A Tiger’s approach to the 2010 season
USC is historically built for postseason appearances and the raising of championship trophies. Knowing this, with the program now handcuffed by sanctions and unable to reach toward the sky, you would think any motivation for the 2010 season would be stacked and filed among the improbable.
But when you look to the cupboard, it is not bare, as it remains fully stocked with the ingredients for success. And when you combine these items with a Tiger’s approach to the upcoming schedule, you’ll find motivation stemmed from there.
The 2010 Trojans already have one thing in common with the 1993 Auburn Tigers, and that is NCAA sanctions and a postseason ban. They will set out to share something else with that Terry Bowden led program, which is to battle through the stones of adversity and come out unbeaten on the other side.
Southern California will walk into September looking to “knock out thirteen”. That’s thirteen games on the college football slate, beginning with Hawaii and ending with UCLA. That’s thirteen dominoes aligned in a row, waiting to be triggered by a force that leaves not one standing.
It would mark a perfect season under imperfect conditions. Knock out thirteen and you won’t be recognized as a champion, but it would be difficult to honor the individual wearing that crown without Southern California dreaming and offering a slight pause in thought as a show of recognition. Thirteen victories won’t change the public perception or strip the words dishonest, crooked and cheater from their vocabulary. But a season without defeat denies them the use of another, and that word is “loser”.
The 1993 Auburn Tigers were a perfect 11-0. USC’s goal of thirteen increases the difficulty by two games, especially when mixed with the parity of this year’s Pac 10. The Trojans still possess the most talented roster in the league, but it’s a roster cut thin by departure. Depth is a key component to any team’s success, and Troy’s greatest enemy sits behind it’s own walls, represented in each area that is lacking.
With a preseason goal set high, and a chance that healthy bodies may begin to fall from the starting rotation, you can’t help wondering if the mission and purpose will fall with them.
What happens if the Trojans drop one? What would happen to the remainder of the season if perfection is swept to the side somewhere along the way? Would the men of Troy be just as motivated to “Fight On” or would they submit to the sanctions and surrender the remainder of the schedule, much like Trojan basketball during the latter portion of the past season? There’s no doubt that USC hoops performed well under the circumstances, but they didn’t play with the same enthusiasm that had them sharing the Pac 10 lead before self imposed sanctions were announced.
Is” knocking out thirteen” an “all or nothing” campaign?
I guess we won’t get that answer until the water becomes choppy—but here’s hoping for a forecast that calls for smooth sailing ahead.