I usually don't spend any time reading stuff from the Trojan blogs, but I've been looking in from time to time recently to see if there's been any news regarding Ken Norton Jr.'s status.
Earlier today, a sort of interesting tidbit came over my RSS reader. Scott Wolf, in his Daily News blog, made an interesting observation about the behavior of the classiest guys in town at good 'ole Southern Cal.
Referring to the Rose Bowl earlier this week, Wolf said this:
I've heard that song many times over the years, but it's really more for public consumption, so everyone thinks USC is doing the right thing. But the reality is the Trojans will remain free-wheeling and continue to be demonstrative. That's the nature of the program.
It was kind of hard to avoid noticing all the penalties. USC was assessed 130 yards on 11 penalties, which some said took the bloom off the Rose Bowl.
The penalties are one thing, which maybe in other cases one could attribute to youthful exuberance. But, with Southern Cal, we have their beat reporter basically saying that they do it on purpose, that the coaches' disapproval is pure theater, and that this sort of deception is just the "nature of the program."
And I think that Southern Cal fans are foolish if they believe that this sort of mentality stops with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the field. Rather, it pervades the program. Be it free rent, or thugs on the sidelines or any of the countless other embarrassing incidents even as recently as this past year.
And, it's just another reason why I laugh when Southern Cal fans point to the speeches Carroll reportedly gives about staying away from agents, or the off-season seminars he supposedly organizes about NCAA regulations, as some kind of proof that Southern Cal plays by the rules and is simply the victim of isolated indiscretions just like everyone else. Of course, we know that's not true. It's just Pete "chastising the behavior just to make it appear it's unacceptable."
Even the reporters on the beat know this. Southern Cal plays it fast and loose. It's a winning combination. And when something inevitably goes wrong, they feign their disapproval.