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Unusual cloud hangs over USC

Cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Trojans' trip to the Emerald Bowl

Updated: December 24, 2009, 2:53 PM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPN Los Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pete Carroll's coaching tree has grown into a robust California oak by now. The branches reach far into the NFL and to the top-of-the-canopy jobs in college football, from Knoxville to Seattle.

At crunch times, Carroll still grasps for his roots.

From the sideline before every game, he phones Bob Troppmann up in Marin County. Carroll grew up in the redwood-covered hills just across the Golden Gate Bridge from where his USC Trojans take on Boston College on ...

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