UCLA Week: The Seniors Swan Song

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 11: Wide receiver Brandon Carswell #80 of the USC Trojans makes a catch in front of cornerback Mike Parker #43 of the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11 2010 in Los Angeles California. USC won 17-14. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Hard to believe that the season will be over tomorrow.

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were getting ready for the season opener against Minnesota.

Things have changed since that first game. This team has come together and improved in many areas, there are still a few issues that can be improved upon but no one will question that this team is playing pretty well as they head into the season finale tomorrow night.

This USC team could not be where they are today without the seniors who stay committed to this program.

After the NCAA's carpet bombing of USC in June 2010 The NCAA granted all the juiniors and seniors on the team the ability to transfer penalty free.

There were a few who took advantage of that opportunity.

Of the few that did leave, NONE of them did much with that opportunity.

Those who stayed are the anchors of this team.

Brandon Carswell was gone. Checked out. Ready to fly.

The NCAA sanctions handed down against USC last year included an escape clause. Trojans juniors and seniors could transfer at any time and play immediately at new schools.

New USC Coach Lane Kiffin called it free agency.

Carswell, a seldom-used receiver, sensed opportunity. So a plane ticket to Cincinnati was purchased. A fresh start with a new program awaited.

But then his phone buzzed. Kiffin asked him to stay.

"He told me I was needed," Carswell says.

The plea gave him pause. Made him think. He called his parents one last time to talk it over. They had always wanted him to stay.

While we marvel at our freshmen and sophomores, it is our seniors who provided the foundation of what we have today. Without the commitment of those seniors the message would have resounded they way it is right now.

USC still has a long road ahead of them as the navigate the scholarship reductions over the next three years, but the way that Kiffin has brought these guys together, the way he modified the culture and they way he stayed true to his plan has put USC back in the national discussion.

I am never happy to see any USC player move on. The fans get attached because we have watched these players progress from their first day. When they get to the next level it becomes so impersonal, but this group of seniors will always hold a special place in Trojan lore...if for no other reason that they refused to quit, they refused to walk away from this great program.

Here is hoping that they go out with a bang tomorrow night!

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