Morning Buzz: USC Really Needs Victory At Colorado

MCLAUHGHLIN.UTAHUSC plays Colorado tonight at 5:30 p.m. (PT) on ESPNU and the Trojans could use a victory after losing two of their past three Pac-12 games. Colorado is 0-4 in the Pac-12 so a loss hurts. And the Trojans play Arizona on Thursday at the Galen Center, so a loss tonight could turn into a four-game losing streak. Also looming is UCLA on Jan. 25.

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The Sarkisian Coaching Tree

SARK.CELEBRATE.ASULook at how successful the Steve Sarkisian USC coaching staff from 2014 is today:

Clay Helton: USC coach

Justin Wilcox: California coach

Tim Drevno: Michigan offensive coordinator

Tee Martin: USC offensive coordinator

Peter Sirmon: Louisville defensive coordinator

REACTION: This staff was so good USC went 9-4 and lost to two double-digit underdogs (Boston College, Arizona State).

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End Of An Era

BANKERWhen Mike Riley was offensive coordinator at USC, Mark Banker joined the staff as a defensive assistant. Banker then followed Riley to Oregon State and pair spent the next 20 out of 21 years together. But Riley fired Banker this week . . . by a cell phone call while Banker was at the airport.

“That’s just disappointing, that it’d be a phone call and not face-to-face,” Banker told the Omaha World-Herald. “Be grown men about it. It’s a communication thing. Let’s just be good communicators.”

At least this time Banker actually got a phone call.

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Pac-12 Influence

The Las Vegas Bowl, without a Pac-12 team, had its best rating since 2012. And the game was a blowout as San Diego State routed Houston, 34-10. Another reason why DirecTV does not need the Pac-12 Network.

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Rose Bowl Fact

burnett-rose-bowl-2The Rose Bowl rating (15.74 million viewers) is the highest for a USC game since the 2012 USC-Notre Dame game. The only higher-rated regular-season game was Ohio State-Michigan. And it was the highest-rated non-playoff bowl game.

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Justin Wilcox Needs Recruiters

wilcoxJustin Wilcox, the incoming Cal coach, is Mr. Bland. Unless he is in a coaches’ booth yelling profanity on the headsets during a game.

So the top priority for him is to hire good recruiters on his coaching staff. Tosh Lupoi, the controversial former Washington assistant currently rehabilitating as an Alabama assistant, is a frontrunner to become defensive coordinator. So Wilcox needs some offensive assistants who can recruit. And someone who can call plays. And someone who can motivate the team. And . . .

It’s going to be fun watching this unfold the next couple seasons. Plus I get to run that picture about 1,000 more times.

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USC Morning Buzz: Does It Still Feel Like 1971 With Basketball?

USC.BASKETBALL.1971About two weeks ago, I cautioned about comparisons between this USC basketball team and the 1971 edition, which went 24-2 and was ranked No. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll. After last night’s loss to Utah, USC is 2-3 in the Pac-12 after five games.

And here’s the real stat: USC coach Andy Enfield is 0-7 overall against Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak.

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