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O/NSO: Slam dunk edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: Former Trojans Heisman Trophy winner and All-America quarterback Matt Leinart (photo above) is on this year’s ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious: Leinart should be a first-ballot, slam-dunk inductee into the CFHOF. Voters in the CFHOF were given the following info for consideration regarding Lefty: Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2004… 2004 Heisman Trophy winner who led Trojans to three consecutive national championship games (2003-05), winning back-to-back AP titles in 2003 and 2004… Two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year who boasted three 3,000-yard passing seasons.

The Obvious: Former Trojans All-America strong safety Troy Polamalu is on this year’s ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious: A likely first-ballot selection, Polamalu might be as hard a hitter and intimidator as USC has ever produced. Voting members, were given the following info for consideration of Troy: Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2002… Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior… Two-year captain and 2001 USC MVP, who led Trojans to two bowl berths and a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title.

The Obvious: Former Trojans Jim Thorpe Award winner and All-America safety Mark Carrier is on this year’s ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious: The Trojans only Thorpe Award winner, Carrier could be a first-ballot inductee. Voting members were given the following criteria for the former Long Beach Poly superstar: Two-time First Team All-American (1988-89) – unanimous in 1989… 1989 Jim Thorpe Award winner… Two-time First Team All-Conference selection… Led the Pac-10 in interceptions in 1989 with seven.

The Obvious: Whether its junior Max Browne or redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, the USC Trojans will be starting a new quarterback in 2016, which will make it challenging to win the Pac-12 and be in contention for a spot in the CFP.

The Not So Obvious: That being said, consider the last three national titles won by Alabama all came with first-year starting quarterbacks. Of course, the Tide isn’t coming off NCAA sanctions (1990s). When the Tide was in the NCAA doghouse, they certainly had their challenges trying to recover like the Trojans.

The Obvious: The Trojans program was nearly leveled – especially in the scholarship department – during their bout with NCAA sanctions.

The Not So Obvious: So it was almost completely laughable that Mississippi, now under NCAA scrutiny, has volunteered to punish itself with the loss of 11 scholarships over a four-year period and a reduction of three initial scholarships in each of its next three recruiting classes, allowing Ole Miss to sign a maximum of 22 players in each class. Please, the laughter is almost (fill in the blank).

The Obvious: There has been conversation that Trojans wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster might be the most indispensible player on this season’s upcoming team.

The Not So Obvious: The O/NSO would also suggest that all-purpose performer Adoree’ Jackson is also one player the Trojans can ill afford to lose. Jackson is a threat not only on special teams and on offense, but his defense is a major cog in the wheel, as well.

The Obvious: One of the fun aspects of college football magazines is their bowl predictions.

The Not So Obvious: Athlon has the Trojans heading to the Bay Area for the Foster Farms Bowl to play Northwestern. Athlon is predicting the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl to face Michigan. Yes, it means that the Huskies will be the champions of the Pac-12 Conference.

The Obvious: If it can be a cash cow, it figures that the Trojans will strongly consider locking up some sort of naming rights for the Coliseum football field.

The Not So Obvious: When the Trojans play at Washington on Nov. 12, they will be playing on Alaska Airlines Field at renovated Husky Stadium. FYI, the redo Husky Stadium capacity is now listed at 70,083.

The Obvious: The Trojans Homecoming Game will be Saturday, Nov. 5, when the Men of Troy host the Oregon Ducks.

The Not So Obvious: None of the Trojans opponents have scheduled the Men of Troy for their homecoming game.

The Obvious: Recently on the Trojans athletic website, Ripsit, the headline was only 100 days until the season opener against Alabama in Dallas.

The Not So Obvious: The billboard had four Trojan football players represented in the artwork in senior running back Justin Davis, sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith, junior All-Pac-12 wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and surprisingly, the sophomore defensive tackle Noah Jefferson, who was not a starter last season. It was curious that junior all-purpose athlete Adoree’ Jackson was not part of the photo grouping.

The Obvious: Last weekend, the Trojans baseball team defeated Arizona State in Tempe 31-9.

The Not So Obvious: Most Trojans football fans would be satisfied if the Trojans football team defeated Arizona State, 31-9, on Saturday, Oct. 1, in the Coliseum.

The Obvious: And finally, there are USC fans and there are USC FANS, and the O/NSO was saddened to receive news of the recent passing of Stu Weinstein, one of the truly, truly great Trojans fans and one of the really good guys.

The Not So Obvious: A truly nice and gentle man –someone we have known since the mid-70s – nobody knew more about Trojans football from the John McKay era to the present than Stu. Everybody’s friend, Stu was a regular at all things related to USC sports and in the Trojans community. At its very essence, Stu’s passing is also the passing of an era. Rest in peace, my friend.

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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