I think USC is back. No I’m serious.

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To some, I’m the resident USC Trojans football fan. This whole “actually being a fan” of a team for longer than 1 year is weird to some. Being a USC fan the last 7 years has been stressful. Probation. Lane Kiffin. Steve Sarkisian. It was like Pat Haden had zero clue how to be a competent Athletic Director. Now? Everything is all roses (you see what I did there).

The beginning of last season was tough. I remember when USC blew a 4th quarter lead to Utah. I told my boy Jake that I was “done.” No seriously, I was over it. The last 3 years have been nothing but blown leads and potential. My USC breakdowns on Facebook have been a sight to behold. Everybody rushes to Facebook to see if I’ve had a mental breakdown or if I’m just there to brag (I know the folks in Seattle want my head after Darnold and Co went to Husky Stadium and ruined their perfect season). It’s an honor to rant about Clay Helton every Saturday and banter with everyone, honestly. I should probably relax this year. But I won’t… unless my mom tells me to.

The last time USC played an actual football game was January 2nd. I was there in the USC endzone at the Rose Bowl watching Sam Darnold become a legend while seeing Trace Mcsorley throw one of the worst passes of all-time, then watching former kicker Matt Boermeester (what an idiot, man) kick the game-winner. It all happened in the span of 15 minutes. Riveting to watch. Rose Bowl wins are fun (It was USC’s 25th rose bowl win in 32 appearances). Being there was amazing. Listening to conquest play for 20 minutes straight with tears in your eyes knowing that your squad might be back is sensational. It’s been a long road for the USC program. Shoutout to Paul Dee.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California

Flash forward to 8 months. The USC hype has been really…. strange. It began when I was in LAX the day after the Darnold Miracle. I had a USC shirt on and this random guy comes up to me saying “So National Title next year?” I laughed it off because in my head, I’m thinking “dude, USC just scored 17 unanswered 12 hours ago, let’s enjoy this,” but it being 8 month ago, it’s wild. I forgot how it feels to actually be excited for a season to unfold. The last time I was very excited for a USC football season was back in 2008. Oddly enough, that was the last time I thought USC could also win the entire thing (Oregon State smh). That was when Mark Sanchez wasn’t known for the butt fumble and when Sarkisian was known as this hot commodity because of his “offensive mind.”

Everybody already knows about Sam Darnold. However, I expect Rojo 2.0. (salute to the original ROJO, Ronald Johnson) to break out and have a monster season due to everybody focusing on Sam. The defense will be led by Preseason All-Americans Cameron Smith and Iman “Biggie” Marshall. I expect the defense to be a hell of a lot better than it was last year being that its in the 2nd year of a system.  It’s a beautiful thing to see all of the talent (youth and veterans) come together.

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But back to the hype. I hate how my team is being hyped. Not in this “I think we’re gonna fail” hype. But in the “holy ****, are they that good?” type of hype. It’s funny because 10 years ago, I would be “hell yeah, we’re good and better than you.” After the probation and the loss of scholarships, I forgot what this feels like. Them having the possibility of being this good is weird, but yet, it feels right.

I’ve been reading this stuff about Darnold and I’m nervous for him. Three offensive lineman are gone (two were All-Conference and All-Americans). Other than Deontay Burnett and Daniel Imatorbhebhe, most of these guys are talented but haven’t played a down yet. Maybe he’ll struggle a bit this year. He’s only started in 10 games. He’s really great. Trust me. I’ve seen the arm talent in person and it’s ridiculous. However, let’s temper the expectations with him. That includes myself too. Luckily in these interviews that I read and hear him speak, he doesn’t seem fazed by it. He seems ready for the spotlight.

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I keep it to a unbiased perspective when it comes to USC. Last year, I thought they’d go 8-4. They went 10-3 and won the Rose Bowl. I was close enough. If they didn’t start 1-3, they probably would have won the Pac-10+2 and play in the playoff, given how difficult their schedule was. This year, without a bye week, it gets tricky. Injuries could pile up and they could be done by November. September is a tough stretch with 3 ranked opponents (Stanford, Texas, Washington State) and a very tough Western Michigan squad. I don’t include Cal because the University of California hasn’t beaten a USC team since I was in the 6th grade (That was Matt Leinart’s 3rd or 4th start, I believe). I still don’t know if Clay Helton is a good coach, but I feel better about him calling the shots more than I did last year at this time.

APTOPIX Rose Bowl Football
Southern California wide receiver Deontay Burnett catches a touchdown pass in front of Penn State safety Marcus Allen during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Am I nervous as a fan? Hell yeah, I am. I really think this could be the year but the schedule does this team no favors. Nice job, Larry Scott. I’ll say it here though; if USC goes undefeated in September, there is a great chance that they’ll be in the Pac-10+2 title game. They could be back in Pasadena for the playoff game January 1st and I’ll most likely be in attendance (maybe my mom will pay for my ticket this time…kidding, kidding) again.

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I’m so excited to see this squad play all fall. It’ll be a fun season, at least I hope so. I think USC is back. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks. I believe in Sam. I believe in Clay Helton. I believe in Tee. I believe in Clancy. What a difference a year makes. The optimism is high. Prove that you’re back. Win the conference. Get back to Pasadena. FTFO. Beat the Broncos.

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NBA FINALS GAME 1 WINNERS AND LOSERS

The NBA Finals began last night and just like the NBA playoffs this year, it was another blowout, this time with the Golden State Warriors getting the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the paint (literally and figuratively). Game 1 was close for a bit until the Golden State (more like Stephen Curry) 3rd quarter eruption occurred, leaving folks to wonder if this will even be a series (It most definitely will) and leaving people to wonder if the Golden State Warriors have ruined the NBA with the addition of Kevin Durant (They haven’t).

Game 2 is on Sunday. The hot take machines have been rolling since the game was over on a pull-up three from 30 feet by Stephen Curry in the 3rd quarter. Here are mine, but in blog form.

Continue reading “NBA FINALS GAME 1 WINNERS AND LOSERS”

We get it, LaVar.

This is the only time I’ll address this because I don’t like giving attention to people who aren’t worthy of giving my attention to which is why on Facebook at least, I don’t start these wars about the Twitter eggs who are in federal office (OOF).

The LaVar Ball train has now peaked. It probably peaked last month. Or maybe two months ago. I don’t know. At first, I was cool with LaVar. To some degree, I still am. I’m cool with a father instilling confidence in all of his kids to be the best of their ability, although I would think his style and methods in doing so are unconventional. I can’t relate to how Lonzo and the other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo feel about it so I’ll try not to.

Creating your own brand and attempting to do things differently is great. If I had the time, the resources, and the money to do so, I would do it myself.  I support anyone going out there and dreaming about taking on any of the major companies to “change the culture,” as Lonzo Ball himself said in the video yesterday.

Initially, I was gonna write about LaVar Ball and his family this week because I saw a headline about how Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour each turned down an offer to endorse Lonzo, ala sign him to a contract that would allow him to have millions before he signs his first rookie deal this summer. I was gonna write about how ridiculous and stupid LaVar (or the Ball family for that matter) was for trying to make his brand, the Big Baller Brand incorporate with one of those three companies. Then yesterday happened.

I said above that I’m all for creating opportunities, and pushing things forward and being your own entrepreneur. That’s how Nike and Under Armour were created. This… I don’t think this is it, man.

lonzo ball shoes
these look like my Kobe 10s I got for $80 at the Nike outlet

Is the shoe terrible looking? It really isn’t honestly. It’s an off-brand version of the Kobe 10s. It also looks better than the shoes that Stephen Curry wears so, BBB has done something right here. However, the price? $495 for that? That’s not changing the culture. Your brand is not that important to charge a shoe that much.

In the group chat I have with a set of homies, Micah, Shaad, and Kyle, we roasted these shoes for a good bit. Then we realized the fact that we don’t have the slightest clue on who is making their shoes, if the shoe is even comfortable to wear at that price, and the technology on the shoe. It’s just here in the public eye to be laughed at.

This shoe created a stir on my Twitter timeline from people creating memes from the photo above to others defending the price of the shoe stating how regardless, we need to support because we’d buy a pair of Nike basketball shoes at that price. That “it’s okay” for Lonzo to have his own shoe because other athletes, such as Lebron James, and Michael Jordan did.

I rolled my eyes at that. I can’t speak on Jordan because I wasn’t alive and wasn’t thought about in 84,  but I’d bet that lots of people figured he’d be a great NBA player considering he was a known commodity as he left Carolina as a national champion, 2-time All-American, and was the National Player of the Year as a Junior. Nike itself signed him when they were known but still small. We knew of Lebron James since 2002-03 because ESPN showed his High School games and they were glorious.

The last time we saw Lonzo Ball play a basketball game, De’Aaron Fox had Lonzo doing the electric slide on route to a 39 pt game and a Kentucky win over UCLA in the sweet 16. Yes, Lonzo was a player of the year candidate and a 1st team All-American in his lone season at UCLA but he wasn’t on their level as a player.

Also, I’m pretty sure Nike and even Jordan Brand for that matter haven’t charged close to $500 for a pair of basketball shoes, but I digress.

LaVar then tweeted (I didn’t know he had a twitter account) this:

 

I… I…. yeah. If I buy a pair of shoes for $495, I better be hooping like I’m related to Jesus.

 

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This is where we’re at now. We’re at a point where LaVar took advantage of how the media because of their desire to see the “most ridiculous quotes” and giving that media attention all day. Is it LaVar’s fault that programs such as First Take and Undisputed had him & Lonzo on the air three days after UCLA got bounced in the NCAA Tournament? Absolutely not. Lonzo’s the biggest name in the NBA Draft (I personally don’t even think he’s even close to the best player in the draft). Not because of his play but because of how he’s received media attention.

There was a point where LaVar was on ESPN’s SportsNation every single day for one week in April. That’s not on them. That’s on us for giving his pops all the attention, thus taking it away from Lonzo, the athlete.

I’m not knocking the ideas. I think it’s cool to see something different. However, LaVar could have waited years to launch this, thus waiting for his youngest son to at least attempt a pro career. But he put himself and their family brand in front of the ability that his oldest son was about to receive endorsement money from any company of his choosing.

Unlike others, I do want Lonzo and the other kids to succeed. I want them to achieve their goals of being in the NBA. A lot of people have that dream and that vision to get there. Only a select few are able to accomplish it. That being said, forcing an opportunity and attempting to cash a check early often doesn’t end well. Let’s hope LaVar doesn’t blow it here. The Ball family calls themselves “Big Ballers.” Good luck at your prices trying to convince the rest of us that we are also Big Ballers.

 

Swagga jackin a rival? Huh?

LOL Sark

Being a native of the Seattle Area, I can tell you already that the “Seattle Sports Fan” is the absolute worst sports fan in America. It’s no contest at all.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being passionate about your team, Seattleites. But, for this sake of this blog, this will come from my perspective.

As a USC fan, the people in Seattle area have continued to attempt to ridicule the performance of the Trojans, and it’s kinda funny to me because I’m not concerned of a team who’s a scrub and will be a scrub for life.

Sure, UW beat USC in 2009 and 2010 (I was there in 2009, and it was a fluke. No Taylor Mays in the secondary, and Matt Barkley didn’t even play. Such a fluke. 2010 was real though, but it wasn’t a “dominant” USC team like past years.) and I’m sure it was awesome to compare yourself to one of the elite programs who was on the end of an era.

The UW Seattle Sports Fan sets high, unrealistic expectations for their season, and always continue to hype up their big time recruits and players to the max (See Jake Locker/Chris Polk/Kasen Williams). Sure, these guys are good players, great players. But there is no need to over hype these guys before they play a down. Trust me, as a fan of an Elite Program (USC is elite, and probably will be for a long long time), you learn to not over hype guys before they play a snap because you don’t know how good they’ll become. They might be full of shit (See Chris Galippo).

UW fans want their program to be USC or Oregon sooooooo bad that they’ll live to compare their status to both of them. I laugh when UW fans say they hate USC. Wanna know why? It’s quite simple. You have Steve Sarkisian, who’s under the same coaching tree as Lane Kiffin (Even though, Lane is a better recruiter who stole Max Browne from Sark’s backyard and possibly a better playcaller.) and you want him to run your program the same way Pete [Carroll]  ran USC. Easy.

Beating USC in 2010 was the best day of his life lmaaaaaaaaao

In the streets, you know what we call that? (I’m not really from the streets, I’m from the suburbs, bro)

We call this…….. Swagger jacking.

Yes, I said it.

You are simply attempting to copy USC’s run of dominance with a program who doesn’t have the right pieces to even be dominant. At least not on defense (UW’s offense is legit. Keith Price could make a run at the heisman if Sark knows what the hell he’s doing. Which I doubt. Because He’s Steve Sarkisian).

But this isn’t about USC and UW. USC isn’t a rival of Washington. In fact, nobody in SoCal would give 10 shits about Steve Sarkisian anymore, and that swagger jacking isn’t even that bad.

So where is this blog heading?

In 2009, three guys from the University of Oregon created a song after Oregon beat the living shit outta my Trojans (It was so bad, that I stood up and applauded Oregon’s performance that night) called “I smell Roses”or as most people called it, “I love my Ducks.”It was so legit, that this group (Supwitchugirl) made national news, and the homie Neil Everett was quoting it before the 2010 Rose Bowl.

So 2010, with Oregon returning most of it’s squad that went and lost the Rose Bowl to Ohio State (I had to take my shot at Oregon, it was too easy. Don’t kill me Duck fans, unlike most USC fans, I actually like you. I like you so much, I’ll probably be a Duck myself.), this group decides to make another song, which was a hit.

Now, it takes a lot to impress me as a music fan, but this song was so catchy that I was singing it. I’m singing it right now as I’m writing it. New year, new track, the return of the quack. So much victory.

Anyway, Supwitchugirl decides to make shirts, which are dope as hell.

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Not only were these shirts cool, these three white dudes made liking Oregon kinda cool (Even though most of their fanbase didn’t watch football until 2005 but I’m sleep).

Now what does this shirt have to do with UW and the Seattle Sports fan?

As I’m scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed on a boring night, I see my friend Kathleen (we’ll call her kitty for this blog and it’s purposes) and her friends hanging out at some UW function, which I ignored because I don’t really care. As I scrolled down, I immediately scrolled back up and was like, “wait a minute… I’ve seen that shirt before, but in different colors. But where?” I then just ignored it and went on to play NCAA 13 like a boss.

The next day, I wake up, and I see the same shirt, and then it hits me:

Smh, such swagger jacking to the MAX

How in the hell do you take another school’s idea, and use it as your own to pass to other people?

What in the fuck UW?

Swagger jacking like this isn’t what we were created on earth to do, b.

If you wanted to make a shirt to say “I love my Dawgs,” Cool. I’m not going to stop you. I’m all for it. But if you’re gonna use the same exact font for the damn shirt……………………………. nah, get the fuck outta here b. How do you swagger jack from a rival?

I can understand trying to steal SC’s idea about how to run a program, but swagger jacking like this? Swagger jacking won’t help you win football games. It’ll make you look like a wack nigga, and the University of Washington is officially wack to me.

The Seattle Sports fan is probably the worst sports fan ever. Love a team, fine. Do whatever you want to do. But stop with the swagger jacking. Especially when the team you swagger jack is not only your rival, but they’ll kick your ass by 30 on the football field.

So, UW Seattle Sports Fan.

Fuck you and your thoughts for the remainder of the 2012 year.

You’ll get my respect back after USC beats your ass. Unless you to swagger jack Lane Kiffin’s playbook or something.

-Shaun