Get Used To The New Pac-10
Practice has begun for the Pac-10 football season and we all have some adjusting to do.
The day Pete Carroll left USC we knew a lot would change. Very quickly, we've seen the landscape has been considerably altered.
It's different already.
Carroll is gone, enough players have left sot there are only 71 Trojan players on scholarship and Oregon is favored to win the 2010 conference championship.
My media friends who attend Trojan practices tell me the environment has changed, There's tighter security, resulting in far less practice spectators.
To say it another way it's not the circus it has been.
There's also the change from Carroll, who had become a legend, to the controversial Lane Kiffin.
The new head coach has a reputation for living on the edge and has attracted a lawsuit for hiring an assistant coach from the Tennessee Titans for not going through the proper channels.
Does USC need more trouble? I don't think so, but the Trojans hired Kiffin when they could have chosen someone with a cleaner reputation.
As for the conference race,I'm anxious to see which teams take advantage of an opportunity.
Among lther intriguing possibilities, I'll be interested to see if Ryan Katz can make a major impact at Oregon State. The junior quarterback from Santa Monica High is a junior who's been in the Beavers' program for two years without playing much. He's a major talent.
Katz and Culver Cith High's Darius Banks competed against each other for three years and gave local fans a preview of what they might ultimately see from the two in the NFL.
When they were both seniors Banks and Culver defeated Katz and Santa Monica, 31-27 at Helm's Field. It was one of the most memorble high school games I've seen.
Banks played last season at Fullerton College.
With USC less dominant I'd like to see UCLA make a bid for the conference championship. It doesn't seem likely as the Bruins appear short of that quality.
Teams like Stanford and Cal might be ready. Next month we'll begin finding out
I covered USC throughout Carroll's dominant years. It was a career highlight tobe so close to the special things that were happening there.
Now I'm looking forward to a different kind of adventure in Pac-10 football - a wide open race.