Archive for USC

Matt Leinart: It wasn’t in the Cards

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by nathanelwell

Matt Leinart, supreme stud of the USC campus, and eternal back-up of the Arizona Cardinals, was released by Arizona on Saturday.  Not a shocker, as far as I’m concerned.  Leinart never seemed to sit well with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.  “I think that in the end we both agreed this was probably the best thing for him, to have a fresh start” said Whisenhunt.  Leinart’s history with the Cardinals has been a rocky one, to say the least.  His social life was often scrutinized more than his contributions to the NFL.  Beer bongs, playmates, parties, and a pregnancy were headlines instead of wins, touchdowns, and playoffs.  But to be fair to Leinart, several other NFL athletes have had over-publicized social lives only to excel on the football field.  So why don’t we look at Leinart’s career statistics in Arizona to see if the Cardinals were justified in releasing him.

Matt Leinart was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft.  At the time, this was considered a steal.  After a contract holdout, Leinart became the starter for the Cardinals over veteran Kurt Warner.  He ended the 2006 season with 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns., but had a 4-7 record as the starter.  In 2007, Leinart’s season was cut short due to a broken collarbone.  He only started in 5 games, throwing for 647 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.  His career numbers are nothing to write home about – 3893 yards, 14 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 29 sacks.  For being in the league 4 years, these numbers are mediocre, for a QB drafted at the front end of the 1st round.  Steve Clarkson, who is considered a “private quarterback guru and friend” to Matt Leinart, said “when you enter the league with a certain perception, people will continue to believe that perception no matter what you do…its unfortunate.”  Or more simply put, “perception is reality”.

So where does Matt Leinart go to next?  The most media-tantalizing location would be Seattle, where Leinart would team up with rookie head coach Pete Carroll.  But before you USC fans quiver with anticipation, the Seahawks say they see no need for Leinart.  Another rumor was that the NY Giants may consider Leinart to be a back-up behind Eli Manning.  This rumor was quickly extinguished when the Giants picked up Sage Rosenfels from the Vikings.  What option is he left with?  I vote on a reality tv show.  Wasn’t it the fourth season that Leinart was the Bachelor?  Oh wait, nevermind.  That was Bob Guiney.


USC and the Big-10 Curse

Posted in NCAA Football with tags , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by nathanelwell

USC Ohio St Football

Yawn.  It happened yet again.  In USC’s defeat of Ohio State on Saturday, it became the 9th consecutive matchup that a Big 10 team hasn’t been able to pull off the victory over So Cal.  Thats right, you heard me!  If you don’t believe me, look below:

1998: USC 27 – Purdue 17

2000: USC 29 – Penn State 5

2002: USC 38 – Iowa 17

2003: USC 28 – Michigan 14

2006: USC 32 – Michigan 18

2007: USC 49 – Illinois 17

2008: USC 35 – Ohio State 3

2008: USC 38 – Penn State 24

2009: USC 18 – Ohio State 15

The game was relatively close up until the last drive of the 4th quarter, when USC came to life.  Quarterback Matt Barkley put together an impressive 86 yard drive that also guzzled 6:10 off the clock.  He started on their own 4 yard line and was able to work his way across the field for a touchdown and the 2 point conversion.  This game said something about USC QB freshman Barkley.  To go into the Horseshoe and steal a game from the hungry Buckeyes is hard for any team to do, let alone a freshman who has no experience against the top 25.

The Buckeyes will have to mope their way through the regular season, and some how prove to others that they aren’t just a Big-10 bully.  After seeing today’s performance from the Wolverines, the momentum has swung in their favor.  Tonight’s matchup was exciting, but not shocking to see the results.  The next matchup for the Trojans will be at Washington, while the Buckeyes will most likely cruise to victory against Toledo.  College football season is here folks, get excited!!

Matt Cassel May Make Tom Brady Drew Bledsoe

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , , , on November 24, 2008 by nathanelwell


Tom Brady may become the next Drew Bledsoe. Yes, it may be confusing for some of you to understand this concept. Sometimes it is hard enough to just tie your shoes, I know. But After the last two weeks of solid play at QB for the Patriots, Matt Cassel is making a huge statement about his abilities in the NFL. In Week 11 we saw Cassel throw for 400 yards, 3 touchdowns, and ran for 68 in a loss to the Jets. For Week 12, Cassel threw for 415 yards, 3 touchdowns, and ran for 1 touchdown. That is 7 touchdowns in two games, and 2 400+ yard throwing games in a row. In the last 7 years combined, Brady has only thrown for 400+ yards once, and that was back in 2002. Cassel has already thrown for 400+ twice this year. I’m not saying that Cassel is better than Brady. But if I’m not mistaken, Drew Bledsoe lost his starting job to Tom Brady back when he got injured. This season, we saw Tom Brady injured before the end of the 1st game and what next?…

In the second game of the 2001 season, Drew Bledsoe was hit by a Jets linebacker and he never started for the Patriots again. Who replaced Bledsoe? None other than Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to win a Super Bowl that year. Bledsoe had one good season with the Bills, and then ended up fading quickly into the sunset by playing for the Cowboys. And he was replaced by Tony Romo after stinking it up in Dallas. The Onion, one of the most accurate newspapers in our world’s history, wrote a hilarious article about Drew Bledsoe that pretty much sums it up for me. Now back to Cassel. Cassel’s rise to fame in the NFL is even more unbelievable than Brady’s. He was the second stringer for USC behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. The only collegiate start he made was not even at the Quarterback position, but at tight end. He was drafted in the 7th round as the 230 overall pick by the Patriots. This year, Palmer’s Bengals are a staggering 1-11, Matt Leinart isn’t even playing for the Cardinals, and Matt Cassel’s Patriots are 7-4, behind the New York Jets in the AFC East. Now, I seriously don’t think that Cassel could permanently take over Brady’s job, but since I don’t like Brady I definitely have thought about this scenario several times.

It is hard for me to see if Matt Cassel will stick around with the Patriots after this year’s season. Brady will surely be back as starting QB, and if Cassel keeps up his stats, he should look for a starting job with another team. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent for 2009, as long as the Patriots don’t slap the franchise tag on him. So which team should Cassel go to? In my humble opinion, the OBVIOUS first choice for Cassel would be the Chicago Bears. Why, you should ask? Great question. The main reason is that I am sick of Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman. I think those reasons should stand by themselves. The next team that would deserve a Quarterback like Cassel would be the Tennessee Titans. Cassel could be reunited with Norm Chow, who is part of the Titan’s coaching staff and who happened to be a coach for Cassel while at USC. Kerry Collins is not that special, and Vince Young doesn’t have any confidence. Cassel would be a lethal component along with LenDale White, Chris Johnson, and a powerful Titan’s defense. Could you imaging a Cassel vs. Brady AFC Championship game? Other team options could be the 49ers, Raiders, Lions, and Vikings.

How Cassel performs in the next 5 games is yet to be seen. But you can guarantee that NFL GMs will be licking their chops at the end of this season IF Cassel becomes a free agent. Look for him in a new uniform in 2009.

This Just In…

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on September 15, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

USC is good.  Really good.

And while there are a lot of games left to go, that game was critical for them.

They completely overmatched the Buckeyes, picking apart their defense and completely shutting down their offense. They were so dominating that I’m actually surprised Georgia even got 2 first place votes in the most recent poll – especially considering their shaky game against South Carolina.

With a #1 ranking heading into the game and a weaker conference schedule, USC likely would have made it to the championship even without playing Ohio State.  So why was it so important?

Because as the SEC teams begin some of their toughest matchups, strength of schedule is going to start getting more attention.  With that in mind, I think it was important for USC to have at least one chance to show they can beat anybody.

Saturday was that chance, and they made quite a statement.  So much so, that I’m actually shocked Georgia even got 2 first place votes.

Barring a huge upset somewhere in the rest of the season, I think we now know one of the teams that will be playing in the championship game.  Do you all have any thoughts on who their opponent will be?

Wise to Play it Safe?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Sorry for the delay in getting a new post.  Nate E is currently suffering in New Zealand, and I was temping the wrath of Gustav by spending Labor Day weekend in the Florida panhandle.  So let’s see, what did we miss since our last post? Oh yeah, a lot. 

The wait for football is finally over and the opening weekend didn’t disappoint.  We had our share of upsets, downsets, and Div 1AA teams having the pleasure of being humiliated on national TV.  Gotta love it. 

All of the top 5 teams pretty much demolished their opponents, but the closest of those games was Georgia vs Georgia Southern, with the Bulldogs winning by a “mere” 24 points.  After taking a 38-0 lead, Head Coach Mark Richt pulled his starters, which was a wise move in  my humble opinion.  You don’t want to lose your premier players in a game you already know you’re going to win. As it was they still lost Jeff Owens, which is big.  It was only after the Dawgs started making substitutions that Georgia Southern managed to score 21 points.  But when you look at the box scores at the end of the day, it looks like a number 1 Georgia team had more trouble with their inferior opponent than the other Top 5 teams did.  And that probably factored in why USC leap-frogged them into the number 1 ranking yesterday.

So my question for the day is this: should a team pull their starters in a game they’re assured of winning, or should they keep them in to make the win as convincing as possible?  I think it’s a tough call actually. I’m sure most of the coaches probably did that this weekend. I didn’t get to see most of the games, so I can’t say for sure.  But in Georgia’s case, the final score could have played a role in the change in rankings.  So is it worth it?

I think so.  You don’t want to risk losing the whole season in order to run up the score on a game you’ve already won.  I’m not saying Georgia should still be number 1.  USC is obviously stacked, as are all of the teams in the Top 5.  Any one of them has a strong case for a top ranking.  I’m just saying that when all is said and done, what they need to do to stay in the running for the national championship is beat the many tough teams they’ve got on their schedule, not beat Georgia Southern 50-0. 

And they’ll need their best players to do that.

Are You ‘Nuts’

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

Two years ago, I probably would have been burned at the stake for saying what I’m about to say: Ohio State is overrated.  However, this year, I’m pretty sure that most people (outside of Columbus, OH, that is) will probably agree with me. 

I’m not saying they don’t have a ton of talent.  They do.  There’s no doubt they are a great team.  But are they the #2 team in the country (according to the AP poll)?

A quick look at the their schedule shows the Buckeyes playing 4 teams that are currently ranked.  The highest ranked opponent is of course USC, who is sitting at the #3 spot.  After that, the next highest teams drops to 13, and then the last two are at 20th and 22nd.  In other years a Big Eleven Ten Conference schedule would have been pretty brutal.  This just isn’t that year. 

And even USC is only scheduled to play 3 ranked teams (again, based on current rankings).

Contrast that to the #1 Bulldogs, who play 6 ranked teams, with three of those being in the top 10.  The SEC schedule is so tough, that it’s highly unlikely for any team in the Conference to come out the regular season unscathed.  And that may cost Georgia a chance to play in the Championship game, depending on if they lose and when.  

In OSU’s case, many analysts are saying the only opponent that could give them a true challenge is USC.  And if they win that they’ll likely end the season as the #1 ranked team.  

But I would argue that a one or two loss team like Georgia, or even Florida as much as it pains me to say it, is a better team than the Buckeyes.  Those teams will have to defeat much tougher competition to even stay in National Championship contention. 

And I think the last two years that an #1 Buckeye team is over matched when they play the SEC Champion. 

OSU is a great program with a great team and a great coach.  But I think their ranking is just too high, and I will join a lot of people in being disappointed if they play in the Championship game this year.

Bring Home the Gold…..Bond

Posted in 1 with tags , , , on August 15, 2008 by nathanjzacharias

I interrupt your daily dose of Olympic news to bring you some news out of USC.  Unfortunately for the Trojans, the sun isn’t the only thing burning in southern California.  The LA Times is reporting that up to 25% of the Trojan football team is suffering from jock itch. 

Apparently, their football program is now taking place in some sort of 80’s teen movie. 

This story raises a few questions, and to be honest, I don’t want to know the answers to them.  Needless to say, it’s created an itch that just can’t be scratched. 

But coach Pete Carroll says he thinks the outbreak is due to the players’ new “compression” shorts.  Show of hands here – how many people think compresion shorts sound like some sort of torture device used in ancient civilizations?   

Whatever the cause, the irritation is so bad it’s kept some players from practicing. 

“Sometimes they can’t walk,” said tailback Stafon Johnson. “I don’t know what it is, but I’m staying away from it.”

You’re a wise man, Stafon.  And might I suggest that the quarterback just take the snap from the shotgun until this little outbreak dies down?

In the meantime, perhaps they should just use Gold Bond powder to chalk the lines on the field.