The seventh of January was supposed to be the day. It was the day when seven years of Vince Young nightmares were going to be wiped way by a band of brothers anchored by two number sevens, one of whom poised to be the seventh official Heisman Trophy winner.
The seventh was going to be the day USC was going to win its seventh BCS game. It was going to be the day that a seventh year of SEC dominance was going to be avoided.
Today’s that day. The seventh is here.
Unfortunately for USC, the only seven the Trojans have to match, is their number of wins. The day poised to be full of lucky number sevens, is nothing but the day of reckoning for the luck of the Irish, fate’s strange twist to what may have been the most documented season in USC’s storied history.
For a season precluded by preseason hype that called for celebration in Miami, five regular season losses and a bowl debacle in El Paso has left the Trojans stalled on Menlo, with nothing but a Will Smith album to create the illusion of grandeur.
They’ve gone from rekindling the glory days of the Pete Carroll era to being pushed to the brink of collapse through underachievement and misguidance, with a future’s promise shroud in mystery due to the double-fisted drunkenness of Lane Kiffin and sanctions.
And, of course, if there’s anything to be learned from 2012, it’s that results aren’t fulfilled when they’re expected to take care of themselves. Instead, they’re fulfilled through exertion.
Need proof? Just ask the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup when least expected. As an eighth seed. Winners of 10 straight road games. Because of their will.
For USC, 2012 lacked that exertion of will. There wasn’t a killer instinct when games were teetering, nor an exertion of intellect when strategy came to the forefront.
The Trojans didn’t answer the bell and expectations created from a time in which USC won without expectations, didn’t occur as expected.
They played like a team crowned in the preseason, because they were. Fans bought premature plane tickets to Miami, because they were crowned.
Ultimately, that means very little.