Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud Calls USC, UCLA Atmosphere ‘Boring’

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20 years ago, even 10 years ago, C.J. Stroud wouldn’t have been let out of the state of California. He wouldn’t have been allowed to take the first plane out of Los Angeles International Airport.

That was the kind of pull that USC and to a lesser extent, UCLA, had on top high school football prospects coming out of California. The kind of pull that enabled Pete Carroll to put together an all-time USC team in 2004, spearheaded by California kids Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.

But this ain’t 2004 and it’s not the same program in Southern California. Stroud, the Rancho Cucamonga High School product, fled east to Ohio State. Ahead of Ohio State’s (10-2) Rose Bowl matchup with Utah (10-3) on New Year’s Day, Stroud gave the reason for fleeing from California.

“You go to USC and UCLA games, and quite honestly, it’s just kind of boring. Without all the people,” Stroud said Wednesday, via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. “They kind of just are there on vacation. You go to the other schools out of state and their fans are kind of like fanatics.” 

Stroud talks about atmosphere–something that was almost nonexistent at the LA Memorial Coliseum in 2021.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 20: The USC Trojans come on to the field to take on the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)St

Stroud, meanwhile, played routinely in front of over 100,000 strong at The Horseshoe and shined on the biggest stage. Stroud threw for 3,862 yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions on 70.9% passing. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, won by Alabama’s Bryce Young, another top California prospect that found success elsewhere.

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Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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  1. EVERYBODY likes a winner. Look at Miami’s home crowd the past 2 years. Did anyone see Doak Campbell Stadium 2/3rds empty this year? Even the precious Neyland Stadium had a lot of empty seats the past few years. SC sucked this year and no one came to see them. So the hell what. It happens all over the country. You put a crappy product on the field and you pay the price in lousy attendance. Nothing new or extraordinary about that fact.

  2. With the exception of a handful of traditional CFB SuperPowers … on-site CFB attendance has been eroding across the country for 5-6 years. When the price of large flat-screens dropped below $1,000 … and with streaming access to pretty much every Power5 game, the in-home / in-bar “experience” has advantages (and cost savings) that “going to the game” can’t match … “Tailgating” is the primary “Why” that many still “go to the game”. …. INTEREST in CFB is still VERY High but the “How” is changing.
    As far as “The LA Sports Experience”… one hears the same complaints about Dodger and Laker game atmospheres…. “arrive late / leave early”. … It must be a laid-back “LA Thing”.

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