Neuheisel right; Carroll wrong
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Sure many of you have seen this video of Rick Neuheisel grousing about USC coach Pete Carroll to UCLA boosters.
I loved it, though I come off like a prig in this video.
A few weeks ago I told Chris Low, ESPN.com's SEC blogger, how jealous I was of all the squabbling going on amongst his coaches, particularly Pac-10 export, Lane Kiffin.
It warms my heart when college football goes all pro wrestling -- always thought Ric Flair would be a great coach.
This isn't hostage negotiation. It's football. It's supposed to amuse and entertain you.
And, in the big picture, Neuheisel's pique and subsequent trash-talking at a booster function means nothing. Trojans and Bruins don't need any further motivation to dislike each other.
But I got a couple of notes about Neuheisel "whining," and if we must treat this seriously -- for a maximum of four minutes, please -- let's get things straight.
Neuheisel is 100 percent right.
Carroll is 100 percent wrong.
Instead of "Win Forever" this is "Be petty!"
Neuheisel was trying to create for coaches' kids an exemption to a league rule that prohibited anybody younger than 18 from being on the sidelines during a game. He asked the coaches for a vote at the Pac-10 meetings. They did. His proposal won by a 9-1 margin.
The "Nay" vote was Carroll.
Carroll hasn't commented on the matter -- a message left with a USC spokesperson went unreturned.
[Edit note: A USC spokesperson did call back late Tuesday afternoon-- the one contacted ended up being on vacation. While he wouldn't speculate on Carroll's ultimate motivations, he did make two points: 1. Those under 18 can be on the sidelines if they are assigned official, team-related tasks; 2. Conference athletic directors voted down the exemption because of liability issues.]
Carroll voted against Neuheisel's harmless proposal just to tweak Neuheisel. One Pac-10 coach noted to me that, "Pete can be like that."
By the way, this rule is rarely enforced. I've seen plenty of under-18 youngsters on the sidelines. If Neuheisel wants to bring one of his teenage sons onto the field, no one is gong to stop him.
Further, USC, as Bruins Nation noted with its typically entertaining lack of equanimity, isn't exactly known for being a stickler for sideline order.
Neuheisel has been gracious repeatedly giving credit to USC for its success since he was hired last year. Of course, it's hard to say anything else about the nation's premier football program.
But here's a guess that he may be less hail-fellow-well-met going forward.
Not sure if it doesn't rank as journalistic hyperbole to state, with this biting of the thumb, that the rivalry is starting to again boil.
But if this tempest in a teapot ignites a trend of tweaking that ends up gaining traction, I'll greet it with a grin -- and I hope every other college football fan does also.