The prime rebuttal to the lousy home games I’ve mentioned the past two days is USC’s tradition for also playing marquee nonconference opponents. But I did not realize the USC-Tennessee series planned for 2021-22 was canceled. The teams reached a verbal agreement back in 2010 but no contract ever got signed and earlier this year Tennessee announced a home-and-home series with Pitt for 2021-22.
USC was going to play the Vols at the Coliseum in 2021 and at Knoxville in 2022. Wow, that’s a jolt to lose a fan-pleasing fixture at Neyland Stadium (capacity 102,455). You want to see what you will miss? Watch the end of the above video as Eric Hipp kicks a 49-yard field goal on the final play to give the Trojans a 20-17 victory over Tennessee.
So now we have this for marquee future nonconference opponents:
USC wants to schedule games against teams that will not require a home-and-home series. And it wants seven home games every year. And an easy opponent with the Pac-12 increasingly competitive.
Those are reasons behind the Coliseum invasions of Arkansas State, Idaho, Western Michigan, New Mexico, Rice, etc. But please do not buy into an “every team does it” or “SEC teams are worse” argument.
USC is USC. It is one of only three teams to never schedule a Football Championship Subdivision opponent (along with Notre Dame and UCLA). There is a standard with USC. If you want to say it is higher, it is. Pete Carroll played teams like San Jose State and Hawaii (often scheduled before he was hired) but he also went out of his way to play anyone he could, whether flying 3,000 miles to face Virginia Tech or calling Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops to schedule a game (unsuccessfully). He tried to get Florida to play when Urban Meyer was there.
And do not act like USC’s marquee nonconference future schedule is superior to everyone else. Look at these future opponents for USC and UCLA in next 10 years.
Last summer, I wrote a post on former USC All-American offensive lineman John Vella, who also played defense. But I did not see any color photos of his college career. Well, here he is, applying pressure to Stanford’s Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Jim Plunkett, in 1970. More on Vella here. Photo by Dick Drew/Associated Press
Here is the original George Tirebiter, in full glory and living color, from the 1947 football season. I’ve never seen him in color before and on Oct. 22, 1947, a 30-car parade was held to crown him USC’s official mascot.
This is not the cute cuddly Tirebiter that followed and became the subject of card stunts in 1952. This is surly George, who bit UCLA’s Joe Bruin on the nose and chased Cal’s mascot, Oski. And of course, bit at the tires of passing cars.
But here, he is also Gorgeous George. The endearing dog who led the band on to the field and watched games from in front of the student section. I know Fox and USC will not name the Coliseum after George. But how about naming the student section, the George Tirebiter Student Section. I bet a couple donors would contribute. And the seats could be two colors to look like Tirebiter in that card stunt.
The FCC is recommending approval of AT&T’s $49 billion takeover of DirecTV. This means the Pac-12 Network should eventually end up on DirecTV. In time for this season? That remains unknown. But long term, DirecTV subscribers seem likely to start carrying the Pac-12 Networks (through no credit to the conference itself).
The Los Angeles Sports Arena’s days are coming to an end. Here’s a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a Freedom Rally at the arena next to California Gov. Edmund G. Brown in 1961. Photo from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Herald-Examiner Collection.
If you are a USC season-ticket holder, how do you feel with the following games added to the home schedule since 2013: Arkansas State., Idaho (2015), Utah State (2016), Western Michigan (2017), UNLV (2019), New Mexico (2020) and Rice (2022). And probably with a personal-seat license for the games after 2017.
Maybe Fox should contact Hostess Cupcakes about bidding for Coliseum naming rights.
USC coach Steve Sarkisian put his Palos Verdes house for sale last month (for $9.5 million). And now he’s been sighted in Newport Beach and referred to as a “Newport Beach resident,” by the local paper, the Daily Pilot.
I applaud the move but it sure adds to the daily commute during the football season. There’s always the Radisson Hotel across from USC on late nights. It’s not exactly unheard of for a USC coach to commute from Orange County: Ed Orgeron lived in Mission Viejo during his first tenure at USC as did former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
This must be a blow to the South Bay mafia in the USC athletic dept. as Sarkisian lived there most of his life.