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UCLA Football Opponent Deep Cut: Southern Cal

The Trojans and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Deep Cut is a companion piece to the Opponent Preview, in which I take a closer look at something related to the opponent, with a humorous slant.

It’s been a rough year for the alumni of Southern Cal. Let’s do a quick recap:

  • Their football team underachieved last season and since that’s the only thing alumni of this school actually care about, you knew they were in for a rough year.
  • The basketball team, which was their most talented team in years, maybe decades, failed to make the NCAA tournament, something that even Steve Alford managed to do. On top of that, the basketball team is now under FBI investigation and, at this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if the FBI and the NCAA didn’t just have their own offices on campus.
  • OJ Simpson, who definitely did not kill anyone and will one day find the actual murderer, was released from prison, where he had served 9 years for kidnapping and armed robbery charges. The sad fact is that that is way more time than he would have served had he committed those crimes as the Southern Cal running back.
  • The Trojans decided that Michigan State should not be alone in harboring an on-campus doctor who had been engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior, as they eventually fired an on-campus gynecologist after which an LA Times report detailed over 30 years of misconduct.
  • That wasn’t the only doctor the Trojans had to fire as the former dean of the Keck School of Medicine was fired after an LA Times expose detailed years of drug use and misconduct while in the position. Carmen A. Puliafito had already been accused of poaching top medical professionals from other schools to help goose the med school’s rankings.
  • Speaking of the LA Times, in June the historic paper was purchased by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. Soon-Shiong is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, but, more importantly, he is an alumni of the UCLA Medical School, where trained as a surgeon. For years, the Times has been a bastion of pro-Southern Cal coverage, so having a Bruin as the new owner of the LA Times has to sting a bit.
  • You know all those sexual abuse scandals the Times reported on? In the immediate aftermath, students, faculty, and (some) alumni called for the resignation of school president Max Nikias, saying that his protection, or rather his inaction, for years regarding both doctors was a gross dereliction of his duties. The second report dropped in May, but it wasn’t until August that Nikias officially resigned. That’s a true profile in courage from Nikias and the Southern Cal Board of Trustees.

So yeah, not a great year, but I’m here to tell you, Trojan fans, that things will get better!

After all, football season is here and I’m sure all of you have confidence in the coaching abilities of Clay Helton. Sure, he’s not nearly the coach that Chris Petersen, Chip Kelly, David Shaw, or Kyle Whittingham are, but he’s definitely better than Sark!

And, you know, Clay is going to have things on the right path because he kept all of his coaches! That’s the kind of continuity most programs can only dream of. Nevermind the fact that Tennessee wouldn’t give Tee Martin, current Southern Cal offensive coordinator and former Tennessee quarterback, the time of day during their coaching search because he’s actually terrible at anything that isn’t recruiting. Or, that no one on the offensive coaching staff was able to ride the Sam Darnold wave to a better job. Or, that Clancy Pendergast’s defense managed to be that bad despite that level of talent. I’m sure things will be fine!

But hey, JT Daniels just got announced as quarterback! That’s exciting! True freshman never struggle in their first season! Look at Tua Tagovailoa! He won a national championship! Nevermind, the fact that he didn’t start at all last season and was only able to turn around the national championship game because Georgia clearly did not prepare for him to be in the game at all.

Ok, so, clearly things could turn out very poorly for the Trojans this year, but look at the silver lining. If it actually looks bad, you can just fire Helton and hire a new head coach. Just think of all the big names you’ve been able to hire recently:

  • Clay Helton
  • Steve Sarkisian
  • Lane Kiffin


Ok that’s pretty bad also.

Well, at least there’s always basketball season baseball season...well, the weather is nice, at least.

Go Bruins!