In his postgame radio interview on 710 ESPN on Saturday after USC hung on to beat Arizona 24-20 in Tucson, it didn’t take long for head coach Clay Helton to utter the words, “control our destiny.”He did it last season ad nauseam, to the point that writers placed bets in the press box as to how many times Helton would use that phrase in his postgame interview — which means that no matter how bad things may seem, USC is still in position to win the Pac-12 South. It’s one of the many cliches that clutter Helton’s press conferences, and it would be accurate to characterize him as a coach who sees the glass as half full, no matter the circumstances.To be fair, Helton admitted to not being satisfied with how the Trojans finished Saturday’s contest. With a 24-0 second half lead, USC shot itself in the foot with turnovers, penalties and poor decision-making, allowing Arizona and its hobbled quarterback, Khalil Tate, to come dangerously close to making a comeback. Nobody in the locker room seemed particularly happy, like freshman quarterback JT Daniels: “You can’t be too mad when you get a win, but I’m pretty mad. We can do better. And I guess that’s a positive, [because] we’re nowhere near our potential.”Or redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tyler Vaughns: “I’m not happy for [the win] because I know we should’ve done better.”Or senior linebacker Cam Smith: “I think we just haven’t put a complete game together, and we’re due.”But still — “control our destiny.” Mhmm.The thing is, though, his words actually ring true. With a 2-1 conference record, the Trojans do control their own destiny. They can play exactly like they did on Saturday — exceptional at times, terribly at others — and roll through a weak Pac-12 South. Of its six remaining conference games, USC is projected by ESPN’s Football Power Index to win all but one of them, with Oct. 20’s road game at Utah the only toss up. The Trojans get Colorado, Arizona State and Cal at home. They’ll play Utah, Oregon State and UCLA on the road. None of these teams match USC’s talent. None of them have USC’s playmakers. If the Trojans show up to these games with a half-decent game plan, they can finish 8-1 in the Pac-12 and undefeated in the South. Whether or not playoff contender Notre Dame blows them out in the regular season finale has no impact on a potential Pac-12 Championship berth. This is why this football program is as promising as it is infuriating. The Trojans can be so much more than a team that merely beats up on inferior competition, so much better than a team that escapes Tucson with a win that should have never been in doubt, yet was in jeopardy up until they recovered an onside kick late in regulation.Nobody questions the skill. Look at how composed Daniels seemed, as an 18-year-old starting quarterback. Look at how explosive senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware was on the ground, rushing for two touchdowns and 173 yards. Look at how the defense shut down the dynamic Tate and Arizona’s rushing attack, which entered the game leading the Pac-12 with an average of 247.2 yards per game but was held to 98 yards on Saturday.And yet, the Trojans barely clawed out the win to inch a game above .500 on the season, and they remain unranked for the third straight week. This can be better. It should be better. Being able to “control our destiny” shouldn’t be the goal; it should be a given. If USC wins the rest of its conference games but is blown out by Notre Dame to end the regular season, all that means is the Trojans won the games they should have won only to lose a game that would have actually meant something bigger than just controlling their destiny. Instead of measuring USC against Pac-12 competition, Helton should be looking at the non-conference results. Since 2016, the Trojans have suffered blowout losses to Alabama, Texas and Ohio State, with the 2017 Rose Bowl win over Penn State the lone statement out-of-conference victory in the Helton era. But USC might reach the Rose Bowl this season anyway without having to prove itself. All the Trojans have to do is beat mediocre competition the next six games, and then come up on top against presumably Stanford or Washington in the Pac-12 Championship.So yes, Helton is right: USC does control its own destiny, and it could be enough to keep everyone happy this season. But that is frustrating in itself.Eric He is a senior majoring in journalism. He is also the managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.
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Tags: abdallah mubiruCOSAFA Cup 2019dan sserunkumatopUganda Cranes The COSAFA Cranes touch down at Entebbe Airport on Thursday. (PHOTO/AGENCIES)ENTEBBE – After losing both of their games at the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa, the Uganda Cranes squad have arrived back in the country on Thursday, June 6th.The team of 20 players and 8 officials touched down at Entebbe Airport in the afternoon.Upon arrival, Vipers striker Dan Sserunkuma who scored Uganda’s only goal in COSAFA spoke to the media and assured the team had a great experience in South Africa.Sserunkuma (R) scored Uganda’s only goal in South Africa.“It was a great experience because the side featured many new players in the National team setup, said Sserunkuma.“All the teams we played were much organised and we learnt a lot in those two games.“The playing surface was very different to the ones we are used to. Next time shall play better so that we get good results.Uganda lost 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time, on Saturday. The loss saw them fall into the Plate competition where they would take on South Africa the following Tuesday.Against the Bafafa Bafana, it was a similar outcome, drawing 1-1 in regular time before losing 4-2 in the shout-outs.After a goalless first half, Dan Sserunkuma temporary put Uganda ahead at the start of the second before South Africa equalized with 17 minutes to play.In both games, the Cranes missed several opportunities to win, something head coach Abdallah Mubiru attributed to lack of luck.“We were unlucky to bow out in the two matches played, said Mubiru.“The matches played were promising although we still have to perfect use of the ball in the final third.Mubiru speaks to the media on the COSAFA Cranes arrival.The team that featured in South Africa is highly anticipated to be the one that takes on South Sudan in the upcoming CHAN qualifiers.Players:Goalkeepers: Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC) and James Alitho (URA FC)Defenders: Paul Patrick Mbowa (URA FC), Paul Willa (Police), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), John Revita (Express FC), Isaac Isinde(Kirinya-Jinja S.S), Hassan Musana (KCCA FC), Musitafa Mujuzi (Proline FC).Midfielders: Bright Anukani (Proline), Muzamiru Mutyaba (KCCA FC), Shafik Kuchi Kagimu (URA FC), Nicholas Kasozi (KCCA FC), Allan Kayiwa (Tooro United FC), Paul Mucureezi (Mbarara City FC), Michael Birungi Komunda (Express)Forwards: Daniel Isiagi Opolot (Al Nasir, Egypt), Juma Balinya (Police FC), Nelson Senkatuka (right Stars FC), Dan Muzeyi Serunkuuma (Vipers SC)Team Officials:–Leader of Delegation: Richard Ochom–Head Coach: Abdallah Mubiru–Assistant Coach: Charles Livingstone Mbabazi–FUFA Delegate (Kampala Region): Robert Serunjogi–Team Doctor: Emmanuel Nakabago–Equipment manager: Frank Bumpejje–Media Officer: Lawrence BwanikaComments
A Monday afternoon fire in a home in the Minnehaha area, just outside of Vancouver city limits, displaced eight people, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.Firefighters were called to 3605 N.E. 44th St., near Northeast St. Johns Road, around 4:15 p.m.Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Joe Spatz said a firefighter working on a brush fire near St. Johns Road and state Highway 500 was first to arrive, and found flames coming from the small home’s front doors and windows.When another engine crew arrived, the firefighter checked the back of the house to find only the front was burning, Spatz said.Firefighters attacked the fire burning at the front of the house from the outside, while others rolled a hose around the back to go inside and check for people and douse the flames.They rescued a cat and dog still inside the burning house, Spatz said, and both reportedly were doing well. No one was injured.The fire displaced eight people, Spatz said, and the Red Cross was called to help with post-disaster relief.The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office was investigating.