When the Going Gets Tough, the Trojans Better Get Going

Stephen Dunn

Make sure to check out the weekly series chronicled by current USC student Mark Albano, who gives his first-hand perspective on the highs and lows of the Football season from high-flying pulse of the student section. If you would like insight of the 140 character variety, follow his twitter account @markalbano11 for more details.

I’m from Boston; we don’t really do college sports there. I mean we have college athletics, Boston College is after all playing USC this week, but what I mean is that it isn't really on our radar. We are too busy having our pro teams break our hearts to pay attention to college sports. The first NCAA football game I saw was a Harvard-Yale game, which unless this was pre-1910, I can pretty much guarantee it was the most boring thing ever.

I came to USC a virgin…of college sports, I mean.

When I stepped out of my dorm two years ago for my first home game as a USC student against Minnesota, I had entered another world. Rows and rows of cardinal, gold, and beer pong tables lined the quad, the marching band blasted down Trousdale, the bacon wrapped hot dogs, which is the devil’s food by the way, were sold on every inch of grass of the Rose Garden, and outside the Coliseum families had brought their entire living rooms so they could watch the other games before watching their Trojans go to war.

It was something that I had never seen before; it turned me on to college athletics in a way I never thought was possible. I knew I would support USC, but I never thought college sports would really hook me. I didn’t ever see it get to this point.

I bleed Boston, but now I also bleed USC. I care about our team, and I care about our image. It’s hard not to considering as a student you are surrounded constantly by plaques and memorabilia reminding us how great and storied this university is athletically.

That’s the way this whole school is: USC IS EVERYTHING AT USC. It’s really rare; I have visited friends at other schools that don’t put their name on everything and it is just weird. A bit of fresh air at times, I don’t know how to feel about this and I definitely, 100% don’t like this, but still odd nonetheless.

But regardless of how ridiculous some of those items are, they still have a demand, otherwise there wouldn’t be a supply. And that demand comes from the fans’ love and pride for USC and all things USC. And those proud, diehard fans that USC and Trojan football have fostered have turned into one big USC community.

Say what you will about Los Angeles sports fans, and believe me I have said some things, just ask my friends who are Laker fans, I believe USC fans are cut from a different cloth. They are passionate, and standby their team, they live for USC football.

The point is that college athletics have the capability to create a strong, enthusiastic, proud, and most importantly emotional fan base. That is what USC has done, by catering the experience of Trojan football to the fans, USC pride has passed down from generation to generation of Trojans and non-Trojans, even becoming "LA’s unofficial Pro Football Team".

But now sadly, it has come to this for all of us watching in sheer disapproval.

And it sucks because you hate to see your team lose, and even more you hate to upset such a passionate fan base. As we prepare ourselves for this upcoming game against Boston College the question presents itself, what happens if people don’t care about USC anymore?

I’m not saying this is the end of Trojan football as we know it, far from it. But to have the entire Coliseum, or rather what was left of the Coliseum, booing their beloved Trojans and chanting to fire their head coach, what does that mean for USC and the rest of the season?

It's hard to say how those fans, who have sat steaming this last week thinking about how much they hate Lane Kiffin, how their quarterbacks looked weak, and how they lost a game that should have never really been a game, will react this week. They'll come out, but how many will. And if they don't come out, can we really blame them?

It's a noon start time against a school who haven't been relevant in football since '07, and who are known for being more comfortable on ice than on the field. And it's in the Coliseum. It should be a wrap. But it's not. And that's scary to Trojan faithful to even fathom life with the possibly of having a losing record after this game on Saturday.

We know that it could be an ugly game on Saturday. We want to be optimistic, but it takes a lot right now to rally the troops. Kiffin is going to get booed as soon as he comes out, guaranteed. Every single play is going to be scrutinized, guaranteed. Kessler is going to be on thin ice, guaranteed. And fans don't want to be baking in the sun in order to watch us lose, guaranteed.

Meaning that USC needs a blowout, they can’t really afford to settle for anything else. It is not just about showing that we can a football game against a team we are supposed to beat, it is about proving to the world, the players, and the fans that the Trojans still have swag, that the Trojans are the most exciting team to watch bar none.

It is tough because there really haven’t been any glimpses of that this year. Two games deep and so far the highlight, besides stellar outings from a defense that has yet to really be tested, has been, well our lack of highlights.

Not to mention that the must-see game of the week, perhaps even of the season, Alabama at Texas A & M, is only half an hour after the start of the Trojans so you know fans are going to be weary.

We will lose some, that’s for sure, but I have confidence fans will come out and cheer. It is hard for me to give up on USC fans just like that, and I know it is even harder for them to give up on the Trojans; it’s in their blood. We will come ready to be impressed, and they better be impressed.

The quad and campus will still be filled with tailgaters tomorrow, the band will still be blaring down the heart of campus, unfortunately for my arteries, bacon wrapped hot dogs will still be served, and people will still come to see the Trojans. This much is known.

They are angry, they are upset, they want to see change, and deservingly so. If being a Boston fan has taught me anything over the years though, it’s that it will take a hell of a lot of misfortune and misery to stop people from supporting their teams, and even then they still will support. We’re stupid like that. We may be upset the whole time, but we’ll still watch, scream, cheer, and boo. We love it too much.

Let's just be thankful that our fans are passionate and want what is best for the team; now it is time for Kiffin and the team to take notice and make good on their commitment to the fans.

Beat the Eagles!

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