The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over HERE.
Isn’t this where we left off? USC begins the season as Pac 10 champions, and finishes just the same. It’s become as traditional as the rowdy mobs of Black Friday and the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. It’s an axiom, and just as Thanksgiving leads to Christmas, USC is winning a conference championship somewhere in between.
The task is hardly simplistic, as national critics make it out to be. They underestimate our Pac 10 brethren, judging based on the lack of traditional power programs, without seeing the quality brought to the field when facing the letters “U-S-C”. For weeks, Oregon State retained the conference lead, before surrendering their hopes last weekend. And with an open door, and a 28-7 victory over UCLA, the Trojans walk through as champions.
The UCLA Bruins welcomed USC and their symbolic home red jerseys to the Rose Bowl, and the Trojans made themselves at home. By rule, a penalty was accessed for garments worn, and as promised, UCLA called an immediate timeout to even the category and allow tradition to live. And for just a moment, it nearly appeared that we would have one of those hard fought battles from Coliseum yesteryears, but a USC fumble on the first series that led to the Bruins first and only score, would prove to be harmless, as the Trojans went back to work.
Defensive domination is the season’s theme, and Southern Cal claimed another victim. The Trojans allowed just 157 total yards and 7 first downs to their crosstown opponent. Kevin Craft earned just 89 yards passing, with wide receiver Dominique Johnson adding another 21 and a touchdown on a trick play that opened the game’s scoring. Bruin runners combined for just 47 yards, with drive after drive ending with UCLA in punt formation.
USC rushed for 209 yards, with Joe McKnight’s 99 leading the attack. Sanchez was the victim of some big hits, some coming late and drawing flags, but finished 18 0f 33 for 269 yards, with a touchdown and interception. Damian Williams was the recipient of one Sanchez touchdown pass, before leaving the game with a slightly separated shoulder. The early prognosis has Williams out 2 weeks, which would have him back in time for Penn State and the Rose Bowl.
The final BCS standings will be released Sunday at 5:20 pm PDT. USC in the national championship game is not one of the expectations, and we are more likely to see Florida playing Oklahoma. But don’t forget to keep your eye on the AP, as Texas still has an opportunity for an AP title, unless they are jumped in this week’s polls or Alabama fails to fall very far. Congratulations to the USC Trojans on their 7th consecutive Pac 10 championship, and 7th straight 11-win season. It’s a decade of dominance for Trojans football, and it continues on…