Watch Matt Barkley Try to Play Women’s Volleyball and Other Creative Ways to Survive USC’s Bye Week

The Human Abstract (Flickr/Creative Commons/Erin m)

Well, Trojans, it’s bye week, which means that you will have to wait another seven days for Barkley and Co. to take the field again. And, outside of Ohio State vs. Michigan State, there aren’t many intriguing college football matchups to enjoy this weekend. 

So, what to do until then? 

Watch the Dodgers struggle to keep their remaining thread of playoff hopes alive?  Pray for the NHL lockout to be over so the Kings can raise its banner?  Watch the NFL replacement referees enrage even more people?  Watch the actual NFL referees enrage people?  Be a productive student and finally get to studying for that midterm that is coming up? 

No, no, no, and NO!  Instead, here are some cool, USC-related things to check out until it’s time for more Trojan football. 

Matt Barkley’s Side Projects

Barkley’s Heisman hopes may be on life support, but that doesn’t change the fact that he absolutely loves being a Trojan, and he’s using his campus celebrity status to help bring others into the spotlight.  One way he is doing this is through a new series called “Matt Vs.,” in which he tries out other sports and gets lessons from other USC athletes. 

So far, he’s learned how to do a dig with the women’s volleyball team and has played a game of doubles’ tennis with teammate Khaled Holmes and national champion tennis players Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen.  We anxiously await the episode where he jumps in the pool to try some water polo. 

Go on a Journey

If you haven’t heard about the PS3 downloadable game Journey, you’re missing out on one of the best experience you will ever get with a video game.  Developed by thatgamecompany, a avant-garde game company founded by USC graduate students Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen, Journey is a game centered around communication without words.  

You play as a silent traveler in a red cloak traveling through a desert with only the wind and a subtle soundtrack playing in the background. As you travel on your journey to a mysterious glowing mountaintop, you will encounter other cloaked travelers.  These aren’t CPU players…they are other real-life people playing the game with you online.  But the twist is this: you don’t know who they are and you can only communicate by pressing a button that flashes a light and plays a musical note. 

Journey really is a video game everyone should try.  We take communication for granted throughout our lives, but this game takes away that communication and creates interaction between two people without faces, words, or names; and in doing so creates the most profound three hours you will ever experience.  It’s contemplative, beautiful, moving and addictive.

Rock out to The Human Abstract

Say hello to one of the most virtuosic metal bands to come out in the last few years.  The Human Abstract is a band that combines elements of progressive rock and death metal and features two guitarists that have studied at USC’s Thornton School of Music: A.J. Minette and Dean Herrera. 

Minette studied classical guitar as a graduate student at USC, and he has incorporated his learning into his songwriting for THA.  The band has put forth three incredible albums so far and last winter released a prog metal cover of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”  The band’s future has been brought into question due to an ever-changing lineup and other ventures the band members are working on separately, including Herrera’s USC education.  Still, The Human Abstract is one of the most impressive metal bands of the 21st century, and A.J. Minette has established himself as one of the smartest composers in the genre.  Take a listen if you’re into badass metal blended with intelligent music theory experimentation.

Watch a few 5 Second Films. 

One of the best things about the USC film school is that the students are always coming up with something crazy.  One of the most popular projects are the 5 Second Films, a website created by 2008 alum Brian Firenzi.  The series tells a quick joke with five seconds of video footage, with a new video posted every day.  From Renegade Perverts to the true meaning of Cinco De Mayo, 5 Second Films has one goal: “To Waste Your Time, But Not A Lot Of It.”


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I am a sophomore at the University of Southern California majoring in print journalism and American studies. Aside from CollegeSpun, I also write film and TV reviews for USC Annenberg's news website Neon Tommy and cover the Trojans' non-revenue sports teams on the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles