Saturday, November 29, 2008

Irish show little fight in 38-3 drubbing by USC

In the spirit of rivalry, the Irish came into the Coliseum fighting. Unfortunately for the Domers, pre-game skirmishes aren’t recorded and don’t appear on stat sheets. Though Notre Dame appeared pumped and fearless in an early scuffle that led to the two teams being separated before the game ever kicked off, they had no punches to throw on the negative side of a 38-3 Trojans rout.

From the first series of the game, and carrying to the end, Charlie Weis proved there’s no “genius” in his coaching or offense. For four quarters the Trojan domination made the visitors appear no better than the two Pac 10 programs playing in the state of Washington. The Irish may have come in at 6-5, playing the 107th ranked strength of schedule in the country, but Pete Carroll gave them a better measure of their so called improvement from last season, by revealing that nothing has changed. Clear the smoke from their schedule and you see Notre Dame outscored in the last two meeting 76-3 by their biggest rival. That isn’t South Bend progression. That’s a program idle in futility.

To put their misery in perspective, the Irish failed to achieve a single first down in the first 30 minutes of play, and 45 minutes passed before they established one. Their offense totaled just 9 first half yards, 11 passing and -2 rushing. They finished the game with 91 total yards, 4 first downs, and 3 points on the scoreboard. The field goal appeared as an act of desperation, with Weis refusing to be shutout by USC in consecutive years, and for the 4th time versus Irish opponents in the past two seasons.

It was a homecoming for Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who lost his first game in the state of California, after going 46-0 at Oaks Christian High School. The former Parade All-American went just 11 of 22 for 41 yards and 2 interceptions. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Mark Sanchez, also a former high school All-American, connected 21 times on 32 attempts for 267 yards and two scores. Sanchez threw an interception on the Trojans’ first series of the game, and another in the end zone in the second half, on a first and goal play that would have increased the swelling of the Irish’s black eye.

USC rushed for 175 yards, including a 55 yard first half burst for a touchdown by Joe Mcknight. 8 different Trojans caught passes in the blowout, with Damian Williams’ 8 receptions for 76 yards and a score leading the way. Carroll cleared his bench in the fourth quarter, and the determined Weis left his starters on the field for further embarrassment. Be it starters or reserves, the Irish hit a Trojan wall of defense, and have now gone 8 consecutive quarters without a touchdown against Southern Cal. The victory is the 7th straight for USC in the series.

With Oregon defeating Oregon State in Corvallis, The Trojans now lead the Pac 10 and can earn a Rose Bowl birth and automatic BCS bowl bid with a victory over UCLA in next week’s season finale.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lane Kiffin headed to the SEC is reporting that former USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has accepted a deal in principle to become the new head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. The 33 year old Kiffin left Southern California in 2007 to coach the Oakland Raiders. He was terminated on September 30, 2008, after less than two years in a Raiders organization that made him the youngest coach in their history. Lane is the son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

Phillip Fulmer coached the Tennessee Volunteers for 16 seasons, winning one National Championship. In the midst of poor team performances in the ’08 campaign, and one of the worst seasons in Tennessee’s history, he was forced to resign, and will step down at the end of the season. Kiffin’s knowledge of recruiting hotbeds, having worked as recruiting coordinator at USC, may have proved the difference in his selection over other candidates.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lendale White rumbles over hapless Lions

Lendale White doesn’t fear a microphone or hesitate to voice is displeasures. But of course, we already knew that, from his days at USC. As any other poster boy for disgruntled players would be, White was vocal in last weekend’s post-game interview that followed a 34-13 loss to the Jets, a game that gave the once perfect Titans their only blemish on the season. He was frustrated in carrying the ball just 3 times in 4 quarters of play, and alerted listeners and his coaching staff of his feelings. By midweek, most wondered if White had allowed his mouth to stuff him into Jeff Fisher’s doghouse, since it’s never a good idea to air dissensions between player’s and a coaching staff. Instead, Fisher said the topic had been discussed and there were no ill feelings between himself and White. And if anyone had speculations that Fisher’s statements were an attempt to cover up an incident possibly boiling in the Tennessee locker room, that was all squashed on Thursday, as both White and the Titans went back to the formula for success, drubbing the Lions 47-10.

Against the Lions, White ran for 106 yards on 23 carries, with a long of 25. He also contributed 2 touchdowns to tie Atlanta’s Michael Turner’s league leading 13. White had been the league leader in the category, until the lack of opportunities last weekend shut him out. Rookie Chris Johnson added another 125 yards on the ground against the hapless and helpless Lions, giving evidence of the franchise in Detroit being the NFL’s biggest turkey on Thanksgiving, and likely the worst team I’ve witnessed on a professional field. How bad are the Detroit Lions? Even Vince Young completed a 57 yard pass in this game, entering in relief of Kerry Collins.

Last week, Woody Paige of ESPN's "Around the horn" called White "another Denver loud mouth". He also said his mouth is the reason he fell in the NFL draft. I'd have to disagree with the latter. It was a question of work ethics that caused the slide. If it was about being a loud mouth, players like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Chad Johnson wouldn't be worth much in a free agent market, and obviously they are. Lendale White may not be in the best shape, but there's no denying his production on the football field, something the teams picking before the Titans failed to foresee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preview | Notre Dame at (5) USC

Depending on the articles read and lists compiled, several rivalries will appear as the “greatest”. Be it the bias of the author and his or her loyalties holding weight, difference of opinion will bring about a different order. But without a doubt, USC and Notre Dame is the greatest intersectional rivalry in the nation, because of the simple fact that they share no conference and exist in separate regions of the country. Even so, the Trojans and Fighting Irish will collide on a football field for the 8oth time, in a series only discontinued by world war, and never because one program or the other declined in prowess.

We can all give our opinions of great rivalries, and even my own bias will surface. But I challenge anyone, and everyone, to give me another college football rivalry where the programs combine for greater history and achievements on a football field. The Irish and Trojans have amassed 23 national championships and 14 Heisman Trophy winners. The rivalry produced more All-Americans and NFL draft selections than any other. These college gridiron greats have gone on to excel on professional fields, yielding more Pro-Bowl selections and members of the NFL Hall of Fame than any other rivalry can boast. The names are as legendary as the coaches, and each visitor will grasp that legend by touring the opponent’s trophy halls, before ever taking the field. Today’s players are an extension of yesterday, preparing to gallop with ghosts on a modern surface. They are new faces aligned with old, each looking to carve their names aside rivalry greats. They are young men hauling the pride of generations past, existing beneath the Golden Dome and behind the Walls of Troy. It's more than just one game in a college football season. It is college football. It's USC and Notre Dame.

Last Week: L-Syracuse

Notre Dame enters the 80th meeting as a program in trouble. Even with high expectations, the Irish have struggled. They’ve defeated just one program with a winning record (Navy), and faced the embarrassment last week of losing to an 8-loss team (Syracuse) for the first time in their long history. Charlie Weis promised 9 wins in 2008 and he’s currently stuck on 6, with only their greatest rival remaining. It’s a promise he couldn’t keep, and even more unpredictable was that the Irish would be pelted with snowballs in their own stadium, and by their own fans. We have a coach and a program desperate for a quality win to legitimize the season and possibly save a job.

Last week: Bye

Southern California will be the best team Notre Dame has faced on the '08 slate. And to make it more difficult for the Domers, it’s a hungry bunch, still hoping for pieces to fall that would launch them into the National Championship game. If there were ever a game for style points, a nationally televised prime time affair with a storied program is it. Some say there’s that “rivalry” factor, where the underdog will excel and shock the world. But though the Trojans are known for sleeping on teams that are average or worse, they’re always fully awake for Notre Dame. This is a USC farewell to seniors playing their last home game in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It’s a senior class that has never lost to the Irish, and looking to continue the trend. Notre Dame was shutout 38-0 in South Bend last year, and will face an improved Trojans defense on Saturday night.

Analysis: It's no secret that each team that somehow managed to slow the Trojans were either equipped with a productive rushing attack or defensively found a way to limit the USC stable of backs from consistently chewing chunks of yardage. Notre Dame provides neither, as the Domers rank 91st in the country running the ball, and 58th defending it. Unless there is that "luck of the Irish", it can get ugly, as in previous games played in this series and venue. In the last 3 trips to the Coliseum, the Irish have been outscored 129-47.

All Time Series: Irish lead 42-32-5
Streak: Trojans won 6

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beavs may be playing without the Quizz

Oregon State heads into one of the most important games in the school’s history on Saturday, and they may be playing without a key contributor. Jacquizz Rodgers, who fans of the Empire know very well, could sit out the “uncivil war” against Oregon with a sprained shoulder. That shoulder was injured early in the first quarter of the Arizona game that showed the Wildcats less than 2 minutes away from victory and the Trojans nearly sniffing roses.

Rodgers’ performance against USC is the difference between the Trojans being No. 1 in the country and currently sitting 5th. He followed his 186 yard performance in the big upset by continuing to excel in conference play to lead the Pac 10 in rushing, and rank 12th overall in the nation. His probable absence from the Beavers roster this Saturday may heighten Oregon’s chances of winning their in-state rivalry, as well as increase Southern Cal's possibility of clinching the conference title and a Rose Bowl birth.

Vegas: USC and Florida best in the nation

It’s no secret that Las Vegas oddsmakers will often contradict positions in college polls. You’ll see that difference of opinion each time the Vegas favorite is lower ranked than the opponent. I can’t say that one determination is more precise than the other, because even those in Sin City will underestimate opponents. This is always evident in Pac 10 spreads, where USC is often a heavy favorite against conference brethren, but shows a lesser spread versus out of conference foes. The truth is revealed annually, with the Trojans having more of a struggle within the 10, but for some reason the gamblers still can’t see or believe it to be a fluke. In an interesting article by Matt Hayes of the Sporting News, he points out that Vegas has USC and Florida as the nation’s best programs. I’m certainly not one to disagree. He also calls the Big 12 “overrated”, thoughts I’ve often had of my own. And when you break it down by the numbers, you can see why such a claim can be made.

Defense wins championships. And as I’ve said several times, and Hayes points out, the Big 12 doesn’t have any. Here is the list he gives of the past national champions and their defensive rankings:

2007: LSU (3rd)
2006: Florida (6th)
2005: Texas (10th)
2004: USC (6th)
2003: LSU (1st)
2002: Ohio State (23rd)
2001: Miami (6th)
2000: Oklahoma (8th)

Think back to 2005, when USC had one of the most explosive offenses college football had ever seen. Now think about the championship game against Texas, and what led to the end results. All season long, the defense was the Achilles heel. Even before the Trojans reached that game it was already said that if USC pulled off the victory, it would be the lowest ranked defense ever to win the BCS championship. I believe that USC defense ranked somewhere in the 30s. ESPN may have ran a segment trying to proclaim the 2005 Trojans the “best college football team ever”, but anyone who has followed enough to compare would tell you the 2004 squad was better, because of the defense.

Haye’s then paints today’s picture in this comment:

"Only once this decade has a national champion finished lower than 10th in the nation in total defense, and that team (Ohio State, 2002) was No. 2 in scoring defense.
Now, a look at the Big 12's big five in total defense this season: Texas (53rd), Oklahoma (56th), Texas Tech (74th), Oklahoma State (76th), Missouri (89th).

And now, the four other major players in the race for the BCS championship game: Alabama (3rd), Florida (9th), USC (2nd) and Penn State (4th).

Something ain't right, people. That's all I'm saying.

And for those who say the offense is limited on the other side, we give you these national scoring offense rankings: Florida (3rd), Penn State (10th), USC (12th), Alabama (30th).

The hype of the Big 12 is all about offense, but is it really that great? Their success may be a reflection of the conference’s poor defenses. Oklahoma’s lowest output of the season was 35 points, which they achieved twice (Texas, TCU). The rest of their games are all 40 plus, including 4 consecutive performances of 50 points or more against their Big 12 mates. In September, they defeated Washington 55-14, a team the Trojans defeated 56-0. Texas scored 56 points on Missouri, and their offense was said to be “rolling”. I guess people forgot that even a bad Illinois team hung 42 on the Tigers defense in the season opener, as they also forgot Texas Tech only leading 35-24 after three quarters with FCS Eastern Washington.

I’m not going to say the Big 12 is completely overrated, but I’m pretty sure the offenses are. How can I not be skeptical? In 2004, it was supposed to be the “explosive” offense of the Jason White and Adrian Peterson led Sooners against the defense of Southern Cal. Defense wins championships. Final score…Trojans 55, Sooners 19.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Penn State wants USC

Now that Penn State is locked into January’s Rose Bowl, they have the luxury of formulating opinions on possible opponents. Unless Oregon State stumbles this weekend, the Nittany Lions are looking at a rematch of an earlier season College Station rout of the Beavers. OSU is playing better football these days, but Penn State receiver, Deon Butler, has already indicated that he’d like to pass on a second meeting. "They're a great football team, don't get me wrong, so if they deserve to be there, they'll be there. But obviously if you go to a bowl game, you want to play someone that you haven't played all season," says Butler. If you don’t want Oregon State, you’re asking and hoping for USC, with the Trojans being the only other possibility.

Ohio State wanted the exposure of playing USC, so they were added to the regular season schedules of ’08 and ’09. The September meeting only exposed the Buckeyes as a fraud. In the last 3 Rose Bowls against Big 10 opponents, The Trojans have outscored the Midwestern boys 109-49, and let’s not forget the thrashing of Iowa in the Orange Bowl. In the spirit of accomplishment and excitement of a conference title, you may call out the big boys on the block. But when the dust settles in coming weeks, and you descend from that cloud, what you’re asking for will become clear. With Branch not wanting Oregon State, he’s asking to travel to Southern California to play USC in the postseason, and in their house. The Bruins may rent that space for home games, but the Trojans own the joint. For a program celebrating one of the best season's in recent years, that's a lot to ask for. It's an invitation to the woodshed, with the Trojans holding the paddle.

The Lions’ receiver said it’s about not playing the same team twice in the same season. I’m sure the Buckeyes would have loved the Rose Bowl invite, to have another crack at the Trojans and an opportunity for redemption. If Penn State and USC opened the season, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind closing it the same. It’s all about being on the grandest stage and playing the biggest programs. His statement isn’t about playing a team for a second time, and his thoughts are likely shared by the Rose Bowl committee. It’s about Oregon State not being USC, the biggest test for any program, and one of the biggest financial draws in the country. And of course, I'm sure the Beavers wouldn't care who the Rose Bowl opponent would be, considering the program hasn't played in that game since 1964. Just making it there would be special.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BYU-Utah and the Trojan effect

USC’s final destination remains up in the air, and just as each weekend can potentially create a new path, this weekend will offer more road paving results. One annual rivalry that meant nothing to anyone outside of the Beehive State now looms large for programs anticipating at-large BCS bids. Trojan fans will be scoreboard watching, with Oregon State traveling to Tuscon, as a Beavers loss would end all speculation and solidify USC’s appearance in the Rose Bowl. But if the Wildcats falter, a game played in Utah can weigh heavy in deciding USC’s fate.

When BYU and Utah square off in Saturday’s battle of "church versus state", the end result could have a major impact on the BCS landscape. Mid-Majors need only to finish among the BCS top 12 to gain eligibility for an at-large bid. The current standings show two programs among the top 10, undefeated Boise State (9) and Utah (7). The BCS party has never been crashed by two mid-majors in the same season, but never before did we have two programs eligible. As it is, no team outside of a BCS conference has ever played in a BCS bowl game unless they were undefeated, and we are set up to potentially have two with records unblemished.

As much as the thought is unlikely that two bowl committees would select mid-major teams to appear in their games, the possibility remains. The only guarantees in the BCS are the top two spots in the championship game, and automatic entry for BCS conference winners. The rest is open for invitation, which is why we saw a 3-loss Illini team play in last year’s Rose Bowl, as well as Kansas receiving the Orange Bowl bid, though they weren’t represented in the Big 12 championship game and lost to a Missouri team that was snubbed.

BYU has an opportunity to remove this potential thorn in the Trojans’ side by defeating Utah in the in-state “Holy War”. The Cougars, currently sitting at No. 14 in the BCS, may crack the top 12 with a victory, but would more importantly drop Utah below the magic mark. There’s a big difference between BYU being among the 12, in comparison to the Utes, because the Cougars’ lone loss to TCU will cripple them in at-large discussions. Saturday’s outcome will be highly important in the Mountain West Conference and the state of Utah, and equally important to one loss BCS programs vying for a birth.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Neuheisel believes fewer kids watching football today

Appearing on the FOX radio show, in a conversation sparked about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb not knowing the NFL overtime rules, UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel said it was surprising to hear, but gave a reason for it. His belief is that fewer kids are watching football today, compared to his generation. The Bruins coach says, “There's just too many other things they can do with their social time. Video games have taken a large majority of that. And I'm not sure you've ever seen a tie in a video game!” Although his take is somewhat sensible, I won’t agree with it.

When comparing today to yesterday, you see how widespread the game of football has become, in regard to media coverage. Yesterday, a televised Thursday game was only a Thanksgiving Day occurrence. Today, there isn’t a single day of the week where football isn’t being broadcast nationally at one level or another. Yesterday, if you missed a game, you could only read about it or catch highlights. Today, you use the DVR and record several games to be viewed several times over. College conferences now have their own networks or are contractually tied to others, so even if a game wasn’t televised live in your local area, you can catch a replay later in the week. If you’re looking to view it live, ESPN 360 or CBS Sports Line will capture the feed and display it on your computer monitor.

Today’s kids know more about football than their father’s before them, which is why athletes continue to improve with time. They know more about training and diets. They imitate their gridiron heroes (from mannerism, dress, and movement) through images provided in high definition. They know all about contracts and how combine results increase your earnings, as hold-outs and signings are now just a part of daily television conversations.

If there are players in the NFL that don’t know the overtime rules, it’s not because they didn’t watch enough football. It’s because ties don’t occur that often. As it is, they could have watched every game for the past five years without witnessing a tie. Maybe Neuheisel’s kids aren’t watching football, because that game isn’t being played in Westwood. After all, the best chance they have to see their dad lead UCLA to a National Championship is to hand him a joystick and insert a disk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

About the Song Girl wearing burnt orange...

In a tip from Trojanwire that led me to a story at Busted Coverage, Natalie Nelson is again revisited. Natalie, the former USC Song girl now married to Ryan Kalil, became infamous for appearing to cheer for the wrong team in the 2006 Rose Bowl game, by raising her arms to celebrate a Texas touchdown over USC. Now she's reappeared in Halloween photos, and she's clad in a Texas Longhorns football jersey. The photos are supposedly from Halloween of 2006, and I don't see any reason to blow them up to something bigger than they are. As pointed out by Scott Wolf, another Song Girl in the photo is also wearing a UCLA football jersey, so Natalie doesn't stand alone.

My take is this, Halloween is a day of horror. It's a time when people will dress according to the holiday's theme, and often the most hideous costume will win most contests. For females, they can be both hideous and sexy at the same time. What's the most horrifying thing you'd ever imagine a Song Girl in? How about uniforms of our enemies? As you can see in the group photo, a majority of USC's latest foes have been covered. Isn't it scary?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jim Harbaugh and the “spread” offense

So, what was that sh*t Jim Harbaugh pulled at the end of the Saturday's game? On the negative end of a 45-17 blowout, the Stanford coach calls a timeout with less than 30 seconds to play and his team deep in Trojan territory. His action sparked a chorus of boos from his home crowd, who were aware that there isn’t a 28 point play in football, so the end result was obvious. Harbaugh then sends out the field goal unit, and the smiling and bewildered Pete Carroll decides to “ice” him with a timeout. Maybe it was during the timeout that Jimmy realized that 3 points wouldn’t beat the Vegas spread of 24, so he sends his offense back on the field for one last desperate attempt for 6. His wish was granted, as Stanford scored one final touchdown with no ticks remaining on the clock, making the final score 45-23. Was it a big middle finger to Vegas or was the Stanford coach upset with USC running it in for another touchdown on their final possession with under two minutes to play?

He really can’t fault the Trojans, considering they ran 10 consecutive rushing plays to chew the clock. If Stanford can’t stop the run, knowing it’s coming, then fault your own unit. If anything, it would have been more embarrassing to take a knee, giving possession back to Stanford, which would be football’s version of the mercy rule. If you caught any of the post game action, you can read more into it. It appears that after last years fluke, Harbaugh really thought his team could compete and defeat the Trojan war machine again, and he behaved like a spoiled child that didn’t get his way. It showed in the post game handshake (or lack thereof) by the coaches, and the fact that Harbaugh said, “We knew USC was coming to play and our team came out and played a better first half”. A better first half? Is that a moral victory? That’s someone reaching for a positive, when they believed they were the better program.

As for Pete Carroll’s comments on the crazy ending, “He can do whatever he wants. I don’t care.” If Harbaugh is still coaching Stanford when they visit the Coliseum next year, I think we'll see how much Pete Carroll cares or not, and it won't be pretty. This is a coaching rivalry that was sparked a year ago, even before Stanford's victory, and it doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trojans score 28 unanswered in 45-23 victory over Stanford

The 2008 revenge game in Palo Alto turned into a story of two halves. Stanford opened the game looking very much the part of the upset minded team they were last year. Playing to a scoreboard tie, and outplaying the Trojans on the field, the Cardinal were a confident bunch. But second half adjustments proved to be the difference maker, as USC clamped down defensively and the offense poured it on for a 45-23 victory.

The first half saw a defensive breakdown. Tavita Pritchard found a gap and ran 40 yards downfield on Stanford’s first drive to set up a Toby Gerhart touchdown. The Trojans looked to strike back, with Ronald Johnson returning the kickoff the Stanford 22, but 3 consecutive incompletions left Southern Cal to settle for a field goal. USC found running difficult in the opening half, and went the entire first quarter without achieving a first down. Meanwhile, missed tackles allowed Stanford to rumble up and down the field, and by halftime, 17 points were on the board. The Trojans offense produced just one touchdown in the first 30 minutes, but the specials teams continued to take advantage of Stanford’s poor coverage. C.J. Gable capped the first half highlights with a 93 yard kick return for a touchdown.

Only one thing remained consistent in the second half, and that was the special teams play. USC received the kickoff to open the third quarter, and Ronald Johnson returned it 50 yards to the Stanford 46. Penalties killed that drive and forced a punt, but Stanford never appeared to be the threatening presence they were before the break.. USC eventually rolled off 28 unanswered points, before the Cardinal scored a meaningless touchdown with no time remaining on the game clock.

Mark Sanchez went 11 of 17 for 136 and 2 touchdowns. Stafon Johnson’s 115 yards led the rushing attack, with 3 Trojans rushing for at least 72 yards, and producing 282 total yards on the ground. Stanford’s Toby Gerhart became just the second back this season to crack the century mark against the Trojans defense. He finished with 101 yards on 23 carries, achieving the bulk of it in the first half.

This was Stanford’s first home loss of 2008, and they are still one win shy of bowl eligibility. It’s called a revenge game, but it really doesn’t have that feel. I guess for this victory to be sweeter, and actually be vengeance, the win would actually have to derail Stanford from something special. The Cardinal may end up in a bowl game, but that’s about it. USC saved themselves any embarrassment of losing a second time to their northern foes, but unlike Stanford’s victory last year, it’s not like the loser was knocked from BCS title contention.

Trojan hoops opens with 78-55 win over UCI

USC officially tipped off the 2008 basketball season with a 78-55 victory over UC Irvine at the Galen Center. The men of Troy displayed little firepower in the first half, but a solid defensive effort sent them to the locker room leading 35-29. The offense finally got on track in the second, with Dwight Lewis leading the way with a game high 18 points. Taj Gibson added 17, including 3 consecutive buckets in a USC run that enabled the Trojans to pull away.

DeMar DeRozen scored 14 points in his first college game, going 6 of 11 from the field, and 3 of 4 from the line. The Anteaters fall to 1-5 all time against USC, and are winless against the Pac 10 since 2005.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lendale White fires back at Jones-Drew

Former UCLA Bruins running back Maurice Jones-Drew, currently with the Jacksonville Jaguars, sounded off a month ago about the differences between USC and UCLA. He gave the typical “University of Spoiled Children” remark that is a haters favorite, and said he would want his kids to enroll on the campus in Westwood, because it produces a better education and people.

"To go to a great school like UCLA to get that degree where kids at other schools might become ... and this is no go to UCLA, you're guaranteed a job at NASA pretty much. That's what happens. You go to UCLA, you might become the next president. It's up there like that. Another great thing about UCLA, they don't lower their standards for their athletes. It was always the same as the regular students. I assume at USC they do other things like pay 'em. But they hold them up to the same standards and when you get like that it does scare some kids away."

For Mr. Drew to even focus on NASA, his Bruins education must have excluded factual points, such as the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, having a Master of Science degree that reads “The University of Southern California”. As for equal treatment of students and athletes, maybe he should check into why Jim Harrick was forced out of the UCLA basketball program. It seems to have had something to do with “false expense accounts”. And as Harrick moved on to coach Georgia basketball, his son was caught paying the phone bill of a Bulldogs player, and providing “fail-free” exams for members of the team attending his classes. And let’s not forget that before Sean Higgins was winning the National Championship for Michigan Hoops, he had a signed letter of intent to attend UCLA. The Bruins weren’t going to allow him out of the commitment, until Higgins threatened to start singing about recruiting gifts.

This week, Lendale White fired back at Jones-Drew, when asked what would happen if his kid wanted to attend UCLA.

“I probably would ground him until he realized that that’s the worst grief you would ever imagine about going to play. You know, powder blue. I guess enough said. Their powder blue uniforms and that ugly mustard color. I don’t know.

“UCLA sucks. It’s the worst school you could ever go to if you were a football player. You know, they never win anything, and SC dominates them, so … you gotta make your choice. If you want to get dominated by your crosstown rival where they can come on your campus and take your girlfriends and stuff, then you take that decision.“

In other words, Mr. Jones-Drew, your program and faculty may not see a difference between an athlete and student (according to you), but your co-eds are star struck, recognizing the rare sighting of a football superstar on the Bruins’ campus, and giving the cardinal and gold the umm…special treatment.

Here’s the audio, enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cassel leads Pats passing and rushing in OT loss to Jets

He may not be Tom Brady, but Matt Cassel may have a lot in common with the injured Patriots star. Neither were highly touted quarterbacks in their draft classes, though Brady did start at Michigan, while Cassel paced the sidelines at USC. New England selected Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, and 5 years later, they took Cassel in the seventh. Chad Pennington was the first quarterback taken in 2000, selected by the New York Jets, and the only QB to go in the first round. Also consider that with Brady waiting, Giovanni Carmazzi and Chris Redman were third round choices. 2005 saw Jason Campbell and Aaron Rodgers plucked off the board in round one, but Alex Smith went No. 1 overall. The first Trojan off the board was Mike Williams, selected 10th by the Detroit Lions, and 220 spots later, New England chose Matt Cassel.

Tom Brady took the NFL by storm, after replacing the injured Drew Bledsoe. Matt Cassel took on an NFL full of doubt, as the unlikely starter wasn’t even probable for the 2008 Patriots roster. Cassel is in the final year of his rookie contract, and New England brought competition into the preseason camp, with many believing Matt Gutierrez would win the replacement job and Cassel would be cut or dealt to another franchise. He survived, and with each passing week he silences the doubters and ensures the Patriots management that they made the right choice.

On Thursday night, Matt Cassel didn’t command the New England offense, he single handedly became it. Against the Jets, he passed for a career high 400 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He added another 62 yards on the ground to lead his team in rushing. And in a display of growth, he rallied and led his teammates downfield, with less than 2 minutes remaining, for a tying score that sent the game into overtime. New York won the toss and eventually prevailed 34-31 on a game winning field goal, but the night belonged to the rising star from USC. Playing opposite the legendary Brett Favre, the Thursday night audience watched a quarterback of the future shine brighter.

Cassel may not have been worth much before the season began, but by season’s end, there will be a pot of gold waiting on the other end of the rainbow.

Fight On!

Believe it or not, Oregon uniforms may be getting uglier

I didn’t think it was possible, but the Oregon football team may reveal yet another uniform, which would top the other hundreds of horrible combinations in ugliness. It’s a foregone conclusion that Phil Knight’s Nike whores will wear anything, but eyeing this new proposal that damages the retina, also shows their poor fashion sense has no limits.

The black helmets are a definite, and coming soon to a stadium near you. As for the winged jersey, that looks like it could be worn by a superhero on the Disney Channel, that one remains a rumor, as reported by Jeff Kneis of Bleacher Report, and channeled from another source. I’m personally hoping nothing becomes of it, because the only thing worse than seeing a six-foot duck arrive via motorcycle to midfield of Autzen Stadium, is seeing Duckman emerge from the tunnel, with 80 other sidekicks dressed the same.

But the funny thing is, you put those same feathers on their cheerleaders, and I see group of sideline beauties I’d like to pluck.

Is McKnight still struggling academically?

Joe McKnight was back on the field against Cal last weekend and appeared to be healthy and at full speed. And even with the fumble that followed a dazzling run, it was the McKnight that we’ve come to know. But there are still questions about his noticeable absence in the game prior, as he failed to make an appearance against the Washington Huskies. Leading up to the game, all reports were that McKnight was healthy and ready to go, after struggling with a turf toe injury that kept him sidelined earlier. But then came gameday, and he was nowhere to be seen.

Despite McKnight’s claim that the lingering effects of the toe injury forced him from participating against Washington, the L.A Daily news reports that negative points led to the shelfing of the Trojan Sophomore. According to the report, negative points are accumulated when athletes miss classes or tutoring sessions. Academic performance knocked McKnight out of Spring practice and the annual Spring game, and if the Daily News report is correct, you would have to believe the struggles continue.

Grudge Match Preview | (6) USC at Stanford

It was the shot heard round the world. Stanford faces 4th down and 20 with time elapsing on the game clock and trailing by 6. Fill-in quarterback Tavita Pritchard drops back and finds Richard Sherman for a 20 yard gain to the USC 9. The Trojans defense tightened, and the Cardinal are again faced with a 4th down, with under a minute to play in the game. With a snap of the ball, it happens, Mark Bradford hauls in a Pritchard pass in the left corner of the end zone, giving a 42 point underdog a road victory against No. 1 USC. That was last year, and the Trojans have had months to think about the collapse that cost them a shot at a BCS championship game appearance. It’s a new year, and a new field, and USC will attempt to do what couldn’t be done in 2007, beat the Stanford Cardinal.

Last week- L-Oregon

Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal is just one win away from Bowl eligibility, which would be the first time since 2001. USC poses one obstacle on the path, but after defeating the Trojans on the road a year ago, this bunch will be confident and fearless. Tavita Pritchard still commands the offense, but it’s the groundwork that contributes to their success. The Cardinal ranks 17th in the nation in rushing, at an average of 207 yards per game. Toby Gerhart carries the bulk of the load, already amassing over 900 yards this season, and contributing 13 rushing touchdowns. The Stanford defense isn’t threatening against the run or pass, and surrenders an average of nearly 375 yards per game to opponents. The defensive strength would be the pass rush, already recording 29 sacks, at an average of nearly 3 per game.

Last week- W-Cal

A key factor in last year’s upset loss to Stanford was the Trojans’ inability to run the ball consistently. They played with a makeshift offensive line, as injuries began to mount. Some of those young offensive linemen now find themselves in starting roles, with the departure of 4 of the starting 5 to graduation or the NFL last April. The unit immediately squashed all skepticism with outstanding play since the opener against Virginia. They lead a stable of backs featuring Joe Mcknight, C.J. Gable, and Stafon Johnson to average 200 yards per game. They provide solid protection for March Sanchez’ additional 254 yards per contest, in an offense that ranks 12th overall. The defense hasn’t given up an opposing touchdown in more than 10 quarters, enabling USC to outscore their opponents 231-23 in the last 6 games. The Cardinal play into the defensive strength of the Trojans who stingily allow just 77 rushing yards, with only Nevada and TCU allowing less.

Analysis: Although Stanford has been a miserable 1-4 on the road, they are a perfect 4-0 at home. USC is the best road team in the Pac ten, and that fact coupled with the lasting memory of last year’s bitter defeat makes for a massacre in Palo Alto. But keep in mind that Stanford did defeat Oregon State in the season opener, and had more offensive production against Arizona’s defense than the Trojans managed. But looking at common foes is always a poor measure, as all teams will match differently. USC rolls to a big win in this one. But of course, I said the same a year ago.

All Time Series: USC leads 57-25-3
Streak: Stanford won 1

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Udezi planning ’09 return to Vikings

Last February we were hit with the sad news of former Trojan, and current Minnesota Vikings, Kenechi Udezi being diagnosed with Leukemia. It was somewhat shocking to believe that a man that stood as a structure of strength and force on a football field was weakened by a disease that eventually led to his wearing of a mask to protect from infections. There was uncertainty of his future, and life became the priority over the game he loved to play.

Since then, Udezi has received a bone marrow transplant, using his brother Thomas Barnes as a donor. And on Sunday, 9 months after being diagnosed with the illness, Udezi made an appearance before the fans of the Metrodome. Being in good spirits and fairly good health, he said his feet are slow to react to treatment, but promised a return to the Vikings roster in 2009. This still remains to be seen, but the progress he’s made in such a short period of time is promising.

Kenechi Udezi was a member of the 2003 USC National Championship team. He played with Mike Patterson on a defensive line that was dubbed “The Wild Bunch II”, and was later drafted 20th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2004 NFL draft. He started 15 games in his rookie season.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Broderick thinks the grass is Greener on the other side

Well, I can’t say those are his exact thoughts, but the redshirt freshman running back from Arkansas has decided to leave the Empire and transfer. Without a doubt, Broderick Green is a load of talent, and could easily prosper in another program. Though he states family problems as his reason, it’s obvious the line and wait is too long for this runner to endure. Like Emmanuel Moody before him, he will leave USC, instead of sitting behind nearly 5 guys to get on the field.

It makes you wonder, what kind of decision would be made if the offense was different? An offense that lacks explosion not only leads to nail-biting finishes, but it denies playing time to younger players. What if the Trojans were dismantling each opponent and the 4th quarter of games belonged to Green? Would he still transfer? I have my doubts, but I can’t say playing time is the strongest reason for the transfer. I guess his new location would answer that. Some believed Emmanuel Moody may have been homesick, as well as frustrated by the lack of time on the field, but Florida is nowhere near Texas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Trojans smother Bears for 17-3 Victory

Let the critics sound off. This wasn’t Washington or Washington State. Saturday’s coliseum guest was the 21st ranked Golden Bears of Cal, who brought with them an offense averaging more than 36 points per game. And not only did they feature a high powered offense, they presented a formidable defense. A different opponent, but the same results, as the men of Troy allowed the Golden Bears no breathing room, surrendering just 3 points in the 17-3 victory.

Overall, Southern Cal’s defense has now giving up a national low of just 7 touchdowns in 9 games played. Even with the Trojans shooting themselves in the foot with overaggressive plays that led to penalties and extended drives, the Golden Bears could not cash in. The closer Cal moved to the red zone, the stiffer USC became. USC was penalized 10 times for 105 yards, including 2 penalties (roughing and pass interference) on the same drive that wiped out interceptions deep in their own territory. Even so, their opponent could manage nothing more than a kick between the uprights in 4 quarters of play. A telling tale of the defensive dominance and penalties that negated great play is Cal managing to total just 165 total yards, despite having 30:48 to 29:12 advantage in time of possession. The Bears rushed for a low 27 yards, with the quarterback duo of Longshore and Riley combining to pass for 138 and a pick. Kevin Riley, who was questionable before the game, after suffering a concussion the week prior, entered in the second half, but followed the same pattern of failure as Nate Longshore did in the first.

We knew Mark Sanchez and the Trojan offense would receive one of its greatest challenges this season, and challenged they were. Sanchez went 18/39 for 238 yards and a late score, but USC was 4-11 on third downs, and drives repeatedly stalled. The Trojans added another 173 yard ground effort, but again kicked themselves, as Joe McKnight made a dazzling play for a big gain, but then turned the ball over by leaving it on the turf. Again the defense held, and USC finally capitalized on Cal’s lack of movement, with Sanchez hitting Ronald Johnson for a touchdown with less than 3 minutes remaining, to ensure any Bears comebacks bids were out of reach.

This was the 5th consecutive victory for USC over their new rivals of Cal. Pete Carroll is now 25-0 in the month of November, and another step closer to the Rose Bowl. A key battle in the run for the roses will come next weekend, when this same Cal team collides with Pac 10 leading Oregon State.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

White's Heisman going to the highest bidder

The Sports Museum of America will be auctioning several items in early December, including the Heisman Trophy won by Southern Cal's Charles White. White won the award in 1979, denying Oklahoma's Billy Simms the opportunity to be the second two-time winner. Averaging 186 yards per game, he easily won each region of the Heisman voting.

Although White never faired well in the NFL, he did enjoy one good season with the Rams, under his former coach at USC, John Robinson. In '87, his 1,387 yards led the league in rushing, earning him a pro bowl roster spot and "comeback player of the year award". He was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Preview: Cal at USC

If we asked college football fans to name the rivals of USC, we’d have a list that includes the obvious choices of UCLA and Notre Dame. You may see the word Stanford thrown in the mix, but the Golden Bears of Cal would appear as an afterthought. Until Jeff Tedford’s arrival, the California program lay in a state of hibernation for many years. Rivalries are to be competitive, and Cal/USC was not. But since the 2003 season, where Cal announced its arrival with a stunning upset of the Trojans in Berkley, the most highly anticipated conference game has been Cal and USC, easily becoming the century’s greatest Pac 10 rivalry.

Last Week: W-Oregon

It’s been an up and down season for the 21st ranked Golden Bears. They opened with an impressive victory over Michigan State, only to be tripped up by Maryland and Arizona. They’re 4-1 in conference, and focusing on the same Pac 10 prize as their Saturday opponent. The offensive leadership of the Bears is still in question, with uncertainty as to who will be under center. Kevin Riley has led the attack, but suffered a concussion in last week’s victory over Oregon. He remains questionable for Saturday, which would leave Nate Longshore, who has twice lost to USC, to hold the reins. Sophomore Jahvid Best has emerged as one of the nation’s top running backs, currently second in the Pac 10 in rushing, at 105 yards per game. But Cal gets little support from its receiving corps, which lost DeSean Jackson and receptions leader LaVelle Hawkins to the NFL. The Golden Bears also feature an underrated defensive unit, with a linebacking trio that is only shadowed by the talent at USC.

Last Week: W-Washington

In one of the biggest conference games of the season, the Trojans will be playing without the services of Kevin Ellison, one of their best defenders. The Nation’s No.1 defense will be tested again, with Tedford bringing his balanced pro-style attack to the coliseum. Quarterback Mark Sanchez will also be tested, and a repeat of the offensive performances against Arizona State and Arizona will not defeat this incoming opponent. The Washington schools are a poor measure, despite the gaudy numbers. The Trojans, though ranked 10th in the nation offensively, have struggled in 3 of the 6 Pac 10 games, appearing the most impressive against the worst in conference and programs out of conference. One of the biggest keys to the game may be the ability of the Trojans to run the ball, as it has always been an escape hatch for the sputtering unit. In the lone loss this season, USC failed to establish any dominance on the ground.

Analysis: As much hype as this game brings, the Golden Bears lack the talent to compete. The Trojans are home, the defense is aggressive, and be it Longshore or Riley, the Cal quarterbacks are immobile. The Trojans will take away everything the Bears love to do best, and if the offense can show any consistency, USC rolls to an easy victory.

All Time Series: Trojans lead 59-25-4
Streak: Trojans won 4

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carroll: Losses 'live in infamy', but Beavers near the top of the list

Pete Carroll is a man than rarely gives an opinion of the BCS, and when asked, usually gives the recycled answer about not understanding and not worrying about something he can't control. On Tuesday the more opinionated Pete Carroll spoke about the system that crowns college football's champion, and it wasn't sugar coated, and far from those recycled words of the past. "I think it stinks. And I don't think it's the way it should be", said Carroll of his take on the BCS. It took 7 years, but he finally got it out. Coming from the NFL, that should have been the first reponse to the BCS answer, having led or attempted to lead two different professional franchises to the playoffs.

Carroll also said in his Tuesday meeting that all losses live in infamy, but Oregon State is near the top of the list. Personally, I believe it's a toss up between this year's debacle in Corvallis and the triple overtime Berkely disaster of 2003. The reason being, of all the teams in the Pete Carroll era, I think '03, '04, and this current 2008 squad may be the most talented of the bunch. But just as it was in 2003, a little hiccup on the road will be the difference between playing for the national championship and playing elsewhere. The BCS doesn't judge the strength of a program as much as it judges the strengths of their opponents. Move forward with a record unblemished, and you control your own destiny, but stumble once, and your destiny is controlled by your opponents. In 2oo3, it ultimately wasn't Southern Cal's loss to Cal that did them in, as they bounced back and completed the regular season without another. The Trojans' BCS demise was a result of Notre Dame losing to Syracuse, which decreased the schedule strength and allowed LSU to jump to No. 2 in the final BCS Standings. When your destination is determined by what two other teams are doing, 3,000 miles across the country, then Carroll is right, it stinks.

The only coaches that may actually appreciate the BCS are those holding the top two spots at any given time. But just as quickly as they fall from those spots, is as quickly as they will also echo Carroll's words. Besides, how often does that final regular season BCS standing translate to Bowl games. This is how last year played out in the postseason:

No. 1 Ohio State fell to No. 2 LSU (No.1 falls often).
The computer's No. 1 Virginia Tech was defeated by No. 8 Kansas.
No. 4 Oklahoma was beaten by No. 9 West Virginia.
No. 11 Arizona State lost to No. 19 Texas.
No. 12 Florida lost to a Michigan team that failed to be ranked in the December BCS standings.
No. 21 South Florida was embarrassed by an unranked Oregon team.
No. 20 Virginia, No. 25 Connecticut, and No. 24 Boise State also were defeated in bowl games versus opponents not listed in the BCS standings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DOH-mer of The Week- The Cable Guy

Every coach has a style, and it’s implemented toward the leadership of their franchise. Some personalities are strong and have an impact on the roster. Others are passive, and the roster may control them. You can be the Wade Phillips type, standing on the sidelines with Jones’ hand up your ass, as a puppet gives a deceptive image of a leader. I’d still like to see Phillips talking at a press conference, while Jerry Jones drinks a glass of water in clear view. Until then, the ventriloquist continues to master his art. You can also be the tough persona, as shown by Niners interim coach Mike Singletary. Mike made it clear in his coaching debut that he doesn’t care how much money, how many commercials, or how many fans scream your name. On the field, you scream his name, because you are his b*tch, working only for him. And you can also be Norv Turner, blaming officials, members of the coaching staff, weather, tight underwear, and anything else for his team’s discomfort, without ever taking the blame himself. But Raiders interim coach, Mike Cable, in hopes of inspiring his team, took an approach that I would consider, well…DOH’merfied.

The Raiders have received more of these stupidity awards than anyone else. And trust me, it’s not because they are a hated team in the AFC West, but because they provide more asinine material than anyone else. They gave people quite a chuckle last week, with Cable having his offense (NFL low 9 touchdowns this season) practice touchdown celebrations. To quote quarterback Jamarcus Russell, “Now we do a thing in practice where guys run to the end zone. Or we make it to the end zone, as far as the offense, congratulate those guys, get used to doing it. The more you get used to it, the more you’ll be better with it on the field, as a team.”...Really?

I guess Mike Cable forgot to tell his team that on gameday you can’t run as freely to the end zone, because THERE ARE PEOPLE CHASING YOU. Those chuckles of last week became side splitting laughter, as the Raiders followed up their end zone celebrations in practice by getting shutout 24-0 on Sunday by the Atlanta Falcons. They followed up with the worst offensive display of the season, achieving just 3 first downs (none in the first half), 77 total yards, and just 10 yards passing.

Practice makes perfect? Hell no! It depends on what you’re working on. How about practicing QB protection, run blocking, route running and execution? How about beginning with “first down celebrations” and working your way up to “we’re in field goal range”? After being shutout, what will you feature in practice this week, a f*cking trial run ticker tape parade through the streets of Oakland? Jamarcus Russell can practice hoisting the Lombardi trophy, without fumbling it.

Ironically, with the shutout coming against the Atlanta Falcons, it brings me back to one of my earliest DOH’mers and his words. DeAngelo Hall claimed his forced trade and departure from Atlanta had nothing to do with money, and that he was just tired of losing. He wanted to play for a winner. His former team is currently 5-3, already surpassing their win total of 2007. His new team is 2-6, with only Kansas City keeping them out of the cellar in the AFC West. Nice choice MEangelo! How does it feel to be shutout by Arthur “BLANK”?

Despite blowout, Trojans drop 2 spots; Bama No. 1

It's not exactly shocking, but the new BCS standings show USC falling two spots to No. 7, despite the 56-0 victory over Washington. But the Men of Troy weren't the only big winner to drop in rank after paddling an opponent. The Oklahoma Sooners also fell 2 places after 62-28 weekend blasting of Nebraska. You can say the programs are being penalized for their most recent opponents lacking strength, but also consider that Texas Tech has climbed to the No. 2 spot, not only rewarded for the take down of No. 1 Texas, but still receiving credit for two victories over FCS opponents.

The Red Raiders jumped 5 spots, including a leap over idle and undefeated Penn State. Penn State is another program that is penalized for the weakened Big 10. In all, the BCS top ten is represented by 4 programs from the Big 12 south, which will make it difficult for the majority of one loss teams outside that conference to secure higher spots. Each week brings another Big 12 match up of ranked opponents, and each week the winner will leap towards the top of the totem pole. Next weekend, Texas Tech will face No. 9 Oklahoma State. If the Cowboys win that game, they too will jump above a USC team playing Cal, after only having a loss to Texas on the road by just 4 points, and powering over the No. 2 Raiders.

Alabama is the Nation's No. 1 team, but you can see their victory over Arkansas State hurt them slightly, with Tech just mere percentage points below them. The Crimson Tide have a crucial game this coming weekend in Baton Rouge. A victory there can assist them in holding off some of the Big 12 risers.

BCS Standings for Nov. 2

1. Alabama .974
2. Texas Tech .937
3. Penn State .928
4. Texas .853
5. Florida .826
6. Oklahoma .822
7. USC .755
8. Utah .697
9. Oklahoma State .666
10. Boise State .652
11. Ohio State .555
12. TCU .544
13. Georgia .536
14. Missouri .492
15. BYU .373
16. LSU .371
17. Ball State .356
18. Michigan State .336
19. North Carolina .263
20. Georgia Tech .188

Rearview: Chomp on This

The Florida Gators have played and defeated 2 top ten opponents, outscoring LSU and Georgia by a combined total of 100-31. The Georgia Bulldogs have lost to 2 top ten opponents, getting outscored 90-40 in those meetings. If we look at the ground Florida has covered, it can be said that the Gators played down to the competition, with the only loss coming against the lowest profile team on the schedule (Ole Miss), with none of the higher profile programs even posing a threat. As for the Bulldogs, who opened as the nation’s No. 1 team, the lackluster play early began their slide, and punches delivered by conference heavyweights completed it. This would leave you to believe either Georgia was highly overrated to begin the year or the roster hits eventually took their toll. I choose the latter.


The Longhorns were making an unbelievable run through ranked opponents, until they reached Lubbock. The speculation has always been that neither of the ranked Big 12 programs is strong on the defensive side of the ball, and it was Texas’ 116th ranked pass defense that eventually led to their fall. Not that the Red Raiders are much better at defending the pass, as the teams combined for 768 passing yards on Saturday night. But when you play a game of “last with possession wins”, even with a lead and under 2 minutes to play, you’re left at the mercy of your defense and the opponent.


Be it the dogs or cats, Washington’s FBS programs are equally terrible. On Saturday, both Washington and Washington State were outscored 114-0 in losses to USC and Stanford. The 56-0 beating of Washington enabled the Trojans to record their third shutout victory of 2008. It’s the first time USC has shutout 3 Pac 10 opponents since 1965. If I’m choosing the better team in the state of Washington, I’d probably look at the lower level. Willingham’s Huskies nearly pulled an upset victory over BYU, but the greater feat may have been Eastern Washington’s fight with Texas Tech for a half, before being dominated in the second.


We knew things would be tough in Ann Arbor for a transitioning program, but we also thought the likes of Toledo, Utah, Notre Dame, and Miami of Ohio on the schedule would soften the misery. Instead, having those scheduled games makes the Michigan Wolverines appear even more woeful, as they managed to defeat just one of those opponents. Combine those losses with those in the Big 10, and I’ll witness something I’ve personally never experienced in my lifetime, a Wolverine team that will have a losing finish. Saturday’s loss to Purdue kills any hopes of Michigan having Bowl eligibility, snapping a streak of 33 straight. It also guarantees that for the first time since 1967, the Michigan Wolverines will finish below .500. And just think, the announcement that Lloyd Carr would be stepping down as the Michigan head coach last year actually led to celebrations. I think the only celebrations now sparked by the play of the Wolverines are in Columbus and Morgantown.


The Oklahoma Sooners currently own the nation’s longest home win streak (23), and have won 43 of the last 44 in Norman.

Iowa State’s Leonard Johnson set a FBS record with 319 yards on 9 kick returns against Oklahoma State.

Missouri and Baylor combined for 928 total yards of offense.

Georgia Tech’s victory snapped a 12 game losing streak to the Florida State Seminoles.

Arkansas has won 17 straight against Tulsa.

Tulane’s last victory over a ranked opponent occurred against LSU in 1982. Since then, the Green Wave is 0-32.

LSU has notched 22 consecutive victories over non SEC opponents.

Wisconsin’s defense held Michigan State’s Javon Ringer to his lowest output of the season, 54 yards on 21 carries.

West Virginia’s Pat White has now eclipsed the 4,000 and 5,000 yard marks in career rushing and passing.


Oklahoma- an offensive machine
Auburn- an offensive catastrophe
Tennessee- offense transferred to Duke
Florida- Chomping towards the top spot
TCU- the best in the Mountain West
Duke- instant improvement despite the losses
Minnesota- got greedy
Arizona State- pitiful
West Virginia- rising
Connecticut- reeling
USC- still trails Oregon State in Pac standings
Notre Dame- just one victory over programs with winning records.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trojans rout Huskies 56-0 for 3rd shutout in 4 games

On an afternoon beneath cloud covered skies, points came raining down on the Washington Huskies, and they failed to respond with any of their own. Everyone knew what kind of game this was going to be. We could have photoshopped white jerseys and gold helmets on the Washington State Cougars, and just have Washington deliver the tape, instead of sending a team. We got an up close and personal look at the misery of Ty Willingham and the Huskies football program. They were dominated in every aspect of the game, offensively, defensively, and special teams. Even a couple of second half drives against the lower depth of the SC defense ended with interceptions to kill the drive and preserve a Trojans shutout. It's now the 3rd recorded shutout in USC's last 4 games, with Arizona's 10 points representing the only blemish to the nation's top ranked defense.

Mark Sanchez threw just 19 passes on Saturday, connecting for 2 touchdowns to Patrick Turner, and also running for a score on a keeper. The bulk of the work came from the running stable, as 4 different backs found the end zone. C.J. Gable led the attack with 108 yards on 10 carries, and scoring two solo touchdowns. In all, the Trojans outgained the Washington Huskies by a total of 485 to 184 total yards, limiting Washington to just 4 first downs and forcing 3 turnovers.

If there is a dark note in this victory, USC continues to pick up penalties, accumulating 10 more against the Huskies for a total of 90 yards.