We continue our Pacific Takes Q&A this week with Bryan Bishop, also known as Bald Bryan, from The Adam Carolla Show. Bryan does sound effects and is a regular presence on the most downloaded podcast in the world where he will frequently chime in with tidbits about USC football. A USC graduate and season ticket holder, Bryan is a huge USC fan with a ton of knowledge and we were lucky enough to do a little Q&A with him about USC and the Pac-12.
How long have you been a USC football fan?
I actually grew up in Northern California, Stanford territory and might not even known exactly where USC was as a kid, but I ended up going to USC for college. I went there from 96 to 99 and then stayed in LA after graduation and got season tickets. So I would probably say that I have been a fan since 96.
Do you have a favorite USC game you went to from your college days?
I kind of went there during the dark days (96-99), so I didn't see a ton of great games, but I would probably say UCLA in 99 when we beat them for the first time since 1990. I was in the front row and charged the field after the game.
Do you have a favorite USC player of all-time?
Troy Polamalu. His career really coincides with me graduating from USC and getting season tickets. He is so tough, plays so hard and well, but is also really soft spoken and smart at the same time. He also came along at a time when we had a lot of guys like Kareem Kelly who were really hyped coming out of high schooI who didn't pan out and weren't humble at all and he was just an unheralded guy from a small town in Oregon, yet ended up being the best of anyone in that era. I remember watching him early in his career and thinking he was this great player who played on a crappy team and I would also really attribute a lot of USC's reemergence to how good he was on defense and how much of a leader he was.
Do you think with all of the sanctions and the current climate of college football, that Lane Kiffin can bring USC to the level that they were at under Pete Carroll?
No, that's insane. I don't think it's possible. Judging by his record and all the big games he won, Pete Carroll is one of the greatest coaches in the history of not just the Pac-12, but the entire country. I don't think it is possible to achieve what he did.
How many losses for USC this season do you think it would take for the season to be deemed a failure?
I don't know. I had bad feelings coming into this season because of all the national championship talk. Remembering back to those two years when they won national championships it just reminds me of how so many things have to go right for a team to win a national championship. You can't be expected to win a national championship just because you have a few great players at a few positions.
Are you worried about Matt Barkley's struggles against Stanford, or do you think it was just an off game?
I'm not worried. Barkley is the guy on the team I am most confident in and I have no doubt that he'll be able to pull it off and bounce back. I think he just had a game where the offensive line and running game didn't perform and it made it really hard on him against a really good defense.
What position or unit do you think USC needs to upgrade the most?
Either the offensive or defensive line, the skills positions can't do everything. I feel like a lot of people forget just how good the lines, especially the defensive lines, were during USC's best years. The defensive line was so good those years that it allowed the linebackers and defensive backs to easily make plays. Guys like Brian Cushing and Taylor Mays were made so much better by the fact that the defensive line was taking care of everything in front of them.
How much do you think the sanctions are affecting USC?
I think that they are a bit in terms of depth. I think you could see it in the Stanford game where a great player like Khaled Holmes goes down and they didn't have anyone who could really take his place. I think that in the old days they might have had more talented guys who could just slide in there and take his place, but with the sanctions, they just don't have that depth anymore.
Do you follow any of the other Pac-12 schools, or the Pac-12 in general much?
I definitely pay attention to the Pac-12, not sure if you could say I follow any other teams. If I'm watching games on a Saturday though, I'm much more apt to watch a Pac-12 game than another game from around the country. It's always fun to watch other teams that I know USC is going to play to see how they might match up down the road.
Lastly... does Adam Carolla know anything about college football?
I think he watches a lot more NFL football than college football. Though I would say that he likes college football and he probably has a sweet spot for the late 70's, early 80's era when he would have been in college.