With our big rivalry game looming this weekend, Bruins Nation wanted to continue our efforts to get better acquainted with our opponent via our weekly Q&A session. However, this week proved to be a little trickier in terms of finding an appropriate trogan to participate in our Q &A.
The first problem was the language barrier. Fortunately, Bruins Nation is well prepared with an expert interpreter of Troganese, our very own ucla7477. You have seen his numerous previous Trogan-to-English translations here on BN. His ability to interpret Troganese proved invaluable to this week's conversation.
The next stumbling block was trying to find someone at Southern Cal who could comprehend our questions, and then formulate an intelligent reply. Calls to Pat Haden's office found him giving a keynote address at an ethics convention. Calls to the Compliance Office were greeted with a recorded message that went like this "Your inquiry has been received by the University of Southern California Compliance Office (USC Co.). No one is here...huh?, oh, to answer your call. Don't call us; we'll call you. You can expect a response before the Sun dies." Moving on, we called classrooms and surprisingly found no one. We did encounter one student driving a golf cart who seemed very eager to talk to anyone, but we decided it was best to avoid him. Finally, we were able to sit down with the most knowledgeable play-caller in the Kiffin family -- that would be Knox -- and we received the following (translated from baby troganese) substantive responses. Fortunately, baby talk and Troganese are essentially interchangeable. Who knew? For his efforts, Sra Ross has awarded Knox an Advanced Placement "A". Win for everyone!
BN: Congrats on a huge win at Oregon last week, especially since they are bowl eligible and you are not. It has been a long time since any Pac-10/12 team won in Eugene. What was the key for your win?
7477's translation: There were two keys. First, the Ducks' criminal quarterback was kicked out of school and didn't play -- something that would never happen at our university of student-athletes. Second, many of our illegally-recruited players who should have been ineligible made important contributions. The formula is simple: if your opponent's bad guys don't play, and ours do, we can finally eke out a victory in the state of Oregon.
BN: For a team that supposedly has nothing to play for this year, since your cheating eliminated you from Bowl consideration before the season ever began, the trogans have played each game like they have everything to play for. To what do you attribute this grittiness?
7477: You have it backwards. We have nothing to be in school for, other than pigskin, and our weekly handshakes (known as Goux) keep us motivated. It's not grit, it's graft.
lots more after the jump...
BN: Matt Barkley has had a nice career, but even though he can't play in a bowl due to your probation, he has really stepped up to have an outstanding season in 2011. What do you think was the reason for his big jump this year?
7477: Well, he's no longer handicapped by having Coach Carroll running the offense and calling the plays -- you can see in Seattle how well he does with pro-caliber QBs. Matt understands that unless he is picked Top Five in the NFL draft that his compensation won't come anywhere close to what he accumulates at Troy. Plus he's a bit of a trash talker, so he's likely to have a short career in the pros.
BN: Your school has quite a legacy in running backs, with names like OJ Simpson, Mike Garrett, and Reggie Bush. How does this year's crop compare to greats like those?
7477: Marc Tyler is no chip off the old block, and his scandalous and criminal behavior, while nothing to sneeze at, hardly belongs in the same sentence as our heroes of Troy. It's impossible to top the face of USC (do a Google search), Mr. Simpson. But if you look at Coach Kiffin's recruits at Tennessee, you know that more criminals are on the way.
BN: While your offense has been pretty prolific this year, the defense has surrendered a lot of points, similar to how you surrendered all those wins and that glass football trophy. How will Lane's dad try to defense the pistol offense and the Bruins' rushing attack?
7477: Dad's defense is best when the going is toughest, take for example the 4th quarter of last week's contest. Dad relies on our offense having the ball 2/3 of the time and handles the rest by ZPO (zebra purchase option).
BN: With the Bruins playing for the Pac-12 title, which you can't play for (because you were cheating), and trying to position themselves for a better bowl, which you can't go to (because you were cheating), does this change the dynamics of the rivalry for you this week?
7477: Our players do lose the additional playoff shares they normally receive through underhanded methods. But the alumni slush fund always pays extra for a home win and double for a victory over UCLA.
BN: Lane Kiffin has some big challenges ahead as the scholarship limitations stemming from your probation for cheating become effective. How do you think he will handle this challenge?
7477: No problem. It's like the Yankees. There's an exorbitant total budget, per year. If there are fewer players allowed, then we can pay even higher rates to those we're allowed to bring in. And we sell the "university" experience: owning the police, Aryan website, demeaning women, rooftop philanthropy -- with no scholastic obligations.
BN: I think a great idea for our rivalry in the future is to play it at a neutral stadium in the city, like the proposed downtown NFL stadium. What is your opinion of an NFL team relocating to L.A.?
BN: Any advice to the Bruins fans who will make the road trip to the Coliseum this weekend, so that they can get their traveling routines down for when we go to a bowl?
7477: Buy travel insurance.
BN Eds - Huge thanks to ucla7477 for his contributions to this week's Q&A. Go Bruins!