AT&T-DirecTV Merger Approved

The FCC formally approved AT&T’s takeover of DirecTV. So how long until the Pac-12 Network gets added to DirecTV? It’s going to depend on how long it takes Larry Scott to reach some kind of deal with AT&T, which might want a lower rate to pay for the not-exactly-in-demand Pac-12 Network. But if Scott does that, he needs to give everyone else a break on the price too. Since this is TV related, “stay tuned.”

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My George Tirebiter Proposal

GEORGE.CARDSI mentioned the idea of naming the student section after George Tirebiter. The best part would be to have Tirebiter’s image in the section like the above card stunt. Many English soccer stadiums do this, such as Manchester United’s Old Trafford below, which embedded the Nike logo into a section. Now that’s an idea USC would certainly embrace.

OLD.TRAFFORD

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USC Morning Buzz: College Football Preview Time And Crosstown Rivalry Picks

KESSLER.UCLAHere’s one page where you can find out everything about USC and UCLA heading into the season from myself and UCLA beat writer Jack Wang. And here is my initial preseason Top 25 poll. Where do I rank USC and UCLA?

And for many of you, the most interesting part might be picking a winner of the USC-UCLA game in July. But that’s exactly what I and the rest of the college football preview staff did right here. Hint: I picked the winner by one point.

Here’s my list of critical USC performers.

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USC Picture Of The Day

DICKERSON.1968USC wide receiver Sam Dickerson, who made the controversial game-winning TD catch against UCLA in 1969, makes a far-less controversial catch against Cal in 1968 at the Coliseum.

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The Baby Quarterback Update

SILLS.WV

I noticed after spring football the Baby Quarterback (David Sills) is listed as the co-No. 3 QB on West Virginia’s depth chart. No shame there. When someone graduates high school early, they are usually just learning the offense in the spring.

But now a new Sports Illustrated story about Sills mentions his arm strength did not develop as much as expected following his commitment to USC as a seventh grader. But even when he was 13, some people told me his arm was not as strong as you would expect for a phenom committed to USC.

The other takeaway from the story: Steve Sarkisian doesn’t want to talk about Sills. Lane Kiffin is not allowed to talk about Sills. And David Sills did not talk about David Sills. But his father had plenty to say.

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USC Morning Buzz: Upon Further Review, Schedule Even Worse

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: Alabama, BYU, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas
UCLA: Michigan, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Texas, Georgia

Who’s winning?

P.S. — The above video is worth watching to hear Mike Garrett’s reaction as Hipp makes the field goal: “It’s good! It’s good! It’s good!” And who remembers ON TV?

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About That USC Schedule

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.

USC: Alabama, BYU, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas
UCLA: Michigan, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Texas, Georgia

Finally, USC plays Utah State in 2016. You already watched the Trojans and Aggies play at the Coliseum in 2013. And now they are coming back next year.

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Another Glorious USC Color Photo

VELLA

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

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