2006 – 10/1/06

Another week, another batch of games, and another time to reflect ….
I will start off with some comments on my beloved Trojans, knowing the bulk of my list are people of Troy, and knowing that there is no important cosmic force in the college football universe, than what happens with the Cardinal & Gold …
– To be as direct as I can, punter, Greg Woidneck, saved our season with that leaping catch up of the snap that was three feet over his head near the end of the game.  The nephew/cousin of a father/son team in my office whom I am privileged to work with has officially earned a scholarship.  I bet his parents agree …  If he does not grab that ball, and get that punt safely off, we most certainly lose the game.  I am dead serious.
– Steve Smith was a stud from start to finish.  This is one week that the ignoramuses who work for the LA  Times and OC Register are right – he was all the difference.  Unbelievable.  The numbers are not misleading; he made every play he needed to, and kept this offense looking great without the best wide receiver in the nation.
– Despite the fact that this was the first time we have been truly challenged all year in terms of a game outcome, it was our best offensive performance, in a lot of ways.  Phenomenal play-calling, and great execution.  Moody had some breakout runs (his getting caught from behind is just further evidence that we have no perspective on real life who have watched Reggie Bush the last 3 years).  JD Booty was wonderful (meaningless interception at the end of the first half).  3rd down conversions define football success, and we got it done!
– In a reverse of the normal 2006 commentary on USC, our offense won this game, despite the defense.  The line and linebackers were not terrible, but they were not spectacular.  The secondary was carved up, and frankly worried the dickens out of me going forward.  Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame have very effective vertical passing games.  That game one, season-ending injury to Josh Pinkard is beginning to look devastating.  I hope there is a brighter light behind what we saw last night.  I am not putting it past these coaches.
– UCLA won 31-0, but it was 7-0 after over 30 minutes of football (the only 7 points coming off of a special teams issue).  I watched nearly the whole game, and have to wonder: (A) Is this the first time since before World War II that UCLA has a better defense than offense, and (B) Is Ben Olson merely taking some time adjusting to playing in this offense, or is he brutally (and I mean brutally) over-rated?  Time will tell. 
– UCLA’s players can not be blamed for some of the play calling I saw out there.  I am glad to see Paul Hackett has found employment as a “behind the scenes” play caller for the Bruins.  I don’t want anyone to be unemployed, and I don’t like UCLA very much.
– Cal and Oregon look to be the top offensive teams in the Pac-10 right now.  Their game next week could be a beauty.  Because I am not a mean person, I will not root for a bad thing to happen to the stadium during the game, but I will not be picking between Eugene, OR and Berkeley, CA for a winner.  Can two teams both lose?  In all seriousness, both games are going to be extreme challenges for my Trojans.
– If John Elway were in his prime, and starting for Stanford, they would go 0-12. 
– Michigan and Florida are behind Ohio St. as the top teams in the nation right now.  USC and Auburn need to overcome more challenges.  Ohio St. is the stand-alone #1. 
– Miami, FL is so bad they may only go 5-7 in the Pac-10.  Butch Davis – reunions can be beautiful ????
– That’s it for now.  Back to the Coliseum next week for a tough Washington team.  Trojans need to pray for a week of health and teaching.  We’ll be okay, but this is a more realistic season than what we have been used to.  12:30 next Saturday – bring on the Huskies ….