By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
The Obvious: With Thursday’ Pac-12 Football Media Day announcement that the USC Trojans are the media’s pick to win the conference, Friday’s second day of the media scrum from Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank will give head coach Steve Sarkisian, quarterback Cody Kessler (above photo), and linebacker Su’a Cravens a chance to comment on the strongest endorsement yet that the Men of Troy are being viewed with lofty conference expectations.
The Not So Obvious: Although the Trojans did not appear on Thursday’s media day docket, they will appear on Friday morning with Sarkisian, Kessler, and Cravens. For Trojans fans, the cardinal and gold’s trio will appear for questions and interviews at 11:45 a.m. PDT. Friday’s entire festivities begin at 9 a.m. PDT.
The Obvious: The Pac-12 Football Media Day has turned into a made-for-Pac-12 Network event.
The Not So Obvious: As some already learned on Thursday, fans can gain access to Friday’s media day events through their laptop or PC at Pac-12.com. FYI, the schedule of Friday teams in order will be Utah (9:50 a.m./HC Kyle Whittingham/RB Devontae Booker/LB Jared Norris), Arizona (10:28/HC Rich Rodriguez/WR David Richards/S Will Parks), Cal (11:08/HC Sonny Dykes/QB Jared Goff/LB Hardy Nickerson), USC (11:45/HC Steve Sarkisian/QB Cody Kessler/LB Su’a Cravens), Oregon (12:25 p.m./HC Mark Helfrich/RB Royce Freeman/LB Rodney Hardrick), and Washington State (1:01/HC Mike Leach/OL Joe Dahl/LB Jeremiah Allison).
The Obvious: The Trojans have learned that Class of 2017 quarterback recruit Tate Martell (Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) has listed the Men of Troy in his top five along with -in no particular order – Alabama, Washington, Texas A&M, and Michigan.
The Not So Obvious: The only question by some regarding Martell, who has been compared in ability and guile to former Texas A&M All-American Johnny Manziel, is Tate’s listed size at 5-feet-11, 185-pounds.
The Obvious: Trojans athletic director Pat Haden was once a very accomplished quarterback at the high school, college, and professional levels.
The Not So Obvious: No knock on Haden but he, too, like Manziel was undersized. Haden was “listed” at 5-foot-11 and 182-pounds during his playing days at Troy. However, Haden and Manziel (5-10, 200) proved by their performances that it’s not the size of the dog but the bite, and that should apply to Tate Martell.
The Obvious: It seems like every USC football preseason, there is unbounded enthusiasm, as it pertains to the team’s conditioning and weight training program.
The Not So Obvious: The 2015 preseason is no different as Trojans Outland Trophy candidate and All-Pac-10 center Max Tuerk told Ripsit, the official Trojans social media site, “This has been the best offseason I have been a part of since being at USC. The guys have really bought into Coach Ivan’s (Lewis) program, and there have been huge improvements both mentally and physically.”
The Obvious: One of the major events that point to the beginning of a Trojans football season is the late summer food buffet and program extravaganza known as Salute to Troy.
The Not So Obvious: This season’s Salute to Troy will be August 22 and will begin at 6 p.m. on Cromwell Field inside the Loker Track and Field Stadium.
The Obvious: Cody Kessler is the Trojans three-year starting senior quarterback and a major Heisman Trophy candidate.
The Not So Obvious: To help promote Salute to Troy, the USC Athletic Department had Kessler pre-tape a video to invite fans to kick-off the new football season. If you haven’t seen it, you may want to cue it up at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxsNkS1TZXI
The Obvious: Salute to Troy is normally geared towards donors and contributors to the USC football program and athletic department.
The Not So Obvious: General public USC fans will be able to attend Salute to Troy as “guests” of the program by sending in an RSVP. For those interested in the fun event, which also features Traveler, The Song Girls, and an anniversary salute to selected Trojans teams of the past, the cost is $70 per adults and $30 for 12 years-old and under. Three years-old and under are free. To make an RSVP, go to: http://www.usc.edu/dept/pubrel/specialevents/athletics/salutetotroy/select_path.php
The Obvious: The “Watch List’ parade continues with the 2015 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year nominations.
The Not So Obvious: Trojans on the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Watch List include linebacker Su’a Cravens, offensive tackle/guard Toa Lobendahn, receiver JuJu Smith, and offensive guard Viane Talamaivao.
The Obvious: Single game tickets for Trojans home games are now on sale to the general public.
The Not So Obvious: Single game tickets start at $30 dollars and are adjusted depending on the game. Your game and price options are Arkansas State and Idaho ($45-$125), and Stanford, Washington, Utah, and Arizona ($55-$200). That’s right, $200. Currently, UCLA tickets can only be secured by purchasing a season or mini-season ticket plan.
The Obvious: Former Trojans coach Pete Carroll is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.
The Not So Obvious: In a feature story by SI, Carroll says he won’t be haunted by the pass play/interception that cost his team a second consecutive Super Bowl victory. For the majority that say the Seahawk’s pass call on the New England 1-yard line at the end of the game was one of the worst calls in NFL history, Carroll says it wasn’t the worst call but the worst outcome.
The Obvious: Even during his tenure with the Trojans, Pete Carroll had the unique ability to turn a negative into a positive.
The Not So Obvious: Of the Super Bowl blunder call and having to deal with it in the off-season, Carroll told Sports Illustrated, “It’s been thrilling to go through this, it really is. “I know you want to find out—everybody wants to find out, the intrigue, the depth and all that and how much it hurt. You’ll never know. I can’t make you understand.
“You pour everything in your life into something and—it goes right, it goes wrong—it’s in you. It becomes part of you. I’m not going to ignore it. I’m going to face it. And when it bubbles up, I’m going to think about it and get on with it. And use it. Use it!”
The Obvious: It’s that time of the summer when Trojans football season ticket packages are being sent to purchasers.
The Not So Obvious: The USC Ticket Department has sent out an email that advises season ticket purchasers when their tickets were mailed USPS and when fans should expect the ticket package to arrive.
The Obvious: ESPN will have some new and old faces on their college football coverage, which will include some TV exposures for the Trojans that include Washington (Oct. 8/ESPN) and Colorado (Nov. 13/ESPN2).
The Not So Obvious: ESPN highlighted its college football studio and game personnel for the 2015 season at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner. Emcee Rece Davis takes over as new host of ESPN College GameDay, joining analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, and College Football Hall of Famer Desmond Howard. College Football Hall of Famer Mark May will join Saturday’s ABC studio coverage, while Joey Galloway and Danny Kanell will handle pregame, halftime and postgame reporting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the season.
The Obvious: And finally, the Trojans played Fresno State in the 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Not So Obvious: Although the Trojans have higher aspirations in 2015 than the Las Vegas Bowl in 2015, it should be noted that Sam Boyd Stadium has undergone a $1.2 million renovation, which includes new Field Turf and the removal of two rows totaling 860 seats from the east and west sidelines to widen the field.