Photo Credit: Jerry Ting/Neon Tommy

2014 USC Preview: Ticket Pricing Edition

Photo Credit: Jerry Ting/Neon Tommy

Originally posted at TrojanWire:

A few seasons ago USC earned the top spot in the preseason polls thanks to the belief that quarterback Matt Barkley, and receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods would form a dominant offense. But not only did that team disappoint, but last season the Trojans struggled once again. Not only did it lead to the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin, it also led to relatively inexpensive USC games on the secondary market last season.

This season expectations are relatively high again, with USC landing a 15th ranking in the preseason polls. That number also directly relates to where they are for ticket prices on the secondary market. According to TiqIQ, USC has the 15th most expensive tickets in the nation this year with a $143.67 average. That’s a huge increase from the season before, when the average price dropped to $84.16 after the tough losses started to mount for the Trojans. Home games on the USC football schedule will be 71% more expensive than last season, which is one of the largest price increases in the entire nation.

But while expectations are up for USC, they’re also up for the entire Pac-12 conference. The conference has recently started to challenge the SEC for dominance in the sport with Oregon, Stanford and UCLA also looking like real contenders for the conference title and College Football Playoffs this season. In fact, overall the depth of the conference has improved mightily with competitive teams up and down the board.

That hype has even led to a price increase for one of the most hyped matchups in Southern California. UCLA and USC face off every year and last season the average was pretty high at $234.47, and a get-in price at $101 at the Coliseum. This season the game will be played at the Rose Bowl as a UCLA home game and the average price has increased 29%t for an average of $302.32. The get-in price didn’t increase much, with the cheapest ticket currently at $104.

That game isn’t the only one with expensive tickets. The team also hosts Notre Dame for a game that currently has a $257 average and an $82 get-in price. Notre Dame is another team like USC that has a successful history, but has struggled to live up to that hype that last several years. Granted they had a big outlier year a couple seasons ago when they made the national championship game behind an undefeated regular season. This season Notre Dame is ranked just a bit behind the Trojans at 17 on the AP preseason poll.

The next most expensive game of the seasons comes August 30 against Fresno State. The game currently has an average price of $135 and a get-in price of $43 for USC’s first home game of the season.

USC has struggled since Pete Carroll left, and the team received sanctions for breaking NCAA regulations. Entering this season with a new head coach in Steve Sarkisian, the team is hopeful that they’re heading in the right direction. So far that means a 15th ranking in the preseason poll, and increased ticket prices on the secondary market.

Stand Like a Trojan

If you think it’s been a long season for Lane Kiffin and the Trojans, consider the plight of Will and Ravi.

AT&T has sent these two guys across the country as part of their “On the Way to Saturday” college football campaign, forcing them to complete a series of challenges (that includes attending College GameDay and pretending not to be tired of Lee Corso each week) to earn the right to attend each week’s game.

This week’s challenge is simple: if these two gentlemen want to see Max Wittek make good on his promise to defeat Manti Te’o and the Irish, they’ll have to ‘Stand Like a Trojan’ challenge: in other words, dress like a grown-ass man wearing body paint and pose like Tommy Trojan.

Check the video below. Are you in? For more info, visit way2saturday.com.

Update: Will and Ravi recorded a special message to say hello to all of you. Along with some of Saturday’s sights at the Coliseum, the outlook for 2012, and now this, there are at least some silver linings in the clouds looming over Trojan football at the moment.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by AT&T.

Is This What Passes for Trash Talk in South Bend?

Or has Notre Dame just brought in Sarah Palin and our North Korean allies to ghost write their pregame taunts? From our inbox this morning:

Hi Trojan Fans, ohh obama has a big mouth problem plus!? Lets cancel the nd series until those elimination cases are resolved !? can nd play seattle!? Barkley is a SISSY!? sincerely, Eddie Moon

Although in fairness, they have been busy making those award-winning videos, so maybe they didn’t have time to get their ?! keys unstuck.  Or maybe he’s very loudly inquisitive?

Help us decipher these Irish ramblings: First person to correctly translate the above into English wins a free prize pack, courtesy of TrojanWire and P&G. Leave your answer in the comments below, or email them to scoop at trojanwire.com.

Top 10 Running Backs for 2010

HP’s preview of the 2010 season continues with a look at the top 10 running backs.  See the top 10 receivers here and the top 10 tight ends here.

1. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech–It looks to me like Williams is the complete package.  He’s got size, speed, vision, toughness and a nose for the end zone.  He put up 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Hokies as a 2009 redshirt freshman.  He also caught 16 passes, including one for a score.  He played very well against good competition–71 yards, 5.5 ypc and 2 TDs in his debut vs. Alabama, 107 yards against Nebraska–and I expect him to keep improving in 2010 and possibly become a Heisman candidate.  I think there is a wide gap between him and teammate Darren Evans (talent-wise), so I do not expect for him to lose much in the way of production due to sharing carries.

2. Noel Devine, West Virginia–The most electrifying back in college football, the smurf-like Devine used his amazing speed and cutting ability to notch 1,465 yards and 13 scores on the ground in 2009.  He also caught 22 passes, including one touchdown reception.  His coach has expressed a desire to get him more carries as a senior and I think this will result in a monster season.  His only weakness is a lack of real power–he goes down fairly easily most of the time–but he’s in a perfect system to highlight his superb abilities in space.  Outside of Florida’s Jeff Demps, he might have the best breakaway speed of any back out there.

3. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State–The diminutive Rodgers can do it all.  He piled up 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground last year, while also catching 78 passes for 522 yards and a score.  Oh, and he threw a touchdown pass, too.  He’s a legitimate Heisman candidate who is primed to break a bunch of Pac-10 records before he’s through with his career.  Not a burner, but as consistent and versatile as they come and a relentless competitor.

4. Donald Buckram, UTEP–A top-notch talent stuck on a bad team, Buckram has great speed to go with outstanding vision.  If he were on a major power, he’d be a Heisman candidate.  Last year, he rushed for 1,594 yards and 18 touchdowns and added another three scores on 30 catches for 453 yards.  Look for bigger and better in 2010.

5. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State–Not many people know about this guy, but I don’t think that will be the case after the 2010 season.  Thomas is perhaps the nation’s premier power back, but he’s not just a bulldozer out there as he is also fairly athletic and skilled.  Last year was his first year playing tailback and he responded with 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns while also catching 25 balls.  He is really, really tough to bring down.  I predict a huge senior season for him and a bright NFL future.

6. LaMichael James, Oregon–James will sit out the first game due to suspension, but that won’t stop him from having another outstanding season.  As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he rushed for 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging nearly seven yards per carry.  Like Rodgers, he is built very low to the ground, but he is more explosive in the open field and has the ability to take it downtown.  If he gets his head on straight, he’ll have another highly-productive campaign.

7. Trent Richardson, Alabama–How often do you see a backup cutting into a returning Heisman winner’s playing time?  The talent oozing from this kid is too much for Alabama’s coaches to ignore, which is why the Tide will basically feature a two-headed tailback in 2010.   Richardson rushed for 751 yards and eight scores as a true frosh and will top the 1,000-yard mark as a sophomore.

8. Mark Ingram, Alabama–The returning Heisman winner probably won’t duplicate the season he had in 2009, when he put up 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground while also catching 32 passes for 334 yards and three more scores.  But when you have the nation’s best feet in traffic and a never-say-die motor, you will still put up good numbers.  Look for two 1,000-yard rushers ‘from Bama this year.

9. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh–Lewis was amazing as a true freshman in 2009, rushing for 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns.  He also caught 25 passes for 189 yards and a score.  Like others on this list, he is a squat, low-to-the-ground runner blessed with exceptional vision and toughness but lacking exceptional speed in the open field.   Still a highly productive back with an illustrious career ahead of him.

10. Michael Dyer, Auburn–I thought I’d go out on a limb for this pick and tab Dyer as the nation’s top freshman back.  He’s a short, stubby runner with tremendous balance and forward lean.  He keeps his legs moving and has a nice burst getting to the second level.  Not a threat to take it the distance every time, but he’ll break plenty of runs and get nice yardage in Gus Malzahn’s scheme.

Honorable Mention: Washaun Ealey, Georgia; John Clay, Wisconsin; Christine Michael, Texas A&M; Armando Allen, Notre Dame; Lache Seastrunk, Oregon; Evan Royster, Penn State; Chris Polk, Washington; Tre Newton, Texas; Jeff Demps, Florida; Jermaine Thomas, Florida State.

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Is Now the Time for a USC QB to Win a Super Bowl Ring?

UCLA has Troy Aikman, Notre Dame has Joe Montana, Stanford has John Elway, and USC has…Ron Johnson. Well, he didn’t actually play in Super Bowl XXXVII, but he has a ring! That counts, right?

It’s a constant taunt from USC’s rivals. Despite the Trojans’ success in pumping first class, Super Bowl caliber running backs, linebackers, defensive backs and receivers into the league, it’s the Trojans’ quarterbacks failure to win it all that sits like an albatross around their necks. But with four USC quarterbacks projected to start in the NFL next season, there’s 1 in 8 chance of a USC QB super bowl champion based on odds alone. And thems good odds.

Follow the jump to see my projections of which former Trojan quarter back is most likely to win it all.

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Headlinin’: Colorado bound for ‘Pac-11′ as expansion dominoes fall


Making the morning rounds.

We don’t know, but we know, you know? Officially, Nebraska regents continue to deny reports of any decisions concerning leaving the Big 12 or joining the Big Ten, mainly on grounds that there hasn’t been an official vote of any kind ahead of Friday’s meeting of the university’s Board of Regents. This can be taken as the bureaucratic semantics it almost certainly is: The Chicago Tribune, ESPN and Nebraska’s Rivals affiliate are among the many outlets reporting the ‘Huskers’ imminent defection to the Big Ten, compared to one – via Big Red blog Corn Nation, urging strict respect for "the process" – harboring significant doubts. In all but the signatures and press releases, it appears to be a done deal. [Lincoln Journal-Star, Husker Illustrated, Chicago Tribune]

California, here we come, part one. With Nebraska tipping on out, Colorado is set for its own defection to the Pac-10, which resides in the same unofficial, worst-kept-secret territory as the ‘Huskers’ impending move East. The San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner, one of the more connected reporters on the West Coast, has already dubbed it the "Pac-11," writing that Colorado "is likely to formally accept" an invitation to become the 11th member of the Pac-10 today. Baylor’s attempt to strong-arm an invitation through political channels at the Buffaloes’ expense has apparently failed. [Boulder Daily Camera, San Jose Mercury News]

California, here we come, parts 2-6. Meanwhile, the rest of the Pac-10′s grand plan to absorb the Big 12 South is looking more like a foregone conclusion, especially in Lubbock and Norman, where high-ranking officials told the local outlets that Texas Tech and Oklahoma (along with Oklahoma State) have their bags packed for the Pac-10. Said "one high-placed OU source" to the Oklahoman: "Load up on your sunscreen." [Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Oklahoman]

Sunscreen notwithstanding, the march to the coast won’t happen for anyone in the South Division without Texas, which seems willing to give one last effort to keep the Big 12 band together. UT officials are meeting in Austin this morning with officials from Texas A&M, which itself has received significant interest from the SEC over the last several months. The Texas schools (minus Baylor) are allegedly committed to moving as a block, and as farfetched as it seems with the certainty of reports sending the Longhorns, Aggies and Raiders to the Pac-10, a late-breaking defection to the SEC remains on the table today. We’ll see how long it remains there. [Sports Illustrated, Houston Chronicle]

Quickly… In non-expansion news, Colorado was docked five scholarships for failing to meet the standards of the NCAA’s academic progress rate, the only "Big Six" program nationally to be hit with academic sanctions when the numbers were released on Wednesday. … Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward is just fine with missing out on the Playboy mansion. … And listen to the 911 call to report former Notre Dame star Golden Tate and a friend "drunk and acting like idiots" at a Seattle doughnut shop.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

Headlinin’: Their old SEC home is on Seminoles’ radar, just in case


Making the morning rounds.

Unconquered, but still open to a good deal. The possibility is still "remote" at this point, but the notion of joining an expanding SEC in the coming game of Conference Expansion Dominoes has at least crossed Florida State’s mind, according to coach Jimbo Fisher, who told reporters at the ACC’s annual spring meetings that athletic director Randy Spetman has asked him directly about making the leap if the opportunity arises. Fisher’s response: "I don’t have [an opinion]. Because you’re putting the cart before the horse." (You’d never make it as a blogger, Jimbo.) Recall that then-independent Florida State was once rumored to be the apple of the SEC’s eye during the league’s groundbreaking expansion push circa 1990, but opted for a decade of standing athwart the ACC instead. [Orlando Sentinel]

Elsewhere at the ACC meetings, commissioner John Swofford promised his conference "won’t be the aggressor" if schools begin defecting elsewhere, which may not help him much in the league’s ongoing negotiations for a new, all-important television contract. [Orlando Sentinel]

We never wanted to be here, anyway. The Big Red Network reminds you that there is no love lost between the Big 12 and Tom Osborne, who was forced to cede Big Eight supremacy and Nebraska’s traditional rivalry with Oklahoma to Texas – which, for the record, also rakes in more money from the unequal distribution of the conference kitty. Throw on the end of the Big 12 Championship Game, and it’s no wonder he seems more than willing to listen if/when the Big Ten comes calling. [Big Red Network]

Oh, I thought it was another Manning endorsement thing. The name "Colt" rose from the 909th most popular baby name in the U.S. in 2006 to the 370th most popular in 2009, directly corresponding with Colt McCoy’s career as Texas’ starting quarterback. I wonder if he’d had the same effect if he’d just gone by Daniel? (As far as we know, there is still only one other "Tebow," though that doesn’t include 95 percent of the dogs in a 100-mile radius of Gainesville.) [CNBC SportsBiz]

Where there’s smoke, there’s a possible season-long suspension. Notre Dame tight end Mike Ragone waived his right to silence and admitted two baggies of marijuana found in a passenger’s purse belonged to him during a Saturday morning traffic stop turned weed arrest and will be charged with possession, greatly increasing his chances of discipline from the university’s Office of Residence Life. That could amount to a semester-long suspension from the university that would keep Ragone off the field this fall, at great expense to ND’s tight end depth. [Associated Press, South Bend Tribune]

Sexy Kiffin update. Your best motive yet for voting for Lane Kiffin over soccer babe Heather Mitts in the Sweet 16 round of Esquire’s "Sexiest Woman Alive" bracket? He’s starting to get a little desperate:

Methinks thou dost protest too much, coach. Don’t worry. We read you loud and clear. See you in the Elite Eight, Tanith Belbin. [Esquire]

Quickly … Florida State is still looking to build an indoor practice complex, but hopes to shave five or ten million off the price tag. … The first preseason magazines will be hitting the shelves in a matter of days. … Finally, you can give yourself Derek Dooley’s hair. … And maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but this story probably did not need to be written.

Headlinin’: Notre Dame wakes up the Freekbass singing her name

Making the morning rounds.

The new Notre Dame hype video undermines everything Notre Dame claims to hold dear. Whatever pretense Notre Dame ever had to possessing some kind of unique, dignified otherness that set it apart from the craven secularists of college football has been completely and utterly destroyed forever by a guy named "Freekbass" pretending to play guitar and what appears to be a rapping hobbit who majors in library sciences:

YouTube comments: Disabled. Black people associated with this "hip" marketing campaign: Negative five. Irish Guard cloggers: On suicide watch. The Irish are now aesthetically obligated to join the "Hang Time" Division of the TNBC Conference circa 1996. [ND.edu, via EDSBS]


Thou shalt not prowl. The NCAA’s Board of Directors finalized legislation Thursday restricting more than two coaches from the same school from visiting a recruit on the same day, a move that may affect a few programs (Georgia’s been sending its coaches out en masse this spring) but is apparently aimed at thwarting the blingy "Tiger Prowl" antics – featuring the infamous stretch Hummer limousine – credited with helping Auburn land one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in the country last year. This year’s Tiger Prowl is decked out with a luxury bus, though coach Gene Chizik denied that Prowl events have any connection to recruiting: "Tiger Prowl is basically a fundraising event that we do in the evenings." Preferably with dozens of huge, fast kids standing around. [Athens Banner Herald, via Blutarsky]

In other legislative news, the board also recommended a new rule requiring player to pass nine credits in the fall or risk being suspended for at least four games the following season. It plans to introduce the proposal to the next circle of the apparatchik in August. [Birmingham News]

Well, OK, but next time get it in writing, huh? The Oregon attorney general completed its review of the unwritten arrangement that promised outgoing athletic director Mike Bellotti a $2.3 golden parachute on his way from Eugene to ESPN, finding not only that everything was completely legal, but that the amount paid to the longtime head coach/shortlived AD was "not unreasonable." (Orwellbot activate: "It was reasonable.") In the future, though, verbal contracts "create substantial legal risk for UO," so it should probably cut that stuff out. [Associated Press]

Quickly … As usual, John Feinstein does not acquit himself well when it comes to assessing the college football postseason, or anything related to college football that requires acknowledging developments over the last 30 years. … Tennessee has tapped Phil Fulmer as it commencement speaker at next month’s graduation ceremony, where he’s certain to get a warmer welcome than he ever did in his last five years as head coach. … Preview mag mainstay Athlon Sports, always on the cutting edge, will distribute a monthly magazine inside daily newspapers across the country. … Barry Larkin on telling Bo Schembechler you’re going to play baseball instead. … And Lane Kiffin has been quiet at USC – perhaps a little too quiet … (Hint: He’s been super focused on beating Danica Patrick.)