"Hooray for Hollywood, that screwy ballyhooey Hollywood."
— Johnny Mercer
The NCAA's tight fist has opened and allowed big money to pour into the pockets of student/athletes — or athlete/students.
So it's now possible that some blessed college football program won't have to recruit a young, bearded man from the Middle East with extraordinary powers, high moral standards and 11 reliable assistants, to challenge Alabama for supremacy longer than one season.
Still, for it to happen, a person doesn't need to spin a secular miracle to help things along. Just a smart, resourceful person at the right place at the right time.
And that place is USC. Today.
Don't believe me? Read on.
The Tide drink fine wine from golden goblets, while most everyone else uses Dixie cups.
And every bit of it is earned.
Sure, there will be years when Alabama isn't quite close to what it should be, and a Clemson, Ohio State or LSU will be greater for one season. Maybe this year. But not two or three in a row.
Some schools reload. Bama is the Pentagon.
The Tide get the overwhelming majority of best high school players, the five- and four-star kids. Since becoming head coach in 2007, Nick Saban has signed 58 five-star recruits. On 247 Sports' list of 2021's top 100 preps, 17 have committed to Bama.
What's the percentage? There are 130 Division I football schools.
Not all are going to make it. Enough of them do. Saban even starts a transfer from Ohio State.
Nick is the greatest recruiter, and as long as he's there, I can see one school outside of Tuscaloosa with the wherewithal to challenge the Tide for longer than 15 minutes.
And that is USC. And I am serious. And I will tell you why.
Of course the Trojans haven't had "it" since Pete Carroll bailed following the Reggie Bush Thing. And they just canned coach Clay Helton two games into the season.
Why was that? Carroll was the Saban of the early 2000s, a great recruiter. Helton was fired because he not only wasn't a great recruiter, but couldn't entice his own talent-rich town. USC was not among the top 20 schools producing NFL players on opening day, and only Notre Dame has produced more in League history (not by much).
Is Saban a great X's and O's coach? Who knows? Who cares? USC's hire doesn't have to be Bill Walsh, but a presence, a personality with a great staff who can get into homes and recruit. Carroll certainly wasn't and still isn't a great day-of-game coach.
(One of my favorite quotes, from Lou Holtz: "Moses died leaning on his staff, and so will I.")
But there's something important those of you pooh-poohing this may not be thinking about.
The Trojans have one of the greatest football histories, but kids don't care about that anymore. It's: "What can you do for me?" And, this being 2021, USC can do more than everyone else. That's everyone.
Hell, man, they're in L.A., the entertainment capital of the world in the nation's No. 2 market (New York doesn't do football) with a terribly wealthy and powerful alumni base. Under new rules players are getting paid for their names and images and can transfer willy-nilly.
Alabama has a freshman quarterback who made a million before he threw a pass. And Tuscaloosa ain't Hollywood, pal. Money never has stopped talking, and it isn't shutting up now.
USC hasn't been much, but if it gets this hire right and the long-buried treasure is unearthed, the tide could be turning left.
L.A. is the X that marks the spot. No major college city comes close to what it has. And a person with guile can exploit it.
It's up to Athletic Director Mike Bohn. So just saying it, not betting on it.