Monthly Archives: March 2007

USC Trojan Football Analysis: no longer a pipe dream

ArtofTroy is a semi-legend on the portions of the internets patrolled by cardinal and gold wearing maniacs. He dishes out thick prose, astute analysis, numbers, charts, pie graphs, strategery and strategery accessories and, occasionally, a delicious casserole or two. He is the epitome of, for lack of a better word, outstandellence.

College football message boards are creatures that operate at their peak between the months of August to February, or from the beginning of the season to the end of recruiting. Outside of that period they are unreadable, unapproachable and unhealthy. The only thing keeping them from completely sinking are handfuls of people like ArtofTroy: the kind who put forth posts so thoughtful, so professional, and so good they reduce the keening sorrow of our empty, broken, football-less lives by a fraction – not much, but just enough.

ArtofTroy now has a blog named USC Trojan Football Analysis. Pause for fanfare.

No, actually. This fanfare:

Yes, that’s Rome. Yes, the TMB rocks.

Anyway, there are plenty of USC football bloggers out there but I don’t think we have a Brian or an SMQ: the kind of guy who’s willing to crunch numbers and stare at zig zagging lines and actually go over snaps and plays, and then record them, and then provide helpful pictures and exploded diagrams. I’m talking he’s-got-beakers-and-Tesla-coils-back-there obsessed. From the looks of things over at Trojan Football Analysis, ArtofTroy is starting strong. And that means two things:

  1. In depth USC football analysis is no longer a pipe dream.
  2. I don’t have to pretend to be even remotely objective anymore. Huzzah!

A hearty welcome, Art.


Filed under USC

NSA, CIA: “West Virginia may have the forward pass”

LANGLEY, VA – A leaked memo detailing a joint National Security Agency-Central Intelligence Agency operation indicated that the West Virginia Mountaineers “may have the forward pass”.

Neither the NSA nor the CIA would comment on the matter, citing policy to not address sensitive issues currently unfolding.

President Bush was also unwilling to answer questions on the Mountaineers and the possibility of their having weapons of mass yardage. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow did not immediately deny or affirm the veracity of the memo and its claims, but he did say that caution was necessary.

“At this point, [caution] would be advisable,” said Snow. “We’ve all seen satellite photos of their practices, so we know they’re already experimenting with forward pitches and playbook enrichment. The international community, NATO and the Big East all know this. Right now the ball is in West Virginia’s hands. Let’s just hope they don’t know how to throw it yet.”

A West Virginia Mountaineer, above, attempts to split the atomic structure of the pass-run barrier. Satellite photos indicate that the experiment ultimately resulted in a run.

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Filed under Big East, Big XII, Fake news

SEC to phase out Pac-10 by 2012

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ended the league’s Spring Media Day by announcing the conference would begin preparations to officially phase out the Pacific-10 by the 2012 season.

Slive stressed that the change “would not happen overnight” and that players, coaches and fans needed to be patient.

“We’re working on this thing to get it right. It’s gonna happen, but not immediately. We’ve been taking steps in this direction for decades. The groundwork is there. We just need to see it through to its proper conclusion,” said Slive.

Even USC, considered by many to be the “black sheep” of the Pac-10, has seen flashes of crazy obsession LSUoverUSC BCS champ go suck it condoms!

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Filed under Fake news, Pac-10, SEC

Dirk Koetter’s wife names Dennis Erickson as starting husband

TEMPE, AZ – Former Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter’s wife, Kim, announced that current ASU head coach Dennis Erickson would be her starting husband. The decision comes less than 24 hours after the Koetters renewed their marriage vows in a private team ceremony.

Dirk Koetter, left, is reportedly “confused” and “devastated” by the switch, and is expected to transfer to a new location in a few weeks. Speculation is centered around nearby Scottsdale where Koetter would have a good shot at becoming a starting significant other after sitting out the NCAA-mandated one year transfer period.

“I’m sorry for the way this had to happen but this is the right decision. It took me a long time to make, longer than it should have. The repercussions and the responsibility are mine. This is on me,” Kim Koetter read from a statement.

“I just hope we can put this past us and get ready for the 2007 redecorating season,” she added. “I feel that we have a promising team of drapes and accented furniture, and I look forward to what Dennis can bring to the table with his proven leadership abilities and his paycheck. Hopefully some kind of centerpiece of cut crystal. A decanter, perhaps.”

The husband switch comes on the heels of one of the nation’s most highly anticipated marital battles in several seasons. As the initial starter many figured that Dirk Koetter would have the edge, but Erickson’s numbers (148-65-1 in 18 years as a college head coach, an undisclosed salary from ASU) beat out Koetter’s (66-44 in 9 years, a non-existant salary from ASU).

At least, that’s the current story.

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Filed under Fake news, Pac-10

Pac-10 to phase out defense by 2012

WALNUT CREEK, CA – Pacific-10 commissioner Tom Hansen ended the league’s Spring Media Day by announcing the conference would begin preparations to officially phase out football defense by the 2012 season.

Hansen stressed that the change “would not happen overnight” and that players, coaches and fans needed to be patient.

“We’re working on this thing to get it right. It’s gonna happen, but not immediately. We’ve been taking steps in this direction for decades. The groundwork is there. We just need to see it through to its proper conclusion,” said Hansen.

Even USC, considered by many to be the “black sheep” of the Pac-10, has shown flashes of non-defense in the past.

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Filed under Fake news, Pac-10, USC

An Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Recursion in Post Titles

If SMQ decides to respond to this post by adding onto the title, the internets and their series of pipes shant never be the same again.

So. This is the Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA. That’s a whole lotta absurdity. Unfortunately, only SMQ seems to be doing any assessin’.

Warning! What follows is pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing. Likely the only two people interested in the next few paragraphs will be SMQ and myself, and I’m not even that sure about SMQ. To the pain!

First, a big thanks to SMQ for his awww-shucks praise of your’s truly. He goes so far as to equate me with Our Dumb Century, a book so hilarious pretty much my only memories of junior year high school lunches revolve around reading the book and laughing. And the blow. Oh, the blow. It’s hard to forget enough cocaine to kill a pachyderm.

SMQ moves on, though:

Maybe it’s to be expected, but in his absurdly premature assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, Tu falls into a similar trap of perspective – in this case, he agrees with SMQ’s predictions for the Bruins (7-6, meh) but substitutes many of his own biases as catalysts for this conclusion.


Per that rule [“losing is your team’s fault” -Ed.], Tu’s premature assessment of SMQ’s premature assessment makes two fundamental flaws of allegorical appropriation: it paradoxically refers to UCLA as “a friend” of USC (to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend) and, second, equates USC with the popular character Rocky, the “anthropomorphic embodiment of all that is good in America,” where UCLA is his indefatigable nemesis, Ivan Drago, “a force to be reckoned with.” In fact, those roles could not be more mismatched: it is USC, not UCLA, which is often considered “unbeatable,” like the film’s Drago, “the Soviet-bloc produced superman whose punching power, Achilles physique, psychotic single-mindedness…[and] vaguely steppes-ish Valkyrie bride” render him seemingly invincible. When USC crushed UCLA for more than 650 yards and 66 points in 2005, it effectively scowled of the Bruin defense, “If it dies, it dies,” a performance so thorough in its unrelenting cruelty, so reeking of hubris, that UCLA’s stunning revenge last December stands as perhaps the preeminent “Rocky” moment of the decade. Outside of USC, it was the Trojans who “killed” UCLA, in the most literal fashion provided within the limits of football, and only a USC partisan could see the analogy otherwise. Or mix up the entire analogy by inserting elements of Ghostbusters.


Beating UCLA becomes not only a means to an end – securing a Pac Ten or mythical championship – or even a heated but ultimately good-natured competition among geographic rivals, but a moral imperative to set right specific injustices of the universe. In his mind, a world where such a result is possible is evidence of “mass hysteria,” and UCLA must not only be defeated, but actually destroyed for its perceived insubordination of the natural order, cast into “utter ruination.” The rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone.


Moreover, UCLA is, to quote Tu, “meh.” Its status is more akin to Don Flamenco, the well-tanned, good-but-not-great champion of Spain in “Mike Tyson’s Punchout!!” who is usually ripe for defeat, but occasionally knocks your championship-bound Little Mac/USC out in weaker (or drunker) moments. Still, you will always have another chance for retribution following a shocking loss. Flamenco, like UCLA, is also much tougher when you have to beat him later on to reach the peak, the World Circuit championship, where his defense is much improved. But LA is by no means the killer Drago.

What SMQ probably doesn’t know, however, is that I proposed my own UCLA-as-Don Flamenco analogy a full two and a half moons ago:

I’m not sure if there’s one overarching theme to the Rose Bowl. Despite the increasingly confusing loss to UCLA most everyone agrees that USC is still Punch-Out!! Mike Tyson-ish, except the ‘06 Trojans had a tendency to drop a game or two to Piston Honda (or maybe Don Flamenco). Still, “scary” is probably the word I’m looking for. The final score was kind of surprising but, as many have probably pointed out already, it’s Southern California.

Besides that, SMQ is as usual right on. He uses words like “biases”, “fundamental flaws”, “paradoxically”, “partisan”, “the rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone” and “to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend”. All of that describes me perfectly. In fact, my inbox will soon be flooded by emails from my best friends wondering if I have a new best friend who is also familiar with my “tough love” version of friendship, aka, physical attacks. And that biased partisanship stuff is also pretty right on.

I must point out two of SMQ’s own fundamental flaws, however. Firstly, I penned this:

I know there’s danger in mixing Ghostbusters and Rocky IV, and even more danger in comparing UCLA football to Ivan Drago and implying that USC is an underdog. Which USC is not. But if I didn’t do any of that it would mean that statistical analysis would be needed, and no one wants that.

… which ought to have foreseen his own confusion about UCLA-as-Drago and USC-as-Rocky. And that last sentence in particular does a swell job of summing my existence up.

Secondly, this paragraph of SMQ’s:

More disturbing is Tu’s treatment of the character Apollo Creed, who in this equation is reduced from an actual dramatic personage – a champion, at that – to a mere representation of the ambition of his “friend,” in this case, the “BCS title hopes” of the nominal protagonist, USC/Rocky, which have been subsequently “killed” by the rival, Drago/UCLA. This, from Tu, especially in light of recent controversy surrounding the racial environment of USC football, is a rather shocking minimization of the African-American role model from equal to accomplice in the eventual success of the white hero. Creed’s actuality is reduced to a form of deus ex machina in order to facilitate the contrived dramatic triumph of “the underdog,” which, as demonstrated above, is already a fundamental partisan misappropriation.

… is totally, like, mine! The confused jumble of deconstructionalist post-modernism buzz words, the random Latin, the race baiting… these techniques are copyrighted for a reason! I insist that SMQ cease and desist his reprehensible use of said above lest I invoke habeus corpus via nunc pro tunc forthwith up to and including all contractual obligations, or, as the Romantics would’ve put it: “Hey! Stop that.”

/Pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing.

Anyway, I hope all one of you enjoyed reading that. I’m tired of all this non-fake stuff. Next post is going to be something both premature and absurd, but thoroughly lacking in assessment – or, as the late, great Hunter S. Thompson once said, “[Gonzo Journalism] is a style of ‘reporting’ based on William Faulkner’s idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism – and the best journalists have always known this.”

Or something like that.


Filed under Pac-10, USC

Beat the Vandals! And apathy! And ED!

College football fans enjoy repetition. We know where we stand with repetition: wherever it was we were standing ten minutes ago. USC fans enjoy several things on repeat: the V, Conquest, the 2005 Orange Bowl, recruiting, and shouting/typing “Beat the (insert opposing mascot here)!!!” as loud as possible and as much as possible. Except in this case we are all stuck listening to/reading “Beat the Vandals!” during the entirety of the off-season. The Idaho Vandals.

I just can’t get up for Idaho. Sorry, spud state. This is pretty much how I feel:

Internal monologue: You wooed me into the schedule using a combination of close friends, a lack of other options and a big whopping whiskey straight, but now that we’re in bed together the machinery is not working. My lack of college football Out Of Conference (OOC) enthusiasm for this encounter translates into a serious priapic void, and you, Idaho… well, I just hope you have a battery powered backup. Maybe you shouldn’t have bought me that whiskey. Skank.

External dialogue, sans the di-: Sorry. Seriously, this never happens. I am so sorry. Maybe if you… just… here, let me help. No, no. Kinda move… yeah…

Shit. This just isn’t going to happen. Sorry. It’s just a bunch of different things going on right now, you know? I’ve had a rough time what with three losses in three years, losing the BCS title game and then getting knocked out of the picture a year later. I’m in a weird place right now. It’s not you, it’s me. Idaho. Look at me. I’m not lying to you or anything. It’s all me.

Yeah, I know. I definitely thought we had something going.

Speaking of connections, your friend back at the bar. Moscow? No, not Moscow. Something with an “o” though. Boise! Boise. I had a great conversation back there. We must’ve talked for almost an hour. Maybe you could put in a good word for me with Boise State? I don’t wanna sound like a total douchebag, but I think there was a connection. Anyway, how do you know Boise?

Really? That little acting studio on Lankershim? Yeah, I totally get coffee by there all the time. Weird. I’m surprised I haven’t seen Boise State there before. And you too, of course. Have you ever had the bagels from the corner? Oh, totally. They’re like crack. I’m sure you and Boise must’ve totally just gone to town on them during Saturday morning hangovers.

Huh. No hangovers. Must be nice. Boise must be a puke and rally-er, then.

So you’ll put in a good word for me? Really? You are so sweet. Thanks, Idaho. Now, listen, I’ve got this thing tomorrow. Interview. It’s an interview at 9, 8:30 in the morning. It’s a big one, the third call back, and I am useless without a good night’s sleep. So if you want me to like call a cab or something I would totally be happy to do it. Not that you need to leave now or anything, but…

Really? You sure you’re okay to drive? OK, cool. Hey, it was great seeing you. Good luck with the whole making a bowl game thing. Actually, speaking of that… hold on, I know I have that number… here… the MPC Computers Bowl. And the New Mexico Bowl. That’s in New Mexico. They’re good people, and I think you would get along with them real well.

Oh. Hah. Don’t forget your coat. And I seriously appreciate you returning Coach Holt and my Children of Men screener. Drive safe! Yeah, you too! Night!

At this point I’d take pretty much anything over Idaho. Hawai’i has been discussed before, and after Boise State’s incredible run at box office schmaltz I am sweet on the Broncos, too. In fact, the WAC is populated by a number of intriguing schools: the spittoon led Fresno State Bulldogs, Dick Tomey’s Fightin’ Lazarii aka San Jose State, Nevada of the Nevada Pistol formation, etc. But Idaho? I am less than tumescent for Idaho.

Beat the Vandals? Beat ED first, and then maybe the Vandals.


Filed under USC, WAC

An Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA

Sunday Morning Quarterback of Sunday Morning Quarterback fame is famous for several things: Sunday Morning Quarterback, jealousy inspiring prose, fakedness so pleasurable it makes you forget that the “f” is in fact not an “n” preceding the words “involving Jessica Alba“… and, of course, his ridiculous, awe-ful, humbling Old Testament Jehovah-style obliteration of all concerns for logistics or commensurate return on effort otherwise known as SMQ’s breakdown of all 119 Division I-A teams. I’m not joking about the Jehovah thing: at one point last season Louisiana-Monroe got turned into a pillar of salt for daring to glance back at Murfreesboro. Am I saying SMQ is God? No. Not the Judeo-Christian big-G, anyway. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find that SMQ’s mama was once finnegaled into dinner and dancing by Zeus of the Thunders.

In other words: SMQ’s kind of a big deal.

His most recent pre-season assessment centers on UCLA. I recently wrote a long-ish diatribe on the Bruins involving Cthulhu, Hillary Clinton (not the same as Cthulhu no matter what Tucker Carlson is advocating), Kodos and Kang, cheese eating surrender monkeys and the muppet alert system. SMQ decided to use, like, numbers and analysis. I clearly also went the route of logic.

We both were bearish on the Bruins. (Pun! I am so smart, I am so smart, s-m-r-t.) Where SMQ uses numbers, season by season comparison and analysis, I use Rocky IV. If you’ve never seen Rocky IV, let me explain two things: feel free to go ahead and skip directly from Rocky to Rocky IV, ignoring II, III and then eventually V and VI; Ivan Drago.

“Please to be speakink rawr, comrade.”

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Filed under Pac-10, USC

Equilibrium? Balance? A fan craves not these things

The introduction you do not need to read.

I am a fan of dualism. I dig mind/body, I am sweet on starkly evil vs. purest good, I liked the Jedi and the Sith. Every tattoo I’ve gotten has been in twos, neverminding that I currently have five. Like the waxing moon my hamburger’s gradual crescent shaped disintegration is heralded by the cyclical appearance and disappearance of french fries the color of the sun. I enjoy good prose, but write bad prose. I’ve read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I maybe even understood the parts about torque.

But I also didn’t like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s not really a narrative. It’s a collection of half crazed and poorly organized philosophical ramblings that may be valid and crucial to our understanding of Western thought, but they are boring. The book’s basic message is don’t be just a scientist or artist: be both. Well, that’s nice. And boring.

You know what else is theoretically nice? College football balance. You know what’s not boring? USC football dominating everything in its path, cruelly crushing the life from all those who would recruit from the Golden State, acknowledging few, yielding to none, laughing the way any good villain ought to laugh, deep and assured and terrifying and impossible not to admire, and definitely not like the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hoping makes it happen. I want USC to be like the guy in the rated R movie. You know, the guy you’re not sure whether or not you like yet. You’re not sure where he’s coming from.

“I’ll have a scotch on the rocks, please. Any scotch will do, as long as it’s not a blend, of course. Uh, single malt. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich perhaps. Maybe a Glengow… Any Glen.”

So I will admit that as much as I enjoy dualism, harmonious balance and the universal forces of natural equilibrium, I do not want them in my city. Where am I going with this?

Where is he going with this?

UCLA recruiting has finally caught up to the fact that it takes place in Los Angeles, epicenter of one of the nation’s most fertile high school football scenes. Sometime in the past few weeks the Bruins took a look around their environs and realized, “Hey, we’re kinda in the middle of something nice. Maybe we should, like, recruit here? And competently?”

This is unacceptable. Why is this happening? Who leaked the memo? Goddamn shitfuck, Scooter Libby. This isn’t the CIA. This shit is actually important.

In which the author gets his shit together. And stops using profanity.

So in the span of a few days UCLA gathered eight verbal commitments from the Los Angeles area, with seven of them coming in one 24 hour period. At least two of those players – Datone Jones and Rahim Moore – had offers from USC. Another is E.J. Woods, who’s kind of a big deal. Moore and Woods are members of the 100 to Watch list (Moore is also a member of a similar list on I would’ve been quite happy to get any and all of the three. The rest are, to me at least, unknowns. General consensus holds that they are solid prospects but that the players whom USC was interested in are four to five star guys; in other words, out of eight commits the Bruins landed three proto-elite players.

(At this stage of recruiting there are very few high schoolers who are past the proto-elite stage. Former Moorpark and current St. Bonaventure RB Darrell Scott is one of those. More on him later.)

Now, let’s say you were a not very objective observer. You have already beaten me by several magnitudes in objectivity. Anyway, let’s just assume you were not objective but objective enough because you were… say… an alien bent on world domination. You are interested in all human matters insofar as they pertain to military defense, industrial infrastructure, atmospheric suitability, the raw number and mass of natural resources you could drain, how many valuable-as-chattel humans would survive the first harsh months of slavery, etc. You know. Normal alien thoughts.

Football recruiting is important, sure, but in terms of world domination concerns it must rank somewhere in the 12th to 13th percentile, right behind our capacity for higher thought. So what I’m saying is picture yourself as that alien. And while we’re at it toss in a friend to help balance out your green skinned objectivity.

Ready? Go.

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Filed under Pac-10, Recruiting, USC

“Special teams” expresses anti-normal sentiment

I hate it when people use the words hullaballoo, fracas, uproar, etc. to describe what is obviously only a hubbub. Yesterday’s uproarious fracasing hullaballoo kicked hubbub in its nuts, though, simply because it allowed newspapers and blogs to push headlines like “USC football players form online White Nation group” – which is a truthful headline, but man does it clamor tumultuously of race scandalizing. And not in that wholesome hue and cry way, either.

[Hint: the above is how not to employ journalism.]

[If it wasn’t already obvious, since I get paid nothing and am, in fact, probably losing money on this venture somehow.]


Anyway, the Los Angeles Times reported the following:

“White Nation” was coined by running backs coach and special teams coordinator Todd McNair, a black former NFL player. He first used the term affectionately during game films, according to accounts, after watching some white members of the kickoff team make a spectacular play.

“I made the name. The White Nation,” McNair said. “Just playfully, man.”

Other than an irrepressible wish that the editors at Time had taken a nap for a bit and overlooked accidentally calling McNair a “former black NFL player” simply for the delicious hullaballoo that would’ve ensued, I can’t take issue with this at all.

McNair goes on:

McNair noted the irony of “a brother, a black guy, a coach” being the so-called founder of the Trojans’ “White Nation.”

“I love having fun,” he said. “I gave them a nickname. I call the black coaches on our staff the Brojans. Brothers and Trojans. We’re the Brojans. Playfully. Because the locker room is colorless.”

First off, I love T-Mac, as he is often referred to. At 2005’s Salute to Troy he showed up on the podium with an umbrella. McNair’s job was to introduce the running backs but, mainly, to introduce LenDale White and Reggie Bush. He rambled on and on and we all wondered what the hell he was doing with an umbrella. Then he made a big show and declared that we ought to be ready for some Thunder and Lightning.

Cricket. Cricket.

Actually, no, the crowd erupted. But they should’ve been aghast at such a buildup for a monumentally dull joke. It was like the Aristocrats without the incest or bestiality. As for me, I was secretly impressed that McNair could go on with the gag for so long, and it does not surprise me in the least that he’s now at the heart of a joke gone bad.

He is right, though, about the colorless locker room. I’ve certainly seen it. I’ve had teammates of every race and the only universal constant was to bag on them no matter their race. No one gets a free pass, unless it’s to the food stamp line.

*roll on snare drum*

See? That was a joke made by a Mexican linebacker friend of mine, and I’m not even sure he knew what a food stamp line was. I mean, is it a line where you go to collect food stamps? A line in which to wait in order to use food stamps? I didn’t know, and he – driving around in his huge, custom Escalade – answered my unspoken question by driving us after practice to 7-11.

So when McNair nicknames the white players who kick ass during kickoff coverage (which is the only thing I can think of, since Dan Deckas and David Buehler are both on that squad) “White Nation” I absolutely believe it was affectionate. And, like his umbrella joke, a little bit stupid. But it’s a locker room, and you don’t get to be affectionate without being stupid. And also crass. And a mooch, because if you can get your food stamp-joking Mexican linebacker buddy to buy you a slurpee then sweeeeet.

So, once again, Clay Matthews did not express anti-black sentiment. He simply expressed anti-Clay Matthews sentiment, in that he was incredibly stupid. And also crass. Not sure on the mooch part yet, though.

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Filed under The Media, USC