Morning Buzz

Last night’s BCS title game in South Florida reminded me that eight years ago Nick Saban stood on the sideline and spoke to Pete Carroll before USC defeated Oklahoma, 55-19 in the same stadium.

Carroll is now in the NFL. And Saban is the college legend. But more important, that was Norm Chow’s final game as offensive coordinator and I wrote for several years that USC would not win another national title without him.

Let’s return to today: Do you see USC winning another national title in the near future?

It seemed like an almost safe bet in August. But we all saw what happened after that. After this season, I’m not sure how much talent USC needs to win a title. Carroll often won with overwhelming talent.

But I would argue under the current leadership, the talent gap needs to be even greater. And I’m not sure that is possible with only 15 scholarships. I should that even if USC had 85 scholarships I don’t think the Trojans would be serious national title contenders the way the program is currently run.

With some changes here and there, I see it. But not right now. I didn’t think USC would win a title without Chow. What are the odds without Carroll AND Chow? Like I said, some changes need to occur and hiring a top-notch defensive coordinator is a must.

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  • Of course..within 3 years..

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Not unless Kiffin is canned.

  • gotroy22

    Since the current head coach at SC is the offensive coordinator, we won’t be winning a national title until the head coach is replaced.

    • L’Angelo Misterioso


  • L’Angelo Misterioso

    If Kiffin is canned after this season and assuming Haden does a THOROUGH head coaching search, 2 years.If Haden is lazy or goes for a nerd of a coach ( Tollner, Smith, Hackett ), it could be 20 years.

  • Spedjones

    SC won’t win a Pac 12 South title for many years.

    • TrojanFan

      Run along penis breath, way too much koolaid….is the closet door stuck

    • USC owns the Rose Bowl

      haha coming from a UCLA fan who thought his team was hot shit until they had their asses handed to them by the mighty Baylor Bears sans RGIII.

      Congrats on beating a (finally) below-average USC team, though!!! troll on!!

      • Spedjones

        I still think they are better than SC and on the rise. That’s all that mattered this year.

        • Cheap seats

          Do you really think they’ll be better next year? Fauria and Franklin are gone. That’s their clutch red zone/3rd down receiver and their best RB since anyone I can remember.

          Thigpen looked good, but who knows how his recovery will be. Jordan James seemed like a huge dropoff after him.

          I guess anyone could step up in Mazzone’s “spread the wealth” system, but you’ll need clutch performers eventually.

          • Cheap seats

            Where did Malcom Jones go? He should’ve joined his brother at SC — could’ve used a big back last year!

  • Lucinda Dickey

    Chow has been washed up for years. YEARS.

    • TrojanFan


  • Carroll’s 2nd year was huge with Carson’s Heisman and the Orange Bowl. IIRC, about the only talent singed by Carroll in that game was Fargas. Booty was Carroll’s first recruited QB. Remember the calls from the stands during Leinart’s first couple of home games? “Bring in Booty”. Funny in retrospect.

  • NotAFanOfYou

    Enough of the Chow talk WolfPutz. He hasn’t done shit since he left SC. He peaked in 2004 and was done. You dwell on so much stuff in the past. How about this blog will never gain serious merit or a respectable following as long as it has an incompetent writer in you.

    • dtksr1

      What the hell does your post have to do with the subject matter? It doesn’t say anything about what Chow has done since then. Get a life

      • NotAFanOfYou

        What does this mean then Mr. Observant “But more important, that was Norm Chow’s final game as offensive coordinator and I wrote for several years that USC would not win another national title without him.”

        WolfPutz still clinging to Chow’s achievements of yesterday pass. Obviously you could not comprehend the article in it’s entirety. Dumbass.

  • dtksr1

    It was the ability of two coaches to put together an offensive scheme that worked. It also wasn’t going to last long because PC did a favor for “daddy” and brought in little junior, who had no resume at all, to come in and create discord in the coaching staff along with Sarkisian who both took advantage of an easy going Chow. This would have never happened with Nick Saban. He would have told “daddy” no thank you to little junior nobody!

  • jkstewart2

    I still find it hard to believe that Haden isn’t replacing Kiffen. At $4M/yr for Kiffen, shouldn’t a level of professionalism be expected? But then O’Neill is still drawing an SC paycheck…

  • MichiganTrojan

    Your post is kind of all over the place Scott. Six degrees of Nick Saban? Notre Dame is not a good “elite” team. It’s the 2nd of 3 recent NC games where Alabama had to play a clearly inferior team, whose style catered to their grind-them-down, PAction mentality perfectly, with not much going on on the offensive side of the ball to worry about.

    There were easily 3-4 teams that would’ve been better opponents by year’s end (TAMU, Oregon, Stanford, maybe even Florida if they actually had something to play for, instead of a Big East team for nothing). A playoff would’ve resolved that, and Saban’s “brilliance” (which includes padding the record with 2-3 tomato cans every year) would lose some of it’s glean. He understands the system well, but he also has not had to face “spread-option” style offenses, mobile QB and all, 3-5 times a year, every year. Now that TAMU is introducing it into the SEC with success you’re going to see some of the lower tier teams start hire those kind of coaches, and you’re going to start seeing the “mysterious” random losses by LSU, Bama, etc.

    Caroll apparently didn’t feel like adapting to the changing offenses, and kept his “pro-style” O and “Tampa 2” D by going to the NFL (where he’s more successful than Saban ever was). Kiffin, by contrast, is not a proven head coach. He may muster up a decent record someday, but right now I’d be happy if he could just simply establish some kind of an identity. He’s clearly not a sideline guy though. Doesn’t look like he even enjoys being there.

    I think we can all admit Al Davis is to blame for Kiffin being a HC. He was the only lunatic who thought Kiff would make a good coach, and gave him instant credentials. Kiffin has carefully climbing his way back down to where he should have been the whole time, a position coach, and a recruiter.

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Saban’s won 3 NC’s in 4 years, he must do something right aside from scheduling 2-3 tomato cans a year.

      • MichiganTrojan

        I didn’t say he was dumb, or that that was the main reason. The rest of the SEC does it too, which is why they always send at least one team to the NC game each year (they’re always ranked, 5-7 deep coming into conference, with with a bunch of 0s in the OOC schedule. They then “slug it out” in the meaningful games, and invite is almost pre-determined). Clearly, great athletes get recruited to the SEC, drawn in by, amongst other things, the chance to play in NFL-style offenses and defenses.

        But to Scott’s implicit point about Carroll v Saban, and one being better than the other – what were the teams that were changing the way the game was played in the SEC during Saban’s tenure. USC was playing SEC-style football, before it was called SEC-style football. Oregon brought in Chip Kelly to try and compete with superior athletes. Mobile QBs exist on almost every team now in the Pac 12 (imagine, Saban in his all brilliance, never found a way to solve the arm-less Tebow). It’s delayed a few years in the SEC, but as soon as it becomes the fad, Saban will look like any other good coach forced to adapt to new styles of offense. The SEC’s dominant run the last 6-7 years has been fairly arbitrary. The only legit game of the bunch was Auburn v Oregon in terms of the 2 best teams actually facing each other in the NC.

        • RememberTheFreedomBowl

          Lest you forgot, Saban’s 2009 team made Tmmie Tebow cry on the sidelines. Spot on about USC playing “SEC” style football with one additional comment. Defense was comparable but no SEC team had the Offense skill players some of those SC teams did.

        • Cheap seats

          Agree on many points. During a typical SC season, they see a Big 10 opponent, Notre Dame, and at least 2-3 more ranked opponents.

          Why do the SEC teams seem to have the least amount of outside / power conference games? The only non-SEC teams they seem to play are junior colleges where they have kids who couldn’t even make their high school teams.

    • Cheap seats

      Al Davis can be credited with the rise of many coaches: shanahan, wisenhunt, Payton, etc.

      Davis actually wanted Sarkisian and Sarkisian ended up recommending Kiffin. Like a strike of lightning, the senile man hired him thinking he found his next puppet coach. If you remember, Davis didn’t even know Kiffin’s first name calling him “Lance” several times!

  • Cheap seats

    ” I wrote for several years that USC would not win another national title without him [Norm Chow].”

    Of course, Scott would try to find ways to support his hatred for Pete Carrol.

    The lack of a national title the upcoming years will not have anything to do with Chow, but the departure of Carrol.

    Chow was good, but he was just a piece of a winning formula where it was CARROL pulling the strings. In the end, you have to give credit where it’s due.

    • RememberTheFreedomBowl

      Scoring only 9 points in 2006 against UCLA cost USC a National Title shot versus Ohio State rather than #2 Florida. Getting stuffed on from the 2 yard on the last play of the 1st half rather than kick a FG against Stanford in 2007 cost USC a National shot versus Ohio State rather than #2 LSU. Had those two gone the other way, no SEC team would have been in the game and the Voters may have been more lenient in 2008 dropping #2 Florida in favor of USC versus Oklahoma. Sam Cunningham may have changed football in Alabama in 1970. Lane Kiffin and SEC Country/Louisiana import JD Booty helped make the SEC what they are today.

  • AH! AH! AH!

    Schtop it Vulfman, you are killink me!

    Zese trOJinks vin a BCS Natty??

    AH! AH! AH!

    Zhem and vhat army??

    AH! AH! AH!

    • USC owns the Rose Bowl

      AH! AH! AH!

      UCLA vin a single BCS game??

      AH! AH! AH!

  • RallyMonkeyUSA

    We need a great defensive coordinator, a great defensive coordinator who can recruit outside of the west coast, we need a defensive coordinator who preaches toughness, drive, and effort. We need a defensive coordinator who can keep Oregons spread in check. We need a defensive coordinator who knows how to develop and coach up our talented defensive recruits. We also need an offensive coordinator. Watching Alabama play, reminded me that Nick Saban is a great coach. He is not known to be a great offensive coordinator. He is not known to be a great defensive play caller. He coaches the entire team. He motivates. He manages. He teaches. Nobody thinks lesser of him because he cant call plays and coach…Who does lane kiffin think he is? Does he really still think he is able to coach the team, and lead the offense? We all know he cant. The other assistants know he cant. We MUST hire someone to call plays. Kiffin may actually be a great coach…but he isnt a good play caller. He is going to run himself out of town if he doesnt change. Kiffin is a great recruiter. Ill give him that. But the clock is ticking on his tenure here. Listening to USC experts, past and present speak about this team under kiffin just reaffirms what I have seen through my own eyes. Kiffin is not the man for THIS job, unless he relinquishes some of his duties to his assistants. Pat Haden is losing the support of every fan and alumni. He NEEDS to come out and speak about our terrible bowl performance and the direction this program is headed. He needs to be held accountable just like kiffin, and just like the players.

  • USC will not be a factor in the national picture until Lane Kiffin is fired. To be a top flight program requires a topflight coach and Kiffin isn’t even in the top four coaches in the South Division of the PAC-12. Jack Del Rio is available and is a Trojan through and through. To continue with KIffin means Haden is satisfied with being mediocre. Mark my words, Kiffin is another Hackett and to not make a move means years of waiting to recover. Someone needs to tell Haden that leadership requires making the right moves at the right time…not being forced to make a change when you’ve hit bottom. Any moron AD can make that change. The tell tale sigh with Kiffin is that he has never been able to mount a comeback when needed in big games. He truly isn’t ready for prime time!!

    • steveg

      You gotta be new here. Welcome.

    • rusoviet

      Jack DelRio? If anyone looks like the sort that would give a rip about:

      1. holding to stringent NCAA guidelines

      2. inducing players to graduate

      3. not assuming ownership of the school

      4. potential nightmare when given a microphone – mind you win or lose

      He is a great defensive coach but there is no upside to giving him HC

  • Chow necessity is certainly questionable given his pathetic record after leaving USC. Carroll had great talent but it was developed and coached to win in a system, not flounder away with poor coaching.

  • steveg


  • I can’t buy your Chow comment. Since he left USC, he has been a complete failure as the Titan OC, a complete failure as the UCLA OC, and a complete failure as the Hawaii Head Coach.
    When he was at USC, he was interviewing at almost every university that had a open head coaching slot. He never had the slightest intention of using USC as anything more than a springboard to a better position. I wish he would have been replaced by someone else besides Kiffen and Sark, but Chow seemingly always had one foot out to the door when he was at USC.