The Obvious: Given what USC Trojans fans have gone through this season in game, coaching, administrative, and now recruiting dramatics, the holiday gift giving season couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Not So Obvious: So, let’s put aside all the cardinal and gold controversy because it’s time for the O/NSO’s annual holiday gift-giving distribution to those we hope either have a sense of humor or take it to heart. But most importantly, Happy Holidays to all our WeAreSC readers, followers, and even detractors!
The Obvious Gift for USC President Carol Folt: A Holiday Bowl win because the backlash of a defeat to Iowa will activate the Caltech Folt-Bohn-Helton seismological laboratory and its cardinal and gold seismograph to record-breaking recording levels.
The Not So Obvious Folt Gift: Knowledge, experience, understanding, and, of course, integrity regarding what it takes to be the president of a university of a legendary college football program and how to maintain it.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ athletic director Mike Bohn: See Carol Folt.
The Not So Obvious Bohn Gift: For his Heritage Hall athletic director’s office, a beautifully framed, wall-sized pre-recruiting day Bohn quote: “Recruiting is going dramatically better than anybody wants to admit.”
The Obvious Gift for head coach Clay Helton: See Carol Folt and Mike Bohn.
The Not So Obvious Helton Gift: For his John McKay Center head coach’s office, a beautifully framed, wall-sized quote from Trojans’ legendary Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart : “USC recruiting?? Wow! Oregon is the new USC in recruiting on the West Coast… back in my day no one dared to recruit So Cal. Now it’s open season and Oregon is hunting!”
The Obvious Gift for offensive coordinator Graham Harrell: Since it appears that you will be sticking around for a few more seasons, ten more Kedon Slovis-type quarterbacks in your Trojans’ quarterback coaching career.
The Not So Obvious Harrell Gift: A copy of the best-selling football book, “The importance of a running game if you want to win at the national championship level.”
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ quarterback Kedon Slovis: A 2020 offensive line that keeps you out of harm’s way.
The Not So Obvious Slovis Gift: The good sense to stay the class kid that you are and not change when all the inevitable Heisman Trophy talk begins.
The Obvious Gifts for quarterback JT Daniels: See Kedon Slovis.
The Not So Obvious Daniels Gift: Another chance to take one more snap as a Mater Dei Monarch.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ sophomore wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown: All-Pac-12 first team in 2020.
The Not So Obvious St. Brown Gift: Patience to let the game come to you and dispelling the ridiculous rumors of your entrance into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
The Obvious Gift for wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.: A 2019 All-American. Oh, you say you already have that gift?
The Not So Obvious Pittman Jr. Gift: A great 40 time for NFL combine scouts.
The Obvious Gifts for wide receiver Tyler Vaughns: The good sense to return for your senior season.
The Not So Obvious Vaughns Gift: Reflections regarding wide receiver teammate Michael Pittman Jr. and seeing all the honors and awards Pitt received – not to mention a higher draft standing – by electing to return for his senior season.
The Obvious Gift for wide receiver Velus Jones: A 100-yard kickoff return in the Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Jones Gift: A book deal chronicling “My Life in the NCAA Transfer Portal.”
The Obvious Gift for quarterback Matt Fink: Peace of mind knowing you showed everybody just how much a team player you are.
The Not So Obvious Fink Gift: See Velus Jones.
The Obvious Gift for running back Vavae Malepeai: Good health
The Not So Obvious Malepeai Gift: Being lined up in a two-back set. In a “normal” offense under a Pete Carroll, you could have been a Stanley Havili.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ running back Markese Stepp: A healthy ankle
The Not So Obvious Stepp Gift: A legitimate chance to start in 2020 and show once again that you are the closest thing to LenDale White than we’ve seen since “Thunder” graduated.
The Obvious Gift for defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast: A defense that creates four turnovers in the Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Pendergast Gift: Appreciation for being a class act despite some intense scrutiny.
The Obvious Gift for true freshman tailback Kenan Christon: More carries in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Christon Gift:A very successful USC track season.
The Obvious Gift for new running back coach Mike Jinks: Good decision-making when all four of your gifted running backs –Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr, Markese Stepp, and Kenan Christon– return in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Jinks Gift: An opportunity to convince OC Graham Harrell that you have too many good running backs to keep three of them on the sidelines.
The Obvious Gift for new secondary coach Greg Burns: Continued satisfaction watching your young secondary mature in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Burns Gift: A healthy Talanoa Hufanga at strong safety.
The Obvious Gift for defensive back Chris Steele: A chance to settle down after your whirlwind drama from last spring at Florida to where you are today.
The Not So Obvious Steele Gift: A California state championship for your beloved Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco High. Oh, you say you got that one recently. Never mind.
The Obvious Gift for offensive tackle Austin Jackson: The good sense to depart to the NFL only if you’re going to be taken in the first round.
The Not So Obvious Jackson Gift: A huge smile from your grandfather, Melvin Jackson, who was a starting tackle for one of John McKay’s legendary national championship teams.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans recruiting coordinator and linebacker coach Johnny Nansen: The signatures of some 5-star players during the February signing period.
The Not So Obvious Nansen Gift: A sit-down luncheon with Oregon-bound inside linebacker Justin Flowe (Upland, Calif.) to learn what went wrong with his USC recruiting, although the O/NSO suspects you already know the answer.
The Obvious Gift for special teams coach John Baxter: Improved special teams play if you’re still the special teams coach at USC in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Baxter Gift: A job as a sportswriter or social media blogger after your coaching days are over.
The Obvious Gift for sophomore corner Olaijah Griffin: Ten more pounds gained in the off-season.
The Not So Obvious Griffin Gift: Being a rap star when your football days are over.
The Obvious Gift for Pac-12 officials: Same as last season, a referee camp supervised by SEC officials.
The Not So Obvious Pac-12 Officials Gift: Same as last season,the good sense not to call a hold or pass interference on what seems to be after every explosion play.
The Obvious Gift for sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga: A healthy shoulder for 2020.
The Not So Obvious Hufanga Gift: A 2020 season that will elevate you into the conversation of being one of USC’s all-time great safeties.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans offensive line coach Tim Drevno: A 5-star offensive lineman.
The Not So Obvious Drevno Gift: Another Austin Jackson.
The Obvious Gift for running back Stephen Carr: Continued good health.
The Not So Obvious Carr Gift: A chance to regain your freshman form before you got hurt.
The Obvious Gift for new defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a: More defensive line sacks in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Kauha’aha’a Gifts: Another Jay Tufele.
The Obvious Gift for tight end Erik Krommenhoek: Some more play calls for the tight ends.
The Not So Obvious Krommenhoek Gifts: A career in the NFL with a team that fits your skillset.
The Obvious Gift for talented freshman defensive end Drake Jackson: A first round NFL draft round selection when you become eligible in a couple of years.
The Not So Obvious Jackson Gift: A chance to be reunited along the Trojans defensive line with current Corona (Calif). Centennial blue-chip recruit Korey Foreman (6-4, 250), Class of 2021.
The Obvious Gift for freshman defensive tackle Jay Tufele: A 2020 first-team All-Pac-12 season. Oh, you say you too have already gotten that gift in 2019?
The Not So Obvious Tufele Gift: Okay, how about the gift of being a 2020 All-American and joining an elite group of former legendary USC defensive linemen.
The Obvious Gift for center Brett Neilon: Continued growth as the linchpin of the offensive line.
The Not So Obvious Neilon Gift: No bad snaps in 2020.
The Obvious Gift for center Justin Dedich: A position switch to guard so that both you and Brett Neilon can be on the field at the same time.
The Not So Obvious Dedich Gift: To remain humble and dedicated to USC football and your teammates.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ punter Ben Griffiths: A chance in the Holiday Bowl to really uncork some awe-inspiring punts.
The Not So Obvious Griffiths Gift: A long NFL career after your days at Troy are done.
The Obvious Gift for wide receiver Drake London: A leaping touchdown reception in the Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious London Gift: A successful transition from football to the Trojans’ basketball team.
The Obvious Gift for Traveler: A box of cardinal and gold sugar.
The Not So Obvious Traveler Gift: A new rider that isn’t too heavy for you in the saddle.
The Obvious Gift for the Coliseum: Some sellouts in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Coliseum Gift: Some statues of former USC football greats surrounding your outer shell.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans’ defensive end Christian Rector: An opportunity to make an NFL roster.
The Not So Obvious Rector Gift: Patience and discipline when Iowa tries to run a reverse to your side of the field.
The Obvious Gift for kicker Chase McGrath: A field goal to win the Holiday Bowl – if needed.
The Not So Obvious McGrath Gift: A 2020 field goal to win the Pac-12 Conference title – if needed.
The Obvious Gift for sophomore outside linebacker Kana’i Mauga: A starting position in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Mauga Gift: A chance to show why you were so sought after having capped a tremendous prep career in Hawaii.
The Obvious Gift for the USC Song Girls: A great night of television exposure in the Holiday Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Gift for the USC Song Girls: No controversy in 2020.
The Obvious Gift for junior inside linebacker John Houston Jr.: More weight without losing your speed.
The Not So Obvious Houston Jr. Gift: A chance to play some outside linebacker, a likely position for the NFL.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans radio voice Pete Arbogast: A box of chocolate “How do you do’s.”
The Not So Obvious Arbogast Gift: Induction into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Obvious Gift for Dr. Arthur C. Bartner: Reconsideration of your decision to retire after the conclusion of the spring semester.
The Not So Obvious Bartner Gift: Same as last year, a statue of you directing the band in front of the USC Music Department Building.
The Obvious Gift for freshman inside linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV: A switch in spring ball to outside linebacker so you can rush off the edge.
The Not So Obvious Gaoteote IV Gift: Former Trojans’ All-World linebacker Chris Claiborne as your new linebacker coach if Clay Helton has the good sense to bring in Claiborne – if there is a staff opening – into the program.
The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC analyst and former Trojans DB Darrell Rideaux: A chance to play one more game in the Coliseum.
The Not So Obvious Rideaux Gift: A return to the USC post-game radio call-in show.
The Obvious Gift for former Trojans all-star linebacker Kevin Bruce, WeAreSC author of Defensively Speaking and former All-Pac-10 linebacker: More great “defensive” columns in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Bruce Gift: One more chance to relive playing Notre Dame in 1974’s insanity “Comeback” win, and one more opportunity to relive playing Ohio State in the thrilling 1975 Rose Bowl Game. Are you up for those gifts?
The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC staff writer/columnist Chris Arledge: Continued brilliant columns and continued use of metaphors as only you can, combining USC football and world history.
The Not So Obvious Arledge Gift: A luncheon date with Carol Folt, Mike Bohn, and Clay Helton. Carthago delenda est.
The Obvious Gift for WeAreSC publisher Erik McKinney: Continued success and sanity as the publisher of WeAreSC.
The Not So Obvious McKinney Gift: Some sleep.
The Obvious Gift for the family of late WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz: Peace of mind knowing that your son/brother left a legacy and website that continues to be loved by USC football fans around the world. Thank you for all your support.
The Not So Obvious Family Gift: A 2020 USC football team that keeps smiles on your faces and a smile on Garry’s face as he looks down upon all of us.
The Obvious Gift for all Trojans fans: And finally, a magical USC football season in 2020.
The Not So Obvious Fans Gift: Okay, I’ll say it again and again… a national championship in 2020. One can dream, can’t we?