No one on the USC coaching staff is going to say it. The players have been told not to flaunt it. The fans are the only ones that will comment on the elephant in the room.
That elephant is that Conquest will be played in the Horseshoe following the USC vs Ohio State game.
Refer to it as a sure bet, money in the bank, or a no brainer. USC will beat the Buckeyes and it could be as ugly as it was last year.
Last season, a Buckeye player was interviewed on television. He said that his "team wanted to prove that they belonged on the same field as USC."
When the game ended the Buckeyes had shown that they didn't belong on the same field as the Trojans and they don't now.
My saying the above means nothing. What you saw this past weekend means everything. Note to Buckeyes: Playing Navy is not like playing the USC Trojans.
Why it is impossible for Ohio State to win is fairly simple.
The Ohio State quarterback (QB) call of "hike me the ball and I'll run with it" won't work against USC. Most of the players on USC's defense can out-run Pryor and none of them are much impressed with his size.
USC has always shut down the running game first.
Check with Bob Stoops and Adrian Peterson about running against USC. Maybe you can talk to the Illinois QB that beat the Buckeyes a couple of years ago. Tedford and J. Best couldn't even score a touchdown last year.
People who have follow USC know that the coaching staff challenges their opponents to pass, regardless of how good they might be.
USC figures, like many experts today, they have the best secondary in the nation. Pete says, "Go ahead and throw."
As soon as their opponent begins to pass, the USC defensive line will charge their QB in more ways than Carter has pills. Don't even think for a second that USC has a bunch of rookies on the defensive line.
I will make a very simple and very accurate statement. This year's defensive line is even better than last season's.
Jurrell Casey was one of the best defensive players last year. Pete Carroll has described him as "another Mike Patterson." (You know, the guy that is now first-team with the Eagles.)
There is nothing "new" about the defensive ends. The problem still is how to squeeze so many great players into the game. USC was rotating their high school All American freshmen in the San Jose State game.
Devon Kennard is the freshman defensive end that played particularly well in this last game. Why not? He was listed as ESPN's No. 1 recruit last season until he had an injury and sat out the latter part of his senior year. His father, Derek played for the Cowboys. More on him later.
The Buckeye players may not line-up against the same USC player two plays in a row. That is how deep and how often USC rotates. Many people believe that USC's half-time adjustments allow them to pull away - only partially so.
USC players are so fresh when they take the field that often they just crush their tired opponents.
Coach Pat Ruel is in his sixth season as the offensive line coach for USC. He said that this year is the the best offensive line he has coached at USC. He also said it was the deepest in talent.
The running back situation borders on the ridiculous. USC will play seven deep in the tailback position during a normal game. I'm speaking of a normal game, not a blowout.
Ken Norton, Jr. is the linebacker coach for USC. He and Pete Carroll have described this year's linebackers as faster than last season. They have also said that they are very hard hitting and experienced within the USC defensive scheme.
I wouldn't question those guys, would you?
The QB is always something that people attach to the determination of having a good team or not. I agree, to a point.
I certainly wouldn't build my entire team's future around one guy. Do the names Oklahoma, Bobbie Stoops, or Sam Bradford mean anything to you?
If the Sooners were playing a school with a reputable program this week, they would lose.
Should Ohio State, with the "hike me the ball and I'll run," QB get hurt...
USC has three QBs that could take the field and do well. In fact, the third-team QB is a SEC transfer who had a starting record of 8-0 with Arkansas.
USC has more class receivers than there is sand at the beach. Enough said on that.
That brings me to the most important difference between Ohio State and USC. This reason alone makes it impossible for Ohio State to beat USC.
The coaching staffs have such a disparity in background, training and experience that it is downright unfair.
Pete Carroll's record at USC is 89-15. His Trojans have never lost a game by more than seven points, except once, in his first year. That single loss was by eleven.
Carroll's teams have never lost to a team in several of the conferences, including the BIG-10 and the SEC. His experience in coaching is arguably the best in the nation, college or pro.
The NFL has some great coaches, but with little to no college experience. There are some great college coaches, but with little to nothing in the NFL. Carroll has extensive experience in both.
Is it really a secret that many of USC's best players have NFL fathers? Is it really a question as to why a former NFL player would like to see his son coached by Pete Carroll?
Pete Carroll's first ten years of coaching were in college. He coached under Lou Holtz, Earle Bruce and Monte Kiffin.
Carroll coached his next 15 years in the NFL. He coached under such greats as Bud Grant and George Seiffert.
Carroll then returned to college as the head coach of the USC Trojans.
Carroll's first year at USC ended with six wins and six losses. His record for the next seven years has been 88-9.
Carroll's background has been primarily on the defensive side of the ball.
Jeremy Bates is the Assistant Head Coach of the Offense, QBs. He played QB at Tennessee. His coaching experience has been with the NFL.
He was the QB coach of the Denver Broncos for the past two seasons. He was with the Jets and Buccaneers prior to that. Bates has spent his entire coaching career on the offensive side of the ball.
John Morton is the Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach. His last two years have been with the Trojans. He coached ten years in the NFL prior to coming to USC. His experience has been on the offensive side of the ball. His last two years in the NFL were with the Saints.
Ken Norton JR. is the Assistant head Coach of the Defense, Linebackers. Coach Norton was an All American linebacker for UCLA. He played linebacker for both the Dallas Cowboys and 49's of the NFL. He won a Super Bowl ring while playing with both teams.
Coach Norton is entering his sixth season as linebacker coach for the Trojans. Many of his linebackers were All Americans and went into the NFL.
Coach Norton is recognized as one of the finest recruiters in college football.
Pat Ruel is the Offensive Line Coach. Coach Ruel has one of the most extensive backgrounds in college coaching. He has 35 years of coaching in the NFL and college. He is in his sixth season at USC.
He began his coaching career at the University of Miami. He coached the offensive line there for four years. He then coached at Arkansas, Washington State, Kansas and Michigan State.
Ruel moved into the NFL and coached with the Lions, Packers, Bills and Giants prior to coming to USC. His entire career has been with the offensive line or offense.
In 2008, Rivals recognized Coach Ruel as being one of the best recruiters in the nation.
Jethro Franklin is the Defensive Line Coach and played for the Seattle Seahawks. He has 18 years of coaching in college and the NFL. His career in coaching has been with the defensive line.
He has coached college at Fresno State, UCLA, and USC. He coached in the NFL for the Packers, Buccaneers and Houston Texans. This will be his first year back from the NFL.
Todd McNair is the Running Back Coach. He was a running back for the Chiefs and Oilers in the NFL. He coached for three years for the NFL Browns and five at USC.
Coach McNair is well respected as one of the top recruiters in the nation.
Brian Schneider is the Special Teams Coach. His coaching career has been with the special teams. he is truly a specialist in this area.
Coach Schneider special teams at Colorado State for nine years, at UCLA for three, and the past two seasons for the Oakland Raiders. Schneider coached the Raiders into one of the NFL's best in the area of special teams.
That is just a partial list of USC's coaching staff.
Someone commented the other day that "the coaches don't matter because they don't take the field." Oh yea, that's the ticket.
I'm not going to even mention Ohio State's coaching staff, because they are dilettantes compared to USC's. This is boy versus man time. No, make that child versus man.
So the coaches can't take the playing field? How about the players that they've coached? The players that they taught how to play the positions. Can those players take the field?
So the coaches can't play the game? Can the coaches plan for the game? Can the coaches call plays during the game? Can the coaches make adjustments during the game?
So the coaches can't play the game? Can the coaches recruit the players they want? Can they play them in the positions that they want the players to play in?
So the coaches can't play the game? Can the coaches determine how best to use their players during a game? Can the coaches practice their players in the best methods prior to the game?
So the coaches can't play the game? Wouldn't it be nice to have a coaching staff that has coached football players who are much better than the ones they are coaching now?
Will anyone ever say that "the coaches can't play the game" again?
I don't wish to demean, insult or detract from the pride of a community. However, this whole "intimidating Horseshoe" thing is way over blown.
USC is located in the heart of Los Angeles. The Trojans play in one of the most, if not the most famous stadiums in the nation. There have been two Olympics held there. The first Super Bowl was played there as well as a World Series in Baseball.
USC is within a stone's throw of the "Entertainment Capital of the World." There are dozens of world famous entertainment people at every USC game. Dozens of actors, actresses, politicians, and professional athletes walk the sideline each game.
The Horseshoe won't intimidate USC's Gatorade guy. USC has more "glitz" and glamor at one of their normal practices than the Buckeyes would see in the Horseshoe in a decade.
USC players live for the big game. Pete Carroll said it all on a 60 Minutes Special. He said that USC wants the biggest flashiest arena possible to show-off their team. He said they "live for it."
Well, Buckeye, there went your only ace-in-the-shoe.