Season’s end can’t come soon enough for USC


Dear 2010 USC football season:

I never thought I’d be asking you this, not after all the good times we’ve had in the past. But, respectfully of course, I have a simple request:

Just end already.

Look, I knew things were going to be difficult this year. I was prepared for less flash and more losses.

Turns out, I wasn’t prepared for this, a once-solid season quickly becoming a downward spiral.

A season that, at one time, looked like a moving train that had just lost a little traction is now nearing a total derailment.

The two heartbreaking losses on last-second field goals to Washington and Stanford were excusable. The loss to Oregon, the best team in the country — we can let that one slide.

I didn’t want to believe it after the embarrassment in Corvallis, Ore. But there’s no denying it after the debacle against the Irish last Saturday.

You, USC season, are on the brink of disaster. So again, I must ask you to quickly and quietly go away.

I know there is the little issue of this final game against UCLA. And while that used to mean something, no matter what the most die-hard Trojan fan will say, there hasn’t been a less-anticipated matchup between the crosstown rivals.

Neither team is bowl-eligible: USC because of sanctions, UCLA because it is really that inept of a football program.

Sure, good old bragging rights are at stake, but will there really be much to brag about even if USC wins in convincing fashion? Why brag about beating a team that got rocked by Arizona State last week and whose signature win came over a Texas team that won’t be going bowling for the first time since 1997?

A USC win against UCLA is always supposed to mean something. But this year, that something is little more than another win notched under the Trojans’ name, another year to put the Victory Bell on display.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it pales in comparison to what USC stands to lose if it falters in this game.

That’s why I’m asking this season to inconspicuously fade away. Because things can only get worse. Only a loss to the Bruins could make this season any more painful than it already has been, culminating with the infamous drop down the stretch against Notre Dame.

I’ve never heard a groan like the one the Coliseum let out when the game-winning touchdown bounced off senior wide receiver Ronald Johnson’s hands. The audience roar built up in budding anticipation was then quickly crushed by a cry that was equal parts anger and disbelief.

After something so shocking, even a win against UCLA — something the Trojans have pulled off 10 times in the last 11 years — no longer feels like a sure thing.

USC fans will be there to support the Trojans, but they’ll be watching through the cracks of their fingers, ready to cover their eyes if the worst comes to pass.

The possibility makes me cringe, so I’d rather just look away.

Of course, I’m not really asking you to cut yourself short, 2010 season. I’ll be watching, however anxiously, when the Trojans take the Rose Bowl field on Saturday. I’m just at a fragile place right now. The sight of Notre Dame jubilantly celebrating on the Coliseum field is still stuck on the insides of my eyelids.

I know you have an obligation to go on until the end. But now you’re like a horror story whose 13th chapter I’m afraid to read.

If you must go on for one more week, please make it quick and easy. Be mindful of the nerves of the USC faithful. We’ve endured way more strain than we were ready for this year.

Trust me, we can try again next season. But after Saturday, no matter the outcome, you will be a season USC fans will quickly try to forget.

“Middle Ground” ran Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Josh at jjovanel@usc.edu.

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