The Obvious: The USC Trojans will travel to Austin, Texas, to play a Sept 15 game against the Texas Longhorns.
The Not So Obvious: Last season, the Longhorns came to Los Angeles and lost a double overtime thriller, 27-24, to the Men of Troy, as true Trojans’ freshman walk-on placekicker Chase McGrath converted a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime and later booted a 43-yard field goal to win the darn thing. For Texas, they lived and later died with true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who fumbled near the goal line that helped position the Trojans for the pulsating victory.
The Obvious: It’s entirely possible that it will be the Trojans that bring a true freshman quarterback, JT Daniels, into Austin as the two teams possibly reverse their roles from 2017.
The Not So Obvious: Of course, Daniels is no shoe-in to start or play against UT because returning signal callers Matt Fink and Jack Sears may have a little something to say about that. And as an added twist, it appears that the Longhorns also have a battle at quarterback again between Ehlinger and Shane Buechele. It’s safe to say that the quarterbacks that start the 2018 season for both the Trojans and Longhorns may not be the starters when the two teams meet in the Texas state capital.
The Obvious: Tom Herman is the Texas second-year head coach.
The Not So Obvious: Although the Longhorns finished the 2017 season at 7-6, they made progress and figure again to give the Trojans all they can handle in the Lone Star State. The big question for the Trojans head coach Clay Helton is whether the coach is willing to start a true freshman in what should be a revengeful environment in Darrell K Royal-Texas Stadium.
The Obvious: The 2018 Trojans will be hoping that their defense will keep them in the early going of the season as the cardinal and gold offense works in a new quarterback.
The Not So Obvious: Like the Trojans losing the defensive stars like DL Rasheem Green and outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, the Texas Longhorns too have some big shoes to fill on the 2018 defense like All-American safety DeShon Elliott and Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year Malik Jefferson.
The Obvious: Longtime USC athletic trainer Jack Ward recently passed away at the age of 89.
The Not So Obvious: How good a trainer was Ward? Good enough in 39 years at Troy to be inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. Jack was also instrumental working with legendary USC football head coach John McKay during the Silver Fox’s remarkable Trojans run. Ward, who was part of six USC national championship football teams, during his time was spoken in the same breath as the Dodgers’ Bill Buehler, another legendary local athletic trainer.
The Obvious: No matter his football successes, football coach Lane Kiffin will always remain a lightning rod in Trojan circles.
The Not So Obvious: In an ESPN.com article and discussing his days as the Trojans head football coach, Kiffin said, “I know the facts of USC, when you lose 30 scholarships … going 28-15 with those types of sanctions, people don’t do that. Look at those types of (NCAA) penalties and what usually happens to programs — look at Miami, getting blown out every week. … People don’t want to talk about that, they forget about that, they think we didn’t do a good job there.”
The Obvious: The Coliseum renovation project is in full swing, which means when the 2018 season rolls around, the Coliseum seating capacity will be greatly reduced as work continues.
The Not So Obvious: Just say for the sake of argument, what will the cost of a ticket to see Notre Dame from the ticket agency market if there are 77,000 thousand seats or less available compared to the once 92,000?
The Obvious: The Coliseum renovation project continues to be a source of great controversy.
The Not So Obvious: If you read WeAreSC’s IMHO Sunday column, your humble scribe has a current weekly still of the project. If you had any doubt to the scope of the renovation, just take a look at the carved-out dirt and current cement placements. While there is much more to be done in the next year and a half, one certainly sees how it’s going to be a very different Coliseum for those that have been attending past games for decades if not generations.
The Obvious: Dennis Dodd is a respected national college football columnist for CBSSports.com.
The Not So Obvious: Dodd wrote a recent piece on the Trojans’ incoming freshman JT Daniels. The columnist wrote, “Daniels already is projected to be USC’s starting quarterback as a true freshman when he gets on campus in a few months. He just might the difference between USC winning the Pac-12 again and playing in a minor bowl … or playing in a bowl at all.”
The Obvious: And finally, USC has quite a legacy of quarterbacks that have come from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High School.
The Not So Obvious: In the Dennis Dodd interview with JT Daniels, Daniels revealed, “I never had a dream college. I always thought I would break the streak of Mater Dei-to-USC quarterbacks. I was not considering USC in the slightest for a while. I’d be stupid not to check them (USC) out. Then I committed two weeks later. I fell in love with Helton and the environment and the whole system of USC. I felt like I belonged there.”