October 6th, 2012
Matt Barkley & USC
Wasn’t the triumphant return of the stud QB, those receivers, and tons of starters supposed to have USC Trojans challenge the SEC’s dominance of the BCS national championship trophy? Five weeks into the season, the Trojans aren’t even in the Top Ten anymore and have been written off as a true contender in the BCS picture. Barkley has been less than impressive and has fallen off the Heisman radar as a result.
Bobby Petrino’s little escapade on his motorcycle over the summer sparked a disaster in Hog Country. After Petrino’s firing and the hiring of John L. Smith, it appeared that Arkansas, with QB Tyler Smith and a host of returning players, wouldn’t miss a beat. They missed terribly. After a season-opening win over FCS Jacksonville State, the Hogs have lost four straight and sit at 1-4.
And speaking of ULM, is this a program on the rise? An upset of Arkansas, they took Auburn to overtime before falling, and were right in it with Baylor. The WarHawks average 42 points per game and have a highly underrated QB in Kolton Browning. ULM begins play in the Sun Belt this weekend. Look for them to be in the hunt for a conference title.
MAC vs. Big Ten
The Big Ten used to schedule MAC teams as warm ups for the coming league schedule or even homecoming games. No more. Miami (OH) beats Penn State. Northern Illinois over Kansas. Central Michigan shocks Iowa. Ball State wins at Indiana. The MAC is no longer the “little brother” to the Big Ten and the Big Ten, well, is just not as strong as it used to be.
After a dismal 3-9 campaign last year, Mike Riley has his troops ranked in the Top 20 with three wins over ranked teams already (Wisconsin, Arizona, UCLA). The Beavers QB Sean Mannion has matured and delivered for the Beavers who still have a long road ahead with the Pac-12 schedule and the year-ending Civil War with #2 Oregon. Doubtful anyone thought OSU would be unbeaten and ranked heading into October.
A 4-0 start, a top ten ranking…Irish fans have dreamed for years and now head coach Brian Kelly has made it come true. The Notre Dame defense is something special and is the big reason the Irish are unbeaten. If QB Everett Golson can get it figured out on offense, Notre Dame can be a true BCS contender. A strong running game and powerful defense are part of the necessary ingredients in championship football teams. Golson, or even former starter Tommy Rees, needs to add the QB to the mix.
Texas Tech Defense
Who leads the nation in total defense? Alabama? LSU? No…it’s the Red Raiders of pass-happy Texas Tech. There hasn’t been defense like this in Lubbock since the days of Spike Dykes. Tommy Tuberville’s unit gives up just 167.5 yards per game (just 85.5 on the ground!) Hey, some of it is the schedule they have played but they are better than year’s past. And they will need to be. Beginning Saturday, the Red Raiders face five nationally ranked opponents in a row.
October 1st, 2012
Two schools located in the same city, Los Angeles, separated by just twelve miles makes
for one interesting rivalry. The likelihood that alumni and students from the schools
will interact with each other on a daily basis is very high. Ohio State-Michigan and
Army-Navy are two other huge college football rivalries that come to mind, but neither
features the kind of proximity that is seen by the Trojans and the Bruins.
The schools have competed against one another in a variety of sports since the early
1900s. USC, long recognized as a “football school” and UCLA, the “basketball school,”
both have storied traditions in other non-revenue sports as well, such as track & field,
volleyball, and water polo. UCLA actually holds the NCAA record for most team national
championships with 107 and most overall national titles with 128, more than any other
school in the nation. But, it’s on the football field where the real rivalry begins.
Since the formation of the old Pacific Coast Conference, which is now the Pac-12, USC
and UCLA have shared or won 54 conference football championships. The rivalry
game, normally played the last week of the regular season, has had conference title
implications as well as, on some occasions, national title implications, and has served to
determine the conference’s Rose Bowl berth on several occasions.
One of the most memorable was the “Game of the Century” played in 1967 pitting #1
UCLA led by QB Gary Beban against the second-ranked Trojans and a phenomenal
young running back named O.J. Simpson. USC won 21-20, beat Indiana in the Rose
Bowl, and claimed the national championship. Beban did win the Heisman Trophy that
year. Simpson won it the next.
Recently, though, the game has lost some of its luster. While USC has flourished,
winning national championships in 2003 and 2004 and losing in the title game in 2005,
UCLA has struggled. The hiring of “golden boy” former QB Rick Neuheisel in 2008
was to signal the return to prominence. It was not to be as the former Rose Bowl MVP
produced only one winning season and a 21-30 overall record.
USC has dominated the rivalry of late. The Bruins’ last victory in the series was in 2006.
With another BCS title game berth on the line, UCLA pulled one of the great upsets in
college football with a 13-9 victory denying the Trojans the chance to play for another
national championship. USC still won the Pac-10 and went on to the Rose Bowl that
Since the ‘06 win, the Bruins have not fared well in the “Victory Bell” match-up, losing
miserably last year, 50-0. USC has won 12 of the last 13, holds a 46-28-7 advantage in
the series, and in the last five meetings has outscored UCLA, 158-35. USC has owned the
Victory Bell for the better part of the past two decades. The bell, originally from an old
Southern Pacific railroad locomotive, has traditionally been awarded to the winner of
the USC-UCLA game every year since 1942.
If there is a year to mark a turning point in the rivalry, it may very well be 2012. With
new coach Jim Mora, Jr., the Bruins are off to one of their best starts in recent history.
UCLA is 4-1 with a big win over then 16th-ranked Nebraska. Their only loss was a 27-20
setback to 18th-ranked Oregon State.
The Bruin offense has become more consistent and it starts with the play of freshman
QB Brett Hundley. Hundley is completing 66 percent of his passes (121-for-183),
has 1,480 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 150.6. And, led
by Jonathan Franklin, UCLA has one of the top 15 rushing offenses in the country.
Franklin, a 5-11, 195-pound senior, has 693 yards rushing including two 200-yard
games already this season.
If the Bruins continue to improve and stay healthy, it’s possible that this year’s Nov.
17th match-up with the USC Trojans could be for the Pac-12 South Division championship.
USC, however, has it a little tougher meeting two ranked opponents, Washington and #2
Oregon Ducks, prior to the cross-town rivalry.
The Trojans are led by senior QB Matt Barkley, who stunned the football world last year
declaring he would return for his senior year at USC. With Barkley, the country’s best
receiving tandem in Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, and the addition of Penn State
transfer Silas Redd, the Trojan offense is its strength. The vulnerability lies within the
Trojan defense as Stanford proved as they handed USC its only loss of the season, 21-14.
While it may not be a “game of the century” this year, the Victory Bell tilt will be one to
watch as the regular season winds down. The UCLA Bruins will be looking for a signature win
as they enter the Mora era and will desperately want to end the Trojans’ dominance in
the rivalry. USC, on the other hand, may need the victory as it fights for to keep a BCS
bowl bid alive. The 2012 edition should be a good one, a return to the gridiron battles of
the 1960s and ‘70s.
You can purchase USC Vs Ucla tickets now
September 13th, 2012
When the NCAA announced its rules changes for the 2012 college football season, it was the kickoff adjustments that were creating the most uproar. Now two weeks into the new season, it’s the helmet rule that has coaches, players, and fans questioning its merit.
The NCAA’s new “Helmet Rule” requires a player who loses his helmet during play to leave the game for one play (unless the helmet was removed as the result of a penalty), much like what occurs when a player is injured and cannot leave the field immediately following a play. The player who loses his helmet is also barred from further participation during that play. If he continues to play without the helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for a personal foul.
No one questions the intent or spirit of the rule. Clearly, the helmet rule was implemented for player safety, but the rule has created some interesting results. The new rule promotes and rewards tackling high since the removal of the headgear will mean that player must leave the field for a play. It also creates a situation where players may be wearing helmets that are fitted improperly. Equipment managers may over-tighten helmets to make sure they stay on defeating the purpose of the helmet.
Fans noted the impact of the rule during Week One in two nationally televised games. Clemson Tigers QB Tajh Boyd lost his helmet three times during their game with Auburn Tigers and his backup, Cole Stoudt, was forced into the game in his place. “I understand the rule, but for us it’s a little bit of a challenge when you run your quarterback, he gets hit and sometimes he gets in some piles, and sometimes helmets find their way from getting off their head,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney wasn’t the only coach expressing concern about the new helmet rule. In Georgia Tech’s Labor Day match-up with Virginia Tech, GT quarterback Tevin Washington lost his helmet prior to a crucial third-and-eight play from the Hokies’ 21-yard line. Washington’s backup, Synjyn Days, entered the game, ran for four yards and the Yellow Jackets kicked a field goal.
Johnson commented, “Well, clearly you don’t want to lose your starting quarterback on third down but that’s the rule. It looked like the helmet came off when he was on the ground. … It’s just one of those things.”
It will be interesting to see how the helmet rule plays out. Sooner or later, though, this rule change is going to affect the outcome of a game. Think about it. With under two minutes remaining in a game and facing a third-and-goal from inside the 10-yard line, your team’s quarterback is on the sideline because a defender ripped his helmet off on the previous play. Definitely not the intent of the rule, plays like that (deliberately removing headgear) are an unfortunate result.
August 7th, 2012
With a school-record 39 touchdown passes, 3,528 yards passing, and a 10-2 record under his belt, it looked as if USC QB Matt Barkley had nothing left to accomplish and would declare for the NFL Draft. As ESPN’s Lee Corso says, “Not so fast, my friend.” Barkley will be one of the big reasons why the Trojans are set to rival the dominance of the SEC, which has claimed the past six BCS national championships.
Barkley is one of eight returning starters on an offense that could be the nation’s best. No one will have a better tandem at wide receiver than the Trojans with All-American Robert Woods (JR) and sophomore Marqise Lee. Woods set a Pac-12 single-season record with 111 receptions a year ago, while Lee added 73 catches, 11 for touchdowns.
Four starters return on the offensive line, minus All-American and first-round draft pick Matt Kalil, led by senior center Khaled Holmes. The line will pave the way for a talented backfield that added another star in Penn State transfer Silas Redd. Redd, a senior, is eligible immediately as part of the NCAA sanctions levied against Penn State last month.
Defensively, head coach Lane Kiffin welcomes back seven starters. The Trojans were young last year, starting three freshman linebackers. But, the best thing about freshman is…they become sophomores and with a year of experience under their belt, Hayes Pullard, Lamar Dawson, and Dion Bailey will lead an effective unit.
While the defense won’t be dominant, the USC offense is the reason why they may wind up in the BCS national title game next January. That and a favorable schedule that includes rivals Oregon and Notre Dame at home and early season non-league contests with Hawaii and Syracuse. The Trojans do have to travel to Stanford in week three, but the Cardinal will be entering year one without QB Andrew Luck.
With their high-flying offense, formidable defense, and a special teams unit that blocked seven kicks last year, USC has what it takes to run the table in the Pac-12 South. The Nov. 17th rivalry game with UCLA isn’t what it used to be (the Trojans destroyed the Bruins last year, 50-0) and the next week, the Men of Troy close the season at home against the Fighting Irish. Take that into a Pac-12 title game and come January, expect to see the Trojans in the BCS title game.
July 10th, 2012
USC’s banner 2013 recruiting season just got even more superior. Michael Hutchings, one of the nation’s leading players regardless of position, fully commited to the USC Trojans on Sunday.
Michael Hutchings from football powerhouse De La Salle High in Concord, California, made a spoken commitment to the University of Southern California Trojans. The 6’2″ 210 lb linebacker was attracted by academics and athletics.
Hutchings had long already been a Trojan “lean,” but things got exciting when Washington made a big push in latest several weeks. One of the prep ratings systems had Hutchings as the 5th best football player in the region. Michael furthermore considered offers from a host of some other schools, such as Pac-12 members Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and UCLA.
He performed safet yearly on in high school prior to moving to linebacker, playing all the linebacking positions. His pace and explosiveness alongside with being a tough hitter makes him perfect for the fast if somewhat smaller sized linebackers that USC deploys on defense.
He plays for one of the greatest high schools in the state at De La Salle. Ranked near or at the top of the nationwide ratings yearly, the Spartans’ level of play is outstanding.
It had been thought Hutchings was hovering towards USC and had even been assisting to get other players though he himself had not committed. At the recent Trojans Rising Stars Camp, Hutchings lastly talked to Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin and gave his spoken promise.
Coming from a different private institution with an exceptional educational system, what eventually drew Hutchings and was quite essential to him is the entire deal. Hutchings revealed: “We’re talking academics, business opportunities and what the school has to offer location wise. Then you have the football tradition with a dynamite coaching staff.
There was no comparisons with the other schools I was considering.” He’s curious in business and hopes to be a company major. USC has one of the top business divisions in the country and is the biggest school at the university in Marshall School of Business.
For the Trojans, they get the guy they have been approaching at the position all along. In a year where the linebacker talent out west has been somewhat thin, Hutchings is the best in the region. Essentially sound, well-coached and possessing excellent physical tools, Hutchings’ skill set converts very well to the next stage, where he will likely stay at the outside position.
With his commitment, the Trojans now have 11 players accounted for the Class of 2013.
They may be obstructed by limited scholarships due to their probation but they continue to have arguably the ideal recruiting class for next season.
Tickets for all USC games are onsale now including the cross town rival game USC Vs UCLA.
May 9th, 2012
USC Best in the Nation
With the college football season just over 100 days away, the best team in Los Angeles is clearly USC, but UCLA, with a new head coach, looks to battle the rest of the PAC-12 South Division for the runner-up slot. USC, coming off a season of probation, returns a wealth of talent from a team that finished 10-2 (7-2 in the league) last year. Not eligible for post-season play, the Trojans deferred to their cross-town rival, UCLA, who backed itself into the PAC-12 South championship a year ago. How will the two schools fare in 2012?
USC, 2011 Record: 10-2, 7-2 Pac-12 South
The USC Trojans will have the nation’s best quarterback in senior Matt Barkley who passed on the NFL to return for a shot at a national title. Barkley was masterful in leading the offense with 3,528 yards passing, 39 TDs, and just seven interceptions. He, along with a talented group of skill players, is the reason USC sits atop ESPN’s pre-season college football poll. RB Curtis McNeal ran for 1,005 yards last year and the wide receiver tandem of Robert Woods (111 rec., 1,292 yds.) and Marqise Lee, may be best in the country. The Trojans do lose OT Matt Kalil to the NFL and depth could be a problem due to scholarship limits imposed as a result of last year’s probation. Still, the Trojans return eight starters on offense and seven on defense, including stud safety T.J. McDonald. McDonald made the same decision as Barkley and put his NFL aspirations on hold. The schedule gods are in USC’s favor what with an average at best South Division, a non-conference schedule that features Syracuse, and a week 3 match-up with the Stanford Cardinals minus Andrew Luck which just doesn’t seem to be the kind of game it has been the past two seasons. The Trojans could run the table and will be favored to meet their nemesis the Oregon Ducks in the conference championship game.
UCLA, 2011 Record: 6-8, 5-4 Pac-12 South
Not even the golden boy of years’ past could save the UCLA Bruins as former QB and head coach Rick Neuheisel was let go after mediocre 2011 season. The Bruins did make it to the conference title game where they were subsequently dismissed by Oregon, 49-31. Enter Jim Mora, who hasn’t coached at the college level since the 1980s, as the guy to try and rebuild a program that has lost at least five games in 11 out of the last 13 seasons. Mora surrounded himself with talented coaches including offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone who has introduced his up-tempo offense this spring. Who will run it is still being determined but Kevin Prince, who went 126-for-224 for 1,828 yards last year, gets the first shot. Regardless of who runs the show, the offense will focus around senior RB Jonathan Franklin (5-10, 205) who rushed for 976 yards and five TDs last year. Six starters return on offense and the offensive line will need some retooling. Eight starters return on defense, but it’s a defense that ranked 11th in the conference in rush defense giving up 191 yards per game. Even so, hopes are high and with a South Division that, after USC, is up for grabs, Mora is posed to make sure his Bruins are in the thick of it. He’ll be tested early as UCLA takes on Nebraska in week 2 and if they pass the test, who knows, the Nov. 17th showdown at the Rose Bowl with USC may be for a division title.
We stock USC Vs UCLA Tickets as well as tickets for both home and away games for the Trojans and the Bruins.
February 29th, 2012
USC Trojans 2012 Backetball Preview
Every college basketball season has its sensational plays, but some of those plays transcend their own time to become the defining moments of the sport. These are the kinds of plays that get rehearsed in highlight compilations every March, the pantheon of college hoops accomplishments.
Sometimes people forget USC even has a men’s basketball team with all the commotion that surrounds its football team.
However, this year’s team looks to contend and compete in the Pac-12 despite injuries to a few key players. Here are five predictions that definitely have the potential to come true. The Men of Troy are a young and talented group of individuals who have fans and students excited about the future. Although not known as a basketball school, USC has attracted some talent that will immediately impact the season and the direction of the program.
After winning nineteen games this past season, it is needless to say that the Trojans will try and better their record this upcoming season.
Although the Pac-12 is as competitive as it gets, USC is faced with a favorable schedule.
There is no reason why they should not start off 5-0, with their only true test being an away game at San Diego State. This will give them a good basis and jump-start for the rest of the season as the young team builds their confidence. It seems as though USC has had trouble the past few years breaking the 20-win mark, but I believe they are poised for a breakout season.
Dewayne Dedmon will play a key part in both games with his tall frame and athleticism against an undersized and slower Bruins team.
Both games will create tough matchup problems for both teams and fans should be in for a treat, but do not think UCLA is going to walk all over the Trojans this year. As a matter of fact, it should be like this for years to come.
Ranked California’s top player by Cali High Sports, Byron Wesley will get the start for the Trojans at small forward this year.
Standing at a solid 6’5″, Wesley knows how to use his body and finish at the rim. Due to the injury of veteran guard Jio Fontan, Wesley will immediately be looked to for scoring by both Coach O’Neill and his teammates.
He is a very versatile player who can play almost any position on the floor and is used to playing in the spotlight. With a polished mid-range game, he can score in a variety of different ways and will surely be a tough cover.
Wesley is not afraid to get inside and rebound, and never runs away from a tough defensive battle. His talent will be recognized sooner rather than later.
This year the Kansas Jayhawks will pay the Trojans a visit. Entering the season ranked No. 13, they should beware when they come to play USC.
The players will really be focused and recogonzie what a win could do for their season. The game is during winter break and although people may think this does not mean anything, it does.
Players will have family in the stands, so they will be more pumped-up than usual and ready to take down Kansas Jayhawks.
If all the previous predictions come true, it only makes sense that USC will have their time during March Madness.
Although they lost in the first round last year and have lost one of their key players, it is clear that the team possesses some new and young talent.
USC men’s basketball often times flies under the radar due to the football team’s prestige. Look for them to put some people on notice this year.
*USC Trojans 2012 Basketball Schedule
- USC Trojans vs. Washington Huskies-3.1.2012
- USC Trojans vs. Washington State Cougars-3.3.2012
We stock USC Trojans Basketball Tickets as well as Pac 12 Tickets. We also stock Final Four Tickets.
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