Weekly Musings – Oregon Upset Edition

This will be a long one, but hopefully worth the read.  What an absolutely perfect weekend for college football.  I, of course, mean that because my beloved Trojans went into the den of the enemy and punched them in the mouth.  My Trojans went to Eugene and never, ever trailed.  My Trojans, led by their fearless head coach, Lane Kiffin, beat the top offense in all of college football and the conference champion of the last two years.  My Trojans took care of business, and gave us another road victory this season that will never, ever be forgotten.  But yes, even apart from all my Trojan love, you had simply indescribable drama this weekend with Baylor’s win over Oklahoma, Iowa State’s BCS-busting win over Oklahoma State, the NC State decimation of Clemson, and so much more!!

– Jim Rome tweeted during the game that “considering USC has nothing to play for they have come out with a lot of heart”.  I can not think of a more ignorant and idiotic thing to say than that.  Does the non-USC world really believe that the absolutely abusive actions of three random unaccountable fat cat bureaucrats who have never performed a competitive act in their lives takes away the love of football and winning embedded in these Trojan men?  Why in the world would the unforgivable sanctions put on these innocent kids for the minor, minor actions of some idiot step-dad take away USC’s motivation to beat one of the top teams in the country?  That kind of comment (and it is said by idiots all over the country) is the ultimate example of the NON-fight-on spirit typical outside of the USC universe.

– I was so excited to see USC stop Oregon on their first possession.  But not so excited to see a fumbled snap on our next possession.

– It absolutely was a backwards pass and a recovered fumble for USC ball on the next possession.  The shock on the play was that the refs and instant replay booth got it right.  They would then proceed to call the single worst intentional grounding call in the HISTORY of college football, and they would purposely miss a PI/holding call that almost gave the ball to Oregon.  They also over-turned a two-point conversion in the strangest of fashions (was that really “indisputable”).  But whatever – they got that early play right.

– At first I didn’t think Lane’s first quarter play-calling respected the lateral speed of Oregon’s defense. But then I realized how masterfully he was setting them up. What a play-calling performance bt CLK.

– But out of Oregon’s first three possessions?  One fumble recovered by USC and two punts! Another drive resulted in lost ball on downs shortly thereafter. The first half defense was jus fantastic. I am not getting any communications these days about Monte being too old, or Oregon scoring 100 points on us. This defense woke up after their bad performance against Arizona in the Coliseum (a game we won, by the way). And they are punching teams in the mouth right now – Marv Goux style.

– And then, right when I am concerned about our lateral offensive play-calling – BOOM!!!!  Marquis Lee just pulverized that little cornerback and Matt Barkely threw a straight NFL pass!!

– Early in our second touchdown drive Marquis Lee had a second effort on a third down of about three yards to earn the first down that was about as delightful of a play to watch as I have seen all season!!!

– Oh to think about the fact that Marquis Lee and Robert Woods are BOTH coming back.  Ay yi yi. If Matty goes, he will be throwing to WORSE receivers in the NFL than if he were to come back to USC.

– The blocked punt by TJ to start the second half was just more special teams magic from a team who has become the standard for excellence in special teams play.

– Andre Hedari is like our David Buehler of a few years ago, but a better kicker …  That stop of D’Anthony on the kickoff return was unbelievable (too bad he couldn’t do it twice).  We do need Andre to get more kickoffs in the back of the end zone though …

– I have tons of respect for Oregon and how powerful their offense has been the last two years, but I will say this: I am just straight JEALOUS of the holding their offensive line gets away with.  It is absolutely extraordinary.

– Barkley-Lee in the third quarter was when I really, really started feeling good.  I was red-bulled up (just red bull; I don’t drink booze), and I could feel my heartbeat coming out of my chest!

– It is easy to say that Oregon’s receivers dropped some really needed balls, and they did, but besides blaming the Oregon receivers on those plays, you have to credit USC’s defense as well.  Oregon’s offense was panicked and rushed because of how badly USC outplayed them.  And that leads to dropped balls.  And receivers being afraid of the monster hits they have been taking all night leads to dropped balls.  Great defensive night!

– I was sick by Black Mamba’s kickoff return for a TD, but he is something else (slippery, fast, and elusive).  He has that ability to get in open space and disappear (only a small group of elite special players have it).  But here’s the thing: He is not Black Mamba, Kobe is.  So forget that guy.  

– The ability to run downhill and get 5 to 8 yards on almost every running play is why our offense was just so extraordinary, particularly in those gorgeous second half drives.  The story of the second half of the season for USC is this: Our Offensive Line

– Barkley on bootlegs this season: 40 for 46 (87%); 3 TD’s; no picks

– It is patently false that “Kiffin let up” when we had our big lead.  I will certainly admit that Oregon got going offensively and our defense was gassed when we got up 24 points, BUT offensively, we continued to own them.  The play-calling was BRILLIANT; the time-management was BRILLIANT.  What happened was very simple: (1) After converting a third down, we had to punt when it was taken away by an illegal shift that Chip Kelly threw a flag on; (2) Matt’s pick on the infamous no-call; (3) Tyler’s fumble.  On all three of those drives we absolutely were running and gunning and putting the foot on their throats.  One TD on one of those drives and we win going away.  So we didn’t let up, and the folks saying so are stupid.

– Sorry, but the entire game could have come down to that pick Oregon got off of Matt, and it was just blatant, overt, no question about it, Defensive Holding on Oregon to cause the entire thing.  Just sickening.

– It just occurred to me – I am kind of glad they didn’t call a false start penalty on Oregon at the end there (even though they did it). If they had called that instead of the penalty on Kalil, that would have been a 47-yard kick and I don’t think Kelly would have tried it. Oregon would have had better chance of a TD the way they were rolling …

– It may have felt like USC let them back in and almost choked, but re-watch the last 18 minutes. We were owning them on offense; the refs just plain gave Oregon the ball on that OBVIOUS defensive hold when Woods came over the middle, giving Oregon the pick.  And even though Tyler’s fumble was a painful giveaway, we burned tons of time on that possession and moved the ball all the way downfield … We played like men. We played like Trojans.

– So the winner of the first ever Pac-12 championship game is …  USC!!!!!!  (Shout-out to Ken and Jason Carson).  Sorry guys, but EVERYONE knows it.  That game in two weeks is ridiculous.  Tonight was the conference championship, and we won.
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– Not sure how you get around this basic fact: SEC non-conference schedule featured games this weekend against Furman, Samford, The Citadel, and Georgia Southern.  Well, I actually do know what to say about it.

– I personally don’t think Urban Meyer will be the next coach at Ohio State, though I think he wanted a free tattoo enough that he gave it a lot of thought.  But seriously, I actually think the infractions committee will smack Ohio State a little bit next month.  The reason: They are not in the southeastern conference.

– I was hoping that a few teams would stay above the fray enough that I could avoid the annual irritation of irritations, which is when pundits and fans sit around and bitch and moan as to why their one-loss team deserves to be in the “national championship” game more than another one-loss team.  Had LSU and Oklahoma State finished the year as the only zero-loss teams, it would have helped limit the imbecilic conversation (though it would have bailed out the BCS).  But now we have to listen to fans passionately declare that “our team would not have lost by as much as your team”, and “we beat this one team but you beat that other team”, and other such drivel.  There is a reason why we have these conversations ad nauseum in Division I college football, yet never ever ever ever have to have them in any other sport, at any other level.  That is because every single other sport on the planet, and every single other level of football on the planet, doesn’t use human poll votes and computer formulas to dictate who gets to play for a championship.  They use the time-honored thing called “playing the sport”.  Yeah, teams actually play each other.  Novel.  The answer as to who would more deserve to play LSU (if they even stay undefeated) is: Whoever wins their playoff games to get there.

– Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State was a BCS-buster, but it also was an utter shock.  The idiocy of the BCS can not be better demonstrated than this line I heard Saturday morning: “What a disastrous night for Oklahoma last night.” (I thought he made a mistake because Oklahoma hadn’t lost; Oklahoma State had; he continued): “Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech, but Oklahoma State beat Texas Tech, so Oklahoma needed to beat an undefeated Oklahoma State to validate their loss to Texas Tech, so Oklahoma State losing to Iowa State makes it impossible for Oklahoma to validate their loss to Texas Tech if they defeat Oklahoma State later in the year”.  I can’t make this stuff up.  Nice system, guys.

– I heard the cheesiest thing I have ever heard tonight: Stanford changes the score on the Stanford-Cal game (on the trophy that goes back and forth) for the 1982 game when Stanford’s band made the most embarrassing play in the history of all sports.  Apparently Stanford wants to make a statement that they don’t think that play was fair, and that they consider themselves the winner.  First of all, grow up.  Second of all, it wasn’t a fair play – it was unfair because Cal shouldn’t have had to run through your idiot band on their way to the end zone.  LOL.  I will never, ever, ever, ever watch that play without laughing.  

– That Baylor-Oklahoma game unbelievable.  This whole weekend was just out of control action and drama.  What a rush …

– This is all you need to know about how brilliant the present BCS system is: The BEST thing that happened to Alabama in terms of getting into the BCS game is that they LOST to LSU.  Alabama will be back in the BcS championship game with a win over Auburn next weekend.  If they had beaten LSU, they would also have to win in the SEC championship – a much tougher task.  By NOT having to play in it, they have a far easier path.  Again, NICE SYSTEM GUYS!!!

Okay.  I am done.  I am skipping my annual “special pre-UCLA post” this year where I explain in the clearest of details why UCLA lives for this game, where their massive “—–“-envy over USC comes from, and how it is manifested in the way they treat this game and this rivalry.  I am happy to let everyone focus on Thanksgiving instead, and I can not wait for next Saturday night.  Fight on, Trojans!!  Beat the Bruins.  This is a nearly annoying rivalry.  It brings me little joy when we beat them, but it brings me heartache and distress when we lose to them.  But this year, it will mean finishing a season 10-2 that nearly everyone thought would be 7-5 (some said even worse).  It will be the biggest statement one can imagine to the Lane Kiffin haters ever: We are, SC.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  Isn’t college football special?