USC moved up to No. 9 in the latest Scout.com rankings and No. 10 in Rivals.com following today’s commitment of QB Sam Darnold.
Quarterback Sam Darnold of San Clemente committed to USC. Darnold’s stock has risen all summer and he competed at the Elite 11 camp last week. He joines fellow Elite 11 quarterback Ricky Town as USC commitments.
Radio host Petros Papadakis weighed on USC’s announcement this week to sell certain “experiences” at football games to season-ticket holders, like charging $1,500 to run out of the tunnel at the Coliseum before the game.
“It does feel a little weird to me to put a price on running out of the tunnel,” Papadakis said. “We were told as players constantly that that was earned as a right. Now that is worth exactly $1,500.
“It feels creepy to look at the menu (of things to purchase). I really thought they were above this kind of style of marketing.”
Players like USC quarterback Bill Nelsen make writing these vignettes fun. Nelsen led the Trojans in total offense in 1960-61 and helped lead an upset of UCLA in in John McKay’s first season. He also played in 1962 when USC won a national title. But Nelsen often took a back seat to Pete Beathard.
Nelsen was just a 10th-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But his career took off in 1968, when he was traded to the Cleveland Browns. He went 9-2 in 1968 and led the Browns to the playoffs. Nelson made the Pro Bowl in 1969 and Cleveland went 10-3-1. Nelsen also led the Browns to the playoffs in 1971.
He finished his NFL career with 14,165 yards passing and 98 TDs. The Cleveland Plain Dealer named Nelsen one of the top 100 Browns of all-time in 2012 (No. 52).
USC tailback Rod McNeil definitely falls into the category of underappreciated Trojans. He played on the 1972 national championship team, considered by some the greatest team in college football history. He happened to play around the time USC had some of its highest-profile tailbacks (Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell, Charles White, Marcus Allen) so he doesn’t get mentioned a lot. His brother, Fred, played defensive end at UCLA, which made the crosstown rivalry even more fun in the early 1970′s.
So USC’s offered season-ticket holders the “dream experience” of running out of the Coliseum tunnel for $1,500 and getting a helmet autographed by Steve Sarkisian for $750. Surely, there must be more. How much to get a pain killer? Or experience a concussion? Or here’s a better one: How much to deflate a football? $25,000. That’s what it cost the last time the equipment manager did it for Matt Barkley.
Even more information on that USC v. USC Alumni spring game on May 6, 1961 is now available. The alumni won the game, 31-6. That surprises me because one would expect the college players to be in superior shape during the spring. Then again, here is Denver Broncos running back Al Carmichael in an L.A. Examiner photo, on a run for the alumni team. The roster also included Lindon Crow, Leon Clark, Monte Clark, in addition to Marlin McKeever and Mike Henry. Quarterback Frank Hall threw a touchdown pass and run another. The USC team got its only points when quarterback Bill Nelsen intercepted a pass on defense and scored on a 1-yard run.