Posted by Frazier
Sorry it's been a slow week here at the 323. We had a couple of great ideas, but they required far more time and effort than we've been able to expend. The big man is working hard this week (yeah, being a lawyer is apparantly tough, who knew?) and I've been having some busy stuff myself.
Still, that's the lamest excuse imaginable. We'll get something special cooked up for next week.
For now, I'd like to take a moment to compliment a team that has just an enormous pair of balls, and is willing to take on legit competition and prove that they're the best in the country.
In 2002 Carroll and his boys had the courage to host Auburn, perennially a top SEC team, out of conference, and travel to Kansas St. (#6 at the time). Those are some tough games, and they ended up losing to K-State, but it certainly proved that there weren't afraid of anyone.
In 2003 they traveled TO Auburn and won their first game of the year. This was an Auburn team that was supposed to contend nationally, and USC ruined their season in the first game of the year. Also, it's cross-country. That's another man's man kind of game. They also hosted BYU out of conference, which is a team that is perennially tough, and the kind that lots of schools don't want to face. You could lose, but if you did people would give them no credit for being good. A no-win situation for USC.
In 2004 they traveled TO Blacksburg for their first game. That's a team that always plays tough, and it's one of the toughest places in the country to go and get a win. Not only did they pull that off, but they took on a challenge. They also traveled to BYU for another non-conference game that isn't exactly a patsy.
In 2005 they hosted Arkansas. Now, the Hogs weren't a great team that year, but USC took them to school 70-17. It's almost impossible to do that to a legit SEC team. Once again, USC had the balls to schedule a non-conference game against a BCS foe. Most teams do that once every couple of years, USC does it annually. They also hosted Fresno St. who was one of the best non-BCS conference teams in the country, and ranked #16 when they went to So Cal.
In 2006 USC went TO Arkansas and got a win. Not an easy first game for a young team, and a legit SEC team on the road as non-conference. They also hosted Nebraska, a team picked to possibly win the Big-12 North. Those are some tough non-conference games.
Of course, USC also plays Notre Dame every year. While we all know the Domers are overrated, it's still a tough non-conference game. Notre Dame is a tough, legit opponent, and USC is willing to take on that challenge. For the future, USC is opening AT Virginia in 2008, and has scheduled a home-and-home with Boston College a couple years down the line. Those are two legit ACC teams, and USC will have to travel all the way across the country to play them.
The Trojans don't get enough media coverage out east, but they deserve a ton of credit for having the balls to play legitimate teams non-conference every year. Most teams are afraid to do this, and try to schedule as many patsies as possible. Since the Pac-10 is a BCS conference, all USC would have to do is win-out there, and they could schedule soft non-conference, and probably have a good shot at the title every year. But Carroll has made it clear that he isn't afraid of anyone, anytime, anywhere. That attitude has clearly rubbed off on his players. It's why they love playing for him, and it's why they play with a swagger. Their coach expects them to be the best team in the country, every single year, and he expects them to prove it by taking the show on the road and beating anyone in their own house.
Carroll's teams sometimes seem undisciplined. And sometimes he takes too many chances. He'd have another title if he was more conservative. But he is bold, and fearless, and he makes kids want to play for him. He also brings his troops around the country, showing them off like a recruiting video to every top high school player in the country. We here at the 323 love the way they schedule, and the way they play. Maybe they're reckless, but they're also fearless, and have the desire to PROVE they're the nations best.