Thoughts for Thursday: Southern Comfort
Just when we thought the Trojans couldn’t catch a break, the Pac 10 may have given them one. It would be hard-pressed for any program down 30 scholarships to compete for the conference title, but the proposed divisions of the new 12-team league could make it a little easier for USC.
With the additions of Colorado and Utah, USC has been designated to to be grouped with those newcomers, along with Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA to form the conference’s Southern Division. Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, and Stanford would make up the north.
Power shifts quickly in the Pac 10, but based on rankings from a year ago, the strength lies in the northern division, where the Ducks are the defending champions, and the Cardinal and Beavers weren’t eliminated from contention until the final weeks.
USC draws a bad Colorado team that may be minus Coach Dan Hawkins when the Buffs finally make their move. Mike Stoops continues to make progress in Arizona, but Dennis Erickson’s Sun Devils continue to be the league’s perennial underachievers. Scrapping the round robin format means you only have to win your pool to qualify for the championship game. This is an easier road for the Trojans than it could have been with a different alignment.
To put it more in perspective, since 2002, Pete Carroll’s Trojans have lost only twice to teams designated in the new southern division (UCLA, Arizona). During that same period, USC has lost 9 times to the northern schools, with each school scoring at least one victory against Pete’s program of the decade.
On The Move
Jordan Campbell became the first to take advantage of the opportunity for Juniors and Seniors to leave the program without penalty. The linebacker will leave USC, citing a love for Pete Carroll and his coaches. With Carroll and his staff gone, so is Campbell, but I wonder if he would have the same sentiments had he been projected as a starter this fall. Boise State appears to be his primary target, and the Empire wishes him all the best in his new home.
Another linebacker has left the program, but for a different reason. Jarvis Jones has returned to his home state, where he will attend the University of Georgia. He sustained a severe neck injury last year and found it difficult to gain medical clearance to play. It will now be up to the Bulldogs medical staff to make that decision. Jones, being only a sophomore, cannot take advantage of the freedom to transfer without penalty and will redshirt the 2010 season.
Quote of the Day
“Can’t take my ring away, can’t take my tape away, can’t take my memories away.”–Steve Smith on the NCAA vacating victories that would include USC’s 55-19 win over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship game.