Tag Archive: Matt Barkley


It was the agony of defeat … over and over again.

All throughout the garbage-time fourth quarter in South Bend, the voyeuristic NBC cameras kept focusing on the deadpan face of an obviously hurting 20-year-old college student.

He was anything Saturday but “So Good, So Cool, So Cal.”

The Associated Press pointed out that USC has already turned over the ball 19 times in eight games, emphasizing that 16 of these were committed by quarterback Sam Darnold.

There will be no all-expense-paid trip to New York in December.

Someone else will receive the Heisman.

There will be better days for Sam Darnold, maybe this coming weekend in Tempe.

He will celebrate his 21st birthday next June 5.

As a college professor, who once roamed the sidelines as a student football manager for both USC and Oregon in the mid-1970s, Almost DailyBrett must ask:

Are pre-season Heisman Trophy hype campaigns launched by university athletic departments/sports information offices in the best interest of a college-student/athlete, who is not old enough to legally order a beer?

Is the young stud ready for the plethora of writers, camera lenses, microphones and fawning stories? The media is absolutely superb at building up a celebrity; the beast is even better at crashing the new hero down to earth and stomping on him.

Some may contend these premature campaigns draw national media attention that carries over to the season and may lead to holding up the most famous stiff-arm in all of sports.

USC athletes need extra media attention in the second largest television market in the country?

Almost DailyBrett wonders whether more times than naught these athletic departments are setting up these young people, students at their school – most not ready for the limelight – for failure by the jury-judge-executioner media (e.g., MSESPN).

Believe it or not, these kids have to go to school, attend classes, submit papers, work on projects and take exams (okay, maybe not the University of North Carolina basketball team).

Your author knows as much as any other writer, how a mere university cannot control the Fourth Estate. If the folks in Bristol, Connecticut or Sports Illustrated wish to build up their list of Heisman candidates before the season starts, who is going to stop them?

Cats are easier to herd.

Halloween and The First CFP Rankings

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will not release its rankings for the real contenders for the sport’s four playoff spots until Halloween, safely past the mid-point of the season.

If the NCAA is “wise” enough to put off the hoopla surrounding who could be playing in the first semifinal at the Rose Bowl and the second in the New Orleans Superdome, then why can’t this august body put a kibosh on overactive athletic departments, exploiting underage students?

Many say: “Where are the parents?” Almost DailyBrett asks: “Where are the university presidents?”

It doesn’t matter whether a student seeking the NFL degree attends a heavily covered traditional power (e.g., USC Heisman campaign for Sam Darnold and Matt Barkley) or less heavily covered sometimes power (e.g., Oregon with the Joey Harrington Times Square billboard and Marcus Mariota), the respective athletic departments/sports information departments need to remember the football team represents the university … not the other away around.

Football is a team sport. Yes, everyone knows a quarterback is the most equal-of-the-equals and has the best chance of holding up the Heisman hardware, but the trophy is not presented on a Southern California beach in August.

The 12+-week season is a grind. This year’s team may not be the same as last year’s team. Conferences abound with college towns and trap games. College football is much more unpredictable than the brand played by the National Field-Goal League (NFL).

Sam Darnold is talented, but clearly does not have the hogs in the offensive line or the skill players beside him. The Trojans are good, maybe the best in the Pac-12, in a down year for the conference. The league will not send a team to the playoff unless there is dog-eat-dog chaos in the other conferences.

Hopefully, Darnold’s parents will be wise enough to steer him to return to USC for another year. He needs the time to work on his game, hit the books and earn a degree in communications. There may even be a Heisman Trophy and the NFL dollars in his happier future.

Wonder if the USC Athletic Department/Sports Information Office can dial back the P.T. Barnum/Donald Trump hype and let a good college kid be a good college kid?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Darnold

http://www.espn.com/college-football/undefined

http://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/la-sp-usc-notre-dame-20171021-story.html

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/college-football-playoff-rankings-2017-2018-release-date-schedule-cfp-selection-day-committee-national-championship/t22jkpo01wej1j8dzmr925m28

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/should-matt-barkley-be-canonized/

https://247sports.com/college/usc/Article/Sam-Darnold-says-Irish-were-a-little-too-much-to-handle-109296081

 

 

 

 

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

Maybe the Heisman Trophy is not good enough for Matt Barkley?

Ditto for winning the National Championship and being the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?

Considering his works and deeds on-and-off the field (are there holes in his hands and feet?), maybe he should be canonized as a saint?

You say that someone must be deceased before he or she can be canonized? Details, details.

My point here is that the slovenly and slobbering media coverage has been uniformly glowing to the point it is already way beyond the point of being over the top. Does Barkley walk on water? Does he change water into wine? Does he part the friggin’ Red Sea?

NCAA Football: San Jose State vs USC SEP 5

There are … count em … 2.38 million Google results about Matt Barkley. He is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Lindy’s chronicled Saint Matt leading 15 of his teammates heading off to Haiti last May to help the needy. He is a devout Christian. He passed up NFL riches this year to come back and save USC for one more year. Who needs Mother Teresa?

Playboy described him as the “Golden boy.” Mater Dei Matt would probably ask: “Playboy? What is Playboy?”… He really doesn’t want to know.

As I attempt to rationalize the 24/7/365 ESPN coverage of Matt Barkley with some sort of semblance of sanity, please understand that I actually graduated from USC with a degree in Broadcasting Journalism way back in the prior century, 1978. I have a very soft place in my heart for the Trojans, “Conquest,” the Song Girls and Traveler.

At the same time, I am free of the Southland’s polluted inversion layer which seems to cause people stuck on LA freeways to expect nothing less than annual national championships and Heisman Trophies.

As a public relations instructor, Master’s degree recipient and two-decade-plus football season ticket holder at the humbler University of Oregon, I have seen Barkley play live three times against the Ducks. Last year, Barkley torched Oregon for four touchdowns and one pick and 323-yards as the Trojans hung on 38-35 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

The previous year, Barkley’s stats were not so divine. He threw one touchdown and two picks (269 yards) against Oregon as the Ducks won 53-32, prompting Trojan fans to take early flight from the Los Angeles Mausoleum.

In Barkley’s first visit to Autzen in 2009, Barkley threw two touchdowns and one pick for 187 yards in a 47-20 frightening Halloween night loss to Oregon.

If you are scoring at home, these results translate into a career 1-2 record (7 TDs and 5 Picks) for Barkley vs. Oregon. He has the opportunity on November 3 back at the LA Mausoleum to even the score. And yet, there is this unprecedented Matt Barkley hyperventilation and histrionics emanating from the foaming-at-the-mouth sports media.

Let’s assume the awarding of the Heisman Trophy, the National Championship and the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft are all administrative acts as it applies to the over-celebrated Matt Barkley. What’s the logical next step?

Only one “person” has ever ascended into heaven and as the Good Book says; he was the son of God. Is Barkley the second son of God? That may be even too much for Matt Barkley.

assumption

How about the second Assumption? The Blessed Mary was assumed into heaven where she now hangs out with Ronald Reagan, Vince Lombardi and Steve Jobs. Why shouldn’t Barkley be the first male to be assumed into the heavens? He could get to know St. Peter on a first name basis.

Besides injecting some humor into Barkleymania, there is a reality here that he should remember: The media is the opposite of the Marine drill sergeant at Camp Pendleton. The Marines beat you down and then build you up as a Marine. The media can build you up as they have done Matt Barkley, but they would rather tear you down and spit you out.

Ask Tiger Woods, if you don’t believe me.

Always be on your guard, Mr. Barkley. Always be on your guard…even if you are assumed into heaven. There are critics everywhere, even there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonization

http://www.motherteresa.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Jesus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Barkley

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/15/sports/la-sp-0816-usc-football-20120816

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