Los Angeles, Calif. – In a stunning development in the War of Los Angeles, UCLA head football coach Karl Dorrell succeeded in a secret mission to infiltrate the University of Southern California’s campus and throw USC head football coach and Dark Lord Pete Carroll’s One Ring into the fires from whence it came: a furnace in the basement of Heritage Hall.
“The eagles! The eagles are coming!” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said when asked about the news.
The War of Los Angeles – which began in 1929 and has continued unabated, with only a few periods of relative peace, up until the modern day – was going badly for UCLA after a period of apparent Bruin dominance stretching from 1991-1998. Since then, various sources have learned that this eight year anomaly was due to Carroll gathering his strength in his fortresses at Foxborough, Massachusetts and East Rutherford, located deep in the dark heart of the Mirkwood Forest.
In early 2001, Carroll sent his lieutenants – the Witch-King of BYU and Ed Orgeron, lord of the mountain trolls – across the Leaguer of La Cienega to retake large portions of the city. Though surprised by the ferocity of the onslaught, UCLA was able to stand its ground in the early months of the siege and retain a tactical stalemate in the recruiting battles.
Norm Chow, Witch-King of BYU.
That same year Carroll returned from the East, having rebuilt the stronghold of Heritage Hall and marshaled his forces. Though he met with fierce resistance, leading the Trojans to a 6-6 record in his first year, USC trounced UCLA 27-0 in their first meeting with the Dark Lord Carroll at the helm.
Several days after that slaughter, prolific college football announcer and official historian of Rivendell Keith Jackson wrote, “The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. It began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Big Ten, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings because they refused to move away from the cold, which was very, very, very cold. The freeze your nuts off kind of cold. Seven to the Big Twelve, great huskers of corn and sooners of… soon. And nine, nine rings were gifted to the SEC, who, above all else, desire power and a cupcake out of conference schedule. Then something about the ACC and the Big East, blah blah blah yadda yadda.”
“But they were, all of them, deceived, for another Ring was made. In the land of California, in the fires of Heritage Hall, the Dark Lord Carroll forged in secret a master Ring, to control all others. And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to blitz from all angles. One Ring to rule them all. Whoa Nellie.”
Since then, the war-mongering Trojans tore through the countrysides of college football, marauding their way to an 11-2 record and a BCS victory over Iowa in 2002, a 12-1 record and an Associated Press national championship in 2003 and a 13-0 record and a consensus national championship in 2004, as well as sacking such cities as Auburn, Tempe, Eugene, Seattle, Norman, Ann Arbor and Minas Ithil, now called by men Minas Morgul.
The tide was turned, however, when the Texas Longhorns – led by Vince Young, the captain of the Burnt Orange Host – defeated the Trojans at the Battle of the Arroyo Seco on January 4, 2006. The key moment of the struggle came when USC running back Reggie Bush – the chosen instrument of the Dark Lord Carroll’s wrath – inexplicably chose to lateral the One Ring to, of all people, walk-on wide receiver Brad Walker. Walker, like the millions of people watching the telecast live and the tens of thousands present for the climactic battle, was completely surprised and thus fumbled the Ring away.
A reenactment of Bush’s lateral.
On the ensuing possession Young stumbled upon the One Ring and, his powers amplified by the unspeakably powerful artifact, began hurdling Trojan defenders and tossing aside anyone wearing a cardinal and gold jersey. The Longhorns won 41-38, derailing Carroll’s plans to “cover all the lands with a second darkness,” according to Jackson.
In the aftermath of Texas’ victory celebration, head coach Mack Brown and Young argued over what should be done with the One Ring. According to witnesses, the two could not come to any agreement over a course of action.
“It is a gift. A gift to the foes of Southern California. Why not use this Ring? Long has my daddy, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, kept the forces of USC at bay… mainly by sacrificing himself to the tune of 55-19 to their howling hordes. By the blood of his people are our lands kept safe. Give Texas the weapon of the Enemy. Let us use it against him!” Brown reportedly pleaded to his quarterback.
“But coach, it’s shiny! I wanna use it for an earring,” Young retorted.
Young – known far and wide for both his colossal strength and legendary lack of cunning – was stymied by the One Ring’s perfectly circular and inviolate form. Putting it aside for a moment to consult his trusted librum of learned sages and venerated wisdom, the Texas quarterback lost track of the Ring before giving up and deciding to declare for the NFL draft a mere three seconds later.
The Illuminated Breakfastnomicon of Numenor, Young’s favorite reference work.
The series of events which transpired to place the One Ring into the hands of the unlikeliest and blandest of heroes have yet to be explained, but it is irrefutable that Dorrell came across the artifact sometime during his January convalescence while recovering from the 66-19 rout UCLA suffered at the hands of Carroll’s forces more than a month earlier.
According to several sources, Dorrell considered hiding the Ring or throwing it into the Pacific Ocean. The Dark Lord Carroll’s success in recruiting – culminating in yet another number one ranked class of five star marauders and a large group of four star pillagers – as well as reports that he was bending all his dark will in pursuit of his lost Ring persuaded Dorrell and a deeply concerned Pacific 10 council of elders and pussy-willows that drastic measures were required.
A hastily assembled plan was conceived: Dorrell and dimunitive UCLA tailback Maurice Drew would traverse the dangerous paths of the Interstate-10 East, the foreboding slopes of the Misty Mountains and the dreaded Parking Lot of Doom that is the Harbor Freeway until they came to the lands of USC and the fires beneath Heritage Hall. There they were to cast the Ring into the gorge of flame which birthed it.
Reports, however, indicate that Dorrell hesitated upon the lip of the raging cauldron of lava. The fourth year head coach then turned to Drew and said “The Ring is mine!”, claiming the artifact as his own.
A struggle ensued with Drew – by then also under the hypnotic effect of the object of ineffable evil – assaulting Dorrell for control of the Ring. Drew apparently bit off several of Dorrell’s fingers and successfully gained control of the artifact. During his celebration the tailback stepped too close to the white hot lip of the Heritage Hall furnace and fell in, taking the One Ring with him.
According to Dorrell, Drew’s last words were, “I still should’ve been drafted ahead of Reggie Bussshhh!”
The destruction of the Ring was immediately followed by a week which saw an investigation into the housing arrangements of Bush’s family, as well as quarterback Matt Leinart and wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, an accusation of sexual assault against quarterback Mark Sanchez, the stocks of multiple USC prospects dropping in the annual NFL draft, and the fall of Heritage Hall into a Heisman strewn pit of rubble and ash.
A mass exodus of the last Trojans left in the wake of that ruinous week has begun. A record number of power and sail boats, as well as numerous yachts and several cruise ships, have taken leave from Marina del Rey, Santa Barbara and San Diego harbors en route to Catalina Island, where the Trojans hope to fortify their last bastion of strength with a Fourth of July ceremony involving the Trojan Marching Band and many, many margaritas.
Most scholars agree that the Third Age of USC Football has now ended with the destruction of Dark Lord Carroll’s One Ring.
The First Age came to a close with the retirement of Howard Jones in 1940 and the dissolution of his terrifying Thundering Herds. The Second Age saw its end when the successful Tampa Bay Gambit was employed in defeating USC head coach John McKay.
John McKay, moments before being fooled by the legendary Tampa Bay Gambit.
The Dark Lord Carroll, when reached for comment, had this to say: “Hot dang, Karl fell for it? [The rest of USC's coaching staff is] going to laugh their asses off. I got that ring out of a Cracker Jack box and had a graduate assistant plant it in his garden. Then we set up some fireworks over by Heritage Hall and got some of the [Trojan Marching Band] drummers to make a whole lot of noise. I guess no one knows I got my Ring back when I distracted Vince Young with a bit of tinfoil right after the end of the game. I’m real jacked up about it.”
“Don’t tell him, though, okay? Karl seemed real excited and it’d be a shame to disappoint him this soon before the new season starts and I get to plunder Westwood again.”
[With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, Mel Brooks and Peter and Keith Jackson.]