» I’ve been rough on USC football coach Pete Carroll this fall, but it’s time to give him and his players some kudos.

Paul Yarbrough

Paul Yarbrough

Earlier this season, Carroll and his Trojan football team embraced a youngster, Jake Olson, who had lost one eye to cancer. After meeting the USC squad, the young man learned he would also lose his second eye.

He appeared at a USC practice the night before his surgery, and within a week he was back on the field with the Trojans after their loss to Stanford and before their rivalry game with UCLA.

Well done, Trojans.

» Speaking of Trojans, shouldn’t the NCAA be wrapping up its investigation into the Reggie Bush mess while at USC?

» The Pac-10 struggled early in this bowl season, before the Trojans dispatched Boston College Saturday night. The league has a chance this week for more success, including Friday’s Rose Bowl between Oregon and Ohio State.

I like Oregon’s chances. A lot. I think the Ducks’ overall team speed will be the difference, and Oregon will prevail.

» Urban Meyer’s decision to take a leave of absence as the Florida football coach for health reasons hit home for me. In 2008, during a routine health exam, doctors discovered I had a heart murmur. Further tests concluded that I was suffering from left ventricular hypertrophy. Fortunately, in my case, it has been kept under control with medications. Meyer has always seemed like a class act, and I wish him nothing but the best.

» The PGA Tour’s attempts to promote the 2010 season without any images of Tiger Woods is pretty humorous. No major-league sport needs its superstar more than golf needs Tiger.

» For those following the fortunes of the Oakridge High School basketball team, we picked up our first win of the season Dec. 17 in the opening round of the Bandon Dunes Holiday Invitational, beating a state tournament team from last year.

Then, on Dec. 22, we avenged a 21-point loss in our season opener, beating Lowell in overtime, 57-50. We tied it up on a rebound basket off of the intentional miss of a free throw with 0.08 seconds left in regulation, after rallying from a 9-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

One more nonleague game, on Jan. 2 at Harrisburg, before we launch into Mountain View Conference play.

Oakridge basketball has a Facebook fan page where you can follow all of the action.

Noozhawk columnist Paul Yarbrough can be reached at pyarbrough@noozhawk.com.