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IMHO Sunday: Still the one

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

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

The Granddaddy: The Rose Bowl, which has traditionally been the Trojans “Home Away from Home,” has elected not to bid for the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game. With all due respect to all the other “big bowls,” there is no bowl game that remotely comes close to Pasadena’s New Year’s Day institution.

The Granddaddy – Part 2: I like the College Football Playoff and strongly support it, although the feeling here is it should be eight teams sooner rather than later. However, the idea of moving it around the country is a “NCAA Final Four” basketball design but a bad idea. I would prefer staying with the tradition of college football, thus rotating the title game amongst the top bowl games. Anything can be worked out if “they” want to work it out.

The Granddaddy – Part 3: Of course, in most all things in “amateur” sports, it comes down to money and in this case, making big money.

The Granddaddy – Part 4: Will this be the season the Trojans return to the Rose Bowl? Ah, to see the USC Song Girls (photo) again dance on the Rose Bowl sidelines…

Numbers game: A professional friend of mine, Scott, an Ohio native, chided me that the Ohio State spring game drew a whopping 99,391 at “The Horseshoe.” No doubt very impressive, I still reminded Scott that the last time I was in Columbus I didn’t see a whole lot of beaches or too much sunshine for that matter. The topper, of course, was telling my Buckeye buddy, “If Ohio is so great, why did you move to Southern California?” End of story.

Spring count: As it pertains to the Pac-12, the Trojans spring game, which drew 22,788 fans in the massive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, currently ranks as the top Pac-12 spring game attendance to this point.

The wondering game: In case you needed to know, Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks will play its spring game next Saturday, May 2, at 11 a.m., and it’ll be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks. It figures that the Trojans top spring game attendance standing could be surpassed by an expected big turnout at Autzen Stadium.

Spy satellite: If you wanted a little peek at how UCLA is doing this spring, the Westwooders held their spring game or should we say “practice” in the Rose Bowl on Saturday and drew an attendance count of 8,738. For you non-mathematicians, that’s 12,050 less than the Trojans outing.

Financial comparisons: The Trojans charged $10 for their spring game in the Coliseum while UCLA charged $5 for their spring game in the Rose Bowl.

Time out: The Trojans held their spring game at 3 p.m. while UCLA held their spring game was at 10 a.m. And you wonder why the Trojans outnumbered the Bruins in the spring game attendance competition? Anyone for brunch?

Schedule comparisons: Both the Trojans and Bruins will open their 2015 seasons on Sept. 5 at home. The Men of Troy host Arkansas State while the Westwooders welcome Virginia.

Thinking aloud: In last December’s Holiday Bowl, Trojans true freshman offensive left tackle Toa Lobendahn did more than hold his own against Nebraska’s all-star defensive end Randy Gregory. NFL insiders are saying that Gregory could be a Top 10 selection. If so, it makes Lobendahn’s Holiday Bowl performance even more impressive.

The odds maker: What are the overs and unders that former Trojans wide receiver George Farmer is taken in this week’s NFL draft? It’s a hard one to predict.

From the press box…

Question: Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed never-quit quarterback Tim Tebow, where does that leave former Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley? The Eagles now have five quarterbacks on their roster, which now also includes Sam Bradford.

Contract talk: With Matt Barkley in the third year of his contract, is there any chance that his former coach, Pete Carroll, would be interested in acquiring Matt in the future for the Seahawks?

The conundrum: What will come sooner, the Dodgers and Time Warner finally lifting the local blackout of home and away games or the Trojans beginning renovations on the Coliseum?

Another question: Would Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer’s Trojans stats been any greater had he played on the 2004 or 2005 Trojans teams, clubs that were quarterbacked by Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart?

Thinking out loud: The Trojans wouldn’t let true freshman quarterback Ricky Town speak to the media during spring practice, but UCLA allowed their true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen to speak with the media this spring.

The post-game show…

Coaching reality: Now that he is retired from football, former Trojans two-time All-America tackle Sedrick Ellis was asked if he would ever consider going into coaching. Ellis replied, “I don’t know. That’s something to be determined, but when you get into something like coaching, that’s a fulltime endeavor. That’s something that’s serious and you’re dealing with kids and they’re impressionable.”

More Ellis musing: Asked what he would do if he didn’t go into coaching, Sedrick Ellis said, “I could see TV or radio in the future.”

A picture says a thousand words: There have been various stories on how the famous original Wild Bunch of 1969 photo came about. You know, the one with the starting five all in cowboy attire. According to my esteemed colleague, WeAreSC writer Steve Bisheff who was the Trojans beat writer for the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner at the time, the idea was provided by late Herald-Examiner sports editor Bud Furillo, who thought it was a great idea and got Trojans head coach John McKay to come on board.

A picture says a thousand words: – Part 2: According to “Bish,” Furillo turned over the actual execution of the Wild Bunch photo session to “Steveo,” so Bisheff had the players dress in those cowboy costumes, but at the time the spectacular defensive front was not happy or pleased about having to go through the photo session. Well, after it was all said and done and history being the judge, the players were quite pleased with the final product, and The Wild Bunch photo became one of the most famous photos in USC football history.

The final word: Asked about his future since he is getting his bachelor’s degree in May, Trojans senior inside linebacker Anthony Sarao said, “I will then go into the master’s program; that’s the plan. I will take care of my family and breaking the chain of on-going poverty in my community and bring everybody around to show them that there is a different way to get successful.”

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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