Weekly Musings – Colorado Edition

It was a special weekend for me in the world of college football. I brought my five-year old baby girl to the game and enjoyed the whole day with her. I thought this would be a good game to bring her to in case she couldn’t make it past halftime. She insisted on staying the entire game. She was precious. A great day!

– There isn’t a lot to say about the game itself. Colorado is a team that had no business being let into the Pac-12. But the tune-up was important for the psyche of the offense.

– I came into the Coliseum with my daughter 90 minutes before game time (earliest I have ever been into a game). The serenity and splendor of this monument to greatness was just phenomenal. But I watched the Colorado team stretch before they went into the locker room to pad up, and it really struck me how big of a deal size is. They are small, small college football players. I suppose that is obvious, but Colorado is a bad team out-matched by everyone in this conference, and I am telling you their line players were just plain not big.

– Robert Woods was remarkable, and Matt was essentially perfect. Only a Curtis McNeal drop kept him from being literally perfect. Woods’ performance can not be totally explained by the inferiority of Colorado. He was athletic, physical, competitive, and just plain fun to watch.

– I wasn’t thrilled with some parts of our defensive effort, but I make it a habit to not complain when you win a game by 44 points and you keep the other team totally out of the end-zone. We probably were giving them the middle of the field a bit, but their offense actually had a high number of yards considering they were kept to two field goals.

– Burnett’s “grab the ball from behind” interception of sorts was one of the great defensive plays of the season (and bailed him out after getting beat on the route).

– I was pretty disappointed in Leonard Williams getting thrown out of the game and throwing a punch at the bottom of the pile. If the reports are true, and they appear to be, that he punched because someone spat on him, I do not feel as disappointed. Enough said.

– It is a bigger deal than we even realize what Matt Barkley has accomplished with his 100 career touchdown passes (and climbing). Don’t forget that Cade McNown was also a four-year starter at UCLA (though Leinart was only a three-year starter). Carson and Matty coming on the jumbo-tron to exhort the team was a wonderful moment.

– The little video montage the team put together for both Barkley and Woods with Blake Griffin, Luc Robitaille, Chris Paul, etc. was a lot of fun, but especially fun was to see the Coliseum’s reaction to Pete Carroll coming on the board to congratulate Matt. The Coliseum absolutely erupted. Seeing Matt go give some love to every single member of his O-line was very typical of the special, humble kid Matt Barkley is. Great Trojan moments …

– I am pretty sure Negrete had an 80-yard punt this game (it may have been his only punt?). I watched him warm up for a while before things got started. He will be playing Sundays when he leaves USC.

– Woods had the best WR performance of the day but we did get to see some of the real breakout potential that #15 Nelson Agholor possesses (and of course, we already knew the potential #9 Marquis Lee has). Breakout wide receivers with play-making abilities are a necessary part of any championship team. It is one thing I have watched at UCLA ever since Freddie Mitchell left 13 years ago – some teams just do not have athletes who can make plays. USC has an abundance of these guys, and they are not leaving, and we ought to be grateful.

– Haven’t got an injury report on Walker but we can not afford any losses on the Offensive Line. The depth is just not there.

– We didn’t run the ball a lot on Saturday because we didn’t need to, but we will need our ground game against Arizona on Saturday.

– This game on Saturday against Arizona scares the you-know-what out of me. They barely lost to a very good Oregon State team, and they barely lost to a good Stanford team (that also beat us). And they beat Washington far more convincingly than we did … With Oregon the week following, this game has all the makings of a classic trap. We MUST take care of business, and we MUST make a statement coming into our very difficult November.

– I read a lot after last week’s win over Washington on the various boards, and it reminded me why I don’t spend a lot of time on football chat boards. The amount of negativity and ignorance that exists out there suggests that there are very few people over the age of 35 on the boards. I am not going to go back, but I will make this quick comment: One can disagree with decisions the coaches make all day long, and one can express that on the boards if their employment and family situations give them the time to do so. It is not a violation of the Trojan code to merely wish that we passed more, or played better D, or played a certain kid more, or whatever. BUT when the expression of a certain opinion turns to utter nastiness against our own coaches or our own players, don’t tell anyone you’re a Trojan. Because you’re not.

And quickly around the country …

– It is disappointing to see South Carolina get added to the list of West Virginia and Florida State of teams that just clearly were not what we thought they were. I really like Spurrier and really wanted to see the SEC have one or two decent teams besides Alabama. This is just a bad year for the SEC.

– West Virginia’s demise is not even explainable, if you ask me. I am seriously shocked. But I will say this: Much of it can be explained by their entrance to the Big-12, which is not the Big East. The longer term ramifications of conference adjustments over the last few years are going to be dramatic.

– The ugly six-point win Texas got over Baylor may have saved Mack Brown’s job. That program is in a spiral, and it is yet again a big reason for Trojans to be grateful. It has been since 1998 (when Carson broke his collarbone) that we did not have a stud quarterback. Yes, you need running backs, playmakers, and interior talent, but nobody can play without a QB. The Carroll dynasty years were filled with stud QB after stud QB (all the way into the era of Matt Barkley). Yes, I am absolutely including John David Booty in that statement. Texas seems to have bare cupboards to me.

– Alabama will not lose to LSU or Florida, and will appear in the national championship. This is not a tough prediction to make. I can not make a prediction of who they will play, but if it ends up being the winner of the November 3 USC-Oregon game, I would not be surprised …

– Part of me really wants Notre Dame to be undefeated when we beat them in the last game of our regular season. Part of me just does not believe they will be with that offense. Their linebacking crew is first class; their offense is questionable.

– Will Tedford be fired if some alumni offer to pay the severance? Answer: No. The regents are too afraid of the REPLACEMENT cost – not the severance. But Cal is AWFUL.

– The incessant talk about the “path to the BCS final” has once again disgusted me, and now this year made me not even want to watch the Saturday night sports coverage on ESPN. It is cartoonishly stupid, as it always has been (and I would add, immoral). Particularly disappointing is to hear Trojans get sucked into it. We do not look anything like one of the top 2 teams in the country (yet), but regardless, I remain firmly and traditionally committed to this novel concept: Focus on what you CAN control, which is winning your conference (thereby GUARANTEEING yourself a spot in the grand-daddy of them all – The Rose Bowl). If some bureaucrat calls you after that and tells you that you are instead going to a “bigger” game, than fine. But play for The Rose Bowl, and let the chips fall where they may.

So on to Tucson we go. I think the key to the game will be our ability to pressure their very fine quarterback. I do not want to see them run the ball on us. Our secondary is up to the challenge of coverage play, and our offense may be back on track. This is a HUGE game for the men of Troy. And I can not wait …