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The Fans Speak

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I have said in the past that we have been spoiled of late at SC all the titles, attention and awards have given all of us a great sense of accomplishment and have allowed us to pump our chests out and walk around with a sense of pride. As is always the case when things are good there is little dissention but when things go bad insanity takes over. All programs have bandwagon fans but the knowledgeable ones keep calm but are not afraid to show their disappointment or question why the loss occurred. We have tried to do that here on CC, we have been nothing but supportive of our players and coaching staff and we have been patient when things seemed to be not where we wanted them to be even though we were winning.

Dan Weber wrote an interesting piece on Wednesday looking at how the fans have reacted to Saturday's loss to Stanford.

If there's breaking news this week, it's not that Mark Sanchez might replace John David Booty and his fractured fingertip Saturday against Arizona, it's how thousands of USC fans and football watchers have jumped ship. They are off the bandwagon. You think the USC football team has an injury list longer than your arm, well the bandwagon jumpers have a decided limp this week.

Don't think so? Check out three of the public message boards dedicated to USC and Pac-10 football since Saturday's 24-23 loss to 40-point underdog Stanford.

The trust is gone. The message has been rewritten.

"Pete," they say, "it's time for a change."

I'm not sure that I completely agree with Weber but then again as a blogger I'm biased. Yes, fans will question the team when things are not going well and you can bet that when a loss of this magnitude takes place the questioning will be more pointed and less patient. There is nothing wrong with the fans questioning why Booty was left in the game continuing to throw passes with an injured finger, a move that clearly had ramifications on the outcome of the game. I have said in the past that I will not question play calling but this clearly was time where one will do just that.

I disagree with the notion that the trust is gone with Pete Carroll but that does not mean that we should accept Pete Carroll's stubbornness when the all the evidence indicates that change at QB should be made. Again I'm not questioning his loyalty to Booty and I am not, for the most part, questioning his game prep. But when the evidence shows that your starting QB won't be ready to go dragging out the official decision to start the backup perpetuates the frustration even more. I am not "crying my laptop" as Weber suggests but with the play in the last couple of games because of a lack of discipline or sloppy play the "trust in Pete" that a lot of us have had may be a bit tempered and it won't necessarily be blind trust.

I am not asking Carroll to change, he knows far more about the game than I will ever know, but when the people who make their living watching or covering the program see some glaring problems that need to be addressed I don't think it is out of line to ask why. Coach Carroll could probably care less what any of us think but the current performance of the team does lead to some doubt and failure to rectify those problems will eat at the good will of the fans and you mess with that at your peril. Fans are fickle, always have been always will be so when their frustration takes over it is hard to beat back.

I will never let things get to how they are across town but I won't follow the Pied Piper just because he plays a pretty tune either. Wolf and Paskwietz ask the tough questions and like wise we do too. This loss in and of itself is bad enough but when coupled with a pattern of poor or sloppy play that we have seen off and on for the past two seasons that's when the questions will be asked. Is it a lack of trust? No, but it is a signal that with the expectations set so high losses like this will shake a fan base to its core.