Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Los Angeles is buzzing; Trojans are not

A city overflowing with stars is ecstatic to be hosting gridiron stars from the Midwest. You would have to go back to the 80s to find this much excitement over a single game. No.8 Auburn came in 2002, Arkansas in 2005, and Nebraska in 2006. But the Ohio State Buckeyes and their No. 5 ranking bring a mystique unseen since the top rated Trojans defeated the second ranked Sooners in 1981.

Why is this greater than games against ranked Bruins teams or those of the Fighting Irish? It’s because Ohio State/USC doesn’t happen as often, and we’re rewarded with their first meeting in 12 years, and both are ranked in the nation's top 5. There’s also the fact that both programs are easily in the early running for “programs of the decade”. Both the fans of Ohio State and USC should thank their athletic directors for providing us with this, because it takes a lot of balls to schedule an out of conference opponent that can wreck your season, when you can easily avoid them until bowl games.

For the football Trojans, this game is no different than any other. It’s business as usual at USC. The preparation is the same, and they take the Buckeyes to be no different than any other program. There isn’t a player on the team that hasn’t already been showered by media hype and high expectations. Excluding the true freshmen, they’ve all played in “big games” and so called “games of the century”. As tailback Allen Bradford put it, “It’s just a different team, same preparation.” And I would suggest his assessment is just part of the Trojan programming on how to address the media, if I didn’t know different. But those comments coincide with all big games played, home and away. They never change a thing. In fact, two weeks ago, they had players from the Virginia Cavaliers watching their walk through, before the two teams played the next day. Trojan practices are open. The philosophy would be, it doesn’t matter if you know how we work, if you don’t have the athletes to stop it from working.

So while the City of Los Angeles is festive, the players are relaxed and loose, as they are for any other game.


Brian Cushing is nursing a bruised hip. If Cushing is unable to go on Saturday, Clay Matthews will fill his position.

Joe McKnight played quarterback in Tuesday's practice, simulating the fumble prone freshman Terrelle Pryor.

Vidal Hazelton (ankle) is still a game time decision.

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