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O/NSO: Happy edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: Barring any new revelations that pertain to Trojans head football Steve Sarkisian, the majority of the USC fan base couldn’t be happier that focus will soon be turning to next Saturday night’s season opener against Arkansas State on in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: Yep, and nobody will be happier than Coach Sark that the first game is coming up quickly. The coach’s comment after Wednesday’s practice “I felt like I was back at home” pretty much sums it up knowing he can just coach and do what he loves to do. As former Trojans assistant and late owner of the Oakland Raiders Al Davis would say, “Just win, baby.”

The Obvious: Many Trojans fans are surprised that Trojans athletic director Pat Haden didn’t attach some sort of suspension leveled at Steve Sarkisian.

The Not So Obvious: As is the case with many high profile judgments, there is probably more information than meets the public eye. With the Trojans head coach going through a divorce, selling his house, and the Salute to Troy incident, it’s possible that Haden showed some compassion for Sark not the coach but Sark the man and did all he could not to pile it on. You go through the aforementioned drama and it’s a pretty heavy emotional burden for any one person to handle, even for a tough, young head college football coach.

The Obvious: Keyshawn Johnson is a wide receiver in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious: On ESPN radio, Key said he understands how Steve Sarkisian could have allegedly had too much to drink during or prior to Salute to Troy. According to Key, boosters love to have a drink with the head coach. Add up one drink after another before going on stage and Johnson said that it takes its alcoholic toll. However, Key still said that Sark was accountable for his actions and should be punished, although he stopped short of saying what that punishment should be.

The Obvious: Lisa Leslie is an all-time women’s basketball great and is a member of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious: On a recent radio interview, Lesile was extremely critical of Steve Sarkisian’s behavior at Salute to Troy and strongly believes Sark was an embarrassment to the Trojans family and deserved some sort of suspension. She certainly didn’t pull any punches.

The Obvious: As mentioned, the Trojans officially open the season a week from tomorrow by hosting the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the Coliseum (8 p.m. PDT).

The Not So Obvious: For those that can’t wait until Sept. 5, the 2015 college football seasons officially gets underway this weekend, as North Dakota State and Montana meet in the FCS Kickoff on Saturday. The game will air on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. PDT with Brent Musburger and analyst Jesse Palmercalling the action.

The Obvious: The Trojans have caught some flak for opening up the season against Arkansas State.

The Not So Obvious: FYI, Oregon and North Dakota State have agreed to a game in 2020, so it’s not like the Trojans don’t have some competition in the cupcake department.

The Obvious: The Trojans will host Utah on Oct. 24, and it’ll be Family Weekend.

The Not So Obvious: The Utes will open their season next Thursday night, Sept. 3, by hosting Michigan and first-year Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh. Now that should not only be interesting but informative.

The Obvious: When the Trojans played Cinderella Northwestern in the 1996 Rose Bowl game, the coach of the Wildcats was Gary Barnett.

The Not So Obvious: Former Northwestern head coach Gary Barnett will join Pac-12 South rival Colorado in the broadcast booth on a limited basis this fall, and in 2016, he’ll replace Larry Zimmer as the Buff’s full-time radio analyst. Barnett is s former head coach at Colorado before the Buff’s administration removed him because of alleged recruiting scandal in 2005.

The Obvious: Villanova University announced on Tuesday that Mark Jackson, former USC Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Chief Innovation Officer, has been appointed Nova’s Director of Athletics.

The Not So Obvious: There are those on the inside will tell that Jackson, who was a lead man in the Coliseum renovation project, might have been the top candidate to replace Pat Haden if and when the former Trojans quarterback great decided to vacate his athletic director’s position in the near future.

The Obvious: While quarterback Cody Kessler is understandably being promoted as the Trojans top Heisman Trophy candidate, he could be challenged severely by his own teammate, all-purpose performer Adoree’ Jackson who is a triple-threat as a corner, wide receiver, and special teams whirlwind.

The Not So Obvious: ESPN.com came out earlier in the week with its preseason All-America team and while there was no Cody Kessler, Adoree’ Jackson made the team as an all-purpose player. All-Pac-12 center Max Tuerk was also named to the offensive team. There was only a first team selection.

The Obvious: Adoree’ Jackson could make a run at the 2015 Heisman Trophy as just a sophomore.

The Not So Obvious: In discussing Jackson’ virtues as a player, ESPN wrote “They’re already talking about Jackson as a Heisman candidate, and his electrifying resume speaks for itself: He can take a kickoff to the house and punctuate it with a flip into the end zone, lock down a receiver at cornerback and flash sizzling potential at wide receiver.”

The Obvious: And finally, Randy’s is a well-known L.A. donut establishment.

The Not So Obvious: Also known for the giant, round advertising logo on its roof, Randy’s rooftop logo is now covered with a large cardinal and gold “Fight On” and two-fingered Trojans victory sign. As an enticement, Randy’s is offering now until the season opener against Arkansas State one free donut with no purchase necessary. All you need to do is bring your USC ID or USC vs. Arkansas State game ticket to receive one FREE donut. The offer is limited to one per person and “fancies” excluded.

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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