It Appears USC Fans Will Indeed Invade S.F. That's Good, Right?

Categories: Sports
Tommy, can you hear me?
Yesterday we caught up with Gary Cavalli, executive director of the Emerald Bowl. Conventional wisdom might have dictated that fans of USC were ready to pull the plug on this disappointing football season and begin ostentatiously cheering on the Lakers or become distracted by shiny objects. Cavalli, however, had faith the Trojans' hordes were coming.

It appears he could well be right. As of Monday, 29,233 tickets for the game had been sold -- that's down from 29,906 at this point last year. But, considering last year's contest featured the hometown Cal Bears -- and fans had several days more notice the home team would be playing in AT&T Park -- Cavalli is pleased. "We're looking forward to another sellout," he says.

Cavalli earlier told us he hoped 10,000 to 15,000 -- or more -- Trojans fans would make the pilgrimage to the Bay Area for the game. He also hopes alums living in the area will show. But he was never betting the house on the chance to have a big draw for the game (If you offered 500-to-1 odds a few weeks into the season that USC would be playing the day after Christmas in the Emerald Bowl, you still might have had a hard time getting any takers).

"A large number of people buy the tickets sight unseen," said Cavalli. "We've worked hard to build up a base of ticket-buyers regardless of who plays in the game." Now, he figures more will come to watch SC take on BC (Boston College). Our extremely informal poll of USC aficionados was less conclusive, however.

One noted that "Even the Rose Bowl has been a disappointment for the past few years" -- adding that with the Emerald Bowl slated for the day after Christmas, that pretty much means L.A.-area fans will have to hop a plane that morning.

"Ugh. I hated this season," a USC alum told us. "But I imagine fans will show for the Emerald Bowl, only because S.F. is a nice place to visit and there are a lot of Trojans living in the Bay Area. Sigh."

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