Marc Tyler Suspended for GIWS

USC has suspended running back Marc Tyler from team activities, the season opener against Minnesota, and possibly more, for the latest in a series of alcohol-related incidents. Tyler made the mistake of giving an interview while sloshed last week, and now he’s paying the price.

In the interview caught on camera outside a night club, an obviously plastered Tyler talked about USC players nailing Kim Kardashian and getting paid. I didn’t post the interview here because I thought it was somewhat unfair — the kid was just hammered outside a club, so his words didn’t mean too much to me. I also thought he was put in a bad spot by the interviewer. Nevertheless he should be held responsible for what he says, and it’s his fault he got drunk and lost his judgment.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is the third alcohol-related incident for Tyler, so his suspension is more the product of being drunk on camera and saying stupid things than it is about what he actually said in the interview. Tyler was already in trouble for spitting on another student while he was drunk, and he was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at a bar. You can essentially call this a final straw for Tyler.

Also, new AD Pat Haden is in charge, and he doesn’t mess around. Between Tyler, Dillon Baxter, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, and O.J. Simpson, USC running backs are carving out a new legacy, and it’s not a flattering one.

Brandon Hancock: Reggie Bush Wasn’t Only Player Taking Extra Benefits

The BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title Monday, a move that came as no surprise. This is after Reggie Bush gave back his Heisman Trophy, so it’s not as if this practice is something new at Heritage Hall. I support amateurism and the ideals of the NCAA, though I recognize how laughable, embarrassing, and inconsistent their practices may be. Besides, what’s most important is that for all the trophies that get taken away, nobody will ever rid us of the memories and footage of USC dominating college football that year. Additionally, former USC fullback Brandon Hancock made another point that is worth mentioning.

Asked during an interview on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles if the USC players are mad at Reggie Bush for putting the program in this situation, Hancock said no. Though he admitted he’s biased because he’s close friends with Reggie, he challenged the honesty of several other players. “If you can prove that there wasn’t one other player on the [Oklahoma] team that’s never got an extra benefit, then I could understand what you’re talking about. On the grand scale, Reggie wasn’t the only guy who violated the bylaws with the extra benefits.”

“It’s 100% fact that if you want to do your due diligence, you would find something … infractions were certainly committed, no doubt in my mind about that,” Hancock said. “If you want to cast a stone, it goes both ways here. … The better team won that day. Whether rules are broken are not, football is played between the lines.”

Hancock is right that the extra benefits really don’t have much to do with the game, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be stripped of their BCS title. USC’s star player was caught taking benefits on a grand scale, making him ineligible. There’s nothing wrong with stripping them to send the message that breaking rules is not acceptable. But it is fair to ask the NCAA to be consistent with their punishments, it is fair to say that USC was the best team that year, and it probably is fair to figure that most programs are violating some sort of NCAA rules. We even had one of the best coaches of all time admit just as much. You don’t have to approve of Reggie Bush violating rules, but it should be acknowledged he wasn’t the only one (on either side).

The UCLA-USC Football Rivalry for the Victory Bell … in Poetry Form

Here’s to you, Terry Donahue. We interrupt this USC rules violation to bring you a football game. While the University of Statutory Cheating squares off against a football team Undergoing Currently Languid Athleticism, collegial loyalties are split down the line in Los Angeles. Cardinal and gold, powder blue and gold. East LA and Westwood. Agents and houses, handicapped parking permits. For over a decade, UCLA has had its Victory Bell rung by the school from across town. To prepare you for this weekend’s matchup between UCLA and USC, here is an ode to the crosstown showdown, that would make Bill Shakespeare frown…

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USC Players Pictured at a Teague Egan 1st Round Entertainment Group Party

Highly-touted freshman running back Dillon Baxter found himself in trouble with USC once again last week. Baxter did not travel with the team to Oregon State after it was discovered he accepted a golf cart ride across campus from Teague Egan, a certified agent. Egan also happens to be a USC student, so the image of Van Wilder tooling around in his sled must be percolating through your mind.

Ordinarily we wouldn’t give a second thought to this non-incident, but the mini-violation brought Egan’s 1st Round Entertainment group to prominence. USC site Conquest Chronicles did some digging and found pictures of a 1st Round party where several current and former Trojans football players were in attendance, as site contributor Black Jack shared with us.

(from L-R) Chris Galippo, Everson Griffen, Jordan Campbell

In pictures from the group’s facebook page, you can see the likes of current players Chris Galippo, C.J. Gable, Daniel Harper, Jordan Campbell, Ryan McMahon, Malcolm Smith, and Shareece Wright, and former players Taylor Mays and Everson Griffen partying it up. Just being at a party isn’t an NCAA violation, but the mere association of the several players with a known NFL agent could be a problem.

There’s no doubt Lane Kiffin and the Trojans have warned the players about associating with Egan after what happened with Baxter. Now if you’re wondering about 1st Round Entertainment, think of them as the Seinfeld of promoters; they’re a group about nothing. The “company’s” vision as described on its Web site is nothing but a bunch of sentence fragments, with sayings borrowed from Talladega Nights. Teague Egan is nothing more than a Josh Luchs wanna-be who should be avoided by all college players, and despised by USC fans for getting the players into trouble.

More USC Players and 1st Round Entertainment

USC Loses Matt Barkley in Loss at Oregon State, Mitch Mustain Enters Picture

Corvallis was unkind to Southern California for the third straight time. The Trojans fell to Oregon State 36-7 on Saturday night, dropping to 7-4 on the season. It was their third straight loss on the road at Oregon State as the Beavers dominated every facet of the game. Making the win even more surprising was that Oregon State had lost two straight games, falling to inferior opponents UCLA on the road and Washington State at home. On the other hand, USC entered the game having beaten Arizona on the road and Arizona State at home their past two games.

Oregon State got up 20-0 on USC at halftime, returning an interception for a touchdown and getting a pass interference penalty on a fake punt leading to their second touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley got hurt on USC’s last offensive play before halftime, injuring his ankle. The team struggled to move the ball with him in the game and had little success with backup Mitch Mustain running the offense. Barkley was 10-17 for 75 yards and the pick six while Mustain was just 8-17 for 60 yards. Both players seemed uncomfortable throwing the ball in the cold weather, never connecting with their receivers consistently. Moreover, Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea was in the backfield disrupting play after play.

Barkley’s injury is a high ankle sprain, something that usually takes around a month to heal. That means Barkley is likely done for the season. USC only has two games remaining on their schedule and no bye weeks. If the Trojans were eligible for the postseason, Barkley would probably be able to return in time for a bowl game, but it looks like he’ll miss USC’s two rivalry games — Notre Dame and UCLA.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steve Dykes

Blocked Extra Point Return Helped USC Beat Arizona State

If I were to tell you that the kicking game was a big reason a team lost in a USC game, you wouldn’t have been surprised. What is surprising is that it was the other team’s kicking game that blew the ballgame for a change.

USC and Arizona State were matched almost identically when it came to the stats. They had a similar amount of first downs, total yards, penalties, and punts, and they were each sacked and intercepted the same amount of times. Oddly enough, it was a blocked extra point that helped give the Trojans a 34-33 win. Arizona State scored three straight touchdowns to rally and take the lead 33-29 on USC with about seven minutes left. Their extra point attempt following a 10-yard touchdown pass was blocked, and Torrin Harris returned it the other way for a two-point conversion. Instead of being up 34-29, Arizona State was then up just 33-31.

USC drove 68 yards to set up Joe Houston’s go-ahead 29-yard field goal, which made him 1-for-3 on the game. After missing his first two kicks, Houston became the hero because his adversary, Thomas Weber, not only had the extra point blocked, but he also missed the potential winning field goal for Arizona State from 42 yards away. The NFL doesn’t have the same rule as college where the defending team can return a ball the other way for a two-point conversion. Maybe college football will rethink their policy.

USC May Go to the Spread Offense

The best coaches are able to take what they have and make the most of it. That means putting players in position to have the best chance of succeeding, which means adjusting to the talents on the roster. It sounds like USC coach Lane Kiffin recognizes that reality and is prepared to make some adjustments in the future when USC’s recruiting is affected by the loss of scholarships. With his team off this week, Kiffin and his staff was out recruiting and he suggested to reporters that the team might change to the spread next year:

“Look at what we have,” Kiffin said. “We have a bunch of really good receivers and tight ends and backs. We don’t have a fullback that’s on our roster two months from now. We’ll have to make the best of whatever we’re dealt with.”

As long as they have Matt Barkley at quarterback, they won’t have an offense where the QB is a running threat (unlike UCLA which has no business doing so with their personnel). But with the way Barkley has looked this year, he may leave for the NFL draft after next season meaning USC could become a full-blown spread team in two years.

We’ve been used to seeing the Trojans run a pro set offense under Pete Carroll so a change would be strange. Still, the best coaches adjust the talent in the program and it looks like USC is prepared to do just that.