I haven't even bothered to read the local rags or the national websites. Why bother, I already know what they are going to say so why bother...A loss like the one yesterday brings all the detractors out.
It is bad enough that Pete Carroll and USC, for a myriad of reasons, completely fell apart yesterday but the lack of "finishing" that Pete Carroll always preaches has opened him up to a ton of criticism. Legit or not SC is just one of those programs that everyone loves to hate. That is fine...it is what it is and there isn't much we can do about it. Had Pete Carroll racked up a one or two more MNC's this loss, as bad as it is, really would not sting as much as it does.
There isn't a successful program out there that hasn't gone through something like this at some point or another. Every team has an ugly loss and every team goes through a bad string but with that being said this was an ugly one for USC. When coupled with the loss to Oregon and the struggles with Oregon St., ASU and the 2nd half of Notre Dame there is a bad pattern that makes everyone across the college football landscape do a double take. UW is throw away game for all the obvious reasons...no need to rehash that.
There were many in the press that thought in the pre-season that USC would once again make a run to an 8th straight Pac-10 title. They were picked by just about everyone because no other team in the Pac-10 had stepped up to take the title by the throat. It was an easy choice for those who did not do their homework...and because USC has collapsed so bad this season it made all those pundits look bad and because they have an unlimited supply of ink I would expect SC to get dump trucked in the press and on TV.
As bad as it was yesterday Pete Carroll has brought enough success to USC that he deserves a rebuilding year. Yes, he still should have put another MNC pelt or two on the wall but some of that was out of his control.
I still believe in Pete Carroll...
He now has a very slim margin of good will with a majority of the fans and alums.
Pete Carroll's success at USC has opened many avenues for him to spread his word. Whether it is FaceBook, Twitter or all the work he has done for A Greater L.A. Pete Carroll has put his brand out there. Many fans have supported these endeavors. We supported him every time he jumps on board with something that is aligned with his charity work. Pete Carroll is allowed to have a personal life...He can do whatever he wants in his free time and it really is none our business but when he exposes himself the way he has the few years it makes it tough for any fan to continue to support his good deeds when the performance on the field is as bad as we have seen it the past four weeks.
Fans are fickle, they only care about winning. They can accept a loss here or there even a bad one at that, but with all the exposure Pete Carroll has received for his outside endeavors a loss like this will make some fans take a second look at his commitment to winning. It may not be right but that is how it is...I realize that may be hard to take for some people but everything is on the table especially with the way this team has imploded this season.
I think many of us have been understanding when it comes to the offense. Freshman QB, rookie college QB Coach, New OC etc. etc. Understandably, that takes time to develop, but if it takes so much time that Pete Carroll's attention is divided too much from his overseeing the defense, especially with a rookie DC, then there will be questions and they are coming right now. Pete Carroll is the defensive guru. Whether or not we like the overall schemes he is running is immaterial...before this year they served us fine. Yes, there were a few close calls and few untimely losses but the overall package has been a solid one.
This year is different...
None of us wanted to believe that after losing eleven or so players to the NFL that were just going to reload. My friend Clay told me that when he saw the fall scrimmages he could tell that this team had three or four losses staring them in the face...how right he was. None of us wanted to believe it. The past few seasons I went on EDSBS Live and said that I thought the team had one or two losses. This year I made no such proclamation... I thought that PC had it all under control.
How wrong I was...
I figured there was a loss there but not three and certainly not as bad as the last two.
This program is at a crossroads...if you think that is some dramatic statement think again.
The a few teams in the Pac-10 have caught up. They do not fear USC. They are recruiting some solid players...Just like SC. And they have some solid staffs in place. Based on what I have seen I still want PC as the head coach but he has to make some changes...he has to overcome and adapt to the new style of play. Most important he has to release some control. In the end it is his decision, but his micromanaging style is what sunk him in both New York and New England. Could that be the case here?
That is just the tip of the iceberg. There is still an NCAA investigation hovering out there. Those findings could hurt the program even more and when coupled with recruits that might take a second look at what some are already considering a once proud program. SC could be be in for some lean years.
And it could get worse...
There are two games left on the schedule. If SC doesn't get back on track it could find itself on the wrong end of these games. We all know that ucla is a rivalry game and anything could happen. UA was in the Pac-10 title hunt until they lost to Cal but don't think they won't look to take advantage of a vulnerable USC team.
I can't think of a more urgent time for USC.
I could care less about what the polls say or what Bowl game SC is in. Those are short term markers the real test will be if the team can get back to semblance of its former self. The sky is not falling but the skies sure look gloomy. This is where this staff has to earn their money. Are they going to fold like a two-dollar suitcase or are they going to kick some ass and take some names?
I am sure it will be an interesting bye week.
One final thought...tomorrow is "tell the truth Monday" I would be interested in hearing the coaches tell the truth as well. It is clear that some of them are not getting the word passed down to the players that have to execute.
We will close the book on Stanford tomorrow but I really don't know what else there is to say....