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O/NSO: It’s time for kickoff edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com

The Obvious: Other than the games themselves, nothing can be more exhilarating than the release of the kickoff times for the USC Trojans 2017 schedule, especially if you’re a tailgating aficionado or party-hearty planning individual.

The Not So Obvious: Both the Pac-12 Network and ESPN have released their early TV schedules, and the Trojans are naturally part of the agenda.

The Obvious: The Trojans will appear on the Pac-12 Network or ESPN in the early part of the season.

The Not So Obvious: The Trojans will open 2017 with a Pac-12 Network 2:30 p.m. PT kickoff in the Coliseum against Western Michigan. As commented here in the past and in the IMHO Sunday column at various intervals, kickoffs many decades ago used to be at 1:30 p.m. PT, and from a nostalgic point of view, the Western Michigan game is as close to the good old days as it gets these days. A 2:30 p.m. kickoff will allow for plenty of tailgating and also provide a reasonable time for fans to return home.

The Obvious: The Trojans will host the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Sept. 9, in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

The Not So Obvious: No shock that this Coliseum game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. PT on FOX. This could be the premier game in the country on this day, and at least if this game is going to be televised nationally, the folks on the East Coast will get it in prime time (8:30 p.m. ET). It also will help in Sam Darnold’s early bid for Heisman voters’ attention and gain valuable exposure for the perception of the 2017 Trojans in general.

The Obvious: Trojans fans are normally interested in scouting future opponents on the tube.

The Not So Obvious: ESPN will give Trojans fans a sneak preview of Stanford when the Cardinal travel to Sydney, Australia for an ESPN national game against Rice on Saturday, Aug. 26, with the West Coast kickoff time at 7 p.m.

The Obvious: The Texas Longhorns will invade the Coliseum on Saturday, Sept. 16, and it figures that first-year head coach Tom Herman will be looking to make a statement on national television.

The Not So Obvious: FOX will have the Trojans/Longhorns game televised in prime time at 5:30 p.m. PT. The game should draw a huge audience if both teams are undefeated, which is no guarantee since the Trojans play Stanford the week before. However, Texas could be undefeated before coming to L.A. if they can defeat Maryland (Sept. 2) in Austin followed by another home game against the San Jose Spartans (Sept. 9).

The Obvious: The Trojans will battle Washington State from Pullman, Washington, on ESPN on Friday night, Sept. 29, at 7 :30 p.m. PT.

The Not So Obvious: Well, if you must have a September 7:30 p.m. kickoff on a Friday night in Pullman, it’s certainly is better than in November when the chill/snow/rain can be a rather uncomfortable mix for visiting fans. While it’s expected that Trojans fans won’t be climbing over each other to get plane tickets to the Great Palouse in eastern Washington, at least those that do go will probably avoid an exceedingly chilly experience this time around.

The Obvious: The Trojans will travel to Notre Dame for a 7:30 ET/4:30 p.m. PT kickoff against the Irish on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Not So Obvious: That game will be televised on the Notre Dame television network better known as NBC. However, part of the real intrigue will be the NBC cameras showcasing the renovation of Notre Dame Stadium, which will be scrutinized by Trojans fans both in person and watching on the tube.

The Obvious: The Trojans will not play Washington during the regular conference season.

The Not So Obvious: The Men of Troy, however, could very well play the Huskies in the Pac-12 title game in early December. For those wanting an early look of Chris Petersen’s UW squad, the Dawgs will open at Rutgers on Friday night, Sept. 1, on FS1 at 5 p.m. PT.

The Obvious: Lane Kiffin is the former controversial head football coach of the USC Trojans.

The Not So Obvious: The ever topical and controversial new leader of the Florida Atlantic Owls will get national ESPNU coverage with his team hosting Navy on Friday night, Sept. 1, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Love him or hate him, you have to admit the Lane-ster is an attention getting media magnet.

The Obvious: And finally, there are still kickoff times still to be announced for balance of the 2017 Trojans football schedule.

The Not So Obvious: Still in television kickoff time limbo for the Trojans are home games against Oregon State, Utah, Arizona and UCLA with away games at Cal, ASU, and Colorado. Hopefully, the dreaded 7:30 p.m. kickoff time does not raise its ugly head, but don’t count on it.

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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