Well, this was not part of the plan.
Before the season began, one could imagine what the Thursday before the Oregon game would be like: the campus buzzing with excitement, students posting pictures of the ESPN College GameDay crew setting up in front of the Coliseum and cardinal and gold scattered across campus in support of the national championship-bound Trojans.
The reality of the situation is a bit underwhelming.
Yes, USC face-planted last Saturday in the hot Tucson sun, giving up possession of the ball on five occasions and giving up free yards in penalties too many times to count. Amid all the referees’ flag-throwing, you could just feel the Trojans’ fans back home throwing in the towel on what was supposed to be the perfect season.
As much as it pains me to admit it, for about an hour after the game, I was one of them.
I consider myself an optimistic person, and this attitude applies greatly to how I view my sports teams.
But after the game Saturday, I couldn’t help but look at USC’s remaining schedule and think of how grateful I would be if we could win just half of our remaining games.
But after seeing how other USC fans and students have reacted to the loss, my dedication to optimism was reaffirmed: We can’t fall apart now.
Let’s be clear, this season has been a huge disappointment.
The storybook ending that everyone was hoping for was torn to pieces after the Stanford loss. The scraps that remained after that were set on fire after the Arizona game, leaving behind ashes that only serve as a reminder of what could have been.
But this is exactly why we as a fan base and student body have to rush to the team’s aid.
Fans know what the nation expects to see on Saturday: They expect to see Oregon throttle USC in front of a two-thirds filled Coliseum.
Oregon has a knack for forcing mistakes, spelling huge trouble for this USC team, which has proven adept at shooting itself in the foot.
We can’t control how the team plays on Saturday; we can only hope it repeats last year’s performance in Eugene.
But what we can control is how we approach game day: We need to come and make life as difficult as we can for Oregon by making the Coliseum as loud as it’s ever been.
Just because we are at a lowly 6-2 (most teams would gladly take such a record) does not mean we are now allowed to abandon our team. Disappointing or not, they are still our guys, a part of the Trojan Family.
What sense would it make for us to jump ship when the going has now gotten tough?
After everything these players and coaches have been through, this season was supposed to be their payoff.
It still can be, even without a national championship game at the end.
And though there is no doubt that every member on that team was shooting for the stars this season, I think each one of them would agree that the chance to play for the Pac-12 championship is still a more than worthy pursuit.
In fact, after what most of these players have been through, just about any bowl game would seem like the Super Bowl at this point.
When the sanctions came down more than two years ago, everybody on USC’s roster had the opportunity to leave. The door was open for Matt Barkley and the rest to leave for greener pastures.
By now we all know that they chose to stay and finish what they started.
And though other matters of business may in fact be left unfinished, I guarantee that this team, with all of its flaws, will fight on ’til the end.
It’s our duty to fight right along with them.
“Inside the 20s” runs every other Thursday. If you would like to comment on this article, visit DailyTrojan.com or email Nick at email@example.com.