By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com
The Obvious: Ho, ho, ho, it’s that time of the year for the 2016 annual O/NSO holiday gift giving presentations.
The Not So Obvious: So, grab some holiday cheer, munch on some sugary, festive delights, and let the unwrapping begin…
The Obvious Gift for head coach Clay Helton: A convincing or otherwise victory by your Trojans over the No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions in the 2017 Rose Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Gift: All the luck in the world for a 2017 schedule that includes the opener with currently undefeated Western Michigan and a reenergized University of Texas program with its heralded new head football coach, Tom Herman, formerly of the Houston Cougars. The good news is that these early tests will be home games, but then there is that mid-October visit to a revenge-minded and angry Notre Dame.
The Obvious Gifts for quarterback Sam Darnold: MVP of the 2017 Rose Bowl Game and the 2017 Heisman Trophy.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Appreciation for staying grounded, humble, and gracious as the spotlight of celebrity in Los Angeles grows brighter and brighter.
The Obvious Gift for new offensive coordinator coach Tee Martin: Another Sam Darnold.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Well, it appears you have a Sam Darnold clone coming in for spring practice in Jack Sears, who led Darnold’s old San Clemente High to the 2016 California State Division 1-A Division Championship.
The Obvious Gift for starting center Nico Falah: Recognition for your contributions after taking over at center for fallen comrade Toa Lobendahn.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A manly game against that ferocious defensive line of Penn State.
The Obvious Gifts for wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster: A two touchdown, 145-yard receiving performance in the Rose Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Unless you’re a lock to be a first-round NFL draft pick in April, the good sense to return to Troy for your senior season.
The Obvious Gift for defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast: A defensive game plan against Penn State that will limit Nitanny Lions quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquan Barkley.
The Not So Obvious Gift: The good sense to remain as Trojans defensive coordinator, as long as you’re happy in the position.
The Obvious Gift for tailback Ronald Jones ll: An electrifying touchdown run on Jan. 2 that will bring back memories of O.J. Simpson’s 80-yard, eye-opening TD against Ohio State in the 1969 Rose Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Gift: The gift of patience upon having learned in 2016 that everybody has to wait their turn and to take advantage of that turn when your number is called.
The Obvious Gift for senior tailback Justin Davis: A touchdown in the Rose Bowl Game.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A chance to show the NFL scouts in Pasadena that you are a complete back, and that selecting you in April’s draft will amount to a hidden gem.
The Obvious Gift for grad student nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu: A performance in the Rose Bowl that would make your former Utah teammates proud.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A big game in the “Granddaddy of Them All” for your defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze, who has been thrilled by not only your performances but your leadership of the younger Trojans D-linemen.
The Obvious Gift for senior wide receiver Darreus Rogers: Some of your patented “high point” catches against Penn State, receptions that brought such thrills to Trojans fans this past season.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A chance to also show the Nittany Lions and the nation how physical a blocker you can be when given the opportunity.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans recruiting coordinator and linebacker coach Johnny Nansen: A top 5 recruiting class come this February signing period.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Included in that top 5 recruiting class the likes of Calabasas (Calif.) High two-way star Darnay Holmes and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive lineman Wyatt Davis.
The Obvious Gift for special teams coach John Baxter: A blocked Penn State punt and/or field goal attempt in the Rose Bowl.
The Not So Obvious Gifts: An Adoree’ Jackson TD kickoff return for a score and some long field goals from Matt Boermeester, as well.
The Obvious Gift for sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith: All-Pac-12 first-team honors in 2017.
The Not So Obvious Gifts: A highlight film of your play for younger players to see how linebacker play is done and being named a captain in 2017.
The Obvious Gift for senior All-America offensive tackle Zach Banner: A dominating performance against a very physical Penn State front seven.
The Not So Obvious Gifts: No false starts or holding in the Rose Bowl and your own cable talk show after your playing days
The Obvious Gift for All-American and All-Pac-12 senior offensive tackle Chad Wheeler: A Rose Bowl that will elevate your NFL draft status.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Peace of mind, happiness, and a healthy body.
The Obvious Gift for Traveler Vll: New “shoes” for your strut down Colorado Blvd. on the morning of Jan. 2nd.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A harem of adoring females for your retirement and children that can grow up to be just like their daddy.
The Obvious Gift for DL Kenny Bigelow: Healthy knees.
The Not So Obvious Gifts: One final opportunity in 2017 to show what all that potential is all about and an autographed photo of Trojans starting nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, who has shown you how a real nose tackle dominates.
The Obvious Gift for the Coliseum: A redo of the controversial proposed Coliseum renovation plans.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Forget about the Olympic Games, enclosure of the peristyle end of the Coliseum but making sure the last seat behind the end zone doesn’t obstruct the historic peristyle columns and torch.
The Obvious Gifts for sophomore outside linebacker Porter Gustin: Containment and a sack or two against Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.
The Not So Obvious Gift: That media and fans stop making comparisons between you and former Trojans star linebacker Clay Matthews lll. Just be Porter Gustin and continue to improve, kid, and you’ll be just fine.
The Obvious Gift for sophomore outside linebacker Uchenna Nwoso: See Porter Gustin.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A crushing hit from behind of standout Penn State tailback Saquan Barkley.
The Obvious Gift for offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn: A healthy body in 2017.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Making a seamless transition to left tackle in 2017, so the Trojans offensive line doesn’t skip a beat next season.
The Obvious Gifts for All-Pac-12 corner Adoree’ Jackson: A couple of Rose Bowl pass interceptions.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A stethoscope to listen to your heart and if you want to come back to Troy in 2017 to win a national championship, Heisman Trophy, and whatever you need to fill your trophy case, just do it.
The Obvious Gifts for offensive guards Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao: Your best blocking game of the season on national television.
The Not So Obvious Gift: The good sense to return for your senior year to hone your skills for the next level.
The Obvious Gift for Trojans radio voice Pete Arbogast: A memorable broadcast of the 2017 Rose Bowl Game.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Recognition for all your charitable contributions you make to the local community.
The Obvious Gift for the NCAA: Same as last season, a crushing defeat in the Todd McNair case.
The Not So Obvious Gift: The courts illuminating your “lack of institutional control.”
The Obvious Gift for Dr. Bartner: Same as last holiday season, good health for 20 more years of directing the country’s No. 1 college band.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Same as last holiday season, a case of throat lozenges for all those moments of hoarseness during weekly pep rallies.
The Obvious Gift for USC athletic director Lynn Swann: A trophy case of national championships for your beloved Trojans athletic program.
The Not So Obvious Gift: A chance to relive your touchdown reception against Ohio State in the 1973 Rose Bowl Game, which helped propel your team to an undefeated season, Rose Bowl victory, and a national championship under the coaching of the legendary John McKay.
The Obvious Gift for all Trojans fans: Happy holidays, good health, a very Happy New Year, and a Trojans victory over Penn State.
The Not So Obvious Gift: Good luck and good health for WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz, who has provided USC fans an Internet avenue to enjoy the Trojans football program to the maximum.