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Why I’m a Fan of Carson Palmer and the USC Trojans

How a Northern California kid came to root for a Southern California powerhouse

Carson Palmer celebrates the victory Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Conquest Chronicles! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

I knew a guy in high school who said he was an Oakland Raiders fan just because he thought that the color combination of silver and black was the “dopest thing” he had “ever seen.” He would probably fail at naming their starting quarterback pre-Rich Gannon – heck, he probably couldn't tell you where Rich Gannon went to college.

It's always interesting to ask different people how they began rooting for their favorite teams – it usually begins by someone you look up to telling you who to root for, which usually holds you over until you have to decide whether you want to keep rooting for this team or choose your own path. It could all be very daunting, but hey, trust me, it all will get worked out eventually. I know a lot of you reading this are super worried. For me, my USC football “fandom” began during Carson Palmer's Heisman Trophy-winning season. Let's backtrack for a second, though.

I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA (just north of San Francisco). There is a rich sports history in this area: predating 1990 (the year I was born) you had the San Francisco 49ers and their run of SuperBowls; the Oakland Athletics were as strong as ever; the Oakland Raiders were a force leading up to, and into, the 90s; the Golden State Warriors even had “Run TMC.” So there wasn't any shortage of successful teams I could decide to root for and, for the most part, I stuck with a selection of Bay Area teams: my go-to's are the 49ers (NFL), the Giants (MLB), and the Warriors (NBA) – and before you get on my case for being a Warriors fan, just know that I have sulked through so many losing seasons that I, unabashedly, am going to enjoy their run of success for as long as it lasts.

Everyone I grew up around rooted for these teams. Everyone. It feels nice having this sort of comradery with nearly every person in your hometown. I wanted a way to be different, though, because – if I am being perfectly honest with you – I like being different sometimes. Why not shake things up every now and then? So, in elementary school, a friend asked who I rooted for in college football – knowing, full-well, that I was surrounded by children of multiple UC Berkley and Stanford alumni, I responded with “USC, of course.” It was the Fall of 2002 and little did I know that, by the end of year, I would actually fall in love with the team.

2002, for those of you who may not recall (and as previously stated), was Carson Palmer's Heisman Trophy-winning season. A season which, by all means, had me enthralled with USC football. And then to have, only a few years later, the likes of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush – just wow. Carson Palmer playing the most glamorous position in the most glamorous sport for a team located in a part of California known for its glamor is all that takes for little 12-year-old-Josh to go against the grain of the Bay Area and, for once – but as per usual – be different than everyone else.

I'm happy with my decision.

Fight on!


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