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O/NSO: Do you know your opponent tidbits edition

The Obvious: We’re less than a month away until the 2018 USC Trojans open training camp (Friday, Aug. 3) in preparation for the 2018 season.

The Not So Obvious: Given the calendar, it’s that time when the O/NSO turns our attention to the upcoming season through some tasty opponent tidbits or should we say cardinal and gold football hors d’oeuvres.

The Obvious: The Trojans open the season on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 1, hosting the UNLV Rebels.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that Rebels’ head coach Tony Sanchez is the former architect and nationally acclaimed head coach of powerhouse Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School? Named to the Rebels’ job on Dec. 11, 2014, Sanchez in 2015 became the first Rebel coach to win at least three times in his first season since former Trojans’ head coach and Hall of Famer John Robinson in 1999. And did you know that UNLV director of football operations is former USC director of football operations Dennis Slutak (2005-08) who worked under former Trojans’ head coach Pete Carroll?

The Obvious: The Trojans second game of the season is Saturday evening, Sept. 8, at Stanford in Palo Alto.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that in the last four seasons, the Trojans record against the Cardinal is 2-3, two wins coming last season, one in the regular season and one in the Pac-12 title game? What that recent record means is that prior to last season, Stanford had a three-game winning streak against the Men of Troy. And did you know that Stanford fifth-year senior center Jesse Burkett was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list for the second straight year, and fifth-year Cardinal linebacker Bobby Okereke was one of 42 players named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list.

The Obvious: The Trojans’ third game of the season is Saturday evening, Sept. 15, at Texas in Austin.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that the last time the Trojans played in Austin was 1966, and the head coach of the Longhorns was Hall of Famer Darrell Royal of whom Texas Memorial Stadium is now called Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium? Point of information, the last time the Trojans played in the Texas state capital, the Cardinal and Gold came away with a hard-fought 10-6 victory before 42,000 mostly Longhorn fans. Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium now holds 100,119. BTW, do you know who the Trojans’ head coach was the last time “Southern Cal” traveled to heart of Texas? The legendary John McKay.     

The Obvious: The Trojans’ fourth game of the season is Friday night, Sept. 21, against Washington State in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that Cougars head coach Mike Leach is 2-1 against the Trojans, and the last time Cougs played in Los Angeles, they upset the Trojans and Lane Kiffin, 10-7, back in 2013. And you haven’t gotten last season’s WSU’s 30-27 upset of the Trojans in Pullman with Sam Darnold, have you? The O/NSO is sure that Clay Helton hasn’t.  

The Obvious: The Trojans’ fifth game of the season is Saturday, Sept. 29, at Arizona in Tucson.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that Arizona defensive line coach is Iona Uiagalelei, whose nephew is highly recruited Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei? With first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin now calling the overall shots for the Wildcats, did you know that the new offensive coordinator is former UCLA OC Noel Mazzone? And, did you know the last time the Trojans lost (48-41) in Tucson was 2012?

The Obvious: The Trojans’ sixth game of the season is Saturday, Oct. 13, against Colorado in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that Colorado will be breaking in a new primary play caller in Darrin Chiaverini along with offensive line coach Klayton Adams who was promoted to co-OC? And did you know that the Buffaloes signed six JC transfers to fill some much-needed holes?

The Obvious: The Trojans’ seventh game of the season is Saturday, Oct. 20, at Utah in Salt Lake City.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that this will be Utah’s eighth season in the Pac-12? In that time, the Utes are 2-4 against the Trojans in its young history of Pac-12 play. The Trojans’ two losses have come in Salt Lake City (2014, 2016). Did you also know that the season prior to joining the Pac-12, Utah defeated the Trojans 10-6 in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl and, yes, the USC head coach was Pete Carroll?

The Obvious: The Trojans’ eighth game of the season is Saturday, Oct. 27, against Arizona State in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that the Sun Devils special teams coordinator and associate head coach is former Trojans linebacker coach Shawn Slocum who tutored Butkus Award winner Chris Claiborne, Zeke Moreno, and Markus Steele? Do you know that Shawn Slocum is also the son of former Trojans’ assistant coach and Hall of Fame Texas A&M head coach R.C. Slocum 

The Obvious: The Trojans’ ninth game of the season is Saturday, Nov. 3, at Oregon State in Corvallis.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that thanks to the Pac-12’s schedule rotation, the Trojans haven’t played in Corvallis since 2013, a 31-14 Trojans’ victory over the Beavers? Did you also know that former Trojans’ assistant coach Greg Burns (2002-2005) is a first-year DB coach for first-year Beavers’ head coach Jonathan Smith?

The Obvious: The Trojans’ tenth game of the season is Saturday, Nov. 10, against Cal in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that the Cal Bears game is the Trojans’ homecoming game? Of course, you did. But, did you know that former Trojans’ DC and second-year Cal head coach Justin Wilcox has some other former Trojans as his assistants? On Wilcox’s staff are former USC OL coach Steve Greatwood (1998-99), former linebacker coach Peter Sirmon (2014-15), and former quarterback coach Marques Tuiasosopo (2014-15).

The Obvious: The Trojans’ eleventh game of the season is Saturday, Nov. 17, at UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that the last time that first-year UCLA head coach Chip Kelly coached in college was 2012? Did you also know that the Bruins have a Pac-12 conference game the week after they play the Trojans on Saturday, Nov.17? On Saturday, Nov. 24, UCLA hosts Stanford in what could be a critical game, as it relates to the final conference division standings for both teams.

The Obvious: The Trojans’ twelfth game of the season is Saturday, Nov. 24, against Notre Dame in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know that in the last four games in the nation’s greatest intersectional rivalry, the winning team has scored 41 points or more? Do you know in the Trojans’ 2014 win and 2017 loss to the Irish, the winning team scored 49 points? Did you also know that as part of the 2018 recruiting classes for both teams, the Trojans recruited one player from the state of Indiana (RB Markese Stepp/ Indianapolis Cathedral) while the Irish recruited three Californians (LB Jack Lamb/ Temecula Great Oak, OT Jarrett Patterson/ Mission Viejo, ATH Tariq Bracy/ Milpitas)?

The Obvious: The Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday night, Nov. 30, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Not So Obvious: Did you know the first three title games, which began in 2011, were held at the home stadium of the division winner with the better conference record? Since 2014, the game has been played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Did you also know that in 2017, the Pac-12 announced it would keep the title game at Levi’s Stadium through 2019 with an option for 2020, which just happens to coincide with the opening of the new Rams/Chargers football stadium in Inglewood, Calif.?

The Obvious: And finally, as of today (Friday), there are only three weeks left until the start of USC training camp.

The Not So Obvious: So, did you know that the next two additions of Friday’s weekly O/NSO we’ll give y’all analysis, predictions and scores to Part 1 and Part 2 of the 2018 USC football schedule? That is correct, sir. As per tradition, we’ll be telling it as we see it – game-by-game – so stock up on all those tomatoes and/or confetti.    



Greg Katz
Author
Greg Katz

Now in his 58th 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 staff writer 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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