The Pac 10: Strangulation, humiliation, and exportation
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of lent, and for three Pac 10 programs it arrives with personal sacrifices that may include loss of freedom, staff members, and possibly victories. Let’s take a quick tour on one of the holiest of days to see some of the sacrifices being made this week.
Oregon– USC is no longer alone in choking in the presence of LaMichael James. The Pac 10’s offensive freshman of the year was arrested on Ash Wednesday, surrendering his freedom on charges that include strangulation and assault. James pleaded not guilty to all charges, of course, which stemmed from an altercation with a girlfriend which left visible evidence on the alleged victim’s body. All charges are misdemeanors, and if convicted, could each draw at least a year of jail time.
James’ teammate Rob Beard is also facing charges on Wednesday for a separate incident that proved to be most damaging to himself. The Oregon kicker made headlines after being severely beaten to the point where reconstructive facial surgery was required. A scrum that left him nearly unconscious and incurring medical debt now has him charged with assault against a 19-year old female that walked away from the incident with far less. This just adds the humiliation of a place kicker that gained national attention for being—kicked in place.
California-The Bears honored the first day of lent by giving up their defensive coordinator, though he won’t be coming back at the end of the religious period. Bob Gregory accepted the same position at Boise State, after spending the past eight years scheming in northern California. Defense had become the most reliable element of the Bears team, with Tedford appearing to lose the offensive magic, and relying strictly on a one dimensional running attack to win ballgames.
USC- The Trojans will be making the greatest sacrifice this week, though we don’t know what it will be. The heads of athletics will meet in the desert to plead their case, but the outcome will definitely be the loss of something, even if minor. USC can tolerate penalties that would remove victories and strip other past achievements, but it’s those penalties that would affect the future and the program’s ability to continue to thrive that are most worrisome. Scientist met secretly in the desert nearly 60 years ago to construct the worst weapon ever witnessed by mankind. The Trojans are hoping this private meeting won’t result in the bomb being dropped on them.