On Sunday, Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. It was a glorious game for fans of offense, as the two teams set a record for most yards combined in a postseason game. Ultimately, Brady fumbled with two minutes left, Foles caught a touchdown pass and won MVP, and some awkward kid took a selfie with Justin Timberlake. In other words, it was one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.
But I’m not here to talk about the game (just yet) — as wonderful and weird as it was. I’m here to talk about what comes afterward. The Super Bowl signifies the official end of football season, and the beginning of what my dad likes to call “the dark period.” For those of us uniquely obsessed with football above all other sports, these are always a challenging five months to endure. Some of us choose to occupy our time without football by finding new hobbies, like knitting or trying to get excited about the NBA regular season. Others choose to start getting work done (nah). There are many methods of dealing with the dreaded post-football hangover, but this year I am suggesting something specifically for USC fans.
It’s time to dive into the spring sports that the school has to offer. Too often, football overshadows every other sport at USC, and let’s be honest — it makes sense. Football is exciting, it generates a lot of money and the Trojans almost always put a compelling product out on the field (I didn’t say good). But USC also possesses numerous other world-class sports teams worthy of recognition and attention, especially in the spring.
USC’s beach volleyball team has only existed since 2012, but the program has already won three national championships — all in the past three years. This season, head coach Anna Collier will carry out the difficult task of replacing four seniors, including two-time All-American Kelly Claes and team captain Sara Hughes (the duo now stars on the professional level together).
The Trojans lost several stars who led the program since its inception, but now they begin a new, exciting era. Five freshmen join a defending national championship squad comprised of seven upperclassmen, creating a mix of both raw talent and experience.
The beach volleyball team has already proven it belongs among the nation’s elite in a very short period of time. Now, Collier and her squad aim to show they have staying power too. Beach volleyball kicks off its season on Feb. 24 at Arizona State.
The week before, another relatively new and successful team in women’s lacrosse begins its season.
Women’s lacrosse has gone an impressive 38-5 over the past two years with an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal appearance in 2015. In 2018, they seek their first ever national title with key players such as sophomores Kerrigan Miller (36 goals in 2017) and Kaeli Huff (29 goals in 2017) returning.
In addition to those two teams, both basketball programs are excelling at the right time as they head into conference tournament play. Men’s basketball lost a nailbiter to UCLA on Saturday, but they still look like a contender in the Pac-12, especially after their recent six-game winning streak. Looming games against Arizona and Arizona State along with a rematch against UCLA on March 3rd should all be wonderful viewing experiences, all while going a long way in determining their fate come March Madness.
Meanwhile, the women’s team is experiencing a renaissance under new-old head coach Mark Trakh, who previously coached USC from 2004-09. The Trojans are not an elite team yet, as evidenced by their last two consecutive losses to UCLA, but with a 15-8 record they’re vastly better than last year’s squad which finished last in the Pac-12.
Add in a women’s water polo team that won a national title just two years ago and a baseball team featuring the prolific junior Lars Nootbaar (.313, 34 RBI in 2017), and this spring features an excellent crop of interesting teams.
Football season may be over and many people like me will face months of withdrawal. But for USC fans there are many teams to get excited about. It’s time to give spring sports a chance.
And now here are three things I enjoyed in sports this week, Super Bowl Edition.
Here were a few things I said about Nick Foles leading up to the Super Bowl: “There’s no way the Eagles win a Super Bowl with Nick Foles,” “Nick Foles is generally pretty bad at football” and “Nick Foles hasn’t played a good season of football since 2013.” Foles ended up shredding New England’s defense for 373 yards, three touchdown passes and one touchdown catch. Now, he’s not only a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and MVP, but he’s also about to get paid by some team as a starting quarterback. Sometimes, it feels great to be wrong.
This Sunday, I decided to root for the Eagles for two main reasons: first, they were playing the Patriots, and second, I wanted to see Agholor, a former Trojan, shine on the biggest stage. He didn’t disappoint, catching seven passes for 84 yards and making numerous clutch plays down the stretch. He completed an excellent comeback season, after trade speculation in the off-season. Hopefully, he will be a weapon on the Eagles’ offense for years to come.
This one isn’t related to the actual game, but Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.’s Dirty Dancing imitation was the best commercial on Sunday (it was an admittedly dull year for ads). For the third time in his career, Manning ended up upstaging Brady in a Super Bowl.
Trevor Denton is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “T-Time,” runs Wednesdays.