"IF"

Well, after saying yesterday that the Norm Chow/USC stories were slow to come out we now have the one I was waiting for.

Get out your hankies out because this one is a doozie and it is told by just who I thought would tell it...Bil Placshke. So gather round boys and girls so we can hear Uncle Bill tell his story of woe.

Nobody really talks about it anymore, it exists far across town and deep in the standings, it's nearly disappeared under four years of obscurity and disappointment.

But it's still there. And Saturday, from high in the Rose Bowl press box, for the first time since becoming painfully evident, this truth will be staring them directly in the face.

The Trojans miss Norm Chow. They miss him bad. They miss him historically bad.

"We miss all of our coaches who have left," said Carroll.

No, they miss him worse. They miss him national-championship bad.

The truth is, if Chow did not leave USC in 2005 after a personality clash with Carroll, they could have played for three more national titles.

The truth is, in each of the first three seasons after Chow left, in three games they should have won, the Trojans offense slipped into a confused funk that led to three defeats.

"Norm was a wonderful coach here, but he was replaced by other great coaches," said Carroll. "Over the years, I believe our coaching staff has maintained its standard of excellence."

But truth is, while Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were consistent winners, neither had Chow's savvy to survive the big moments.

You think Chow could have prevented the late offensive meltdown in the national championship game against Texas?

With Chow in the booth, there is no way Reggie Bush would not have been on the field on that infamous fourth-and-two play on the Texas 45-yard line. If Bush is on the field, at least one more defender is occupied, and LenDale White probably gains the extra yard that would have clinched the victory.

You think Chow could have figured out a way to score on that last drive against UCLA?

With Chow in the booth, there is no way that USC's attempted game-winning march -- with 5:52 remaining and three timeouts left from their 29-yard line -- would have consisted of a dozen John David Booty passes and just one C.J. Gable run. It was so predictable, UCLA was waiting for that pick.

It goes on and on and on and on.................

IF....

Oh, how we all have stories that start out with IF.

It's done and over with and there is nothing that can be done to go back and fix it.

Come on Uncle Bill, I will split the difference with you, there is a very good chance that SC would have beat Texas if Reggie Bush was on the field for that 4th and 2 but then how would we explain LenDale White not following the blocking scheme that ultimately led to his being stopped short? Do you think Norm Chow could have foreseen that? Do you think he would have prevented Reggie losing the ball on a that lateral?

Just curious with all of his greatness how would Norm Chow stop Vince Young that night?.....

Yeah, I figured...Chow only works on one side of the ball and the USC defense was depleted, with a few freshman playing in that game. I as much anyone hate to think about but I have a hard time seeing how anyone could have stopped Vince Young that night...it was his time pure and simple.

There is no guarantee that if Chow was around for that game that he would stayed so this is a circular argument (or firing squad, take your pick).

I am not necessarily buying the argument that SC would have fared any better once the Bush/White/Leinart team scattered to the 4 winds. Booty was good but he wasn't Leinart good. People need to understand that the stars lined up perfectly with the that team and it will NEVER happen again. The running backs were certainly not up to Bush/White and the receivers production dropped off so its hard to know how it all would have turned out.

But here is what I get a kick out of in Uncle Bill's tale of woe...

The truth is, Chow's place in Trojans history has only grown stronger.

"I want to say something about USC," Chow said when I phoned him Thursday.

I grabbed my pen. I braced for the vitriol.

"I want to say that I will be forever grateful to Pete for allowing me to coach in the Pac-10, which led to me going to the NFL," Chow said. ''He's a tremendous coach. His staff is filled with tremendous coaches. I have nothing but the greatest respect for USC, I have many friends there still, from Mike Garrett to Don Winston to many, many others."

Typical Chow. He will never publicly admit any hard feelings about anyone. He will never publicly ask for credit. At the height of his USC fame, he was so intent on staying off the big stage, I once had to literally chase him for a quote.

Really?

Maybe I have been living in NYC too long because when challenged I will get right back in your face. Most of us know that while Chow puts a good spin on things publically he has been nothing but petulant behind the scenes about how it all went down. I am not saying that he didn't have legitimate gripe with how Kiffin or Sark handled it, he probably did but you have to take the good with the bad and only a fool would think that Chow left on good terms. Frankly, if Chow has a beef I say either put it all there or say "No Comment" like he did earlier in the week. It has been well documented that Chow sulked when he was unhappy like when Pete Carroll told him to change the offense.

I am simply tired of all the whining about what might have been. Those who continue to pine for the past need to get into therapy. Its a symbiotic relationship. Chow is the best at what he does...Period!  But its hard not to ignore that while he produced some great QB's his time between MNC's went almost 20 years. Chow doesn't recruit he develops and he is the best at it but without the supporting cast it becomes an after thought. Pete Carroll provided the suporting cast.

Hardly anyone talked about Chow winning an MNC at BYU until he started working his magic with USC. Why? Because the BYU teams he was a part of were in a 2nd tier conference that didn't really play anyone other than Air Force or an occasional competitve Utah team.

It's time to let it go.

Nobody cares anymore and those who do need to get a life. Its hard enough to win let alone go undefeated in D-1 and there are no gurantees that SC would have went to the promised land 5 straight times. Its fun to dream but at some point you need to wake up and deal with the here and now.

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