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Monday, September 29, 2008

Excuses, excuses: USC blows title hopes against another inferior opponent

Excuses, excuses: USC blows title hopes against another inferior opponent

Conference games are tougher.
Orange hurts their eyes.
No one said anything about tackling a munchkin.
The dog ate their homework.
Excuses, excuses.

The heartening thing is in USC's world, this was no monster upset. Oregon State was only a 25-point underdog Thursday night to the Trojans. Stanford, now that was an upset. And part of a disturbing trend. The No. 1 Trojans just ruined their national championship chase with another inexplicable gag job against an inferior opponent.
What, USC had to play the rest of its schedule after the Ohio State game? Apparently. The reminder came when Oregon State's 5-foot-7 Jacquizz Rodgers started running through arm tackles. That is, when Trojans defenders got arms on him at all.
They called him Mr. Touchdown at Lamar (Texas) Consolidated High School when he scored a state-record 136 career touchdowns. They called him back for a bow when the Beavers beat a top-five USC for the second time in three years.
Makes you really wonder what Beanie Wells would have done had he been healthy against USC. No one wants to rehash that, anyway. We'll likely get enough of it in a Rose Bowl that would give a bad name to sequels. Ohio State-USC 2.
Maybe it's a Thursday thing. Since 2006, there have been 15 upsets of ranked teams on Thursdays. The visiting team has been the victim in 14 of those games. Twelve of the 15 winners have been unranked. These non-descript Beavers are the latest.
It's time to re-evaluate USC in the latter part of the decade. In the past three seasons Pete Carroll has lost to Oregon State twice, UCLA and Stanford. The cumulative records of those teams at game time in those meetings?
Once again, USC looked disinterested and unprepared against an average (at best) team.
Signs, Pete, that your team is not ready to play:
• It scores two touchdowns in 58½ minutes against the nation's 92nd ranked defense.
• It lets Joe McKnight handle the ball (two fumbles).
• Joe Paterno fails to pass along the game plan.
The Beavers went from losing by 31
at Penn State on Sept. 6 to beating USC for the second time in three years.
The pollsters should be merciless. They should do to USC what they did to Ohio State 11 days ago. Bury them. This lets almost everyone back in the race and there a lot of first-place votes to hand out. No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Florida or No. 5 LSU most likely will be the new No. 1. The way things are going, though, that's a curse.
Missouri (off), Texas (vs. Rice), Alabama (at Georgia) and Wisconsin (at Michigan) also have a chance.
Oregon State's performance also lends more credibility to a Penn State team we've been wondering about. It puts No. 11 Brigham Young a notch or two closer to BCS title game contention.
Wait a minute, is that No. 14 Ohio State hanging around. Are the Buckeyes back in it?
Why not?

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