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IMHO Sunday – Recruiting mensa

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com

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

What me worry?: That old saying from Mad Magazine and Alfred E. Newman could apply to those that get a tad neurotic as it pertains to the remaining dwindling Trojans scholarship options for the balance of the Class of 2016. Yeah, the Trojans may visibly have just five rides left on the recruiting bus, but history has proven that Steve Sarkisian (photo above) knows what he’s doing when it comes to putting together a motherload of a recruiting class, and trust me, he’ll always find a spot for a wanting 5-star prospect despite what appears to no room left.

Crystal blue persuasion: Like the old Tommy James and the Shondells melody, when Steve Sarkisian has found the Class of 2016 roster of commitments he wants, you can bet he’ll use some crystal blue persuasion for some of those already committed and persuade them the grass may greener on the other side of another program’s hill. It is what it is.

Can we talk: As the late Joan Rivers used to say. I realize that the John McKay Center ranks right at the top of college athletic facilities in terms of its swank locker rooms and state of the art machinery, but to say that the Trojans were once tougher because they once had substandard facilities is a little over the top for me.

Can we talk – Part 2: Do you honestly think that linebackers Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews would have been any less aggressive if they had dressed in the John McKay Center instead of Heritage Hall? Didn’t think so.

Plain and simple: As commented here before, if the Trojans are going to be more mentally tough and physically dominant in the future, then it’s up to head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff to make them that way. And those that don’t adhere to Sark’s edict of mental toughness and physical dominance should, as they use to say, ride the pine.

Pass the cream puffs: The Trojans announced they’ll open the 2022 season by hosting Rice University. Rice, not exactly modern day powerhouse, is known as the Owls, so does anybody give a hoot the Trojans will be playing the Owls?

Looking back: The Trojans and Rice have played three times. They tied in 1947 (7-7) and the Men of Troy were victorious at home in 1948 (7-0) and in 1971 at Rice (24-0).

The bakery: If you go by the premise that sooner or later those personal seat license (PSL) for USC season tickets will either be optional and mandatory, how many season ticket holders paying the big bucks will be thrilled to see teams like Rice on future schedules? Of course, how many are currently ecstatic about paying the big bucks to see Arkansas State and Idaho? Don’t all raise your hands at once.

On second thought: According to WeAreSC message board poster 4uscfighton!, we should remember it was the Rice Owls that brought football such memorable players and characters as receivers Don Maynard (NY Jets) and Buddy Dial (N.Y. Giants) and quarterbacks Dr. Frank Ryan (L.A. Rams), Tommy Kramer (Minnesota Vikings), King Hill (Eagles), and Tobin Rote (Green Bay Packers).

In the cards: So how many of you football card collectors can lay claim that you have original cards of Don Maynard, Buddy Dial, Frank Ryan, Tommy Kramer, King Hill, and Tobin Rote? Honestly, my first pro football card was King Hill of the Eagles.

Eagles soar: Speaking of the Philadelphia Trojans, um, Eagles, it should be might interesting to watch the Philly quarterback battle and the ensuing pecking order during Eagles training camp, especially with former Trojans throwers Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley in the fire of competition. Sanchez would appear to the starter, but with acquisition of Tim Tebow, Barkley may have his hands full to remain in Philadelphia.

The option play: Considering that both the Trojans and Ohio State are storied powers in college football, it’s interesting to note that two current quarterbacks from their respective programs, Jalen Greene and Braxton Miller, have been moved to wide receivers for the fall; yet both could still be part of the quarterback equation in case of an emergency.

Booty call: The famous Johnny Booty football family, which provided USC fans quarterback John David Booty, has taken its vast array of football knowledge to the Sage Hill High football program in Newport Coast, California. Once the rage of Louisiana, father Johnny is helping his Sage head coach son, Abram, run the affluent, private school program.

FYI: Sage Hill is patterned after an East Coast prep school.

From the press box…

Excuse me: Although there are a number of Trojans named to “watch lists,” pardon me again if I don’t get overly excited about “watch lists.”

Band tailgating: The USC Marching Band will be having their 10th annual tailgate parties on campus this football season before Arkansas State, Stanford, and Utah with the exception of the UCLA game, which will feature Roscoe’s BBQ with special pricing in Exposition Park. The food festivities will be five hours prior to those selected home kickoffs, and doors will close 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Cost of each tailgate – with the exception of UCLA – will be $35 for adults, $15 for USC students, and children 10 and under will be free.

Musing: I often wonder just how good some former Trojans might have been had they played their senior season and not departed early to the NFL.

Bakers Field: Did you know that David Baker, the father of former Trojans All-America offensive tackle and Atlanta Falcon Sam Baker, is the President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio? I didn’t.

Jurassic World: I recently saw Steven Spielberg’s latest Jurassic Park saga and in it is a new genetically engineered dinosaur called an Indominus rex. The dinosaur was so big and massive that for some reason I just thought of Trojans big and massive, 6-foot-9, 350-pound right tackle Zach Banner. Would “Indominus rex” be a good nickname for the charismatic and personable tackle?

The post-game show…

Honor and reward: Recognizing its growing popularity, the official USC athletic blog website known as “Ripsit” is offering a special social media presale on single game USC football tickets. If you’re interested in such a deal, go to the official site at: http://www.usctrojans.com/blog/

The Valsi: You probably have never heard of a college football fan named Mark Valsi, but he loved the Trojans with the exception of his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. From Howland Corners, Ohio, Valsi was an avid reader of WeAreSC.com, the O/NSO, and IMHO Sunday, even though at heart he was a disciple of Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes. His last name was his nickname, as few ever called him by his first name, Mark.

The Valsi – Part 2: And, boy, Valsi, a former Bowling Green State University grad and fraternity party animal, could party with the best of them at the Coliseum and its surrounding watering holes. Perhaps some of you had the “honor” of tailgating with Valsi at a Trojans home game. It’s with great sadness to learn this character of college football, a long admired former El Monte Unified School District intermediate and high school teacher left us too soon this past week. “Valsi,” you will be greatly missed.

The survey: Come this Thursday and/or Friday, how many readers here will take time to watch the “live” Pac-12 Media days either on the Pac-12 Network or on their social media device.

Strategic move: The Pac-12 powers-that-be cleverly will keep the Southern California media market involved in its two-day football media blitz of coaches and players at Warner Brothers Studios by having UCLA go on Thursday morning with the Trojans on Friday morning.

The final word: If you could be one former USC football player for a game, who would you be?

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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