I get up Sunday mornings and read what’s on the websites about Saturday’s USC game. I follow what’s in all the papers and try to write down what the players and coaches had to say after the game. But I don’t like to say too much until I sit down on Sunday afternoons and watch the game on my TiVo in slo-motion and get a better idea of what actually happened.
It was a great win for USC. I said last week this game couldn’t have come at a better time because Barkley and the USC offense were ready to take the training wheels off and really take it downfield on the Irish. USC did!
Matt Barkley played a remarkable game. He’s a wonder! USC’s WR Damian Williams and tight end Anthony McCoy also filled the game with big plays. Oregon State’s defense is going to have a lot to think about this week in preparing for USC.
People on the boards have been on both sides of the spectrum concerning the calls made on USC in the fourth quarter. Were they bonehead plays by the USC defense? Or were they bogus calls by another set of Pac-10 officials ready to hose down the Trojans? I think both!
I don’t think Notre Dame would have been flagged if they had done the same things USC’s defense had done. Pac-10 officials have a different standard for USC than they do for the Trojans opponents. That is bogus. And it’s time for USC to have it out with the Pac-10 over an issue that has gone on for years.
USC’s defense also made some bonehead plays. They have got to realize that Pac-10 officials are holding them to a higher standard and be circumspect in their actions. That means no muscle flexes or calling attention to yourself.
But there is a double standard. I didn’t see any flags thrown when Jimmy Clausen was fist pumping and taunting Malik Jackson.
Taylor Mays was just playing good football and that love tap from Malik Jackson being called roughing the passer was just a terrible call. I think our perception of USC defense is being colored by bogus calls more than it is by bonehead plays by the Trojans. Carroll said, “Saturday was exciting, it was not epic. It was filled with knucklehead plays.”
I think the biggest knuckleheads are in the striped shirts, and I think USC should sit down with the Pac-10 and tell them so.
Now the Trojans need to put this game behind them and get ready for the Oregon State Beavers. Oregon State is a team in transition right now. They graduated most of their offensive line and are only 79th in the country in rushing at 132 yards a game. The Beavers had three OL drafted last year by the NFL. The Beavers passing offense is 32nd at 254 yards a game and they are 54th in total offense.
Oregon St is 74th in total defense and 114th in pass defense so look for Barkley and the Trojan receivers to test them downfield on Saturday evening. Oregon St is solid on special teams as always and is not turning the ball over.
The Beavers are third in the country in red zone offense at .96. The Beavers are 21st in net punting, and 1st in fumbles lost. The Rodgers brothers and the Oregon St Beavers have not lost a fumble all year. Oregon St is 6th in punt return defense and 35th in fewest penalty yards.
The Beavers are not going to beat themselves Saturday, and Mike Riley will have them ready to play. What they won’t have is all their fans spurring them on. Riley said at media day in August that playing in Corvallis has given them a huge lift and the Beaver fans carried them in the victory over USC in 2008.
USC has to let go of Saturday’s game with Notre Dame as soon as possible and get on to the business of beating Oregon St. It isn't bad that USC has a lot of work to do. Every team does and I think Saturday's tough 4th quarter gives the Trojans even more motivation to get stuff right.
Now I have a question for you. How can USC be 11th in the BCS computer rankings? Kirk Herbsteit asked that question on Sunday. He wanted to know why a team like USC, who has played Ohio State, Washington, Cal and Notre Dame already on the road, and has Oregon coming up isn’t given any credit for playing such a tough schedule?
USC plays six at home and six on the road every year. They have beaten Ohio State and Notre Dame on the road in OOC games. No one else has even scheduled two OOC opponents like that, except perhaps Miami.
Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Texas Tech play only 4 true away games this year. Florida and OU play one game at a neutral site and 7 games at home.
Only ten of the preseason top 31 teams play 6 road games this year. ND plays 7 games at home, 4 on the road and 1 at a neutral site. It’s not an equal playing field out there.
USC is a better team by the end of the season because they play tough teams in tough venues. The Trojans play a perfect schedule for preparing a team for the playoffs. How many games has USC lost in November under Pete Carroll? But the Trojans may not be playing the kind of schedule that will gain approval from the BCS and its computers.
It's time for a playoff in college football.
Let’s hope for some turnovers the next couple of weeks. USC is primed and ready for the Beavers and Ducks, and they present big challenges and great opportunity for the Trojans. It’s hard to believe the Trojans couldn’t have fallen on any one of ND’s four fumbles or grab one of Clausen’s 44 passes. Let’s hope for a few balls to come USC’s way in the next two weeks.
Pete Carroll said after Saturday’s game, “Stuff happens!” Let’s hope some good stuff happens Saturday and in the weeks to come. Eight wins in a row over ND is pretty good stuff and I think there’s much more to come.
Everson Griffen had three sacks against Notre Dame.