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O/NSO: Calendar edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: The first day of USC training camp for the 2015 season is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 8.

The Not So Obvious: So how many Trojans fans will now schedule their vacations, weddings, divorces, Bar Mitvahs, and family reunions around August 8?

The Obvious: Respected magazine publisher Phil Steele has written that the Trojans have the second toughest schedule in the country behind Alabama.

The Not So Obvious: And of course, this sounds like the proper buildup for the 2016 season when the Trojans and the Crimson Tide open the season at “Jerry’s House” in Dallas.

The Obvious: The Pac-12 again figures to be arguably the best conference in the country top to bottom in 2015.

The Not So Obvious: IF you agree with Phil Steele’s toughest schedule rankings for the upcoming season, then it’s hard to argue. Steele says the toughest ten schedules in order are Alabama, USC, Arkansas, Cal, Washington, Auburn, Texas, Utah, Stanford, and Kansas.

The Obvious: In Phil Steele’s 2015 top 10 toughest schedule ranking, the Trojans, Cal, Washington, Utah, and Stanford are come from the Pac-12.

The Not So Obvious: The spotlight non-conference games for the aforementioned Pac-12 teams in Phil Steele’s poll: Trojans at Notre Dame (Oct. 17), Cal at Texas (Sept. 19), Washington at Boise State (Sept. 3 or 4), Utah hosts Michigan (Sept. 3), and Stanford at Northwestern (Sept. 5) and hosting Notre Dame (Nov. 28).

The Obvious: According to a recent story on ESPN.com, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas declared the Trojans are the best bet to win the Pac-12 with odds at 15-1.

The Not So Obvious: Oregon and UCLA are right behind the Men of Troy at 20-1, and the caveat is that the Trojans travel to Oregon and host Bruins on back-to-back weekends in November to conclude the regular season.

The Obvious: Former Trojans head football coach Pete Carroll, who won two national championships for the Men of Troy, will receive an honorary degree from USC today (Friday) and will be inducted into USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The Not So Obvious: Say what you want about Carroll, it figures that Pete will be a major hit and attraction this weekend on campus. Nobody works the “floor” better than the current Seattle Seahawks head coach.

The Obvious: If you believe those “reliable sources” and the rumor mill, sophomore quarterback Jalen Green has moved to wide receiver.

The Not So Obvious: If true, good for Jalen. If this rumor is true, it tells the O/NSO a couple of things. Greene values a college degree from USC and probably has no plans to transfer, and if he thinks could play in the NFL, it has to be as a wide receiver.

The Obvious: Jalen Green could eventually present another standout option as a receiver, especially when he has the ball in his hands.

The Not So Obvious: When Green was running the ball as a prep quarterback at Gardena (Calif.) Serra, he rushed for 1,209 yards on 155 carries (7.8 avg.) with 14 touchdowns his senior season. In his prep career, Green rushed for a career total 3,040 yards with 30 touchdowns.

The Obvious: Former Trojans wide receivers Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, and George Farmer are all currently on NFL rosters and played at Gardena (Calif.) Serra.

The Not So Obvious: And let’s not forget two-way sophomore superstar Adoree’ Jackson, who is a budding Heisman Trophy candidate. So, if Jalen Green makes a successful transition to wide receiver and eventually the NFL, you’d be hard-pressed to find another high school that produced so many standout receivers within a four-year window.

The Obvious: New England quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended four games, and the Patriots will lose a first-round pick in the 2016, a fourth round pick in 2017, and will befined $1 million for “Deflategate.”

The Not So Obvious: So what would have happened if former Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley and USC had been found guilty of their own “Deflategate”? Scholarship losses? Since Barkley was a senior, how would he have ever been punished? He wouldn’t have been? Come on, the whole idea of deflating a football is for a quarterback to get a better grip on the ball and what’s wrong with that?

The Obvious: Georgia has signed into law a bill making it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison to entice student athletes to break NCAA rules for money

The Not So Obvious: The O/NSO knows exactly what you’re thinking and who you’re thinking about, so no comment necessary.

The Obvious: The Trojans are part of the Pac-12, which has a conference championship game at the end of the regular season.

The Not So Obvious: The Big 12 Conference recently announced its new tiebreaker system to determine its conference champion in the event of a tie. I am sure TCU and Baylor were all for it. The O/NSO isn’t so sure the College Football Playoff committee is all for it.

The Obvious: And finally, the NCAA certified three new bowls to push the total number of postseason games in major college football to a new high of 42.

The Not So Obvious: Making their debut this season will be the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and as yet unnamed games in Tucson, Ariz., and Austin, Texas. If given the option, the O/NSO believes that Trojans fans would love to spend a weekend at a bowl game in lovely Tucson. Right?

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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