Well the college football season is already upon us and a number of teams have national title aspirations. And amongst those are the defending national champions , the Florida Gators. Also, the usual perfunctory suspects can be added into the mix. Namely , the USC Trojans , Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma , LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, Alabama and last but not least Utah.
And while we can all agree that a spirited case can be made for some of those teams. At least one or two of them will not make it to the ‘Big Dance’ ,as we’d like to call it. Seemingly , some of these teams will have the hiccups along the way and won’t be able to recover from that misstep. But it’s been often said ……” it’s best to lose early in the season , rather than later on. “ What that might actually denote doesn’t always carry sway with those who tend to adjudicate the polls. But then again, we look at the polls and the BCS system and it’s essentially Pythagoras’ theory – with a bit of favoritism added in, by the bloviated morons who make up the adjudicators of the various polls. But, in particular the final polls – the AP and Coaches’ Polls.
With Saturday’s fixtures now having come and gone . Who could’ve foreseen that the USC Trojans would have fallen at the hands of their PAC-10 rivals , the Washington Huskies. The result itself , was a hard fought 16-13 victory for the Huskies – puts them in the driving seat at present, within the conference. And for the USC Trojans this had to have been a bitter pill to swallow. Inadvertently, they tend to set themselves up for that proverbial fall , always at the hands of a seemingly lesser opponent. And quite interestingly it happens to be more often than not come from within the PAC 10 , by way of an opponent.
For coach Pete Carroll and that of his players on this Trojans’ team. They have to be asking themselves where and how did it all go so wrong , so fast for us, during this game ? Complacency on their part ? Or was it , that their opponents played a great deal better on the day and wanted the win more ? The # 3 ranked USC Trojans will more likely than not fall out of the top ten rankings, once the latest polls are announced. But at the same time it would not at all surprise me to still find them holding a top ten ranking. Things being what they are, I tend to have very little faith in the BCS and in particular their credibility. But then again , who does nowadays ?
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :
By Greg Bell , AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP)—Southern California’s Stafon Johnson stayed face down on the turf. Jubilant Washington players and fans stepped over him, on their way to a riotous purple party that stretched from goal line to goal line.
USC coach Pete Carroll was forced to watch it all, glumly waiting for Steve Sarkisian to emerge from the throng to congratulate his protege. The post-Ohio State funk Carroll began warning his guys about seven days earlier—in the locker room in Columbus, Ohio—leveled the Trojans again.
Jake Locker improvised his Huskies to a steely, 68-yard drive that ended on Erik Folk’s 22-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining, and the Huskies’ fired-up defense stymied fill-in quarterback Aaron Corp and No. 3 USC in a 16-13 victory Saturday.
USC has now lost to an unranked team each of the last four seasons.
“Washington wasn’t the better team. They just outplayed us,” said a shrugging Joe McKnight, who ran for 100 yards on 11 carries with USC’s only touchdown. “Clearly, we have superior athletes. But hard work beats athleticism any day.”
Carroll’s team was stung by eight penalties, an 0-for-10 conversion rate on third down and three turnovers inside the Washington 35.
“We didn’t get any better from last week,” he said. “I’m not doing a good enough job of making the points of how we win.”
One year after Oregon State upset USC in the Pac-10 opener following an impressive Trojans win over Ohio State, an old friend upset Carroll’s powerful team. Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was his offensive coordinator before taking over in Seattle in January, trying to rebuild a team that had the Pac-10’s first 0-12 season last year.
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The game itself , was played at Husky Stadium , Seattle , Washington, in-front of a raucous sellout crowd. The atmosphere most certainly can’t have played a part in the loss. But on appearance one would like to think that USC didn’t go into this game , caught like a deer in headlights. Throughout the first quarter they played somewhat tentatively , even though they’d taken a 10-7 lead. But what may well have been the apparent story in the midst of this all , was the fact that Aaron Corp got the starting call at the quarterback position for the USC Trojans.
With freshman quarterback Matt Barkley having led the team to a great win over their heated rivals Ohio State. With the result ,being an 18-15 win over the Buckeyes. But given the fact that Barkley was rested because of a shoulder injury suffered in last week’s game. The performance by Corp, as his replacement in yesterday’s game was abysmal. A passer rating of 59.1 % from his stats borne out by 13 of 22 attempts for 110 yards , 0 TD’s and 1 INT . And one has to question whether or not the right decision might’ve been made to sit Barkley. Those stats are glaringly anemic when you consider that his Corp’s passing average amounts to 5 yards per attempt. But the real reason behind this may well have been the fact that Huskies’ coach Steve Sarkisian knew exactly what may well have been coming his way. As a former assistant to Carroll, he essentially knew the ins and outs of the strategies that Carroll might well have prepared for the game. But that in of-itself , should not have excused the Trojans’ poor play. But when you hear comments made by Trjoans’ running back Joe McKnight ……“Washington wasn’t the better team. They just outplayed us,” said a shrugging Joe McKnight, who ran for 100 yards on 11 carries with USC’s only touchdown. “Clearly, we have superior athletes. But hard work beats athleticism any day.” That has to be more out of frustration, more than anything else. The final result speaks for itself . Or perhaps McKnight seemingly , forgot that ?
Where this now places the Trojans (2-1) but at (0-1) within the PAC 10 conference. One can only allude to the fact that it’s still early in the season. It suggests that Carroll still has a great deal more work to do, than at first thought. Always considered to be amongst the perennial contenders on the national stage, when there’s talk of the national championship. But one thing now is abundantly clear, another loss in their regular season schedule and those national championship aspirations can be cast aside for another year. Appearances in BCS Bowls Games being what they are, in terms of a financial windfall – though a good respite . They are nowhere near , as much a windfall in terms of the national glare that one can attain when it is for the national championship and the publicity that an appearance brings. It drives up the interest in the program’s recruiting and that of the potential young recruits who might well be watching the game on television. Not only that it adds to the school’s allure and its place amongst the elite within the game.