To be fair – and as I’ve maintained throughout the entire season – there are absolutely legitimate gripes about the way the 2017 season went for USC. Against UCLA, for example, the Bruins’ worst-in-the-nation rush defense held the Trojans to just 153 yards on the ground. In a game that surely USC should have fed running back Ronald Jones the rock and let him eat, RoJo’s 122 yards and two touchdowns felt more like an appetizer than a feast.
USC decided to go for it on 4th and 8 at the UCLA 35 with 3:49 left in the second quarter, and instead of coming away with points – or, you know, just a conversion on downs – Darnold threw an interception.
And though he doesn’t have much to show for it, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s 421 passing yards once again indicated an incredibly exploitable secondary.
But guess what, USC fans? The Trojans still found a way to win. With some special teams trickeration:
— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) November 19, 2017
Punter Reid Budrovich bringing the boom:
via walk-on punter/kicker Reid Budrovich pic.twitter.com/8CoHLCUffr
— USCFootball.com (@ThePeristyle) November 19, 2017
And the regularly scheduled programming of Darnold remaining calm under fire and executing when the game was on the line, the Trojans got the W over their crosstown rivals.
So why are you so mad, USC fans? Help me understand.
When USC Wins it’s next game on 12/1 it’ll improve to 11-2. That’s 1 more win than last year 1 less loss than last year. In 2 years: Rose Bowl title followed by a PAC12 title. In any line of work in our Galaxy that’s called improvement. But, fans are strange. https://t.co/qB0GUdu0aG
— Shawn Rose (@ShawnFace) November 20, 2017
Let’s review the facts of the season: The Trojans posted a 10-2 record, with losses to No. 14 Washington State and No. 9 Notre Dame, both of which were on the road. Need more facts? Ok. Since taking over at the helm for USC, Helton is 25-8 and 20-5 in conference. He’s also 3-0 against UCLA, 3-1 against Top 5 opponents and has a spectacular Rose Bowl win in his back pocket.
He has back-to-back 10-win seasons in two years, something no other USC head coach had accomplished at that mile marker.
But sure, keep calling for his head, USC fans. You don’t sound ridiculous or anything.
How about instead of crying about a coach who doesn’t win the way you want him to, spend your time and energy praying to the football gods that in the wake of . That might actually be worth losing sleep over.
I Really Want to Be Here for Baker Mayfield But He Makes It So Difficult
Earlier this season, quarterback Baker Mayfield attempted to plant a flag at the 50-yard line in Oklahoma’s 31-16 defeat of Ohio State. A lot of people condemned it as “classless”, . Planting a flag is harmless, funny and is not what I would consider bad sportsmanship.
Fast-forward to Oklahoma’s 41-3 rout of Kansas on Saturday, and things went from 0 to 100 real quick with bad behavior.
Before the opening coin toss, Mayfield went to shake hands with the Jayhawks captains and they blatantly declined to shake his hand. Kansas head coach David Beaty should have reamed his players for that, similar to how Penn State head coach James Franklin chased his players down because they declined to shake hands with Michigan State players after they upset the Nittany Lions.
But nah, Beaty didn’t do that, so Mayfield decided to show Kansas who was the boss. In a game that included helmet-to-helmet confrontation:
So, Mayfield and a Kansas player went helmet to helmet after the coin toss. A ref had to run in from the sideline to separate them. And no, I’m not kidding about this.
— Jenni Carlson (@JenniCarlson_OK) November 18, 2017
And cheap shots of Mayfield from Kansas defensive players:
Kansas wouldn’t shake Baker Mayfield’s hand, but they did find the time for this cheap shot pic.twitter.com/R6vIhS1dC3
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 18, 2017
lol ESPN blurred out Baker Mayfield grabbing his crotch. THE HORROR pic.twitter.com/Xfv7KccbwY
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) November 19, 2017
Now, it’s fair to say that Mayfield was only retaliating to what was first bad sportsmanship on the Jayhawks’ part. But…it’s Kansas. KANSAS. Why is it necessary to grab your crotch and taunt KANSAS?!
This ain’t Alabama that you dominated, Mayfield. It’s freaking Kansas.
You know you have no remorse whatsoever when you pull out the “we didn’t mean to disrespect you by being flagrantly disrespectful” defense.
I’m not going to clutch the pearls too much over this, because it really isn’t that serious. But going forward, he should keep his on-field antics to funny and harmless.
Other Programs Are Already Swagger Jacking The U’s Turnover Chain and I Am NOT about It
One of the very best things to come out of the 2017 college football season has been not only the resurgence of University of Miami football, but also the in-game swagger that comes with a program such as The U. The Hurricanes have blessed us all with the glory that , and I love everything about it.
For starters, it’s so Miami to have a chain as the prize defensive players can earn for forcing turnovers. It just makes complete sense. Like many other college football fans, I now tune into Miami games to see how many Hurricanes players will get to rock the chain before the game ends. It’s terrific! And it helps that, you know, Miami creates turnovers on the regular. Between fumbles and interceptions, the Hurricanes have forced 27 turnovers this season (while only losing 11 themselves), which leads the nation.
Because if you’re going to have the audacity to have a Turnover Chain, then you better freaking get turnovers.
Miami has received so much love about the turnover chain, and right on cue, other programs have attempted to mimic the practice.
Let me be the first to tell you – I am not here for this thievery.
— Akili Smith (@akili_smith) November 18, 2017
Akili Smith, you are wrong. WRONG I SAY. This low-rent turnover chain is trash.
But it’s not just Oregon getting in on the swagger jacking. Wisconsin tried it:
Seems legit pic.twitter.com/cbPIleipck
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 18, 2017
As I said, what makes The U’s Turnover Chain work is that it speaks to the culture of the program. More importantly, Miami embraces the culture of the players. If a university is not willing to let the players flourish as they are, it does not deserve a turnover chain. Now, I’m all for football programs developing their own sideline swag for significant moments, but it needs to speak to the program.
But these knock-off, low-rent versions of the Turnover Chain? Nah. We can be more creative than that, college football. Do better.