Let’s get it out of the way. It’s never fun to lose to UCLA. It reminds me of the one other time that happened since I became a Trojan. I remember losing a silly 13-9 game that at the time felt significant because a win would have put us into the national title and UCLA coach Karl Dorell finally had a signature win. It took forever to get out of the golf course where UCLA parks our cars. We took plenty of shit from Bruin fans who had trouble knowing how to gloat, it had been so long since they won.
In a way, it felt like the loss this weekend. Again, USC spotted a massive early lead, coughed the ball up too much and played a well-prepared team. I am, despite the nature of my blog, not a homer.
UCLA is much improved on the field, their bandwagon fans are still the same petty crowd. I am hoping the actual alumni of the school enjoy the win and the promise that Coach Mora has them a far, far more complete team than we’ve seen since Pete Carroll’s first season. Things definitely could trend well for us both, this could eventually become a rivalry again. Like I said, the road to this meaning more to Trojans would ultimately start with a loss. Good on you, Bruins. You did it.
What I would critique are the Bruin fans, not the ones you know from your office who are employed, but their bandwaggoners celebrating still the idea that sanctioning our marching band was good or being proud of Barr ending the college career of Matt Barkley, who has stood for nothing but everything the college game is supposed to be about.
I don’t expect a basketball school where players are one and done always to understand what Barkley did, but I would expect not to be proud of injuring a player who gave up a lot to keep playing for his school. This is a guy who goes on philanthropic trips to Africa and to Haiti, a guy who was a good friend when I had a serious illness and a guy who regardless of if you like USC or not, is a guy you want on your team.
UCLA won the game and being stoked on that makes you normal. Being stoked Barkley got injured makes you a college football hater. One of the great joys in my life as a sports fan was seeing Vince Young play in that Rose Bowl. It was hard to see him so dominant, but the last thing I’d have wanted was for him to get hurt. That’s not what this is about.
Literally promoting an animated gif about a college athlete getting hurt makes every point I offered last week for me. That’s not something I’d ever want to see a Trojan do to a Bruin. Kill your spirits, your team, your hopes. Sure. Have at it. Celebrate an injury? Where’s Bill Plaschke now to tie his “respect” column to this latest show of sportsmanship…
The SC game was mostly over by the time the injury happened, so that’s not a factor here. What is a factor is feeling joy for the pain of someone who may influence a star player on UCLA one day to stick around and show pride in their school. We already know Hundley knows how to throw up our Victory V. I am sure Bruins hope he takes another cue from USC quarterbacks, especially Barkley.
Also, for the record, banning the field stab still was a cheap move. It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game and had the band done it, UCLA would have had even more to celebrate. Just have to keep that clear, while I totally give it up to the players on the field and the coaches for earning a big win.
I’d rather focus the remainder of this post on our own fans and to take a moment to remember Matt Barkley’s career here as it would seem the Max Wittek era begins a bit early. Fear not, Max, we’re behind you and the last Mater Dei quarterback to have his first start against a #1 team won 24-0.
Trojans, it sucks to have a season not play out the way we expected, but it doesn’t suck to go to USC. As I always say, we’ll win again and way more than we’ll lose. UCLA fans feeling excited know this too. The thing is, those of you who blamed Barkley for interceptions or stick this all on the coaching need to take a moment off.
First, Barkley needs to be absolved. If you ran around your office like the rest of us did when he said he’d come back, then you need to stand up and clap for him now that his time as a Trojan is over.
Come draft time, I am going to write a recap of Matt’s time at USC, Matty Trojan, the best we’ve had in my tenure. Get on the right side of this argument or stop reading this blog. I’m not your voice if you don’t appreciate Matt from game one to now. I’m adamant about this.
It’s Thxgiving week, Portland is quiet. 90% of that has to do with the Ducks losing, which in a schaedenfraude sort of way made this weekend a little sunnier. I was at self storage still getting my condo settled when I saw two Ducks fans fresh from the game. It took all my humility not to be like “what happened, didn’t see the game”.
Having to eat a little Bruin humble pie had me decide to go with that pie theme, celebrate Thxgiving early and just put good vibes into the football universe.
After all, we get to play Notre Dame next week in what might as well be the National Title game for them. Not used to playing spoiler when the Dodgers aren’t in season, so let’s relish it.
Right now, let’s hope Matt is doing well and getting good prognoses for his draft training, let’s hope Max Wittek is stoked to take the reins and let’s leave the Kiffin talk for another year. We need his recruiting, his father is out as D coordinator and the truth is, until sanctions are officially over, I still think he’s the best man for the job. We just need to get him some help so the details don’t get missed.
FTFO and stay dry out there.