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IMHO Sunday: Travel advisory

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

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

Hotel hunting: If you’re planning on staying in the South Bend area for the Trojans/Irish on Oct. 17, you’d better hurry and be prepared to spend some might big bucks like $400-plus per night.

Reminder: Kick-off for SC/ND at Notre Dame Stadium is 7:30 p.m. South Bend time. South Bend will be on East Coast time, although Chicago is on Midwest time. Confused?

It’s possible: Trojans fans staying in Chicago for the ND Weekender could face thepossibility of the upstart Chicago Cubs playing some playoff baseball during this time. Anyone for playoffs at Wrigley Field on Friday and the Trojans and Irish on Saturday?

It’s possible – Part 2: And what happens if it’s the Dodgers and Cubs in the playoffsat Wrigley Field in October? Now that might be part of your Friday night in The Windy City.

FYI: Tickets for the Trojans and Irish are currently going for a “low” of $356.25 on StubHub. At last check, there were just over 1,000 left for sale on StubHub.

FYI – Part 2: Thought you’d like to know that Notre Dame will host two night games, which includes the Trojans. The Irish will open the season on Sept. 5 by hosting Texas in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

Daydreaming: Thank goodness for Trojans fans that games of their beloved Men of Troy are shown on cable without many issues, unless you can’t get the Pac-12 Networks where they generally show the Trojans least attractive games.

Daydreaming – Part 2: Imagine if USC football games on cable TV were withheld by like the Dodgers games across the Southland?

A safe bet: If you were a betting person, who do you think will be the Trojans No. 3 quarterback by the middle of the season? Ricky Town or Sam Darnold?

Red Wolves alert: In case you missed it, Arkansas State, the Trojans opener on Sept. 5 in the Coliseum, held its spring game in late April and the offense won 55-47 over the defense using a special scoring system put in place by the coaching staff.

Vandals alert: In case you missed it, Idaho, the Trojans second opponent (Sept. 12 in the Coliseum), held its spring game in late April, as sophomore quarterback Matt Linehan connected on 22 of 24 throws for 467 yards and six touchdowns as the Silver team pounded the Gold team, 77-21.

From the press box…

One for Riles: Former Trojans offensive coordinator and first-year Nebraska head coach Mike Riley picked up a nice verbal from Orange County’s San Juan Hills quarterback Patrick O’Brien.

Beware: After spring ball, Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said, “We have a chance to be good. We just have to have a great summer.”

And yes: Paul Petrino is the brother of the celebrated and sometimes not-so-celebrated Bobby Petrino, the head football coach at Louisville.

Buckeyes separation: Idaho won’t be playing defending CFP National Champion Ohio State to open their season on Thursday night, Sept. 3, but they will be hosting a Buckeyes neighbor in Ohio University. Okay, so OU will never be confused with OSU.

A good one: When the Trojans travel to Oregon on Nov. 21, the general feeling is the Ducks offensive line might not be as strong as in the past. However, that was put to rest when Notre Dame center/guard transfer Matt Hegarty announced he was heading to Eugene and would be immediately eligible because he is a graduate student. Hegarty figures to replace departed center Hroniss Grassu, who was a third round 2015 NFL draft pick.

A good one – Part 2:
Matt Hegarty, who can also play guard, could be teaming up with another transfer, quarterback Vernon Adams (Eastern Washington) to form a completely new Ducks battery duo. It should be noted that Hegarty, a former prep All-American out of New Mexico, was once very interested in Oregon coming out of high school.

Option play: So, did you take advantage of the Trojans ticket department’s umpteenth offer to change your season ticket location?

The post-game show…

Closing time: Sunday marks the end of the current recruiting evaluation period, which means all will be quiet on the recruiting front if there is such a thing.

Golden Throat: Here’s wishing the Trojans legendary radio and TV voice Tom Kelly the best in his challenge with health issues. Kelly was in attendance at the recent Trojans Hall of Fame induction dinner.

It’s academic: The Trojans football and men’s basketball teams showed improvement in their Academic Progress Rate scores in 2013-14, but they are still resting below the national average, according to scores recently released by the NCAA.

By the numbers: In terms of academic improvement by the Trojans football team, the APR score was 948, an increase of seven points. The national average for football is 956. Don’t blame Steve Sarkisian completely, as he arrived on the scene late in the process of evaluation. It’s doubtful Sark would call the current numbers “a total success.”

Reality check: Given all the turmoil of the 2013 season with the Trojans having three head coaches (Kiffin, Orgeron, and Helton), an increase of seven points might be considered noteworthy.

The final word: There seems to be a lot of discussion of late on graduate students transferring to another university and having instant athletic eligibility. Guess we can refer to it as a “free agent” signing, and it’s just another avenue for Steve Sarkisian to acquire talent in his growing program.

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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