So, by now, everyone in America knows Steve Sarkisian's shame. Outside of college football proper, they might even know who he is.
He's the latest head coach for one of the country's most storied programs, USC. And his shame is that, last Saturday night, he turned up drunk at Salute to Troy, a major event for boosters and others who want to get close to the program, and he did what drunks do: Make an ass of himself.
Spewed profanities. Said every other school in the conference sucked. Pretty much did everything a man has to do when he wants to pour gasoline on his career and burn it to the ground.
Remember Gary Moeller, the Michigan coach who got squiffed one night at a restaurant and was hastily ushered to the exit in Ann Arbor?
Of course you don't. Exactly the point.
Anyway, Sarkisian been playing catchup ever since, issuing a public apology and then calling a news conference on Tuesday to apologize again. The wonder is that he was still around to call a news conference, given how brutal the corporate environment is in 2015. Second chances are rarer than the dodo these days.
Sarkisian is apparently getting one, though, and it doesn't take a cynic to know that's precisely because the prospects for the Trojans this fall look exceptionally bright. They're finally out of the NCAA hoosegow, where Pete Carroll landed them before fleeing to the NFL. They've got another stud quarterback in Cody Kessler. And the preseason coaches' poll has them ranked 10th and favored to win the Pac-12.
So Sarkisian's path to redemption seems fairly straightforward. If the Trojans win 10 or 11 games and win the conference, no one's going to remember Salute to Troy. If they go to South Bend and whip Notre Dame and then whip everyone in the conference, Sarkisian's profanities that night will become a punchline for the faithful. This being L.A., they might even become USC's new favorite cheer.
Winning, after all, cures all ills, including overly sharp memories. And so it will be truly amazing to see how quickly 10 or 11 wins can transform "He embarrassed the university" into "That Steve, what a character."
And if USC doesn't improve on last year's 9-4 record?
Well, Sarkisian's gone, of course. Or at least on his way to being gone. Because, you know, 9-4 isn't gonna cut it at USC -- and besides, have you heard what the guy did at Salute to Troy?