Considering USC's disastrous past year, which involved a mediocre 9-4 mark in Pete Carroll's final season at the helm as well as NCAA sanctions, it would be reasonable to assume that the rest of the Pac-10 would feel a little different in regards to the Trojans.
No, 'SC wasn't going to become a sympathetic figure, but with the 2-year bowl ban and an overall lack of depth due to transfers and scholarships reductions, the idea that the conference would begin to feel a little indifferent toward Troy was a perfectly plausible scenario. After all, this is a team that is out of the Rose Bowl race entirely. So, who cares what occurs under Kiffin, right?
Apparently they all still do.
I guess it makes some sense, though. After all, since 2002, only one team, Oregon, has been able to win an outright conference title. 'SC has been the top dog for a while, and now somebody else has a chance to celebrate New Year's in Pasadena. Now's an opportunity to kick the program when it's down. I get all that. This is the best college football program on the west coast, historically and largely presently, and people now think their respective school is within striking distance of the top dog.
But keep swinging.
Despite these new circumstances, it appears as if the Trojan Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is once again spreading and reaching new heights, and while it's expected to infect most Bruin backers, it's a disappointing occurrence to see it reaching the rest of league.
There isn't anything particularly wrong with rivalries, hatred, and friendly banter, in the sports world. In many ways, smack talk makes this whole thing fun to begin with. However, the idea that a fanbase becomes so fixated on one of their opponents is pretty pathetic, especially when it has nothing to do with the present state of their respective team. Take for instance some recent comments posted by the editor of another blog:
No comment from this thread will be deleted. You will have to own them when we get it turned around and beat Southern Cal. You will never ride the bandwagon when we come back. Not on BN.
It's one game into the season, and the Westwood crowd already wants to talk about USC.
Their quarterback just completed just 9-of-26 passes with two picks, and has a nagging back injury that forced him to miss most of fall camp. Yet, they're preoccupied with a December 4th game against the Trojans?
Their defense gave up over 300 yards on the ground against Kansas State, but they're now fixated on Lane Kiffin and 'SC?
But this is the type of shenanigans that are pulled when one team loses 10 out of the last 11 games of a rivalry. They become preoccupied on Game 12, when they just finished Game 1. This type of USC obsession is customary. We expect this from these guys.
But what becomes disheartening is when other fanbases take on this UCLA mindset - such as Washington. In the wake of Lane Kiffin's rather brief halftime interview with ESPN's Shelley Smith, UW Dawg Pound promptly decided to take a shot at Kiffin
This guy makes $4 million per year
Amazing what you can do with a big mouth, inflated ego and a Leisure Service Management degree from Fresno State.
For the record, I don't know the UW guys at all. So maybe, they are trying to be funny or clever. Maybe, they just don't like guys who wear visors. I can totally relate to that last one.
But either way, the comments are a little odd.
Why would Washington fans be this concerned about how Kiffin conducts a 1-minute halftime interview with a 52 year-old sideline reporter for ESPN?
UW is coming off a six point road loss to BYU, and they're more eager to discuss the interview etiquette for USC's head football coach?
I mean, I know USC is nationally relevant, but does it matter this much?
I guess it is funny and odd at the same time that so many in the CFB world care what this one guy thinks.
Husky fans just watched Steve Sarkisian's conservative playcalling prevent them from beating a team from the Mountain West Conference.
We have seen Sarkisian do that ourselves, so we understand their frustration.
Their Heisman candidate in Jake Locker, who Mel Kiper Jr. calls the best quarterback in the country, was unable to outduel BYU's quarterback tandem of first-time starters Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps. He did put up some nice numbers (20-of-37 for 266 yards and 1 TD), but when it mattered most he struggled. For referance, UW went 5-of-18 on 3rd and 4th downs with Locker under center Saturday.
So, logically, wouldn't these likely be areas of discussion following the game as opposed to USC, which actually managed to post a victory in its first outing of the year?
You would think so, anyway.
It's unfortunate, because I really want to like Husky fans. You have to love their passion as they are finally moving out of the wilderness of being irrelevant. Sterngating sounds fun. They like to drink pinot noir. And as a Laker fan and son of Northwestern alumns, I do find purple to be fashionable. Plus, Washington State fans criticize them for being snobs.
Hey, we get flack for that too.
It's just this whole Trojan Derangement Syndrome thing really cramps your style. Trust us, the script is all to familiar. You don't want to go down that road, or you'll just end up looking like this guy.