BLACK SATURDAY IN LOS ANGELES!
Notre Dame 22, USC 13 and Stanford 35, UCLA 17
Without any doubt, this is one of the worst days in the History of Sports in Los Angeles. As bad as that was, it became even worse on Sunday, when the UCLA Basketball Team lost to woeful Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and of course the Trojans would lose to powerful San Diego State.
USC - It seems like just yesterday when the big question was where number one USC would play in the BCS Championship Bowl? They were ranked Number One in most of the Polls, and they had a Heisman Trophy Candidate playing quarterback for them. This season was supposed to be the best of times, but something went horribly wrong.
I think the problem is Head Coach Lane Kiffin. I have no doubt that he understands the X's and O's of college football. All coaches know them. The problem, as I see it, is that he does not have the Leadership and Management Skills that all successful coaches must have. He may acquire them along the way, but that should not be at USC. This University deserves to have an Elite Head Coach, and with the new television contracts, they can afford to pay a top salary.
Additionally, the weaker sisters of the PAC-12 have hired better coaches for their teams, so next year they will be even more competitive. Perennial doormat Washington State has hired Mike Leach, and poor little Oregon State has a record of 8-3.
Despite the unbelievable debacle of this season, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden is giving every indication that he plans to retain coach Kiffin. The most rabid supporters of the team are up in arms, and he may have to reverse that decision, whether he wants to or not.
While I am on a rant, please let me point out that the USC Basketball Team now plays their home games in the new and beautiful Galen Center, not in the ugly old Sports Arena. So, there is no excuse for them having less than mediocre teams. Neither their Men's nor Women's Basketball Teams are ranked in the AP TOP 25. I think that Haden should be given a maximum of two years to correct the situation, and nice guy and all; if he does not do that, then he should be shown the door as well.
UCLA - They lost a Stanford by a score of 35-17. This was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. The Berlin's are to be congratulated for their surprisingly successful year. The team has nine wins and three losses, and they will play for the PAC-12 Championship, this Friday at Palo Alto. Make no mistake about it, these Bruins are tough, and they play hard. Their coach, Jim Mora, has been a miracle worker so far.
The mature part of me recognizes that my rooting for a team does not help them win their games. But, like many of you, I root anyway. I went to USC, so I always root for them. I normally root for UCLA, when they are not playing the Trojans.
However, this time I will make another exception, and I will be rooting for Stanford. The reason is their head coach David Shaw, is an African American. There are presently many African American athletes in the collegiate and professional ranks. However, it has been nearly impossible for them to obtain employment as head coaches, managers, or the like. It is interesting to note that Stanford has employed African Americans Dennis Green, Tyrone Willingham, and now David Shaw, as their head coaches. UCLA made Karl Dorrell head coach, but unfortunately he did not have enough experience for the job at that time. USC has had several football coaches lately, but they have not yet 'found' a qualified African American coach. When they watch the BCS Championship Series, it is quite likely that they will see teams that are coached by Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M, and David Shaw of Stanford. Hopefully, this will broaden their range of applicants.