Monday, January 5, 2009

BCS games no help for plagued USC fans

Another BCS game, another reason for Trojans fans to bury their heads in their hands.

At this point, after three years of what if, USC fans would almost rather point at the national champion and say, "Damn good team. You deserve it."

After all, such a statement would relieve them of the constant belief that their team is, in fact, the real No. 1. Sounds like a petty burden to most, but three years of Big Ten-bashing, BCS-stifling Januaries can drive a man insane.

Tonight's Ohio State-Texas matchup solidified the notion that whoever wins the so-called BCS National Championship Game can't honestly claim to be the no-buts-about-it national champion.

And thus, the USC fan's anxiety lives to see another year.

Ohio State ran all over the Longhorns to the tune of 200+ rushing yards. This was a Buckeyes offense, mind you, that looked downright awful against USC and Penn State during the regular season.

Still, QB Terrelle Pryor couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a pass, and RB Beanie Wells sat out most of the game's crucial minutes. Yet, there the Buckeyes were, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns in what should have been an impressive comeback victory.

Nevermind that Texas scored in the final minute to win. Nobody will say Texas should be voted No. 1 anymore. Not when it struggled mightily against an OSU team that lost 35-3 to USC and 13-6 to Penn State (at home).

It was also a Texas team that played the creamiest of cream puff non-conference schedules, lost to Texas Tech and barely beat Oklahoma State - the latter two games involving teams which were exposed in the season's final month.

And I don't even need to get into Alabama. The 'Tide were softer than the Charmin baby's butt in their embarrassing BCS loss to Utah.

But the headline is bigger than No. 4 losing and No. 3 looking terribly vulnerable.

The headline is that No. 1 and No. 2 are ranked as such because of No. 3 and No. 4.

Florida's only truly impressive opponent was Alabama. Or so we thought.

Oklahoma was judged to have a better resume than Texas. How 'bout that Longhorns resume now?

Florida and Oklahoma are deserving football teams, don't get me wrong, but if the final BCS vote were held today, well...

Let's just say USC fans might not have to live in such agony. (That is, of course, unless Utah stepped in, which would be all too fitting.)

And if the basic arguments aren't enough, consider some more facts:

USC thrashed Penn State, 38-24. Penn State dominated 9-4 Oregon State, and its only loss was by one point to Iowa, which won six of its final seven games, smucked South Carolina in its bowl game, and lost four games by a combined 11 points.

USC embarrassed Ohio State, 35-3. Texas made the Buckeyes offensive attack (yes, even without Beanie Wells) look downright bullish.

USC beat Oregon 44-10. This is the same Ducks team that scored 162 points in its final three games against bowl winners Arizona and Oregon State, and a supposedly reputable Oklahoma State. Oregon's three losses were to Boise State, USC and Cal, which will all finish the season ranked. The latter two games were on the road.

USC's schedule included seven bowl teams, five ranked teams at season's end and five bowl winners (should have been six, Ohio State).

USC won the Pac-10 - the conference with the best bowl record
(5-0). The Pac-10 bowl teams beat four other ranked teams plus Miami.

And lastly, USC lost to Oregon State, which lost to eventual top-15 teams Utah (13-0), Oregon (10-3) and Penn State (11-2). Its only bad loss was to Stanford (5-7), and that was in August.

In case you missed it (which you probably did), the week after the Beavers took down USC, they held an 11-point lead with less than two minutes to go on the road against Utah. Had they beaten the Utes, the Trojans might still be waiting to play their bowl game.

I'm the Daily Trojan sportswriter most critical of USC, but when the facts are there, the facts are there.

At the very least, this year's BCS might save USC fans from repeat agony next season. Until then, they can look at this picture of Stanford receiver Mark Bradford and cry themselves to sleep.


  1. I can see why you're upset. I mean, that vaunted OSU offense that put up 27 on USC in a victory put up all of 3 in their Bowl game. If you are going to judge UT's bowl performance against USC as the measuring stick of who should be playing for the BCS Championship, fine, but toss in the fact that OSU looked like crap. Here's a suggestion: win all your games, and you'll be in the championship. Easy as that. I wonder if USC would have fared as well against Penn St. if the Bowl game was in Happy Valley. I doubt it.

    The point here shouldn't be that USC got screwed. They didn't anymore than UT, Utah, Bama, and Penn St. All of them going into the Bowls had a rightful gripe. The point should be that there needs to be a tournament, and until then, everyone can make a claim. Personally, I think Utah, who did the only thing that matters each week, should be voted #1 in the AP poll.

  2. Someone needs to point out that Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells were raw freshmen at the beginning of the year--and they've now had a complete season under their belts (it's the learning curve). If you don't think that a whole season, plus four weeks of dedicated practice and offensive/defensive scheming in preparation for one opponent won't produce results at Ohio State, you're throwing a huge insult in Jim Tressel's face. Not that I like the guy, but he can coach better than either you or I could, so I wasn't surprised that the game came down to the wire.

  3. Beanie Wells was a freshmen, and you're a knowledgeable sports fan. Nope both are false statements. You're a Jackass and Beanie Wells is a Junior.

  4. Why should USC be rated ahead of UT? Who did USC play this year? They played two Top 25 teams all year long. Yes, they did win them both. But nobody in the country played as brutal a stretch of football as UT did. Remember they played, 4 straight teams ranked in the top 11-three of them in the top 10 (OU, Okla. State, and Texas Tech). Yes, they lost one of those games, but then they played another Top 10 team in the bowl and finished 4-1 against Top 25 teams. Where was Oregon State ranked when they beat USC? Texas lost to Texas Tech when both teams were ranked in teh Top 10. USC doesn't deserve to be placed ahead of Texas. Besides, what happened the last time Texas and USC played? Oh yeah...Hook'em Horns!!!

  5. First of all, props for having your blog mentioned at!
    I've been reading your DT columns for quite some time, and have always enjoyed them, and this one is no different.
    However, even as a HUGE USC fan, I will say that USC does not deserve the top 2 spots. I just don't see it. Florida is in without any question. Other than that, it's UT or OU. Either one is deserving. I thought it would be UT, personally, but hey, the computers saw something else..
    If you say that OSU's only bad loss shouldn't could because it was in August, perhaps Ohio State's awful loss to our Trojans shouldn't have quite as much weight, either..
    And while Pac-10 is 5-0 in bowl games, which is GREAT, i don't think that means that the TOP team in Pac 10 will beat the TOP team in the SEC or the big12.
    I agree that us playing Penn State was boring.. I would have LOVED to see us play Texas (or OU). But that's not how the BCS works. USC took care of business, but unfortunately so did everyone else. I don't mind losing to Oregon State. I don't even mind losing to Stanford last year IF we went on to beat Oregon. We didn't. This year, we took care of business after the loss in a good enough fashion. The problem is so did everyone else. Florida and OU deserve to be where they are, and we deserve to be where we are.

    Great read, however!

  6. Anonymous at 3:33 pm:

    Did you not read the post? The author's whole point is that the bowl games showed us that Texas Tech and Oklahoma State weren't as good as advertised. UT didn't impress too many people with their win last night, and we'll see what happens on Thursday with OU. This post made the argument that Texas's opponents this season didn't deserve their high rankings, so it is stupid of you to chime in with "But UT beat some Top 10 teams." Are reading comprehension courses no longer offered at Austin Community College?

  7. I'd say the point of the article was to show that, once again, there's no clear-cut 'best team in the nation.' Even if Florida or OU blows the other team out of the water, their claims to the #s 1 and 2 spots have been totally undermined by the bowls of the last two weeks. You can gripe about common, ranked opponents all you want but the whole strength of schedule argument has gone out the window. Bottom line: Florida or OU will be declared the national champion because the college football world has determined that they play in the best conferences. We all know it's a sham.