliseum as the next best option for the second franchise. And don’t think that Trojans athletic director Pat Haden doesn’t have visions of dollar signs dancing in his head.
The Silver and Black: If the Oakland Raiders return to the L.A., it would also mark the return of former Trojans All-American and recent USC Hall of Fame inductee Jack Del Rio, who was once considered a prime candidate for the USC job now head by Steve Sarkisian.
The comparisons: If the Raiders return to our town, the inevitable comparisons between Jack Del Rio and Steve Sarkisian as head coaches could get some intense scrutiny. Especially from those Trojan fans that wanted Del Rio to be the Trojans head coach.
A rooting interest: When you look at the current active rosters of the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers, the team with the most former Trojans would be the St. Louis Rams two (T.J. McDonald and wide receiver Damian Williams) while the Raiders have former Trojans linebacker Malcolm Smith. Of course if you’re picky, you could also add former receiver Brice Butler who left Troy and transferred to San Diego State.
Here come the Irish: If you are pleased that former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson will be playing for Florida State and not the Irish when the Trojans come calling in South Bend on Oct. 17, be careful for what you wish for. Golson’s backup, Malik Zaire, who played against the Trojans last season in the Coliseum, isn’t a bad option.
Center of attention: Trojans captain Max Tuerk was named to the 2015 Rimington Trophy Watch List for best center in the country. Tuerk is being touted as a potential first-round selection.
Center of attention – Part 2: If Max Tuerk is taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, he would be the first Trojans center to do so.
Center of attention – Part 3: The last USC center chosen in an NFL draft was Marcus Martin in 2014. Marcus was taken by the 49ers in the third round as the 70 pick.
National respect: With the verbal of Josh Imatorbhebhe (Suwanee, Georgia)/ North Gwinnett), the Trojans now have recruits from California, Georgia, Michigan and Alabama thus far for the class of 2016.
In memory: There was a public memorial on Saturday in the Founders Room at the Galen Center for Trojans All-America defensive end Jimmy Gunn, an original member of the famous “Wild Bunch” defensive line. Now, only Al Cowlings and Charlie Weaver remain from the original five after the passing of Tody Smith, Willard “Bubba” Scott, and Gunn.
From the press box…
The Islander: The Trojans have offered running back Vavae Malepeai (Mililani, Hawaii/Mililani). WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz says that Vavae (6-0, 205) reminds him of former Trojans running back Malaefou MacKenzie and that is high praise.
The Islander – Part 2: So is Vavae Malepeai more of a running back or a fullback? Malaefou MacKenzie was both. If Malepeai is seen more as a fullback, then the theory that the Trojan fullback is nearing extinction may be premature.
Parking sharks: If parking is reduced with the building of a new soccer stadium in Exposition Park, ya think the cost of parking your car at a Trojans home game will rise significantly? Do the Dodgers play in Los Angeles?
The predictions: Now on newsstands, both The Sporting News and Athlon have the Trojans picked No. 6 nationally.
Cover boy: Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler graces the cover of both The Sporting News and Athlon. He is the “single shot” in TSN but shares the Athlon cover spotlight with UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.
Rose Bowl prediction: Both The Sporting News and Athlon have the Trojans playing Michigan State in the 2016 Rose Bowl.
The post-game show…
The residual effect: If you’re wondering what a trip to the College Football Playoff means for a university like USC, last week the CFP was named Sports Event of the Year by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.
By the numbers: The CFP semifinals and national championship game, broadcast by ESPN, were the most-watched events in cable television history. Think Steve Sarkisian would like to have some of that exposure for his program?
The PAT down: The NFL has announced it’s moving back the extra point attempt after a touchdown to the 15-yard line, which actually makes it a 25-yard attempt, considering the goal posts reside in the back of the end zone. So how long will it be before we see the same NFL rule at a Coliseum game involving the Trojans?
Reverse imitation: The NFL has also decided to use the college rule as it applies to botched extra points after a touchdown. If an extra point is blocked or a two-point attempt intercepted, the defending team can take it to the opposite end zone for two points.
Indigestion: When I see the millions of dollars that former Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis are receiving from their former universities for getting fired, it makes me want to be a college head football coach just to get canned.
Blasphemy: In Athlon’s preseason magazine, the striking cheerleader photo leading into the Pac-12 Conference section is from…Oregon, so help me USC Song Girls.
Good point: Athlon points out the Trojans must play the top three teams from the Pac-12 North Division, which are Oregon (in Eugene) Stanford and Washington (both in L.A).
Say the word: And so far no comment from former Trojans quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles signal caller Matt Barkley on his opinion of Tom Brady’s “deflategate” punishment.
The final word: And it goes without saying, a very special Memorial Day thank you to all of our past, present, and future veterans in the military that keep us safe and continue to make the United States of America the greatest country in the world.